By Marjaleen Ramos
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. bared on Wednesday their plans to end the local ‘communist-terrorist groups,’ or the New People’s Army in the country.
“They stay true to their goal, to overthrow the government through armed struggle,” said Esperon during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay media forum.
The security adviser said that President Rodrigo Duterte has already declared the CPP-NPA-NDF as a terrorist organization, but is still subject to validation by the courts.
He also recalled that other countries have declared them terrorists too.
“Tayo nalang ang ‘di pa umaamin na terrorista pala sila.. They will now go to localized peace talks, the President has created the National Task Force to end the local communist [insurgency] in our country, and he has taken the helm.”
Esperon said that President Rordrigo Duterte has also already designated 17 members of the cabinet to become Cabinet Officers for Regional Development (CORDS) to oversee the regional development and security in all regions.
He said that the plans were approved last April and they are now organizing and creating the lines of efforts of clusters of national level and regional level.
“Papunta na kami sa probinsya, sitio at barangay. We’re soon ready to launch.”
“This time, it takes another responsibility, which is taking care and leading the regional task force. The [CORD] is in charge of Regional Development Council and existing Peace and Order Council.”
“It’s now the whole of government that will address [the insurgency].”
Esperon said they will now go to geographically isolated, depressed areas, affected areas, as well as areas with high incidence of poverty.