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AFP says focused military ops vs NPA ‘successful’

The ongoing focused-military operations are proving to be successful against the New People’s Army (NPA) guerillas, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo said Monday.

Arevalo said the AFP had recorded 681 military operations against the NPAs from Jan. 1, 2017 to June 25 this year.  All encounters were initiated by government troops.

Since 2017, Arevalo said AFP records had shown a downward trend on enemy atrocities.

“For year 2017, we have recorded a total of 455 communist terrorist group incidents while on the first semester of 2018, that’s (from) Jan. 1 to June 25, we have monitored 112 incidents,” Arevalo said.

Moreover, cases of abduction/kidnapping “decreased also from 25 to only one, and intimidation from two to none”.

Arevalo said there were also incidents of ransacking of facilities “from six to three” aside from road blockade or checkpoint, that decreased from two to “zero incidents.”

Aside from the decline in NPA atrocities, the AFP spokesperson said that they had recorded the surrender of 6,659 NPA members, underground movement members, Militia ng Bayan members and other rebel supporters as of this year alone.

As of this posting, the AFP spokesperson estimated that there are only 3,900 armed regular members of the NPA nationwide.

Also, Arevalo said these surrenders are an indication of the NPA’s dwindling strength brought about by pressure from constant hiding, fighting, hunger and generous government offer of livelihood assistance should they decide to lay down their arms.

Despite military victories, the AFP spokesperson said the AFP continues to advocate for a just and lasting peace with rebel groups.

But he warned those calling for a ceasefire that the NPAs could take advantage of the peace talks and proceed with their recruitment activities.

“Your AFP continues to advocate for peace, we are supportive of all peace efforts, national or local for us to have lasting peace,” Arevalo said.

However, Arevalo said the AFP should determine the real motive of the NPA in pushing for peace talks because records and interviews with rebel surrenderees indicated that the NPA takes advantage of the negotiations to regroup, assemble and recruit new members. #