AFP vows to end communist insurgency

A new campaign plan to finally put a stop to the decades-old communist insurgency will be implemented at the start of next year, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) disclosed yesterday.

The plan, AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta said, is designed to eliminate the New People’s Army (NPA) before the term of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III expires in 2016.

Mabanta said the campaign will be unveiled next month during the AFP’s anniversary celebration.
Unlike the “combat-heavy” Oplan: Bantay-Laya 1 and 2 campaigns of the Arroyo administration, the AFP spokesman said the new scheme of the Aquino government will be “development-oriented.”

Mabanta emphasized that the plan does not aim to “defeat” the enemies but simply to “neutralize” them.

The previous government’s Oplan: Bantay-Laya 1 was launched in 2001. But the communist insurgency outlasted even the second version of the campaign.

Mabanta said that in order to win peace, the government must focus on “getting people on our side, getting those who advocate armed struggle realize the futility of their efforts in as much as what they are fighting for are all being addressed.”

The AFP spokesman expressed optimism that this new plan will work.

“They (rebels) are now down to less than 5,000… It does not really need combat,” Mabanta said. “It’s a total paradigm shift from we call a traditional military campaign plan.” (Anthony Vargas)

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