On AFP claims of reducing NPA strength
The AFP’s claim that NPA strength has been reduced to 2,000 and guerrilla fronts to 23 is a gross underestimation of the real strength of the revolutionary armed forces. The obvious aim, of course, is to make it appear that the AFP is winning their brutal war after five years of all-out spending and large-scale military operations.
But is the AFP really winning the war? In their press releases and “surrender” parades, yes, but not in the battlefield where over the past two years, the NPA have succeeded in moving out of enemy encirclement campaigns, and especially not in the hearts and minds of the people, who are being subjected to brutal campaigns of pacification and suppression.
Despite these claims of having reduced the NPA’s strength, we anticipate that the AFP will still ask for a higher budget next year, for more bombs and bullets, jetfighters and drones.
It is likely that the AFP is not fully aware of the spread and steady growth of the NPA outside its areas of encirclement of focused military operations, just like what happened in Northern Samar two days ago, when combat troops of the AFP forces were hit from their flanks by an NPA unit that has expanded its territory from which it was able to mount an attack.
The AFP has been making these declarations of winning the war against the NPA over the past few decades. In 2007, to justify their bloody war under the Arroyo regime, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, who recently served as National Security Adviser of the Duterte regime, declared: “I am announcing that we are winning, we are on track and will continue to win.” That was 15 years ago.