DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A high-ranking military official vowed on Tuesday, October 17 to put an end to communist insurgency by the end of 2018, a statement coming right after President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi City “liberated” from the terrorist control.
“Gusto nating mangyari sa katapusan ng 2018, wala ng CPP-NPA kahit isa sa buong Pilipinas (What we want by the end of 2018 is to wipe out the CPP-NPA in the entire Philippines) and we can start the massive economic development, especially in Mindanao,” Año said during his visit at the Eastern Mindanao Command headquarters here Tuesday evening.
Año was referring to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).
The military official’s statement came following the death on Monday of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, and Maute group leader, Omar Maute, on Monday, October 16 as government soldiers advanced to the battle positions of the Maute Group fighters .
President Duterte on Tuesday announced the “liberation” of Marawi City during his seventh visit in the war-torn city.
Almost three months ago, Duterte also pronounced that the military will re-orient to shift the offensives against the NPA after the crisis in Marawi ends.
Ready for war
The military is also training 13,000 additional soldiers. In Davao region, the military commenced its training of 280 tribal recruits..
On Wednesday, October 18, Captain Jerry Lamosao, chief of the 10th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office, said the indigenous peoples, or IPs, will undergo basic military training for eight weeks.
Duterte also said he is ready to fight with the communists.
“If you want to fight, sa mountains, malakas dito ang NPA. Then so be it. Wala tayong magawa (If you want to fight in the mountains, the NPA is strong here, then so be it. We cannot do anything),” Duterte said in his speech during the Federalism Summit and oath-taking ceremony of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in Camarines Sur.
The formal peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the political arm of the CPP, have been stalled since May this year.
The parties were supposed to tackle the agreement on social and economic reforms. However, the government panel refused citing the continuing offensives of the NPA against government forces and its collection of “revolutionary taxes.”
But the CPP said the offensives of the NPA were in response to the implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao which “has intensified AFP offensives and attacks against the NPA.”
The CPP also said the government only wanted the surrender of the NPA without considering the need for social and economic reforms.
“He treats Red fighters with extreme contempt, choosing to ignore the social realities of oppression and exploitation and the aspiration for national and social liberation which continue to drive thousands, especially peasant masses, to join and support the NPA,” the CPP said in a statement on September 24.(davaotoday.com)