MANILA It would be more realistic to predict the end of the country's insurgency threat within three years.
This was emphasized by Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana at the sidelines of the New Year's Call held at the AFP Commissioned Officer's Club in Camp Aguinaldo, Tuesday.
While admitting that the threat posed by the Communist Party of the PhilippinesNew People's Army (CPPNPA) is now on the wane thanks to the localized peace talks and Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, he said that ending this within a year is not feasible.
The abovementioned strategies are responsible for the surrender of NPA regular members and supporters last year, the DND chief added.
"We cannot do it this year dahil napakalaking problema yan (it is a big problem), if you will recall this insurgency has been going on for the past 50 years and we cannot end it in one year, siguro ang (maybe our) target natin ngayon (now) is the remaining three years of President (Rodrigo) Duterte's presidency, kaya siguro nating gawin yun (I think we can do that)," he said.
Also, Lorenzana said that the NPAs are no longer a formidable force as their numbers have been greatly reduced.
"Hindi naman sila ganung kalakasan dahil ang number nila (They are not that strong because their number) is about less than 6,000 lang. 'Yung armed, may armas, so mga isang libo na yung sumurender (About 1,000 armed rebels already surrendered), so meron pang (so the remaining is) 4,000, pero ang malaki sa kanila yung militia, yung underground movement nila, yung sumusuporta ba (Their militia is big. Those who support them). If we reckon, we estimate that there are about 50,000 nationwide NPA militia na sumusuporta sa kanila. Yun ang gusto nating kunin din (who support them. These are what we want to get). Now out of the surrenderees that came to us since last year, out of the 11,000 na sumurrender (who surrendered), 1,000 ang armado dyan (of that are armed), may baril silang dinala (they have guns), the others (do not have guns) because they are the militia, so mas marami yung militia nila kesa yung armado (they have more militia than armed troops)," he stressed.
The NPA, the CPP's armed wing, is listed as a terrorist organization in the United States and the European Union. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency