The Apolinario Gatmaitan Command of the New People’s Army (NPA) – Negros Island regards Philippine Army 303rd Brigade’s Anti-NPA campaign as a total failure.
“Under BGen. Benedict Arevalo’s command, the 303rd Brigade was unsuccessful in destroying even one of the five guerrilla fronts in Negros,” said Ka Juanito Magbanua, AGC-NPA spokesperson.
“Contrary to another of Arevalo’s fake news, the Philippine Army’s atrocities and attacks against communities in Negros have unwittingly garnered the NPA and the revolutionary movement an increase in membership and mass support,” Magbanua added.
“The NPA in Negros is now in a stronger position to defend the people from Duterte’s fascist troops,” Magbanua said.
Arevalo was assigned to Negros last year during the height of the bloody Sagay 9 massacre that was followed by the declaration of then AFP Chief Carlito Galvez of an “all-out” war against revolutionaries in the island.
During Arevalo’s stint as 303rd Brigade Commander, the murder of peasant lawyer Benjamin Ramos and the implementation of Memorandum Order 32 in Negros consequently Oplan Sauron 1 and 2 and spate of killings and mass arrests occurred.
According to Magbanua, Arevalo’s so-called achievements are based on fake news, fake encounters, fake surrenders, trumped-up cases against progressives and, worse, the murders of innocent civilians.
Magbanua stated that Arevalo and his troops have earned the ire of the people especially the peasants.
“He is a typical AFP official who earns promotions and awards at the expense of people’s lives, human rights and legitimate people’s struggles,” said Magbanua.
“More than a week ago, reports reached the AGC-NPA that Arevalo threatened local government officials in Isabela, Negros Occidental, to follow orders or else resign,” Magbanua added.
Finally, Magbanua calls on 303rd Brigade’s next commander Col. Inocencio Pasaporte to not follow his predecessor.
“Like Arevalo and those before him, the AFP/PNP’s campaign to suppress armed revolution and even dissent will only backfire and the people’s revolution will grow stronger,” Magbanua ended.