As NPA celebrates 48th anniversary Wednesday, AFP vows to crush rebels by all means possible

MANILA — Decimation of their armed ranks, integration of their surrendered fighters to society and having their recalcitrant members arrested by police, these are what the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) plans to do to the rebels as they celebrate their 48th founding anniversary on Wednesday.

“We will decimate their ranks by neutralizing their armed component, help integrate surrenders to mainstream society, and relegate the recalcitrants as police matters to deal with,” said AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo when sought for an reaction regarding this event.

He added that the NPA should take stock and reflect on their cause as more and more people are showing their disdain for the rebel movement.

“It is time for (them) to seriously introspect on their relevance in the light of growing disdain of the people over the NPA’s forced monetary exactions, destructive arson of farm implements and public conveyances, their various atrocities and abuses, and their duplicity to the peace talks,” Arevalo stressed.

And when asked on how the military plans to end the threat posed by the NPAs, the AFP public affairs office chief said they plan to defeat the latter through force and peaceful negotiation.

“Our hitherto intent is to defeat the NPA, by force and by peace negotiations — but not necessarily in that order,” he noted.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered the lifting of the government ceasefire last February following a series of unprovoked NPA attacks that resulted in the death of six soldiers and abduction of three others.

This took place following the rebel announcement that they are lifting their truce effective 11:59 p.m. Feb. 10. Priam Nepomuceno/