AFP: 69 out of 119 'neutralized' NPA rebels surrender in November

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 3) — The military claimed that 119 members of the New People's Army (NPA) have been "neutralized" for the month of November, with 69 of them surrendering to authorities.

In a statement Sunday, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Public Affairs Chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said 29 communist rebels were arrested, while 21 were killed in clashes with government troops.

"We urge the members of this communist terrorist group to consider the two options available to them -- to take advantage of the opportunity for them to surface and be reunited with their family, join mainstream society, and be productive members of the community...or suffer the same fate of their cohorts who died refusing to see the better alternative offered by government," Arevalo said.

In the same month, President Rodrigo Duterte bared plans of declaring the NPA as a terrorist group, just like the United States did in 2002.

This put in limbo the peace talks to resolve the 48-year-long insurgency--the longest running in Asia. Duterte formally scrapped peace negotiations with the rebels on November 23.

Arevalo said they were expecting an increase in the NPA's military activity after Duterte's decision.

"Those were meant to make up for the tactical defeats they have experienced in view of the intensified focused military operations," he said.

A week after the formal cancellation of the talks, 14 members of the NPA were killed in clashes with government troops in Nasugbu, Batangas.

Arevalo claimed the operations in Nasugbu were "successful," adding that 12 high-powered firearms have been recovered.

On Sunday, four policemen were wounded after around 60 to 100 suspected rebels attacked the police station in Binuangan, Misamis Oriental.

READ: 4 police wounded in Misamis after NPA attacks station – authorities

A day before, the military said the NPA killed Baggao Councilor Angelo Luis in Cagayan. It is still unclear why the government official was targeted.

READ: Military: NPA kills Cagayan councilor

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The party founder, Jose Maria Sison, previously said in a statement the revolutionary forces "had no choice" but to "intensify the people´s war through an extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare" and commando operations.

The Armed Forces estimates there are around 3,800 NPA fighters in the country.