Saturday, January 9, 2016

AFP targets to liberate all provinces from NPA insurgency this 2016




AFP targets to liberate all provinces from NPA insurgency this 2016

The military has expressed confidence it could achieve its target to win peace this year by liberating all provinces in the country from the decades-old communist insurgency.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Hernando Iriberri announced that the government’s Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) “Bayanihan” continues to gain success, paving the way for the clearing of additional provinces from the New People’s Army (NPA).

image: http://www.mb.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/i13.jpg
High-powered firearms are neatly laid out on a table at the municipal gym in Lianga, Surigao del Sur Tuesday, representing the erstwhile firepower carried by 35 NPA fighters from Northeastern Mindanao who surrendered to the government recently. The rebel returnees received cash assistance in line with the AFP Balik Baril, Bayad Agad Program. (Mike U. Crismundo)
High-powered firearms are neatly laid out on a table at the municipal gym in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, representing the erstwhile firepower carried by 35 NPA fighters from Northeastern Mindanao who surrendered to the government recently. The rebel returnees received cash assistance in line with the AFP Balik Baril, Bayad Agad Program. (August 2015/MB file)

Iriberri made the statement in a press conference that followed the AFP’s first command conference in 2016 attended by all military commanders on Friday, January 8.
Citing data presented during the meeting, the top military chief said that the government has already declared 64 provinces as peaceful and ready for further development after being cleared from the influence of communist guerrillas.

He added that they are now working to clear the remaining 12 provinces, mostly located in the Davao CARAGA regions.


“That is our goal, that this year we will be able to declare the remaining 12 provinces to be declared as peaceful and ready for further development,” he stated.

“So generally, we have really made great strides in the implementation of IPSP Bayanihan,” according to the AFP chief.

The IPSP Bayanihan, the military’s counter-insurgency plan and which also included all threat groups, was conceived under the term of President Aquino with the end goal of defeating the rebels before his term ends next year.

There is an urgency for the government to end the insurgency problem so that if could fully focus its attention to territorial defense, whose center is fending off China’s aggressiveness in the West Philippine Sea.

Aside from the 64 provinces that have been liberated from the NPA, Iriberri also said that the government has also cleared and dismantled 13 guerilla fronts nationwide which has translated into 292 barangays influenced or controlled by the NPA.

He further said that the NPA strength was reduced from 4,443 yearend of 2014 to 3,296 by end of 2015.
Also, a total of 31 top NPA personalities have also been neutralized, captured, arrested during the previous year.

He likewise was a huge decline in violent incidents perpetrated by the NPA.

“In fact, based on the reports, there was no major tactical offensive that was conducted by NPA during the year, and that speaks volumes because it reflects on their capability to conduct . . . major tactical offensive against AFP. We have not recorded a major tactical offensive in the past year,” said Iriberri underscoring the accomplishment of the military.

He stressed that the inability of the NPA to stage major tactical offensive reflects reflect on the communist rebels’ dwindling support, as well as, dwindling forces.

As to the other threat groups like the Abu Sayyaf Group, the chief of staff said they have also reduce its membership, although he could not give figures.

The ASG has resurrected its kidnapping activities late last year by taking in a number of foreigners, including the two Canadians and a Norwegian from a resort in Davao del Norte, whom it took to Sulu for ransom negotiations.

As to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MNLF), it has an existing preliminary peace agreement with the government.


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