FOLLOWING the military’s all-out-war against leftist group New People’s Army (NPA), over 40 of its members were allegedly "neutralized" as claimed by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Eduardo Año on Sunday.
Año said since President Rodrigo Duterte scrapped the peace talks with the communist rebels on February 4, 30 encounters between the government troops and members of the group already took place.
"If you compute (the 30 encounters), it's like having two clashes a day and then we have neutralized more or less 40 communist rebels, 12 body counts, 15 captured, and about 17 surrendered," he claimed.
Año said they are hoping that the military’s intensified operations against the NPA would add pressure to the group.
"Alam mo, kailangan dito both military pressure on the other side and social pressure from the non-military side so that they will be forced again to not only go back to the negotiating table, [and] probably choose the path of peace," he said.
However, Año said they will continue to "observe peace and respect to human rights" but will not let the NPA continue conducting "illegal activities" such as extortion.