Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said there are now fewer New People’s Army (NPA) activities taking place since the creation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and its regional task forces to address armed conflicts at the local level.

(photo courtesy: http://www.rappler.com)

Duterte acknowledged that the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA (CPP-NPA) continues to perpetuate violence by killing soldiers, police, and civilians in the country, but in “a very small scale” this time.

“There has been really quite a reduction of the NPA activities. They are in Mindanao but limited to Northern Mindanao including Davao City. There are just two or almost none. And I hope it will also happen in other regions, I said, because violence is really despicable to me,” he said partly in Filipino in a speech in Lucena City.

Because of this, he said the national government is “winning” the war against the communist insurgency in the country.

Duterte also said the NTF-ELCAC made great efforts to convince communist rebels to return to the fold of the law.

“My order was really to accept them with open arms and talk to them. And to be honest, in Mindanao, when they surrender automatic they are immediately given houses. We’ve built so many houses for them because we know we have to accommodate the surrenderers and I thought I could maybe change the severity of the moment,” he said partly in Filipino.

He, however, reminded task force officials to ensure that they not only focus on the ending of local communist armed conflict but also in uplifting the living conditions of the citizens in the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas through its Barangay Development Program (BDP).

“This can be done through the provision of the much needed services and public utilities such as improved farm-to-market roads anywhere in the Philippines that’s what the Filipinos are asking for — school buildings, especially built in areas where there is a congregation of new settlements,” he said partly in Filipino.

He thanked the NTF-ELCAC members for consistently standing up against the communist insurgency in the region.

Duterte also said he is “certain” that the country will eventually be able to stop the decades-old communist insurgency in the country.

In December 2018, Duterte signed Executive Order 70 creating the NTF-ELCAC aimed at putting an end to the treacherous life cycle of the more than five decades of insurgency—his campaign promise.

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