AFP declares 64 provinces insurgency-free
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - January 9, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday said it was able to clear 64 provinces of communist insurgents by the end of last year.

The AFP said its sustained internal security operations against the communist rebels have left only 12 provinces still under the influence of the New People’s Army (NPA).

“Our campaign continuous to gain success, paving the way for the clearing of additional areas from NPA control,” AFP chief Gen. Hernando Iriberri said following a meeting with military commanders.

With this development, Iriberri said the military leadership is confident it could meet its target of ending the country’s insurgency problem at least by next year.

He said the 64 provinces are now ready for development and the military is focusing its efforts into clearing the remaining 12 provinces, mostly located in regions of Davao and Caraga.

The government wants the insurgency problem ended as soon as possible so the military can focus on fending off China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea.

Iriberri said the military has cleared at least 13 guerrilla fronts or 292 villages last year.

He said from 4,443 members at the end of 2014, the military managed to reduce the number of rebels to 3,296 as of the end of last year.

He said government security forces have arrested or neutralized at least 31 top rebel leaders.

“The rebels launched no major offensive last year,” Iriberri said.

As to other threat groups like the Abu Sayyaf, the AFP chief said they have reduced its membership, although he could not give figures.

The Abu Sayyaf kidnapped three foreigners and a Filipina from a resort in Davao del Norte late last year.

ABU SAYYAF ACIRC ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES DAVAO DAVAO AND CARAGA FILIPINA HERNANDO IRIBERRI IRIBERRI MILITARY NEW PEOPLE WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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