Robredo assures AFP of support in anti-insurgency campaign; clears 'elephant in the room'

Published November 26, 2021, 10:20 PM

by Betheena Unite

Despite being on the receiving end of “baseless red tagging,” Vice President Leni Robredo threw her support behind the campaign of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to end the long-drawn out insurgency problem in the country.

(Photo courtesy of the OVP)

During a security briefing Friday, Nov. 26, the aspiring President made it clear that she backs the anti-insurgency efforts of the government and assured the military leadership that she supports the mandate and functions of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

This, as she clarified that she has been unjustifiably red-tagged.

“I want to address the elephant in the room kasi (because) I’ve been quoted so many times already that I’m for the abolition of NTF ELCAC. And I want to emphasize today that I am all for the mandate and the functions of ELCAC,” Robredo clarified.

“In fact, yung (the) Barangay Development Fund, I think that’s the best part of everything. Paniniwala ko, talagang (I really believe) it is only through concepts like these that the problems of insurgency can be addressed upfront,” Robredo added.

According to the Vice President, the entire task force has been cast in a bad light because of the “careless statements of some of the members,” noting that she believed most of the task force’s members are working to truly address the root causes of insurgency.

“Ako mismo (I, myself), I’ve been on the receiving end of unfair accusations. I’ve been red tagged and the red tagging has been baseless. Kaisa n’yo ako sa pagsubok na masugpo ito (I’m with you in combating insurgency) by addressing the core of these problems, and the peripheral issues surrounding it,” Robredo said.

(Photo courtesy of the OVP)

She told the generals that the Office of the Vice President (OVP) has projects focused on some of the country’s poorest provinces. “And that’s basically the main idea, [which is] really to work with the local government units to do projects that will address not just the social injustices but the inequality that has been happening,” Robredo further said.

The Vice President was given a security briefing by newly-appointed AFP chief of staff Lieutenant General Andres Centino, Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Erickson Gloria, Deputy Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Erick Kagaoan, and the military’s joint staff at the military headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo.

“[This visit] is really to thank you and congratulate you for a job well done… You have really been rendering the Filipino people with the service we all deserve,” Robredo said during the briefing that lasted for an hour.

This was Robredo’s fifth security briefing in the last five and a half years. On Friday’s briefing, Robredo and the generals discussed the AFP Transformation Roadmap and the NTF-ELCAC.

Robredo said that her visit was also a courtesy call on Centino, who was named AFP chief of staff by President Duterte two weeks ago. She said that Centino’s “integrity and his track record are really beyond question.”

She also reiterated to the AFP generals and the other officers at the briefing that the Filipinos’ “trust and confidence in the institution is solid.”

“Nagpapasalamat kami (We are thankful) that at no point you have squandered that trust. Masuwerte po kami lahat na kayo yung nandito (We are lucky that you are here). We feel secure that you are with us,” Robredo said.