Dela Rosa confident insurgency problem solved before end of Duterte’s term

Published November 16, 2021, 1:48 PM

by Mario Casayuran

The decades-old communist insurgency problem will be gone before President Duterte leaves Malacanang in end-June 2022.

This was the statement of Senator Ronald ‘’Bato’’ deal Rosa, co-chairman of the Senate Finance committee, in today’s (Nov. 16) plenary debate on the proposed 2022 P229.6 billion budget for the military establishment.

Dela Rosa told Senator Panfilo M. Lacson that he based his statement on the assurance given to him by new Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt. General Andres Centino. Centino is the country’s 57th AFP chief of staff.

At the current rate, the insurgency problem would be solved as 20 more guerrilla fronts have been dismantled as of this month, dela Rosa told Lacson, chairman of the Senate National Defense and Security committee, during the budget debate.

In the previous years, the rate of dismantling of guerrilla fronts was three to five per year.

Asked by Lacson how many communist guerilla fronts are left, deal Rosa said there were 70 guerrilla fronts at the start of the Duterte administration in 2016 and this is now down to 43 fronts.

Eleven of these 43 guerrilla fronts were weakened as their military and political strengths have been degraded, deal Rosa told Lacson.

Doctrinally, according to dela Rosa, an NPA front would be composed of 100 armed combatants but current developments show that ajn NPA front is now composed of 10 to 20 armed combatants.

in 2020, Dela Rosa said there were 59 percent violent attacks initiated by the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), in Mindanao, 24 percent in Luzon and 17 percent in the Visayas.

But the insurgency is now more pronounced in Samar because of the Tiamzon couple, he pointed out.

Both Lacson and deal Rosa are former Philippine National Police (PNP) chiefs.

Dela Rosa said the anti-insurgency campaign would be greatly aided by the passage by Congress of the proposed P28 billion Barangay Development Program of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

Lacson said dela Rosa should address his concern to Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon who led his colleagues in reducing the P28 billion to P4 billion.

Senator Juan Edgardo ‘’Sonny’’M. Angara, chairman of the Senate Finance committee blamed the delayed submission of AFP authorities in submitting data on how its current P19 billion NTF-ELCAC funds were obligated or spent for the reduction of the P28 billion.

The AFP’s report was submitted last Monday as the Senate committee report was being routed for signatures by senators last week.

There are still no signs that the P28 billion NTF-ELCAC fund would retained.

The Senate terminates its budget hearing on Thursday.