The solution to the communist insurgency will not be entirely the domain of the military as directed by President Rodrigo Duterte, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.
“The DND fully supports the President’s decision not to employ a purely military solution to ending the communist insurgency in the country,” Lorenzana said.
He added the government has committed to work closely with local officials in pursuing localized peace talks, community support and development and promotion of good governance, all aimed at neutralizing the insurgency threat.
Also included in the initiative is the implementation of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Programs or E-CLIP that provides assistance to former rebels through financial, livelihood and educational, psychosocial support.
Former guerillas are also provided housing, the Defense chief said.
Normal life as choice
“While focused military actions will weaken their armed component, it is the promise of a better life for their families that drives their members to return to civil society and the fold of the law,” Lorenzana added.
The DND chief said the government has the momentum, support and resources to render the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) strategically and politically irrelevant by 2022.
“By the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term, the NPA will be reduced into a purely police problem of running after robbers, criminals, arsonists and extortionists,” he said.
During the earlier years of his presidency, Mr. Duterte tried to negotitate peace with the communist group as it was his “dream” for the country to achieve peace.
However, in 2017, the peace negotitations with the communist rebels were halted as Mr. Duterte said the NPA kept its attacks on state forces despite the peace talks.
This prompted the military to resume operations against the communist rebels and encourage them to surrender instead.
“Without their armed component, the CPP will become just like any other political party whose only chance of taking over government is by winning in an election, something that the Filipino people will never let happen because their hands are stained with the blood of thousands of Filipinos they have sacrificed in the altar of a discredited and failed ideology,” Lorenzana said.