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AFP chief: Campaign vs communist rebels gaining ground

Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - July 11, 2014 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The military is training its guns on the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terrorist groups as the campaign against communist rebels is nearing completion under the internal peace and security plan (IPSP), outgoing Armed Forces chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista said yesterday.

“There is big progress like in Eastern Mindanao, a number have surrendered and the top leadership of the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army) has been arrested,” Bautista said during his farewell visit here.

He said the six-year IPSP Bayanihan campaign which is halfway through has made good progress in addressing the three strategic missions, including the political settlement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Bautista said part of the strategy is for the CPP-NPA to abandon its armed struggle. 

Bautista said several provinces in the country that were earlier tagged as “rebel infested” have been declared no longer under NPA control and the security situation has normalized.

Armed Forces spokesman Maj. Gen. Doming Tutaan Jr. said 43 out of the 75 provinces that were under the control and influence of the NPA have already been cleared and normalized.

Tutaan added Bautista wanted to continue the IPSP Bayanihan campaign in addressing the internal security concern of the country before retiring.

“We have gained a lot. The gains that the IPSP accomplished cannot be over emphasized, but the thing is, it has to be continued. We look forward with the gain, it will bring us back to the traditional role as armed forces, leaving behind the internal security to the local chief executive and then the Philippine National Police,” Tutaan said. Bautista, on the other hand, said the military is now focused on the third strategy of the IPSP – to defeat the Abu Sayyaf and the JI, with the help of the global security campaign against terrorism.                     

He said it is important for them to meet the target of accomplishing the internal security campaign plan, saying there are more important missions to address, including territorial defense and climate change.

The military said it is pursuing about 300 hardcore members of the Abu Sayyaf and the other faction of the group engaged in kidnap for ransom activities in southern Mindanao.

Bautista gave assurance the campaign against terrorism would continue even as the recent encounter with the Abu Sayyaf left seven soldiers dead and 24 others wounded. 

The military is also monitoring the national threat board ahead of President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address on July 28.

Armed Forces public affairs chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said the military have not monitored any threat that could disrupt the SONA.

He said the Armed Forces would continue to monitor the security situation to prevent untoward incidents. – Alexis Romero

 

 

ABU SAYYAF ABU SAYYAF AND JEMAAH ISLAMIYAH ALEXIS ROMERO ARMED FORCES BAUTISTA BAYANIHAN COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES-NEW PEOPLE DOMING TUTAAN JR. EASTERN MINDANAO
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