INTERIOR and Local Government OIC-Secretary Eduardo Año said that nipping communist recruitment entails a whole-of-government approach as he declared full support for the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ call for the creation of an Inter-Agency Task Force against insurgency.
The AFP has discovered the Red October plot of the CPP/NDF/NPA aimed at ousting President Duterte.
A former top military man and a ranking intelligence officer, Año said that ending insurgency requires not only police and military response but necessitates a triad of development, governance and security efforts.
As to the part of the DILG, he gave assurances that the Department is instilling good governance among local government units (LGUs) who are at the forefront of public service delivery.
Año also said there is no need for a loyalty check among the ranks of the Philippine National Police (PNP) “whose allegiance is to the Constitution and the people.”
“The DILG and the Department of National Defense (DND), as well as the PNP and AFP, are one in preserving the stability of the state. Our police and soldiers are ruled by law and accountable to the sovereign people only,” he added.
Año said he agrees with AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. that civilian agencies and other stakeholders must be aware of and integrate with the whole-of-government strategy of quashing communist recruitment.
“Insurgency is rooted in poverty, inequality, and grievances that could be addressed by respective mandates of various government institutions. We have all the mechanisms to face these issues but all government agencies have to perform our roles in a concerted manner,” he pointed out.
The DILG chief said that communist insurgency is not primarily a military or police problem but a “governance problem.”
“In fact we are winning the battle in the mountains. There are so many surrenderers now. It’s in the propaganda war and parliamentary battle that we are losing.
“The National Task Force will ensure that other government agencies help the DND and DILG in this effort,” he said.
He said that civilian government agencies must be aware of the real situation and fulfill their mandates so as to prevent build-up of public grievances that communist terrorist rebels exploit to stir anti-government sentiments such as corruption, price hikes, and labor sector and Indigenous Peoples concerns.
“Communists are using as propaganda the inefficacies of government to advance their aspiration of toppling democracy. Thus all instrumentalities of the government have to recognize their role in addressing this urgent and long standing problem,” he said.