Fate of NTF-ELCAC yet to be decided

Published July 7, 2022, 12:27 PM

by Aaron Recuenco 

Security officials are yet to discuss the fate of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) which was described by the Duterte administration as successful in the fight against communist rebels but were tainted with controversies on the issue of redtagging.

Col. Medel Aguilar, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said he is yet to be informed of any consultation between the military and National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos on whether or not NTF-ELCAC would be dissolved under the Marcos administration.

“That will come in time, there will always be talks, leveling of understanding so that we will be charting the same direction that will be beneficial to our people,” said Aguilar.

NTF-ELCAC used a “whole-of-government’ approach in fighting communist insurgency, including downloading of development funds in the barangays already cleared of the presence of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

But its successes in putting an end to communist insurgency were clouded by allegations of redtagging, mainly by its designated spokespersons.

Aguilar, however, said that as far as the AFP is concerned, the NTF-ELCAC should not be abolished.

“We acknowledge that NTF-ELCAC is really a very good tool, it unified the whole government infrastructure to address a multi-faceted insurgency problem and we hope that this will continue because while we are addressing the symptom the civil government will be addressing the root causes and the problems itself,” said Aguilar.

He cited several accomplishments that include the dismantling of 74 percent of the number of NPA Guerrilla Fronts operating across the country.

From 89 in 2016, Aguilar said the existing guerrilla fronts was reduced to only 23.

The number of NPA fighters, he added, was also reduced to 2,000 as per latest assessment.