Outgoing Eastern Visayas Army chief admits ‘shortfall’ vs Reds but notes gains in anti-insurgency drive
TACLOBAN CITY—In a rare act of candor, the outgoing commanding general of the Philippine Army in Eastern Visayas admitted he fell short of eradicating insurgency in the region during his nearly three-year tour-of-duty.
But Maj. Gen. Raul Farnacio said he had made significant achievements that weakened communist rebel forces.
“It was not mission accomplished but, modesty aside, we’re able to contain the insurgency,” Farnacio said on Monday (July 1).
Farnacio was at the launch of Police Community Relations Month at the regional Philippine National Police headquarters at Camp Ruperto Kangleon in Palo, Leyte when he made the statements.
He is set to retire on July 5 after serving since October 2016 as commanding general of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division (8th ID) based in Catbalogan City, Samar province.
The communist rebellion in Eastern Visayas, composed of the provinces of Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran, Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar, persists despite an all-out war declared by President Rodrigo Duterte on New People’s Army (NPA), the armed component of Communist Party of the Philippines.
At a visit to the 8th ID camp on June 19, Duterte commended soldiers in the region and expressed confidence the insurgency would come to an end soon. Duterte had thrown out peace talks with the rebels after he rejected what he said was a rebel demand for joint rule.
Under his watch, Farnacio said at least 1,700 NPA members surrendered and given help to return to a normal life. (Editor: Tony Bergonia)
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