Duterte, task force to end communist insurgency to meet Monday
MANILA, Philippines — After the simultaneous raids conducted at the offices of alleged fronts of communist insurgents, President Rodrigo Duterte will meet the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) on Monday.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon announced this in a statement Sunday, and enumerated that among the agencies and offices that Duterte would meet to discuss details of the campaign against “communist terrorist groups” or CTGs are the Cabinet Officers Responsible for Development and Security, Regional Peace and Order Council, Regional Development Council, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“The Joint NTF-ELCAC and AFP-PNP Command Conference will serve as a platform for the President to provide guidance on strengthening convergence efforts among all instrumentalities of the government,” Esperon said.
“In his campaign against the communist armed conflict, which had (sic) stretched to fifty-one years, the President directed his government to address the causes of insurgency through the efficient and effective delivery of basic services, justice, infrastructure, and development,” he added.
On October 31, offices of progressive and party-list organizations, which the government tagged as alleged fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing New People’s Army, in Negros Occidental were raided by government agents. Another raid was conducted on November 5 in Tondo, Manila.
Among those offices raided by joint elements of AFP and PNP belong to Bayan Muna, Gabriela, and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan or Bayan.
The raids led to the arrest of people allegedly participating in a firearms and explosives training but the groups condemned these accusations, claiming the pieces of evidence gathered in the search have been planted by government agents.
Civil society groups and the Commission on Human Rights have called on law enforcers to assure the search was not done to curtail the groups’ freedom of expression since the organizations have been staunch critics of Duterte’s policies.
“In his determination to put an end to the atrocities committed by the communist terrorist group, President Duterte had instructed his government to foster a Whole-of-Nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace,” he said.
“Through the programs of the NTF-ELCAC, the President is keen on seeing the lives of the Filipino people uplifted from poverty and conflict before his term ends,” he added.
Edited by KGA
Initially, when Duterte was voted President, he sought for peace talks between communist forces, even inviting key members of progressive groups in the cabinet. However, that soon changed when he claimed that members of the New People’s Army did not respect the ceasefire agreement.
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