Saturday, January 18, 2014
CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) conducted a Command Conference with its senior military leaders to discuss the gains of its internal peace and security operations (IPSO) and significant headways in the IPSP Bayanihan, today at Camp Aguinaldo.
On Campaign against Armed Struggle
The NPA miserably failed in achieving its goals bound on its 5-Year Central Plan which ended in 2013. They were unsuccessful in expanding their mass base support as 16 more provinces were normalized last year. This makes the latest overall success to 43 provinces (to include Pampanga) out of the 64 NPA-affected provinces nationwide (56%).
Also, a total of 824 NPA personalities were neutralized and 425 firearms were gained in 2013.
Contained Peace Spoilers
Against the Rogue Moro National Liberation Front Elements (RMEs), the AFP was able to neutralize 502 RMEs; 208 killed, 24 surrendered, and 270 captured/apprehended during the defense of Zamboanga last September. A total of 324 firearms were also recovered.
On the government side, the AFP suffered 197 casualties; 20 killed in action, and 177 wounded in action while 195 hostages were safely rescued.
The RMEs do not represent the whole MNLF who is supportive of the peace process in Mindanao, therefore the AFP will ensure that the process is not hampered or disrupted by these rogue elements.
Lahad Datu Incident
During the incident in Lahad Datu, Sabah last February 2013, the AFP deployed ground, air and naval assets against armed followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram to prevent spillover and assist displaced persons.
Against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), the AFP continued the conduct of its focused military operations to contain the threat in few areas. The AFP was able to effectively limit their capability to sabotage or derail the on-going GPH-MILF Peace Process.
Support to Peace Process
Efforts against spoilers to the peace process are being done in line with the AFP’s continued commitment to support the on-going peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Currently, peace talks with the MILF are progressing well as we are in near realization of forging a final peace agreement with the group.
The two parties have already signed three Annexes (Transition Modalities; Wealth Sharing; Power Sharing) while the last Annex on Normalization is still being negotiated.
Proving the success of supporting the peace process is the government’s gains from the Closure Agreement with the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA). Last year, the military was able to integrate 168 CPLA members in the AFP. In the process, 403 firearms were also turned-over to the armed forces while the government’s livelihood assistance project, PAMANA were delivered in the Cordillera.
Remarkable Stride in Adherence to Human Rights
One of the essential factors of the AFP’s success is the military’s continued adherence to Human Rights, the International Humanitarian Law, and the Rule of Law. Alleged human rights violations went down by 88% with only 11 cases in 2013 from 96 in 2010.
Among the significant Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) operations conducted by the AFP in coordination with other NDRRMC member agencies were: the active HADR response as part of the ‘first responders’ in the Zamboanga crisis, Bohol Earthquake, and Typhoon Yolanda.
The AFP’s participation in the disaster relief operations in Typhoon Yolanda-affected areas reached as high as 25,526 personnel who were directly involved in the HADR operations. In addition, all available strategic lift and mobility assets from the major services were utilized. AFP units were tasked organized under Central Command for HADR mission in coordination with the NDRRMC and foreign military contingents.
Bantay Bayanihan Assessment
The Civil Society Organization-led Bantay Bayanihan, says the AFP is gaining ground and can potentially gain more ground if the IPSP Bayanihan is sustained.
Further, the AFP has generally enhanced trust among peace and security stakeholders especially in the provinces.
Perception of security in communities is notably enhanced when there is increased transparency; accountability; communication lines being opened; openness to cultural sensitivity; adherence and respect for HR, IHL, RoL; and multi-stakeholder engagement.
They also recognize that IPSP is planting seeds. Seeds do not grow to trees and bear fruit overnight. They have to be nurtured and sustained to flourish.
Despite the Election period and the calamities and disasters that struck the country last year, the AFP was able to accomplish much.
For this year, the AFP is fully poised to vigorously conduct internal peace and security operations to meet the objectives of IPSP Bayanihan.
“We must consolidate our gains and sustain our momentum. In the face of any challenge, the cohesiveness of the entire AFP will always be our best assurance,” General Bautista said.
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