Tuesday, 20 September 2011 13:38
A Philippine Army official on Sunday said remnants of the New People’s Army (NPA)” are now merely engaging in banditry” and expressed optimism the communist insurgency “will soon be reduced to insignificance.”
Col. Tony Parlade, Army spokesman, said many governors all over the country had been giving positive feedback about the government’s new insurgency campaign that stressed on economic development that would uplift the lives of the people, particularly in the countryside.
“At the rate we are doing right now, they are optimistic this insurgency will soon be reduced to insignificance,” Parlade said, as he twitted anew a WikiLeaks report that the NPA could not be crushed.
But Parlade said that the NPA strength at the moment placed by military intelligence at 4,300 as of Aug. 31, 2011, was way down below the 25,600 NPA fighters 24 years ago.
He pointed out that the wave of mass surrenders over the years, aside from suffering heavy combat losses cut down the fighting strength of the NPA.
The Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP), dubbed as IPSP Bayanihan, the new anti-insurgency campaign of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, is now in its ninth month since it was launched January this year.
“Winning the peace rather than simply defeating the enemy,” is the battle cry of the AFP in implementing the Bayanihan campaign.
The Philippine Army has started to adopt non-traditional approach in ending the country’s decades-old insurgency, recognizing that insurgency cannot be solved through military action alone, but more importantly through peace and development initiatives in partnership with other stakeholders.
IPSP Bayanihan emphasizes that the primary focus of the AFP in the conduct of its operations is “Winning the Peace” and not just defeating the enemy.
It highlights the increased involvement of stakeholders, the national and local government agencies, non-government entities and the entire citizenry in addressing peace and security concerns.
Peace is to be won for the people. Various divisions and units of the Philippine Army nationwide had already adopted the “Whole of Nation Approach” and “People-Centered Approach” which both focus on winning the peace for the people.
The implementation of Bayanihan at said divisions comes into full gear and is proven to be effective as evidenced by the popular support it gets from the populace, government agencies and non-government organizations.
The IPSP Bayanihan implementation has earned the support of the different sectors of society.
For example, the 8th Infantry Division, PA in coordination with the Department of Health (DoH) launched a program dubbed as “Iligtas sa Tigdas ang Pinas.”
The program helped ensure the health of the Samareños, particularly the children living in far-flung communities.
Another endeavor of the division is the ‘Step Juan” wherein the soldiers participated in the Alay Lakad aimed at raising funds for children suffering from cancer.
The 3rd Infantry Division, PA, on the other hand, continues to provide medical and dental services to the residents of Iloilo and Negros Oriental, thereby making available basic health services particularly to the less fortunate ones.
Meanwhile, the non-traditional approach in the campaign against insurgency has proven to be an effective measure as manifested in the number of NPA members returning to the folds of law.
This can be attributed to the different peace and development initiatives of the military as embodied in the IPSP Bayanihan.
The Army will continue to adopt a different perspective on achieving peace other than armed revolution or struggle by exhausting all peaceful means in dealing with the country’s threat groups, particularly in fighting insurgency.
The organization has long been a partner in the government’s peace and development efforts.
Then and now, it continues to be a crucial partner in nation-building. Armed with these measures, there is no doubt that the once elusive peace will be enjoyed by the Filipino people, especially those in the countryside, in the very near future. (Ben Cal-PNA)
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