7,000 armed communists, 187 Abu Sayyaf dealt with this year

AROUND 7,000 members of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the communist movement, were “neutralized” since the start of the year, a military official reported on Monday. “Since January this year, we have neutralized 7,000 NPA,” said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gilbert I. Gapay in Filipino during a Palace briefing. Of the total, he said 6,000 surrendered while 1,991 died during encounters with the military. Another 250 were apprehended while over 1,5000 arms used by the NPA were seized. Mr. Gapay also reported that 187 members of the kidnap-for-ransom group Abu Sayyaf, which has pledged allegiance to the extremist Islamic State, have also been dealt with. — Gillian M. Cortez

P10,000 emergency cash aid to typhoon victims proposed

A RESOLUTION proposing an emergency cash aid program for families affected by recent typhoons has been filed at the House of Representatives. In the still unnumbered resolution, Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene D. Brosas said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)  can utilize the unreleased funds intended for the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) program to provide cash aid worth P10,000 each for families in typhoon-stricken areas. Ms. Brosas said DSWD still has undisbursed funds worth more than P83 billion for this year, citing the Senate deliberations for the 2021 budget. Of the P83 billion, around P13.7 billion “are supposedly for AICS program,” she said. Ms. Brosas said standby calamity funds and quick response funds would be inadequate to respond to the urgent needs of Filipinos struggling in the wake of the series of destructive typhoons and “amid the realignments made to finance the coronavirus pandemic response.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza