Malacañang said Sunday it is open to issuing an Executive Order forming a national task force to quell the communist insurgency.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the Palace agreed that ending the communist insurgency entailed a “whole-of-government” approach.
Roque made the remark after the military asked President Rodrigo Duterte to issue an EO creating the task force.
“The Armed Forces of the Philippines, which requested the creation of a national inter-agency task force, may wish to coordinate and submit its formal recommendation to the Office of the President, through the Office of the Executive Secretary, for the drafting of an executive order in this regard,” Roque said.
In an interview with ANC on Friday night, AFP chief of staff Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. proposed creating the inter-agency body through the President’s issuance of an Executive Order.
“It will work on a different component and different line of efforts,” Galvez said.
The military is able to ward off the communist rebels, but it says the struggle in the political scene also needs to be addressed as the Left taps its allies to provide support on its political maneuvers.
“They are very potent on the parliamentary struggle because they want to infiltrate government agencies and also our political system. The problem that we have is the component of the civilian agencies,” Galvez said.
He said the civilian agencies were not integrated to combat the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army as they lacked awareness of the real situation.
Galvez said they were also working on stopping the communists from recruiting new members.
“We have to stop the recruitment that is mostly happening in the schools,” Galvez said.
“The NPA will brainwash them to become extremists.”
Meanwhile, CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison said the military’s recommendation was aimed at receiving a higher budget.
“What kind of a national task force does the AFP ask? They already have deployed 98 maneuver battalions in the entire Philippines to threaten and kill the people. Maybe the AFP needs a higher appropriation,” Sison said.
National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultant Rey Casambre echoed Sison, saying the proposed task force will not end the insurgency.
“The task force being formed aims to end the insurgency by inducing mass surrenders through military means and psywar, but without the basic social, economic and political reforms that would not resolve the roots of the armed conflict,” Casambre said.
“It has been tried many times before, and it has never worked. There is no way it can work now.”