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198 CPP-NPA terrorists neutralized – AFP

Updated: Feb 14

February 14, 2024

At least one-hundred ninety-eight communist insurgents have been neutralized during the period of January to February 8 this year, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Colonel Francel Margareth Padilla said Wednesday (Feb. 14, 2024).

This is significant because AFP Chief of Staff General Romeo Brawner Jr. earlier reported that the latest armed strength of the New People’s Army (NPA) had been tremendously reduced to only more or less 1,500 as of end-2023.

The Maoist-inspired NPA is the armed component of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Brawner said they are confident they would finish off the NPA threat within this year and soon after the AFP transitions from internal security operations (ISO) to external defense to better respond to China’s territorial incursions in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

From 2018 to present, the military said the active 89 NPA guerilla fronts in different parts of the country had been almost wiped out with only 11 remaining on weakened status.

“Mayroon tayong 198 na communist terrorist groups (CTGs) members na na-neutralize, this includes na po ‘yung regular members and supporters mula po itong start ng year until February 8, 2024. Ang pinaka-significant po dito is 172 ang surrendered. ‘Yun po ang pinakamarami natin talaga na (rebel returnees),” Padilla told the media during an online press conference hosted by the Integrated Communications Operations Center (ICOC), the media bureau of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

Of the 198 neutralized, 13 were arrested and 13 died in armed engagements. The focused operations yielded 79 high- and low-powered firearms, 18 improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and the discovery and destruction of 14 NPA encampments.

During his recent command conference being the Commander-in-Chief of the AFP, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had directed the top brass to once and for all eliminate all NPA remnants within this year.

“’Yung ating guidance from the President during the command conference that was held in the beginning of January, we really want to end na ‘yung ating internal insurgency problem kasi lahat tayo ay gusto na ng transition. ‘Yung focus natin ay mapunta na sa external defense. ‘Yung timeline na ibinigay sa mga commanders is sana tapusin na natin within this year,” Padilla said.

She said Brawner directed all ground commanders to have a free hand in accomplishing the mission and to think “out-of-the-box”.

“Ang (guidance) lang naman ng Presidente together with (our) chief-of-staff, hindi tayo mag-micromanage. They said we will not micromanage, but we will leave it to the ground commanders kung paano nila ‘yun ipapatupad,” Padilla said.

Part of the strategy, said Padilla, is the AFP’s close collaboration with the NTF-ELCAC’s various mechanisms by bringing government services closer to the people especially to formerly rebel-infested Geographically-Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAs) to prevent recovery efforts by NPA and its communist front organizations (CFOs).

NTF-ELCAC together with targeted barangay-beneficiaries through the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) identify the gaps in those areas by mobilizing all government entities and their resources through a “whole-of-nation” approach. One of its funded- mechanisms like the Support to Barangay Development Program (SBDP) serves as a catalyst in bringing genuine change, peace, unity, and development to the people.

Aside from SBDP, the Task Force has been cohesively mobilizing all its national and local partners through the Cabinet Officers for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) especially Local Government Units (LGUs) and the barangays to end the local communist armed conflict for the implementation of mechanisms like the Local Peace Engagement (LPE) and the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP).

These mechanisms have been contributing a lot to the elimination of the CPP-NPA’s politico-military spectrum in the GIDAs resulting to the massive voluntary surrender of insurgents.

Padilla said the AFP has credited the NTF-ELCAC for steering the government’s “whole-of-government/whole-of-nation” approach to end local communist armed conflict.

“’Yung atin talagang pakikipag-ugnayan sa NTF-ELCAC, napakalaking bagay nito,” she said. ###


Ref: Joel M. Sy Egco


February 14, 2024


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