By Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – General Andres Centino, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said he is hoping that the insurgency problem in Negros island will end as soon as possible.
Centino visited the Army’s 62nd Infantry Battalion (IB) headquarters in Barangay Libas, Isabela, Negros Occidental yesterday four days after the series of encounters between the military troopers and the New People’s Army (NPA) in the island over the weekend.
Ten NPA members were killed, while two others surrendered to military troopers in Moises Padilla and Cauayan towns in Negros Occidental, and Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental on May 20 and 21.
Some firearms, ammunition, and other war materiel recovered from the weekend clashes were presented to Centino during his visit to the 62nd IB headquarters.
In a media interview, Centino said there are challenges along the way.
“Mahihirapan tayong hanapin sila (NPA),” he said.
But, he noted that the local Army has sufficient forces that could address the problem here.
Centino said they need to prepare for missions because this is not a problem to be addressed partially, as this is a national security concern.
“Dapat tapusin na ito, so we can fully focus on the pressing concern,” he said.
Centino said the insurgency problem in the country has weakened. There are only two remaining active fronts that are armed and with mass-based support, while there are weakened guerilla fronts that are armed but have no mass-based support just like in Negros, he added.
Centino said the Negros Army should not let these weakened guerilla fronts recover. “Let’s take advantage na wala na silang resources, as we have already addressed their source of funding locally and internationally,” he added.
Meanwhile, Centino thanked the Negrenses and the local leaders for helping the national government address the insurgency in the country.