The Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) has set a 2022 target to cripple the New People’s Army still operating in its area of jurisdiction.
Lt Gen Felimon Santos Jr., the EastMinCom commander, said in an interview at the sidelines of the 13th founding anniversary of EastMinCom held at Naval Felix Apolinario Station on Monday that some guerrilla fronts of the NPA have aleady been dismantled.
There are only a few units of the Pulang Bagani Command in the region left in the region.
“The governors and local chief executives and the military, especially in Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, they could see the results for the past few months that there were no encounters that happened because of the fewer presence of the NPA, ” he said.
He said only few barangays in Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, and Davao City are still under the influence of the NPA.
But he said Caraga Region and Northern Mindanao remain a challenge, particularly in Kitaotao, Valencia, and Quezon in Bukidnon and in Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur in Caraga. They will train their attention on these areas in the months to come.
“But we focus on establishing conflict and resilient communities since there are no armed men already, so will sustain it through the help of local chief executives, ” he added.
He said within this quarter, they could declare the remaining 16 barangays in Davao City cleared from the NPA.
In the area of EastMinCom, he estimated that there are more or less 20 guerrilla fronts with 1,000 NPA fighters. “Some groups are just maintaning their names but don’t have manpower already so we need to revalidate again, ” he further said.
He believed by 2022, the influence of the NPA in both Caraga and Region X will be “minimal.”