The formation of Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC) has reduced New People’s Army (NPA) guerrilla fronts in Northern Mindanao from 12 to three, a top military official here said.
Maj. Gen. Wilbur Mamawag, the Army’s 4th Infantry Division commander, attributed the success of the government's anti-insurgency body to President Rodrigo Duterte's Executive Order (EO) 70, which institutionalize the “whole of nation approach” to end the decades-old Maoist insurgency in the countryside.
“The primary aim (of ELCAC) is to stop the violence; the real intention is to settle the armed conflict through peaceful means,” he said during a press forum Thursday.
Mamawag noted that under ELCAC, all government agencies from the national level to the barangay level are onboard to accept NPA surrenderers than engage them in combat.
“We have a bigger door for them (rebels), in accepting them (to surrender) and be given benefits and livelihood,” he said.
Since the signing of EO 70 in 2018, Mamawag said there have been more than 3,000 NPA rebels who surrendered in the region, including 800 mass supporters and were given assistance.
The latest surrender took place last month when an NPA commander, Ka Jayto, 26, yielded to the Army's 6th Infantry Battalion in Malitbog, Bukidnon.
Jayto was an officer of the NPA's Northern Central Mindanao Regional Committee for four years, and was considered a high-value individual due to his position in the local communist group.
Jayto’s then-pregnant wife, a medic in the same rebel unit, left the NPA group ahead of him on May 12.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973.
Source: Philippines News Agency