MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has urged President Rodrigo Duterte to create a national task force aimed at ending the protracted communist insurgency in the country.
In an exclusive interview with Tina Monzon Palma on ANC’s Independence, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. said the military is asking the President to issue an executive order to create the inter-agency body.
“It will work on a different component and different line of efforts. We have information, diplomatic, we have also the political and the military,” Galvez said referring to the proposed task force.
The AFP chief explained while the military has been successful in muting the armed struggle of the Left especially in Eastern Mindanao, it needs the help of other government agencies and stakeholders to counter another communist tactic -- the political struggle.
“They are very potent on the parliamentary struggle because they want to infiltrate government agencies and also our political system. The problem that we have is the component of the civilian agencies. The civilian agencies are not integrated in order to combat CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines- New People's Army). They lack awareness on the real situation,” he added.
The military is also working on stopping communist rebels from enlisting new members.
“We have to stop the recruitment and the recruitment is coming from the schools. From student activism, from being a nationalist, the NPA will brainwash them to become extremists -- they become fundamentalists,” said the AFP Chief.
For National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultant Rey Casambre, the proposed body will not succeed in its goal to counter insurgency in the country.
“The task force being formed aims to end the insurgency by inducing mass surrenders through military means and psywar, but without the basic social, economic and political reforms that would resolve the roots of the armed conflict. It has been tried many times before, it has never worked. There is no way it can work now,” he said.
Meanwhile, communist leader Jose Maria Sison aired his suspicion that the military is just proposing the creation of the multi-agency body to receive a higher budget.
“Ano pang national task force ang hinihiling ng AFP? Naka-deploy na ang lahat ng 98 maneuver battalions nila sa buong Pilipinas para pumaslang at manakot sa mga tao. Baka mas malaki pang appropriation ang gusto ng AFP,” he said.
(What national task force is the AFP asking for? All their 98 maneuver battalions are already deployed across the Philippines to kill and terrorize people. The AFP just wants a bigger appropriation.)
Amid cuts in other sectors, the proposed defense budget for next year increased by 24 percent from its 2018 funding.
The Duterte administration earlier suspended peace negotiations with the communist movement citing continued rebel attacks.
Catch Tina Monzon Palma’s full interview with AFP Chief of Staff Carlito Galvez Jr. on Independence, September 22, 2018, Saturday, 8 PM only on ANC Skycable Ch 27.