DND officer-in-charge Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Wednesday it has attained strategic victory over the threats posed by the communist movement and other local terrorist groups (LTGs) operating in the country.

Department of National Defense (DND) officer-in-charge Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. made this statement after the AFP reported more than 75 percent of the communist fronts in the country have been dismantled nationwide.

"Out of 89 in July 2016, there are only five active guerilla fronts remaining,” he said in a statement.

He added that the capabilities of the communist rebels and LTGs have been significantly diminished over the last few years.

"The concerted efforts of the security sector have drawn us even closer to the end of the armed conflict with the inevitable collapse of these armed groups,” the DND chief said.

As of Sept. 20 this year, a total of 2,890 conflict-affected barangays have been cleared, through the AFP’s Development Support and Security Plan "Kapayapaan" and the DND's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.

From July 1, 2016 to Sept. 26, 2022, the AFP recorded a total of 10,608 regular NPA members neutralized, and more than 41,000 underground members, mass supporters, and sympathizers withdrew their support to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

A total of 4,644 LTG members were also neutralized during the period.

Around 1,386 cities/municipalities and 31,254 barangays nationwide declared the CPP-NPA as persona non grata, indicating a widespread loss of support for the communist movement.

“This victory, of course, cannot be credited only to the DND and AFP. The gains we achieved were brought about by the harmonized endeavors of the national and local levels of government, as well as the active participation of relevant agencies and other stakeholders, through the whole-of-nation approach of the NTF-ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict)," Faustino said.

“We are inching closer to total victory, and the defense organization is hopeful for the continued support of the Filipino people," he said. (PNA)