As expected, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Cirilito Sobejana backed the designation of 29 individuals by the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) as terrorists, as provided for by the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020.
“The AFP supports the Anti-Terrorism Council’s Resolution Nos. 16 and 17 which designate 10 local terrorist group individuals and 19 CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army) members as terrorists,” Sobejana said in a statement Thursday, May 13.
“The military organization further conveys its full confidence to the ATC’s decision which was carried out based on verified and validated information,” Sobejana said, quoting a commom salient point of the two resolutions.
Signing the resolutions was National Security Adviser and ATC Vice Chairman Hermogenes Esperon Jr..
Resolution No. 16, which was dated February 24, 2021, listed the names of the 10 local terrorist group members. Meanwhile, the names of the 19 CPP-NPA members can be found on Resolution No. 17, signed on April 17, 2021.
“With this new development, we will be able to protect further our citizens from terrorist acts by closely working together with government law enforcement agencies and focusing our resources to bring the mentioned personalities to justice,” Sobejana said.
The AFP top brass further said he feels “optimistic that the ATC’s resolution will continue to empower government, under the rule of law, to eradicate terrorism in our country, and maintain a peaceful and progressive nation for every Filipinos”.
Perhaps the most famous personality from either list is Jose Maria “Joma” Sison, who is the founder of CPP. Sison–President Duterte’s former college professor and one-time friend–is in self-exile in the Netherlands.
There is certainly no love lost between the AFP and the CPP, whose military wing, the NPA, has engaged government forces in a bloody insurgency that has lasted over 50 years.