From the Daily Tribune (Jul 4): Outgoing Catapang boasts of AFP achievements under his watch
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. yesterday presided over his last command conference, claiming the military gained grounds against enemies of the state under his watch.
Catapang, who is reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56 on July 11, claimed there were “undeniable gains” gained during the implementation of internal peace and security plan (IPSP) “Bayanihan.”
The outgoing AFP chief said the military scored big against the communist New People’s Army (NPA), the terrorist Abu Sayyaf group (ASG) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
A total of 340 NPA rebels and leaders were neutralized during the first quarter of 2015 in the different provinces while around 166 firearms were recovered in various operations.
Based on the 2014 Yearend report, there were 3,200 armed NPA members. In the first quarter of 2015, the AFP has recorded the neutralization of 340 armed NPA members NPA.
Catapang also reported that 58 provinces were already declared Peaceful and Ready for Further Development (PRFD) while 10 were already declared cleared.
A total of 330 cases were already filed against these NPAs in competent courts while 212 warrants of arrest were already released.
Among the top NPA leaders arrested were Adelberto Silva, tagged as the highest ranking communist commander in the country today, and Leoncio Pitao, alias Commander Parago, chieftain of the NPA’s Pulang Bagani Command-1 (PBC-1) which is the top NPA unit in Davao Region.
Silva was arrested in Cavite last month while Pitao was killed in an encounter with government troops just last week.
Against the Abu Sayyaf, Catapang said that the AFP was able to neutralize 72 terrorists during the first three months of 2015.
A total of 192 BIFF personalities were also neutralized during the all-out offensive launched last February in central Mindanao.
The IPSP “Bayanihan” was the Aquino government’s anti-insurgency campaign aimed at defeating the enemies of the state before 2016.