MANILA: Security forces in the southern Philippines have killed a commander of the armed wing of the country’s rebel communist party, the military said on Sunday. Jorge Madlos headed the national operations command of the New People’s Army of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Communist rebels have been fighting the government since the 1960s in what has been the country’s longest conflict and has killed tens of thousands of people.
Madlos was killed after soldiers were dispatched to the mountainous area of Sitio Gabunan in Bukidnon province on Mindanao island, following reports of the presence of a group of communist rebels, Gen. Romeo Brawner, commander of the Army 4th Infantry Division, said in a press conference.
“Jorge Madlos, also known as Ka Oris, is dead,” Brawner said, calling on the remaining members of the group to surrender. “If you do not surrender, you will suffer the same fate as Ka Oris. It is futile to continue with this armed struggle that really has no direction at all.”
He said there were still approximately 300 rebels hiding in the region and troops had been ordered to intensify their search operation.
As Madlos was one of the few remaining leaders of the rebel group, his death was a major blow to the group, which the military expects to start falling apart.
“His death will deter the activities and plans by the NPA for he can no longer direct the communist terrorists’ violent actions against our people,” the armed forces of the Philippines said in a statement. “This is a major blow to the communist terrorist group in Mindanao and will usher in eventual peace in the region.”
Madlos was facing multiple criminal cases, including murder, robbery, arson and kidnapping.