MANILA — The government’s whole-of-nation-approach in ending local communist armed conflict is gaining ground with the neutralization of some 10,938 members of the New People’s Army and their supporters in 2019, a top-ranking official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said.
AFP spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said on Sunday that since the issuance of Executive Order No. 70, the number of communist terrorist group (CTG) members who surrendered, apprehended, or died in combat operations “increased exponentially”.
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte issued EO No. 70 in December 2018 establishing a whole-of-nation approach in ending local communist armed conflict through the creation of a national task force (NTF) that will take the lead in institutionalizing a national peace framework.
“The number of neutralized members of the NPA indicates operational gains of the AFP attained through whole-of-nation endeavors to end local communist armed conflict,” Arevalo said.
Arevalo said in 2019, there were 10,520 regular NPA members and supporters belonging to “Milisya ng Bayan”, “Samahang Propaganda Lokal”, and other underground mass organization and supporters who have voluntarily surrendered to the government, 142 killed during operations and 276 arrested.
Some 1,860 firearms — 925 high-powered and 935 low-powered firearms — were either seized or surrendered; improvised explosive devices or anti-personnel mines captured or surrendered amounted to 452, and NPA hideouts overrun totaled 449.
Arevalo said this can be attributed to the trust and confidence of Filipinos, who tip-off to the military the presence of NPA members in their areas, to the military.
“People now tip-off CTG presence in their localities resulting in AFP’s operational advantage,” he said.
He said people in the countryside no longer provide safe haven to the NPA terrorists, forcing them to be constantly on the run.
“We are confident that the end is near for the CTG—and they know and can feel the noose tightening,” Arevalo said.
The military also reported significant success against the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) following the neutralization of 178 terrorists last year.
Some 84 ASG members surrendered while 71 were killed during operations and 23 arrested; 144 high-powered and 22 low-powered guns were seized from the terrorists.
Anti-personnel mines captured amounted to 69 while terrorist hideouts seized reached 18.
The AFP also recorded success in the campaign against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters as the military neutralized 61 with 14 killed, 45 surrendered, and two captured last year.
Operations against the Daesh-Inspired Maute Group led to the neutralization of 107 terrorists with 39 killed, 34 surrendered and 34 captured. (PNA)