Significant gains achieved vs. internal security threats: AFP

By Priam Nepomuceno

August 4, 2020, 12:17 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – Newly-appointed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff, Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, said the military sustained its major successes in the ongoing campaign against internal security threats for the first six months of 2020.

"For the first half of the year we have, the AFP has posted collectively significant gains in our battle against internal security threats, the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army) and of course the local terrorist groups composed of Abu Sayyaf, the BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters), (and) factions of the Dawlah Islamiyah which are besetting the development and progress of our country," he said during a virtual press briefing Monday.

Gapay said the main focus of the AFP now is to continue degrading the capabilities of these armed threat groups so that the country can establish an environment conducive for sustainable development.

"So we will focus our strength and might in really defeating these internal threat groups and at the same time contributing to the development efforts of the national government to again revive and start and push for sustainable growth of our country," he added.

The AFP said a total of 3,808 NPA members and supporters were neutralized from January 1 to July 30 this year, including 134 that were killed and the 150 apprehended in legitimate and intelligence-driven operations.

Of this figure, 3,524 surrendered including armed fighters, underground organization members, and other supporters.

A total of 885 high-powered and low-powered firearms, 313 improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and 164 encampments were seized within the same period.

A total of 37 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members were killed while four were apprehended in numerous military operations.

Meanwhile, 47 other ASG members surrendered as a result of the intense military pressure that has been exerted over the past five months.

A total of 60 high-powered and low-powered firearms, seven IEDs, and nine encampments were also seized during the period. (PNA)