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‘Even without US aid, we’ll beat NPA’ — AFP

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 01:50pm (Mla time) 06/28/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Even without the help of the United States, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) can defeat the communist New People’s Army, a military spokesman said Thursday.

The military is also on track to meet President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s 2010 deadline to cripple the NPA, AFP public information officer Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro said.

Bacarro was reacting to the pronouncement of US Pacific Command chief Admiral Timothy Keating that his troops were ready to help the AFP fight the NPA upon the request of the Philippine government.

Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Ma. Sison scoffed at Keating’s offer, calling it “futile.”

“Strategically, yes, the way we are going right now, based on the projections that we have, we are doing well, we are even ahead of the [2010] schedule,” Bacarro said, when asked if the AFP could defeat the communist guerillas without the help of the Americans.

Bacarro said the NPA’s strength is currently placed at 7,000 and, based on the military’s projection, their offensives could reduce rebel strength by 1,000 every year until 2010.

“We will be able to reduce them by 2010 to [such] a very inconsequential level that they will not be able to make major attacks,” the spokesman said.

The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), has been waging a guerilla campaign from the countryside for nearly 40 years.

On Wednesday, Keating and AFP chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. approved a five-year plan for joint exercises between Filipino and American troops geared mainly against the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah in the south.

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002007-06-28T06:16:34+00:00+00:0006b+00:00Thu, 28 Jun 2007 06:16:34 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am06

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