NPA still the most potent threat–AFP
MANILA, Philippines—The longest-running communist insurgency in Asia remains the “most potent internal security challenge” to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the military said on Friday.
“The Communist Part of the Philippines-New People’s Army is still the most potent challenge, it’s a challenge to our internal security and peace efforts,” military spokesperson Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan told a press conference at Camp Aguinaldo.
This was the military’s assessment of its performance last year during a command conference held on Friday presided by AFP chief of staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista.
The conference is a regular venue where senior military officers discuss the AFP’s gains in its internal peace and security operations.
“I wouldn’t say that they are the biggest strength but it is a threat that we have to contend with really, as far as internal security is concerned,” Tutaan said of the CPP-NPA.
However, Tutaan said the NPA still “miserably failed in achieving” the goals of its five-year Central Plan that ended last year.
“They were unsuccessful in expanding their mass base support as 16 more provinces were normalized last year. This makes the latest overall success to 43 provinces out of the 64 NPA-affected provinces nationwide,” a statement from the military said.
The provinces already include Pampanga, which on Wednesday was declared “insurgency-free” by the military and the local government.
The military had explained that “insurgency-free” meant that the NPA strength had been reduced to a level where it can be considered a law enforcement problem.
That Pampanga was “insurgency-free” is particularly important to the military because the province was the birthplace of the communist insurgency.
The military said that a total of 824 NPA members were either arrested, killed or have surrendered in 2013. There were also 425 firearms recovered.
The military leadership also discussed the current external security situation, particularly China’s aggression.
But AFP public affairs office chief, Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, declined to give details, citing “national security.”
Tutaan said that guarding the national territory “is not simply about action on the ground.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.