MANILA, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have said that 264 armed rebels have been killed or arrested since this February, local media reported on Monday.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer, a major English newspaper, quoted Col. Edgard Arevalo, the AFP Public Affairs chief as saying that besides those killed or arrested, 573 New People's Army (NPA) members had voluntarily surrendered. A total of 622 firearms were recovered from the NPA rebels.
NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and now about 3,800 NPA armed men continue to fight against the central and local governments, mainly in the poorest provinces of the Philippines.
The Philippine military also called on the remaining communist rebels to lay down their arms or be killed.
"While we are hopeful that more NPA (members) will surrender in the coming days, our troops on the ground will continue with our relentless operations against those who remain active in their violent and destructive criminal activities," Arevalo said in a statement.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed a proclamation to formally terminate talks with the CPP in November and later told leftist rebel leaders to surrender or face punitive actions.
The rebellion in the Philippines began in 1969 and reached its peak in 1987 when it boasted 26,000 armed guerrillas.
Since 1986, the Philippine government has been trying to reach a peace deal with the leftist rebels but failed to make any headway.
Peace negotiations with the rebels were suspended in 2011.
The Duterte administration revived the talks with the rebels in August last year. But the talks have since bogged down due to a series of attacks launched by the rebels against troops and civilians.