Tuesday, 29 December 2009

AFP ‘on track’ in resolving insurgency problem by 2010

Manila Bulletin

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, Gen. Victor Ibrado has said the military remains on track in its goal of resolving the insurgency problem by 2010 despite setbacks in its operations brought about by the series of calamities that hit the country and the now infamous Maguindanao massacre.

In his message during the AFP’s 74th anniversary celebration, Ibrado said, “Despite destructions in our internal security operations (ISO) campaign brought about by the series of natural calamities – from typhoons Ondoy to Pepeng to the threat of eruption of Mt. Mayon – and our recent campaign to end lawlessness in Maguindanao, we have continued to gain headway in fulfilling our deadline in defeating the insurgency menace.”

“Your AFP has successfully constricted the insurgents’ pipeline of support and have significantly reduced their strength and influence,” Ibrado said.

The AFP Chief noted that from a high of 107 New People’s Army (NPA) guerilla fronts in 2005, the military has reduced them to just 51 and have steadily reduced their strength and firearms.

“Whether in Bicol, Samar, or Zamboanga, their numbers are dwindling as a result of our well-strategized campaign. No longer will they threaten our kababayans in Marinduque and Bohol. No longer will they be able to extort from businesses in Romblon, Leyte and Misamis. These once threatened localities are now strongly denouncing their violent ways,” Ibrado said.

He said as a result of the military’s successes in its ISO campaign, the AFP has began to turn over internal security functions in the certain areas to the local government’s Peace and Order Council (POC) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

In an interview, Ibrado said the anti-insurgency operation was definitely affected in the areas where the forces that were re-deployed to calamity-stricken provinces and in Maguindanao following the Nov. 23 massacre were taken.

He said the President’s directive to end the insurgency problem by 2010 remains on track, adding that there has been no change in the instruction.

The AFP Chief further said, “Like in our fight against insurgency, significant operational inroads have also been made against the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and Jemaah Islamiyah.

“Surgical strikes and covert intelligence operations have resulted in the neutralization of their leaders, recruiters, and financiers. The public can be sure, we will get them no matter what,” Ibrado stressed.

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