EDITORIAL - A tall order

(The Freeman) - January 19, 2021 - 12:00am

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, Gen. Gilbert Gapay, has ordered all his personnel to end the communist insurgency by the end of the year.

“All remaining communist guerrilla fronts shall be simultaneously addressed and defeated toward the end of 2021. I noticed a lot of these NPA units have been weakened so this is our target for all the Unified Commands,” Gapay is quoted as saying a Philstar.com report.

Many of us have been wanting for this to happen for a long time.

The rebellion has been a thorn in our side for some time now. Aside from resulting in thousands of deaths, it has also caused untold misery for many people and cost the government and private individuals millions.

It is even justified to say it is a cause for embarrassment in the international community, as this also happens to be the longest-running insurgency in Southeast Asia.

Yes, we want the armed communist insurgency ended. But we also know this is a pretty tall order.

The issue of beating the insurgency isn’t just a matter of hunting down, engaging, and the defeating armed rebels. It has to do with making sure basic government services and social justice reaches the areas that don’t have them.

Because, more often than not, rebels recruit their ranks in places that are wanting in those two. Places where people are disgruntled with how they are being treated by those in higher places.

If the authorities only address the armed rebellion, but not the issues that give rise to it, then they are only cutting off the stem, and not the root of the problem. There will still be people drawn to the dark side.

We understand that a huge part of this role isn’t for the military. They are security forces and are not directly responsible for dispensing social justice and providing basic services. This is why the other agencies of the government have their part in the overall strategy to wipe out the armed insurgency for good.

Like we said earlier, it will be a pretty tall order.

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