372 CTG members 'neutralized' in first 6 months of 2021: AFP
By Priam Nepomuceno / Philippine News Agency
MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday said a total of 372 members of communist terrorist groups (CTGs) were neutralized in 213 operations during the first six months of this year.
In his last command conference, AFP chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said included in this figure are 80 high-value individuals and four CTG finance officers from May to June alone.
Sobejana will bow out of the service on July 31 upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.
Out of this figure, 42 were killed, 53 were apprehended, and 277 have surrendered.
Some 728 supporters have also withdrawn their support from CTGs. In addition, 730 assorted firearms and 140 anti-personnel mines were also seized.
On the other hand, AFP operations against local terrorist groups also yielded significant gains from the first six months of the year.
This includes 114 Abu Sayyaf Group members, 124 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and 40 Dawlah Islamiya members who were all either killed, captured or have surrendered.
"The AFP has and will continue to play a vital role in protecting the interest of our country and our people. With this let us continue to remain steadfast towards our unwavering commitment to our sworn duty, maintain our pursuit for excellence, and continuously endeavor quality service in all our undertaking," Sobejana said.
He added that these threats must be defeated within the year so that the AFP could shift its focus on external defense.
"The AFP gained substantial accomplishments for the past months. Despite this, we must endeavor to continue our momentum to achieve more meaningful milestones," Sobejana said.
Present during Sobejana's final command conference were Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and other top defense and military officials.
The meeting opened with a "Salute to the Fallen" in honor of soldiers who died in the line of duty this year.
Sobejana also called for a moment of silence and prayer for those killed as well as survivors of the recent C-130 plane mishap in Sulu.
Lorenzana, meanwhile, congratulated the AFP for its accomplishments and thanked the military for its support in the administration's peace and development programs.
He also urged the AFP to further enhance organizational efficiency and operational excellence and called for improved readiness to perform multi-role functions while ensuring the sustained physical and emotional well-being of personnel.
"Continue to exercise prudence and accountability in our resource programming," Lorenzana said as he emphasized the need to implement financial and management best practices. (PNA)