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๐—ข๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฌ ๐—ก๐—ฃ๐—” ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—น๐˜€ ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜‚๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ถ๐˜‡๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—ค๐Ÿญ โ€”๐—ก๐—ง๐—™-๐—˜๐—Ÿ๐—–๐—”๐—–

March 26, 2024

The armed strength of the New People's Army (NPA) has been significantly reduced by more than 400 members from January to March this year, according to National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Executive Director and Undersecretary Ernesto Torres Jr.

During a virtual press conference on Monday, Torres provided this update amidst a disinformation campaign justifying the active presence of the NPA in some areas. This campaign has led to numerous encounters with state forces, resulting in further deaths and the capture of rebel members and their armaments.

NTF-ELCAC officials clarified that these skirmishes were strategically carried out by the remaining NPA forces to project strength in the weeks leading up to their founding anniversary on March 29.

Torres said that progress has been made in neutralizing members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and the subsequent weakening of their strength in 2024.

"Right now, we have zero active guerrilla front already but we still have 11 weakened guerrilla fronts to totally defeat: five in Luzon, three in the Visayas, and another three in Mindanao. But as we speak now, meron ng mga reports for the eventual total dismantling of two guerrilla fronts in the Visayas and another one in Mindanao," he said.

"So very soon, hinihintay na lang natin yung official validation nung dismantling of this three weakened guerrilla fronts, we would be making an official announcement," Torres added.

He highlighted that from January to March 2024, approximately 422 NPA members have been neutralized, further diminishing their numbers. This brings the estimated remaining NPA members to around 1,100, assuming no new recruits have been made during this period.

He also announced that three regions, namely Ilocos, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Davao Regions, have been declared insurgency-free.

Additionally, Surigao del Norte was recently declared an insurgency-free province on March 15, 2024.

He added that these achievements signify the collective efforts of the Filipino people in dismantling guerrilla fronts and lays the groundwork for peace and progress.

Throughout 2023, a total of 11 guerrilla fronts were dismantled, marking significant progress in the fight against insurgency.

This achievement was made possible through the neutralization of 1,042 members of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG), the recovery of 1,454 firearms, the retrieval of 411 anti-personnel mines, and the discovery of 283 hideouts.

โ€œThe Peace, Law Enforcement, Development and Security (PLEDS) Cluster played a crucial role in these accomplishments,โ€ said Torres.

Last year, the PLEDS Cluster also focused on clearing 409 targeted communist terrorist group-affected barangays, ensuring the safety and well-being of the communities affected by insurgency, said Torres.

Looking ahead, Torres expressed confidence in the security sector's ability to defeat the remaining weakened guerrilla fronts.

He stressed that the plan is to transition to a territorial or external defense approach, further strengthening the nation's security.

This transition will be founded on a whole-of-government approach and whole-of-nation participation, founded on good governance.

Moreover, The NTF-ELCAC official emphasized the aggressive approach taken by all Regional Task Forces ELCAC, both at the national and regional levels, in addressing the root causes of insurgency in the country.

Torres said that this comprehensive and united effort is crucial in achieving lasting peace and development in every province and barangay of the Philippines. ###


Ref: Joel M. Sy Egco



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