MANILA — Outgoing Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff, Gen. Eduardo Año’s 10-month term can be characterized by a series of successful campaigns against terrorists and lawless elements.
This was stressed by AFP Public Affairs Office chief, Col. Edgard Arevalo, in a statement Thursday.
“General Año’s term as Chief-of-Staff was characterized by a series of successful campaigns against armed groups, particularly the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), the Daesh-inspired Maute Group, and the New People’s Army,” Arevalo said.
The outgoing AFP chief, who took over the military’s helm last Dec. 7, 2016, is a member of Philippine Military Academy Class of 1983 and has served 38 years in uniform before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56 on Thursday.
He will be succeeded by Eastern Mindanao Command head, Lt. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, a member of PMA Class of 1984.
One of the highlights of Año’s term as AFP chief is the successful neutralization of the ASG threat in the province of Bohol last April where government troops foiled a kidnapping attempt by 11 terrorists.
To date, the AFP has neutralized 343 ASG personalities since December 2016 and recovered 267 weapons .
Arevalo added that Año’s term was also marked by significant numbers of mass surrenders from terrorist groups which is attributed to the intensified employment of combat intelligence and civil-military operations.
Likewise, the AFP has also neutralized 192 Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and 1,010 Maute-ISIS members including those involved in the five-month battle in Marawi City.
The outgoing AFP chief also increased the tempo of focused military operations against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
“He has dealt thus far the severest blow against the CPP-NPA-NDF hierarchy by neutralizing high-value targets and personalities such as the Tiamzon couple, NPA (leader) Leoncio Pitao alias Kumander Parago, and members of the Alex Boncayao Brigade,” Arevalo added.
Consolidated reports from field units also revealed that 660 NPA rebels were killed, captured, or surrendered from Feb. 4 to Oct. 25 this year.
A total of 548 high-power and low-power weapons were also recovered from rebel forces during the period.
“Finally, General Año’s 38 years, six months and 25-day career was capped by the liberation of Marawi City. A total of 942 invading Daesh-inspired Maute-ISIS terrorists led by Isnilon Hapilon and the dreaded Maute brothers — Omar, Abdullah and Maddi — and more than 20 foreign fighters were neutralized in one single operation,” Arevalo stressed.
Also notable during Año’s term is the zero-human rights violation cases against AFP during the implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao and the military’s support operations in 434 anti-drug operations led by the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. (PNA)