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AFP to Duterte: Create task force to end insurgency

The Armed Forces of the Philippines is asking President Rodrigo Duterte to create a national task force to end insurgency, an apparent bid to counter what it says is the communist rebels’ broad coalition to bring down the commander in chief.

AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. said the primary aim of such task force was to cut off recruitment by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed component, the New People’s Army (NPA).

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Palace welcomes proposal

Malacañang on Sunday welcomed the proposal, saying it agreed with the AFP that “ending the communist insurgency in the country entails a whole-of-government approach.”

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Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the AFP might coordinate with the Office of the President on the drafting of a directive creating the interagency task force.

“The AFP, which requested the creation of a national inter-agency task force, may wish to coordinate and submit its formal recommendation to the Office of the President, through the Office of the Executive Secretary, for the drafting of an executive order in this regard,” he said.

Lack of awareness

In an interview aired on Friday night on ABS-CBN News Channel, Galvez said that while government forces were winning in armed combat against the NPA, they were not doing so well in the parliamentary struggle that the CPP-NPA employed, which was aimed at infiltrating government agencies and the country’s political system.

“The civilian agencies [are] not integrated in order to combat the CPP-NPA … because they lack awareness on the real situation,” he said.

Galvez said that was the reason the AFP was asking for an executive order from Mr. Duterte, which would create a national task force to end the communist insurgency and “work in different components, line of efforts” to include information, diplomacy, political and military. He explained that the solution to the country’s CPP-NPA problem entailed a “whole of nation strategy.”

He said that a primary aspect of the strategy was to cut off
recruitment by the CPP-NPA.

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“We have to stop the recruitment and the recruitment is coming from the schools, from the student activism,” the AFP chief of staff claimed, adding that the communist rebels brainwashed nationalist students into radicals, extremists and eventually to terrorists.

He further claimed that the most vulnerable sectors for the CPP-NPA “brainwashing” were the schools, the labor sector and the indigenous people.

Broad coalition

For his part, Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade, AFP assistant deputy chief for operations, maintained that the CPP-NPA had been orchestrating a broad coalition, the Movement Against Tyranny, aimed at economic sabotage and political destabilization.

Parlade claimed that the broad coalition included Coalition for Justice and Tindig Pilipinas, alleging that the CPP-NPA was engaged in an “Oplan Aklasan” strategy — “a nationwide attempt to close our manufacturing industries and they are using, well, they have infiltrated many of these labor organizations.”

“It’s really about consolidating their forces, their alliances in time for the 50th communist party anniversary this coming December,” he said.

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TAGS: AFP, Carlito Galvez Jr., Communist Insurgency, CPP, NDF, NPA, Rodrigo Duterte
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