Santos admits AFP can't end insurgency during his term
Lt. General Filemon Santos Jr, the new Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, admitted that he will not be able to end the insurgency within his term which ends in August.
“Not within my term. Within the term of the president, we are confident that we will end that before the end of the president’s term,” Santos told reporters in an interview in Camp Aguinaldo on Saturday.
Santos emphasized that he will focus on ending the local armed conflict.
“To end local armed conflict, communist, that is our focus because its gaining ground and we will continue on what is written on our campaign plan,” he said.
"Under Executive Order number 70, all government agencies from the national, regional, provincial, cities, municipalities all the way down to the barangay level are noe involved and have delineated roles and responsibilities in this whole of nation approach," Santos said in his assumption speech.
"This multi-pronged approach addresses the motivation for insurgency and will hopefully put an end to its treacherous life cycle. Government agencies and their corresponding units at all levels cooperate, interact, support, provide practical solutions and solved problems and issues on the ground that are being exploited by these communist terrorist in order to stir up our countrymen to fight against the government through armed struggle," he said.
"By doing so there will be no reason for CPP-NPA-NDF ( Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front) to agitate, organize and mobilize these vulnerable sectors and communities," he added.
Santos said the AFP will also "continue to be proactive against the local terrorist groups, such as the Abu Sayyaf and those groups who pledges allegiance to ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria)."
"We shall effectively counter their narratives through good governance practices, build community trust, and earn the people's respect," he said.
During the change of command ceremony that wased by President Rodrigo Duterte, Santos replaced Gen. Noel Clement who will reach his retirement age of 56 on January 5.
Aside from military, police and defense officials were at the ceremony was also attended by former President Gloria Arroyo, Senators Bong Go, Francis Tolentino, Ronald Dela Rosa and MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari.
Santos, who will reach his retirement age by August 3, 2020, served as the head of the Eastern Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines prior his appointment as AFP chief of staff. Robina Asido/DMS