• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Visayas Command (VISCOM) attributed much of what they have accomplished in the campaign against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in the Visayas to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF- ELCAC).
In a statement, VISCOM chief Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo said “the Task Force ELCAC does wonders in our efforts to end the local communist armed conflict in the Visayas region.”
“Much of what we have accomplished is attributed to the Task Force through its peace dialogue mechanism, community development initiatives, and local government empowerment endeavors,” he added.
Arevalo issued the statement following the recent conduct of the VISCOM Campaign Briefing to all its subordinate units in the Visayas held at Camp Lapu- Lapu in Cebu City.
The engagement aimed to apprise all commanders of AFP units in the Visayas on the adjustments of VISCOM’s campaign against the CPP-NPA as well as its current thrust and programs, which will serve as the basis and reference of these units in the conduct of internal security operations.
VISCOM records showed that a total of 218 former rebels have returned to the fold of the law in the Visayas as a result of the localized peace dialogue mechanism of the NTF-ELCAC.
Also, 196 firearms were surrendered by former rebels.
It also reported the completion of 562 community development projects in former NPA-infested communities, including those in Negros Island.
Arevalo said the completion of these projects led to the permanent closure and complete resolution of the issues being exploited by the CPP-NPA to recruit and deceive the people to go against the government as well as the collapse of NPA political structures.
All NPA-infested communities in the Visayas have already been cleared and the community engagement efforts of the military are now geared towards preventing the resurgence of the CPP-NPA in the region.
A total of 9,215 local government units in the Visayas, from the provincial down to the barangays, have already denounced the CPP-NPA and declared the terrorist group “persona non grata”, VISCOM also reported. | GB