Unified effort needed in curbing NPA threat

By Priam Nepomuceno

December 12, 2018, 9:15 am

MANILA -- To fully defeat the threat posed by the New People's Army (NPA), a unified effort is needed from various levels of government, newly-installed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal said Tuesday.

"In order to reach complete victory and win the elusive peace, apart from our traditional combat competencies, our campaign needs a unified effort from various levels of government to attain strategic stakeholder convergence," Madrigal said during his assumption speech in Camp Aguinaldo.

In line with this, Madrigal said peace and development programs must be directed toward addressing the concerns of conflict-affected areas and transforming them into conflict resilient and progress oriented communities.

"We must enhance the capability of government in the ground in post-scenarios where peace becomes the norm and development effort stay center stage. To do this we need to set our goal not only on defeating the enemy and attaining operational victories, we have already proven that, what we need is to focus on capacitating ourselves in the matters of peace, constituency building, stakeholder leadership, community dialogue and nation building," the new AFP chief added.

By doing these actions, the government and state forces will get legitimacy and full credibility to bring about sustainable peace, inclusive development and good governance.

"More importantly we need to closely work together with our partners in the local govt, the natl government agencies and other stakeholders and endeavor to establish the basic foundations for peace mechanisms, propagating the culture of unity and peace among our people and speedy reintegration of former rebels to the mainstream society. If we are able to do this then I believe this would eventually lead to the end of insurgency and with the strong resolve of our current leadership, the active support of our stakeholders , it can be done," the newly-installed AFP chief added.

Madrigal replaced Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr., his mistah at the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1985, who retired after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.

The newly-appointed AFP chief served notably as 4th Infantry Division commander, Southern Luzon Command and Eastern Mindanao Command chief. (PNA)