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Only around 3,500 NPA rebels left nationwide, Esperon says

The anti-insurgency task force on Wednesday expressed confidence that it can eradicate the New People’s Army during the current administration as only around 3,500 insurgents are left.

At the Kapihan sa Ilocos forum held Tuesday, National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict vice chairperson Secretary Hermogenes Esperon said the NPA will turn into a “law and order problem.”

“Sa estimate ko lang from their current strength of about 3,500, palagay ko baba na iyan….Kung ito’y baba ng halimbawa ng 2,000 nationwide, magiging law and order problem na lang ito,” Esperon was quoted in an NTF-ELCAC statement released Wednesday as saying.

(In my estimate, from their current strength of about 3,500, I think it would be reduced. If it is reduced to 2,000 nationwide, then they can be considered as a law and order problem)

It means the police and the local government units will primarily address the remaining rebels, he added.

In May, Esperon said the NPA had about 4,000 to 4,100 regular members.

According to Esperon, the task force and President Rodrigo Duterte are aiming to eradicate the NPA by July 2022.

Earlier, Army 10th Infantry Division commander Major General Ernesto Torres said that from 23 in 2016, only six communist guerilla fronts are left in Southern Mindanao.

Torres said there is a “continuous trend” of rebels surrendering to authorities. — Joviland Rita/RSJ, GMA News



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