Military Hunts Down Commies
DAVAO CITY – Military forces continue to hunt down communist rebels hiding out in Davao City in southern Philippines as part of its anti- insurgency campaign in the restive region.
Just last week, government troops tracked down and captured a senior communist rebel leader,
Ruditha Rosete Gaylawan, in an operation that brought them to Calinan district. Military agents tracked her down in the village of Sirib.
The 35- year old Gaylawan is the Secretary General of Front Committee 54 of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Military raiders also seized from Gaylawan two hand grenades, a .45- caliber pistol and a magazine loaded with bullets, and two improvised explosives, including medicines and notebooks containing names of NPA rebels.
Officials said the rebel leader is facing a string of criminal cases, mostly murder charges filed in Davao del Norte province. Her elder brother, Bobby Rosete, is also a ranking rebel leader.
The CPP and NPA did not issue any statement on the capture of Gaylawan, but it previously accused Manila of violating immunity pass of other rebel leaders - involved in peace talks with the Aquino government - captured by security forces in the restive southern region.
In June last year, a top NPA leader, Leoncio Pitao, alias Ka Parago, and his female medical aide, Kyle Hermosa, were both killed in fierce clashes with government soldiers in the village of Pañalum in Davao City’s Paquibato district.
Pitao was the commander of the fierce Pulang Bagani Command blamed by the army for the spate of deadly attacks on military and police targets in Davao and nearby areas. Troops tracked down Pitao’s group and engaged the gunmen in a running gun battle until he was eventually killed.
While the military branded Pitao as “notorious and ruthless,” many villagers looked at him as their modern- day Robin Hood, who stole from the rich to feed the poor. Pitao in the past had urged government soldiers to resign from the military service and join the struggle against state tyranny.
In March 2009, Pitao’s daughter Rebelyn, was abducted by suspected military agents in Davao City and her naked body was found floating in a shallow creek in the village of San Isidro in Davao del Norte’s Carmen town. Her body bore torture marks and was believed raped before she was stabbed in the chest and Pitao tagged 11 military agents as behind the murder.
The NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has been fighting for decades for the establishment of a separate state in the country.
Government peace talks with the rebels have been on and off with both accusing each other reneging on many agreements, including demands by the communist group for Manila to release all political prisoners languishing in jails across the country.
( Mindanao Examiner)
Members of the New People’s Army during a guerrilla training in the Philippines. ( Philippine Revolution Web Central)
A police photo of Ruditha Gaylawan.