Crushing the communist insurgency by June 30, 2010: “that’s a political statement”

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/27 June)  – Four days before the June 30, 2010 deadline of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to “crush the communist insurgency,” the chief of the  Philippine Army’s newest, largest and most heavily-engaged division  acknowledged that  “insurgency can be solved only if we address it at its roots.”

“What the President said in 2006, said Maj. Gen. Carlos Holganza, chief of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division “was a political statement,”  he told reporters at the launch Saturday afternoon at the Ateneo de Davao University of  Dr. Gail Tan Ilagan’s book, “War Wounded: Combat Stress Sequelae of 10ID soldiers.”

Arroyo on June 16, 2006 told the joint Cabinet and Regional Development Council meeting in Cauayan City, Isabaela, that she was instructing the Budget Secretary to “release P1 billion to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to finance their operations against the communist New People’s Army (NPA).”

“This is a fiscal investment that will yield peace dividends to the economy,” she said.

A portion of the P1 billion allocation would be used to refurbish Huey helicopters and other attack aircraft of the military, the President said.

Four years and four days short of the Arroyo deadline to crush the communist insurgency, Holganza said, “We cannot really eliminate insurgency if the root causes are still there.”

Holganza heads the division that is fighting the country’s largest concentration of New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas.

Compostela Valley has overtaken Bicol as the number one area in terms of communist insurgency.

Holganza assumed the post of Division chief in November last year but a few years earlier, he was assigned here as chief of the 10th Infantry Brigade.

He acknowledged the communist insurgency here has not been crushed but “we have brought it down to a level that is no longer a national threat.”

“They are a threat to our development, they can impede development but not take over government,” he added.

Holganza also said the military solution “is a small part” of the entire fight to end insurgency.

He said the recent wave of  offensives of the NPA against the military is “tactical, not strategic.”

The NPA, he said, is trying to “cover up for their strategic debacle in the past election.” He cited the defeat of the s

In a press statement on June 15, Anvil Guinto, spokesperson of the Crucifino Umballas command, Front 2 Operations Command of the NPA-Southern Mindanao, said Holganza’s “massive combat and ‘rescue’ operations are face-saving measures that have utterly failed leaving his officers in the 10th ID-AFP downright frustrated.  The breadth and depth of the Guerilla Front 2 territories, the revolutionary mass base and the NPA’s tactical offensives have dealt the fascist enemy another blow.”

Guinto said Holganza “should expect more NPA tactical offensives, arrests and punitive actions and precision strike operations along with the surging revolutionary armed resistance of the peasants, lumads and other oppressed and exploited classes.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)