- AFP to hit Islamic militants, communist rebels after Marawi
- Chief of staff said they want to neutralize remaining Mautes, Abu Sayyaf and BIFF by yearend
- He also said they are looking to finish off Reds by 2018
MANILA, Philippines – With the battle in Marawi City winding down, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it would focus on other lawless groups — including the Abu Sayyaf, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and the New People’s Army.
According to AFP chief of staff Eduardo Año, they will target the remaining Mautes and the two other terror groups with the end goal of eliminating them by the end of the year.
“Our timeline is to finish all the Maute, ASG and BIFF until the end of 2017. So this will continue. There will be no let up. It’s about time to end these terrorists here in Mindanao,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted him as saying.
Año said the BIFF —a breakaway group from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front— would be easier to deal with than the Maute militants in Marawi.
“The BIFF threat is more on conducting bombings and some rampaging in some of our isolated communities. But they cannot take over, let’s say Cotabato City, General Santos City or any particular big municipality in Central Mindanao because our forces are strategically located and we have the M.I.L.F. cooperating with us, he said. “If we go and run after them and focus our operation there, it would be easier than the Marawi operations.”
As for the communist rebels, Año said the NPA can be finished off by 2018; saying: “Gusto nating mangyari, sa katapusan ng 2018, wala nang CPP-NPA kahit isa, sa buong Pilipinas.”
[What we want to happen, at the end of 2018, is for there to be no more CPP-NPA in the whole of the Philippines.]