Camp Aquino, Tarlac – The Armed Forces plans to declare the “end” of insurgency in Northern Luzon next year to be able to focus on territorial defense, a top military official said Friday.

Maj. Gen. Gregorio Catapang, AFP Northern Luzon Command chief, made the remark as he reported a “low” number of violent incidents involving the New People’s Army (NPA) in his area.

Violent incidents involving the three main NPA committees in Northern Luzon only totaled to 29 from January 1 to August 31, Catapang said in a report presented to media here.

“Non-violent” activities, on the other hand, totaled to 2,361.

Catapang did not say how many rebels are still left in his area of responsibility, but said they were “negligible.”

“We call them NPA remnants because they are manageable or negligible… The only way for them to survive is through extortion and impeding progress” he said.

“The remnants are in areas like Bulacan, but when we hunt them they go to Solcom (Southern Luzon Command) area, Rizal.”

Catapang said Nolcom is also presently pushing for civil projects that will help “end” insurgency.

Among the projects are a network of farm-to-market roads, bridges, port expansions, and schools that amount to more than P70 billion.

Catapang’s presentation on proposed farm-to-market roads had the slogan, “Insurgency ends where road construction begins.”

“The experience we will have here in Central Luzon is it is where insurgency began and where it ended,” Catapang said.

“We will declare Nolcom peaceful and ready for further development next year so we can shift to territorial defense,” he said. (John Roson)

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