The Daily Manila Shimbun


Military says NPAs reduced to “banditry and terrorism” as it marks 49 th year of struggle

March 28, 2017

The Philippine military said the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which is marking its 49th anniversary on Wednesday “has been relegated to pure banditry and terrorism as they continue to extort money from people or corporations that provide employment.”

Marine Col Edgard Arevalo, public information office chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said in a statement on Tuesday that the New Peoples’ Army “cannot stay in a community long enough without confronting military units responding to the people’s call reporting the former’s criminal activities in their community.”

The Philippines has been fighting the Communist insurgency for nearly 50 years, one of the longest conflicts in the world. Talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front, the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, have not reached a final peace agreement due to various disagreements over policy,  wordings and fighting.

Talks with the NDF resumed in August after a few years, with the Philippine government allowing the temporary release of CPP leaders who were consultants to the negotiating team.

The Philippine government lifted a unilateral ceasefire with the NPA on February 4 following an ambush by the NPA of three soldiers.

The military reported that 26 NPAs were killed while 21 were arrested. Sixteen soldiers were killed in action and four wounded in 64 encounters from February 4 to March 23.. Five soldiers are being held by the NPA, the military said.

Despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for the military and the police to use the full weight of their power against the NPAs, negotiators on both sides have been able to restart talks between the Philippine government and the NDF next month.

The aim is to produce a unilateral ceasefire, which would end the fighting, but the military and police have been reporting daily hostilities.

Arevalo said the military seeks “to defeat the NPAs, by force and by peace negotiations—but not necessarily in that order. DMS