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PIA Press Release

Army chief sees "strategic victory" against communists by June

Butuan City (February 12) -- Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit, chief of the Philippine Army (PA), sees a "strategic victory" of the government over the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) by June this year.

He said the working force of the AFP's infantry divisions, brigades, battalions and other operational control (Opcon) units, including air force and navy, against the remaining CPP-NPA fronts had been well on track to defeat the CPP-NPA.

The Army chief, who had been visiting Northern, Northeastern and Southern Mindanao regions during the past several days assessing the ground operations of the Army's working force personally, saw the accomplishments of his men in the field, saying "the military has been able to deal significant blows against the NPA".

He cited the recent capture of two key CPP-NPA officials in Southwestern and Northern Mindanao regions and a top communist official in Southern Mindanao region.

He also cited the capture of several NPA camps in Bukidnon, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Davao del Sur and South Cotabato.

Just very recently, the Army's fighting and combat maneuvering troops also killed several rebels in a series of gunbattles in Lupon, Davao Oriental and in the border of Bukidnon and Davao.

"From a high of about 25,000 communist fighters, we have reduced them into only 4,000 now. Very clearly, we have already achieved the point that the Philippine National Police can now take over the internal security operations (ISO)," said Bangit.

He also cited the turnover of insurgency operations of Misamis Oriental province to police.

The Army chief was in Northern, Northeastern and Southern Mindanao regions to personally thank and pin medals to ground officers and soldiers for their exemplary performance against NPA's fight.

Bangit hopes peace could be achieved by June, coinciding with the end of President Macapagal Arroyo's term of office. (muc/PIA-Caraga) [top]

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