By Aaron Recuenco | Manila Bulletin
Outgoing Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana advised the next administration to continue the campaign against communist insurgency and the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
In the campaign to end the existence of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDF), Lorenzana said the current programs and projects of the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) were proven to be effective, citing the series of surrender of both the NPA fighters and their supporters in the countryside.
Based on the military’s estimate, there are only 300 active fighters of the CPP-NPA.
“Based on the records being presented by the AFP and the police, our programs and projects are successful. There are only few remaining leaders left and their influence in the barangays are waning,” said Lorenzana.
Lorenzana, however, is yet to meet with his successor.
While president-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is yet to choose the next DND secretary, there were rumors that it would be former AFP chief of staff Gen. Jose Faustino.
Aside from the fight against communist rebels and remaining terror groups in Mindanao, Lorenzana said the next administration should also continue the AFP modernization wherein the third phase is set to start next year.
The first two phases occurred during the Aquino and the Duterte administrations.
And based on his assessments, the first two phases of the AFP modernization contributed a lot in improving the territorial defense capability of the military.
But Lorenzana said it is not enough.
“We have to complete the Horizon 3 of the modernization for us to have credible defense posture to protect our sovereignty,” said Lorenzana.
For instance, he said Horizon 3 covers the completion of the needed armaments of the big warships that the Philippine Navy has procured and will procure.
“We also need to have missile system and radar system to support all of these,” Lorenzana said.