AFP chief: ‘We need Cafgu in fight vs Reds’

ARMED Forces chief Gen. Ricardo David yesterday said the Citizens Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) must not be abolished if the government intends to win the war against communist rebels.

David said the military will continue to maintain paramilitary forces despite mounting calls for its abolition.

He said the AFP will continue to use “in the conduct of our internal security operations.”

The AFP chief said Cafgu is a cheaper complement for the AFP in parts of the country that the military cannot effectively cover due to the limited number of regular military forces.

“These are village defenders, so we need them badly and we do not need to remove the Cafgu’s because the AFP’s number is not that big,” David said. “Otherwise we will need regular forces.”

He added: “What we only need is greater supervisions among other commanders in the field.”

David said the AFP is reviewing the policies governing the Cafgu in response to complaints of abuses against the militia force.

Among the major policies to be reviewed or changed, according to the AFP chief, is that Cafgu units will be supervised directly by the AFP leadership.

“No way any civilian should undertake supervision of Cafgu,” David said.

He disclosed that local government officials, particularly mayors and members of the House of Representatives, have been asking for additional Cafgu personnel for their areas.
“When we defended our budget in Congress, they (House representatives) are asking for more Cafgu’s,” David said.

Earlier, militant groups including the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) have called for the dismantling of Cafgu owing to alleged human rights abuses committed by some of its members. Anthony Vargas

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