The government’s decades-long effort to achieve lasting peace and security has come to fruition. By adopting the whole-of-nation approach under Executive Order 70 that created the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), the Philippines has relished an almost insurgency-free country, and it can continue pursuing programs to attain an inclusive and sustainable peace and development all over the country. This is what a democratically-elected government has yearned for, which the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) has been trying to violently overthrow and replace it with an autocratic and tyrannical communist regime.
On its part, the security and defense sector has remained comprehensive in its extensive campaign to defeat the communist insurgency. Along with this campaign are the efforts, in cooperation with other government agencies, intended to inform and educate vulnerable sectors of the communities about the government’s development interventions and, at the same time, provide them with sustainable livelihood programs by bringing together their entrepreneurial and technical skills. Through this approach, the public’s cynical mindset has changed. Filipinos have learned to trust and support the government’s intervention efforts and the holistic and inclusive process involved.
Also in line with the country’s plan for a progressive nation is the long-term vision and aspirations for Filipinos and the country in the next 25 years, or the “Ambisyon Natin 2040”. One of its key features is to ensure the security of every Filipino. As shown from the survey by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the importance of peace and security to national development and personal prosperity both received a 98% significance out of 10,000 interviewed Filipinos. This only proves how committed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is in its quest for peace and security. According to the numbers released, the NPA has dropped from 89 to 22 guerrilla fronts with 1,876 firearms. Only 2,112 members remain to be captured or neutralized. These numbers are breakthroughs for the AFP-wide mission.
On the other hand, military efforts do not just focus on coordinated actions for combat operations on the ground. As part of its functions to advance national aims and interests, the AFP remains steadfast in programming community engagement and capacity building. The related activities toward peaceful and prosperous communities for 115 million Filipino people extensively ensure many individuals’ secure and safe environment. All of these are prerequisites to equitable economic development.
There is truly no “one-size-fits-all” formula for addressing and solving the country’s insurgency. It is about adopting a holistic, inclusive, and people-centered
system of governance and the convergence of efforts and prompt delivery of essential services, programs, and projects that aim to uplift the lives of every Filipino.