NTF-Elcac switches from ‘aggressive’ strategy to become ‘bringers of peace’
MANILA, Philippines — The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) is shifting from its “aggressive” policy to become “bringers of peace,” officials of the anti-communist task force said on Wednesday.
National Security Adviser Eduardo Año said this was the orders relayed during the executive committee meeting with Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin in Malacañang.
“What is most significant from today’s meeting is the fact that we are shifting from the old to the new NTF-Elcac with the primary role of us being ‘bringers of peace,’” Año said in a Palace briefing.
“This is what the President desires for our people,” he added.
Back in March, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to focus on external threats as he deems that the communist insurgency in the country is ending.
Ernesto Torres Jr. the NTF-Elcac’s executive director, said the task force is changing its strategy as the communist insurgency continues to weaken.
“In the past, if you might have observed, that we are really that aggressive in going after different threats of society particularly the CPP-NPA because we had 89 guerrilla fronts in start of 2019, so just imagine in just a little of four years, we are able to bring it down to 22,” Torres said.
Año has also noted that of the 22 guerrilla fronts left, 20 are weakened and the remaining two are the subject of focused military operations.
Every NPA guerrilla front should have at least three platoons with around 100 armed members, according to Senator Ronald dela Rosa.
Established on March 29, 1969, the NPA has currently around 2,112 forces with 1,800 weapons in its arsenal, according to latest military estimates.
At its height, it had 25,000 members in 1987, according to Philippine military estimates.