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NPA can be declared defeated once strength reduced by another 1,500 –Esperon

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. on Monday said that, for him, the communist New People’s Army (NPA) can be declared defeated once its strength is reduced by another 1,500 fighters.

In a press conference, Hermogenes was asked about the parameters of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) in declaring victory over the rebel group.

“Personally, if we could reduce the strength by another 1,500, then they become a concern for the police. Parang ano na sila, nagiging bandido na sila eh,” he said.

(They would be reduced to bandits.)

According to Esperon, the NPA currently has 4,000 to 4,100 regular members.

“As I said, because of their programs that have been going on, especially the focused recruitment of the youth, there have been replenishments or the replenishments of those who have been neutralized,” he added.

Esperon also pointed out that if the alleged legal fronts of the armed rebel group denounced its violence, he could also consider this as a defeat for the NPA.

“Perhaps if the Makabayan Block or these legal fronts that are backing them up would start denouncing their violence and this organization would eventually follow what is normal in Europe,” he said.

“For example, if you are a member of the communist parties of one of the countries of Europe, you do not go into armed revolution, you stand in Congress and debate with the other parties but never, never go towards armed struggle or armed revolution,” he added.

Esperon underscored that the Communist Party of the Philippines is in control of the armed group. — DVM, GMA News