SONA 2020: AFP to create conditions encouraging NPA rebels to surrender

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it would create conditions that will convince communist terrorist group (CTG) members to voluntarily surrender and reintegrate themselves peacefully back to mainstream society.

“The AFP will be instrumental in creating conditions where CTG members will seek to return to the folds of the law (though, intelligence operations, psychological operations and civil affairs aside from armed operations). And the government’s front-line agencies will take over and assist through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP),” said military spokesperson, Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, in a press statement on July 28, 2020.

Arevalo was reacting to President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements in his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27, 2020, stating that the military will play vital roles in pursuing development in the countryside.

“[But] we still need to address internal security. We are pursuing a whole-of-nation approach to bring peace and order and development in the countryside. We need to provide interventions and implement the Barangay Development Program. This would provide cleared and threatened communities and… This refers to a program where the Armed Forces would play a vital role in the one-nation approach. This is what simply — mean by this,” Duterte said in his speech.

E-CLIP is the flagship program of the Duterte administration that seeks to effect social healing and national unity through a whole-of-nation approach, towards the higher objective of having just and lasting peace.

It provides social equity to former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front and the Militia ng Bayan by devising a different modality of giving benefits and services to the former rebels, in order to reintegrate them into mainstream society.

Also, Arevalo said the AFP plays an important role in the “whole of government approach” which is being utilized to attain peace and development in rural areas that are prevented from happening by the CTG or other local terrorist groups.

“This is why the AFP is one of the agencies that compose the National Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC),” he added.

While the AFP conducts combat operations to defeat the CTG and destroy its support system, Arevalo said relevant agencies charged with the construction of farm-to-market roads, bridges, school buildings, health centers, post-harvest facilities, and those that create livelihood opportunities and the likes deliver their mandates.

He said the main strategy of the government in defeating these security threats is good governance.

“While doing so and towards an unimpeded delivery of government’s basic services, the AFP secures and assists these agencies of government rather than the military doing them,” Arevalo said. (PNA)

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