President Duterte admitted it is hard to prevail over a guerrilla warfare where the rebels are mixed in with the civilian population.
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‘Troops can’t bomb rebel posts due to collateral damage’
Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) - January 12, 2019 - 12:00am

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Government forces could not resort to bombing rebel positions for fear of collateral damage.

President Duterte admitted it is hard to prevail over a guerrilla warfare where the rebels are mixed in with the civilian population.

Had it not been for the civilians, then the war against insurgency would have long been won, he said.

In a recent speech in Dimasalang, Masbate, Duterte said his work becomes difficult when government troops ask for his clearance to bomb a place where the rebels have been pinpointed.

Duterte earlier revealed government forces are using drones to determine the location of the rebels.

He said the drones made it easy for the military to pinpoint rebel locations as targets but as much as possible he does not want to resort to bombing these locations to avoid civilian casualties.

Security officials led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, however, expressed optimism that the military will prevail over the insurgents.

Lorenzana said the military will weaken the rebellion to the point of reducing the communist New People’s Army (NPA) to a police matter.

He added Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison is underestimating Duterte when he claimed his administration will fail in its efforts to bring down the communist rebel group.

“We’ll see. Too soon for him to talk,” Lorenzana said.

“We may not be able to finish them off completely to the last man but we will reduce them into purely police problem – a simple peace and order problem of running after robbers, criminals and extortionists,” Lorenzana said.

Año, for his part, said the CPP-NPA is in a “sharp decline,” citing the thousands of rebels who surrendered to the government.

Año said 8,637 communist rebels have surrendered to the government since the Duterte administration started in July 2016. 

He said the rebel returnees have decided to avail of the government program offering the rebels promise of a better life.

Año said the government is speeding up the processing of former rebels through the task force that aims to end the local communist armed conflict with a focus on localized peace engagements.  – Michael Punongbayan, Romina Cabrera, Roel Pareño

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