MANILA — Security officials have yet to discuss the fate of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said on Thursday.
Acting AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said he has not been informed of any consultation between the military and National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos on whether or not the NTF-ELCAC would be abolished.
“That will come in time. There will always be talks and leveling of understanding so that we will be charting the same direction that will be beneficial to our people,” Aguilar told reporters at Camp Aguinaldo.
“We acknowledge that the NTF-ELCAC is really a very good tool to unify the whole government infrastructure to address a multifaceted insurgency problem. We hope this will continue because while we are addressing the symptom, the civil government will be addressing the root causes and the problems themselves,“ he added.
The NTF-ELCAC was created through Executive Order No. 70 signed by former president Rodrigo Duterte in 2018.
Before stepping down from office, Duterte said NTF-ELCAC addressed the decades-old communist insurgency.
However, the task force also drew flak for accusing activists, universities, journalists, health workers, government critics, and several celebrities of working with communist rebels.
AFP's Aguilar mentioned the New People’s Army only had 23 guerrilla fronts left nationwide from 89 at the start of the Duterte administration.
The NPA’s strength has dwindled to some 2,000 fighters, he added.
“As far as the military is concerned, we have received significant gains in the conduct of military operations against the threat, the armed threat, and that is almost 74 percent,” Aguilar said.