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IPSP ‘Bayanihan’ a failure, admits AFP chief

More than two years after the implementation of the military’s Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) “Bayanihan,” which is designed to render communist insurgency irrelevant by 2016, the strength of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) remained at more than 4,000 or almost the same when the campaign was launched in 2011.
This was admitted by no less than Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista during a press conference after presiding over a command conference at Camp Aguinaldo yesterday.
Bautista said that the strength of the NPA is pegged at present at “a little more than 4,000.”
Military data showed that the NPA has an estimated strength of 4,043 in end 2011. The IPSP “Bayanihan” was launched January 2011. In end 2010, the AFP placed the NPA strength at 4,384.
It was gathered that as of this time, the NPA manpower is pegged at 4,070.
In spite of this, Bautista claimed significant gains brought about by IPSP “Bayanihan,” which is his brainchild during his stint as AFP deputy chief of staff for operations or J3.
“We have neutralized 323 NPAs, most of them surrenderees and that is how we want it (for them) to abandon (armed) struggle,” Bautista said.
Firearms exchanges, Bautista said, is at 203 to 47 in favor of the government.
“These are not our criteria now for measuring our performance...we are looking at the peaceful condition in different localities...if there is development, if there is economic progress in the areas that is the ultimate,” Bautista said.
Bautista also mentioned the declaration of 29 provinces as free from communist influence. He said three more provinces will be turned over to the local government within the year.
“Our intent is render armed struggle irrelevant, we have significant number of surrenderees from the ranks of the NPA, notwithstanding, there have been continuous recruitment,” Bautista said.
Bautista said that the NPA is most active in Eastern Mindanao, specifically in Compostela Valley and adjacent provinces.
“The campaign remains on track, the ‘Bayanihan’ timeline of 2016 we will win the peace,” Bautista said.
AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan Jr. said that the NPA took advantage of the people’s misery during calamities in their recruitment. He particularly cited the NPA’s recruitment in some parts of Mindanao during the onslaught of typhoon “Pablo.”

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