Different steps needed to neutralize all lawless groups – AFP

Military efforts to neutralize the various security threats and lawless elements in the country have proven quite successful but different steps must be taken to fully neutralize them. This was disclosed by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo Monday.

He admitted that New People’s Army, Abu Sayyaf Group, Maute Group and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters are “not similarly situated and thus the approaches necessary to defeat them are dissimilar.”

Since there are ongoing peace negotiations with the communist rebels, the AFP remains committed to continue to uphold the primacy of the peace process in dealing with the former.

The ceasefire took effect last Aug. 21.

”We will adhere to, as we have since the declaration, the suspension of military operations; abide by the provisions of Joint Ceasefire Declarations between the parties when one is signed. Meanwhile, the AFP will readily assist the Philippine National Police (PNP) in law enforcement operations when so requested,” Arevalo said.

He also said the AFP will continue to respond to the call to help capacitate local government in engendering progress and development that people in the countryside yearn for.

In regards to the ASG and Maute Group, Arevalo said the military will continue to conduct operations against the bandit elements are all neutralized.

”The AFP will sustain the momentum and capitalize on the gains that we have achieved in the campaign against these terrorists groups especially on the conduct of focused military operations to dislodge them in their known lairs,” he added.

”We will endeavor to confine them in areas where they cannot capitalize on their supporters and sympathizers. We will continue to build cooperations and partnerships with other agencies– government & private –for non-kinetic means of defeating terrorists threats,” the military official emphasized.

Meanwhile, in the case of the BIFF, Arevalo said the AFP will relentlessly pursue the separatist group, focusing on its organization and support systems, that enables them to resist government operations to neutralize them.

”We will, together with the PNP, dismantle their machinery for illegal drugs trade and destroy their links with like-minded terrorist groups (this line of effort will be employed against the Abu Sayaff & Maute Groups that have been monitored and reported to be engaged in such nefarious activities),” he added. (