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Durugin na! New AFP chief vows to use all resources to defeat Reds

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While supportive of all government efforts to bring the local communist insurgency to a peaceful end, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is more than willing to use all its assets and resources to crush the movement’s remaining supporters and members.

“The AFP can now focus all its resources, manpower and firepower on the remaining communist terrorist armed groups who insist on not giving up the armed struggle, in spite of the goodwill shown to them by the administration in giving cash, livelihood training and even housing,” newly-appointed AFP chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Filemon Santos said on Saturday during his speech at his assumption-of-command ceremony at the Tejeros Hall, AFP Commissioned Officers Country, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Santos said the AFP will also immediately neutralized those who insist on political power through armed struggle.

He also cited the significant gains have been by the government in reducing the security threat posed by the communist rebels through Executive Order which created the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and institutionalized a whole-of-nation-approach in attaining exclusive and sustainable peace.

He added these initiatives are effective solutions against communist terrorists unlike in the past where local chief executives left the insurgency problem solely to the military and the police to deal with.

“Under Executive Order No. 70 all government agencies from the national, regional, provincial, cities, municipalities, all the way down to the barangay level are now involved and have delegated roles and responsibilities in this whole-of-nation-approach, this multi-pronged approach addresses the motivation for insurgency and will hopefully put an end to treacherous life cycle,” he added.

“Government agencies their corresponding units at all levels cooperate and interact, support, provide practical solution and solve problems and issues on the ground that are being exploited by these communist terrorists in order to stir up our countrymen fight against government through armed struggle, by doing so, there will be no reason for CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) to agitate, organize and mobilize this vulnerable sectors and communities,” Santos said.

He said these initiatives are aided by good governance practices and the efficient delivery of service which create resilient communities that can thwart the return of communist terrorist groups in the provinces and cities.

“The AFP will continue to be proactive against local terrorist groups such as Abu Sayyaf, and those groups who pledged allegiance to ISIS, we shall effectively counter their narratives through good governance build community trust and earn the people’s respect. Vigilance, support, cooperation from the local populace are needed in order to suppress and prevent any future terroristic plan from occurring and avoiding unnecessary loss of human lives and damage to property,” Santos said.

He added that the AFP should always be battle-ready to counteract any threats that confront its desire for peace.

Santos pledged to serve the nation loyally to the best of his abilities and expressed his thanks to President Rodrigo R. Duterte for the trust given to him to head the AFP.

He replaced Gen. Noel S. Clement, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1985, who retired from military service as he will be reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56 on January 5.

Clement was appointed AFP last September 24 replacing his classmate Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., who retired from the service after his 56th birthday.

Santos, a member of PMA Class 1986, commanded the Nueva Ecija-based 7th Infantry Division before his appointment as Eastern Mindanao Command head in January of last year.

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