Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. gave a statement on Monday saying that the intelligence efforts of the military and its special units are sufficient to counter the threats posed by the New People’s Army (NPA)’s hit squads. Galvez Jr.’s statement was made in connection to recent announcements of insurgent hit squads claiming a number of lives over the past three years, including those of police and military personnel.
“There are more than 136 persons that have been killed and assassinated by the (Communist Party of the Philippines) CPP-NPA terrorist group so there is really a need to counter this and to counter, (there is a need) to make our personnel vigilant and we need to counter this with the organization of a counter-SPARU (Special Partisan Unit) with the (assistance of our) intelligence and our special units,” said Galvez.
According to Galvez, rebel hit squads have been increasingly active in the areas of Bicol, Eastern Mindanao, Western Mindanao, and some parts of Samar and Negros. However, the AFP chief said that civilians need not worry or get involved as the government and military are vigilantly monitoring and addressing the situation.
“I believe let’s not involve the civilians, it’s more on the military and the police,” Galvez said.
To address ‘lawless violence’, President Duterte, through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, issued Memorandum Order 32 to direct the deployment of additional forces to provinces and regions plagued by NPA activity. The AFP has already deployed additional troops to some of the identified conflict areas.
President Duterte has also previously discussed the idea of creating special military units mandated to specifically go after NPA hit squads that target security and law enforcement personnel.