The Communist Party of the Philippines, and its armed wing the New People’s Army-National Democratic Front, has developed into a ‘terrorist group’ given the path of violence it has chosen over the past few years; says the military.
Originally portrayed as a ‘revolutionary movement,’ the Philippine Military says that the perpetration of violence proves they are no less than a ‘terrorist group.’
The military has accused NPA rebels of targeting innocent and unarmed civilians, evening killing police and political prisoners.
“What the Filipino people qualify as terrorism, the New People’s Army celebrates as victories. It has tried to justify the excesses and violence of its aberrant members but even the international community has recognized the enormous harm that the NPA has inflicted upon innocent people,” the military noted.
The communist group fought back, claiming that the military was being slanderous against the CPP-NPA group.
The military accused NPA on its website of stepping up their attacks, specifically targeting the discovery of mass graves of alleged NPA victims in Northern Samar.
“These slanders attempt to belittle the NPA’s steady advance, as well as to cover up the military’s abuses under Oplan Bantay Laya,” said Santiago Salas, spokesman of the National Democratic Front in Eastern Visayas.
In 2002 the United States Department of State classified CPP-NPA a foreign terrorist organization – the European Union classified the group the same in 2005.
The Philippines is slow in calling any organization a ‘terrorist group,’ after years of criminal activity within the country, the Philippines named the Abu Sayyaf a terrorist group just last year.
Sadly President-elect Rodrigo Duterte is allowing the communist party seats within his cabinet, leaving many to even wonder what or why he would allow such a thing.
Duterte has also given the CPP-NPA leader and organizer, Jose Maria Sison, a free pass to return to the Philippines – the group was formed in 1968/1969 aimed at overthrowing the government through proactive guerrilla warfare.
Sison currently resides in the Netherlands where he has lives in exile – In September of 2007, the Netherlands government arrested Sison, but a judge ordered his release just a few days after.
Sison has managed to become a Dutch citizen during his exile.
The United States estimates that CPP-NPA members number less than 9,000 today, much lower than in had in the 1980’s – during that earlier time period, it was estimated to have upwards of 25,000 fighters.
Officials noted that NPA operates in all regions of the Philippines – though many associate the rebel group to just the Visayas and Mindanao. The NPA also have officials cells within Metro Manila, and other metropolitan cities throughout the Philippines.
In the past ten years the military has said that New People’s Army rebels were involved in 66 bombings, and 523 arson incidents. They have also been noted to have destroyed over 1.3 billion pesos worth of public and private infrastructure, and continue to do so on a daily basis.
One of the worst attacked regions in the past year has been Samar, even mimicking that of the Abu Sayyaf by beheading a local official. They are said to have killed an entire family as they slept in their home.
Military officials now say that the NPA ‘has lost its discipline, and has gone out of control.’
Extortion is noted as the main reason for classifying the NPA as a ‘terrorist organization,’ yet President-elect Rodrigo Duterte appeased the NPA, telling those who were extorted in Mindanao to “pay them” as if they deserved it.