NPA finished in 2019, says General Galvez

AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito Galvez signs the guestbook during his visit at the Eastern Mindanao Command headquarters in Davao City on Tuesday. Galvez is set to retire next month. Mindanews Photo

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 14 Nov.) – Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez said the military will eliminate the New People’s Army, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, by next year.

“We are confident by 2019 we will be finishing the CPP-NPA,” Galvez told reporters during his visit at the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) in Panacan here Tuesday.

But Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao said the military sounded like a broken record for always claiming that it could end the NPA.

“They failed so many times because their approach of addressing the insurgency problem will not solve the very roots of the armed conflict, economic inequality, social injustice etc.,” he said.

He expressed concern it will only result to more human rights abuses.

“The AFP, in its desperate attempt to eradicate the CNN will result to more human rights violations, especially that AFP and other state security forces wrongfully define the enemies of the state which include legitimate organizations that are critical to government,” he added.

He said CNN (CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front of the Philippines) will continue to exist if the roots of the armed conflict are not addressed properly.

Galvez said the government forces are grateful for the support of local government units.

“We are happy that the support of the LGUs, of the people is very overwhelming and we have also good commanders. We have the best commanders here in Eastmincom. And I am very happy that the performance of our unit has been very significant,” he said.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte revealed last November 10 that communist leaders Fidel V. Agcaoili and Luis Jalandoni have reached out to him to resume the stalled peace talks between the government and the NDFP.

Duterte said he immediately called for a cluster meeting including the military but added he will announce his decision after his trips to Papua New Guinea and Singapore.

Agcaoili said he, Jalandoni and NDFP peace panel member Coni Ledesma are set to return to the Philippines this month “in connection with our work as members of the NDFP component in the Joint Monitoring Committee under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.”

He said they have been invited to meet with Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines Bjorn Jahnsen.

“In this regard, we welcome the opportunity to meet with the President unless he does not want to or his military is against it,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)