Teodoro sees defeat of NPA in 2010

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE Armed Forces is winning in the campaign against communist insurgency but the challenge is how to sustain the momentum and eventually defeat the country’s oldest problem by 2010, according to Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr.

“The military is winning the war against insurgency. There is no danger of a communist insurgency taking over the country today.” Teodoro told military officials attending the 6th Senior Leaders’ Conference held at the headquarters of the Philippine Army in Fort Bonifacio, Makati City.

Teodoro observed that all efforts of the Philippine Army are geared towards achieving the 2010 strategic goal of defeating communist insurgency.

He said many strategies and approaches were undertaken in the past but insurgency continues to exist, noting the need to re-examine mechanisms to be able to come up with best solution for the accomplishment of the goal.

Teodoro specifically stressed that the previous approach of fighting an ideological war is wrong.

“What the military needs to do is to concentrate on the armed group such as the New People’s Army, not the front organizations,” he said.

The Defense chief reiterated his guidance for the military to go against the NPAs and to never allow them to perpetuate any criminal act such as kidnapping, arson, and murder.

Teodoro also contended that despite the presence of a peace agreement between the communists and the government, military presence should be increased to serve as a deterrent for armed groups to resurface. He said,

“We should never let our guards down and never assume that peace will continue without our presence,” he said.

Peace, according to him, is not just a mutual understanding between two people, but a result of an enforcement mechanism by the government and the ability to enforce the law at any point at any time.

Teodoro also emphasized three important points to address the country’s military concerns: 1) Refocus on the armed group; 2) Develop target specific capability; and 3) Increase military presence in areas where there is an existence of armed movements.

A total of 190 officers are present for the three-day conference headed by the Army Chief Lt. Gen. Victor S. Ibrado. Attendees include HPA General Staff Officers, Infantry Division and Brigade Commanders.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Romeo S. Brawner Jr. said the Senior Leaders’ Conference is a venue to discuss emerging issues and challenges that affect the Army’s ability to accomplish the 2010 ISO goal, and obtain grounded, rational and informed ideas that will enable the Army to address these key challenges to ensure that the 2010 goal is achieved and sustained.

The seminar will end today, Brawner said.