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AFP officer cites gains of NTF-ELCAC's strategies vs. insurgency

By Mario Casayuran / Manila Bulletin

Members of the Philippine Army during a rescue operation to get trapped residents in Barangay Datu Javier, Marawi City, on May 31, 2017. (Mark Balmores/MANILA BULLETIN File photo)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) believes that insurgency will end when roads begin ‘’because the guerilla bases will no longer exist if roads will be open to that area.‘’

This was stressed by Major General Greg T. Almerol during a public hearing by then national defense committee of the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA) that determines his fitness to be confirmed to a higher rank.

Almerol was later confirmed as Lieutenant General by the CA during its plenary session presided by Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, concurrent CA chairman.

As head of the AFP Eastern Mindanao command, Almerol told Senator Risa Hontiveros that his command comprising regions 10, 11, 12 and 13 had shown the effectiveness of the strategy of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to contain the communist insurgency.

‘’We were able to really degrade the enemy’s capability and then especially help us hasten the accomplishment of our mission, which is the dismantling of the different guerilla fronts within the area of Eastern Mindanao command,’’ Almerol said.

Almerol said his command has the biggest financial allotment in Easter Mindanao.

He told Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, chairman of the Senate national defense and security committee, that construction of roads opens the entry of government services.

Almerol explained that of 3,000 of some 4,000 barangays in his command had been cleared of insurgents.

Almerol also said that he hoped to clear 1,000 communist ‘’influenced’’ barangays by the end of 2021.

‘’We are on track,’’ Almerol told Lacson.

On Tuesday, June 1, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon vowed to oppose “tooth and nail” the budget of the NTF-ELCAC for 2022, warning that next year’s national budget could be used as a huge “campaign kitty” for the elections.



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