The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has dismissed claims that more than 4,000 of its rebels have surrendered this year as a “complete hoax”.
In a statement on its website, it also described the claim by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that 4,356 the Philippines (AFP) that there more than 4,000 New People’s Army (NPA) members and sympathizers had run up the red flag were “beyond credible propaganda”.
The CPP said that the AFP “must end” its practice of “red-tagging and making people pose as NPA members in violation of their rights”.
“Such practice endangers the lives of people by deliberately blurring the lines between armed combatants and civilians,” the CPP’s statement said.
“Deceiving and forcing people to pose as NPA surrenderees. To come up with big numbers, the AFP employs deception, threats and violence to force people pose as surrenderees.
“Under pain of being accused of NPA supporters, and for fear of being subjected to Marawi-like bombardment, civilians are compelled to ‘cooperate’ with the ‘surrender’ shows of the AFP.”
As we reported on Thursday (March 22), Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a television interview that more than 4,000 NPA regulars and supporters had surrendered so far this year.
While the CPP admitted that there were “one or several who have surrendered,” it said that “99 per cent of the 4,000 NPA surrenderees are actually civilian residents of barrios which the AFP insists are part of the NPA’s mass base”.
“Over the past few months, Duterte himself and the entire military and defence establishment have spent hundreds of millions of pesos to stage Malacañang dinners with the president, tours around Luneta and other cheap gimmickry,” the CPP said.
“The bigger portion of the monies, of course, line-up the pockets of AFP field officials. According to our sources, funds from Duterte’s discretionary and intelligence funds are automatically downloaded to the ATM accounts of brigade and battalion commanders depending on the number of ‘NPA surrenderees’ they report. Thus, military field units are in a frenzy of conducting psy-war operations to hold ‘surrender activities’.”
President Duterte has recently hosted former NPA members at the Malacañang presidential palace where he promised to provide financial assistance, education, training and integration to the Armed Forces. He also pledged to take female former communist militants to Hong Kong to show them the achievements of capitalism.