By Armando Fenequito Jr.
DAVAO CITY — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Carlito Galvez Jr. said the AFP will eradicate all members of the New People’s Army (NPA) by 2019.
Galvez made this vow during his visit at the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) headquarters here, where he said the numbers rebels are gradually decreasing because of the military operations in the hinterlands.
He said the AFP has recorded a total of 11, 333 rebels and the NPA’s mass-based supporters who have surrendered to the government. Out of that number, he said 7,075 came from Easmincom.
He said the Eastmincom dismantled seven guerrilla fronts operating in some areas including Davao City. “We are very confident that by 2019, we will be finishing the CPP-NPA, ” he said. He thanked the local officials and the people for helping them in their anti-insurgency campaign.
Meanhwile, Anak Pawis Party-list representative Ariel Casilao downplayed Galvez’s declaration on eradicating rebels by next year. “Parang sirang plaka ang AFP. Ilang ulit na nilang sinabi yan. (The AFP keept on saying this for many years),” Casilao said in a statement.
Casilao said many presidents and AFP chiefs have said the same statement but have failed because they are addressing insurgency in a military approach and not the roots of armed conflict such as economic inequality and social injustice.
“Bagkus ang pahayag ni Gen. Galvez ay mag dudulot ng mas malalang estado ng karapatang pantao. (The statement of Galvez will just cause human rights violation),” he said.
He said the AFP and other state security forces wrongfully define the enemies of the state to include legitimate organizations that are critical to government, political opposition and even dissenters. “If the very roots of the armed conflict is not addressed in a proper perspective, I think conflict will continue to exist,” he said.