The Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) has designated the National Democratic Front (NDF) as a terrorist organization for supposedly continuing to lure and recruit people to join the New People's Army (NPA).
Based on ATC Resolution No. 2021 signed on June 23, 2021 and released on Monday, July 19, the ATC said it found probable cause warranting NDF's designation as a terrorist group.
"The ATC found probable cause warranting the designation of the NDF a.k.a. NDFP as a terrorist group of persons, organization, or association for having committed, or attempting to commit, or conspire in the commission of the acts defined and penalized under Sections, 7, 10, and 12 of the ATA," the five-page resolution read.
Sections 7, 10, and 12 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) refer to the conspiracy to commit terrorism, recruitment to and membership in a terrorist organization, and providing material support to terrorists.
The ATC said the NDF is organized, controlled, acting on behalf of or at the direction of, and operated by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), a designated terrorist organization under ATC Resolution No. 12 released last year.
The resolution further cited CPP founder Jose Maria Sison who identified the CPP/NPA as allied organizations of the NDF in his message for the NDF’s 48th anniversary in April 2021.
Sison's wife, Juliet De Lima-Sison, who was recently named as the Interim Chairperson of the NDF negotiating panel claimed in January 2021 that the CPP/NPA/NDF is not subject to the authority of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) as the CPP/NPA belong to the NDFP and not to the GRP.
The Sison couple were both designated as terrorists under ATC Resolution No. 17 released early this year.
In addition, ATC Resolution No. 21 cited an article posted on the CPP website in April 2021 that supposedly encouraged the NDF to continue to wage campaigns to support its armed operations in the form of material and financial contributions.
"Members of the NDF continue to lure and/or recruit people to join the NPA, while the CPP itself admitted and maintained, through public media releases as well as in CPP documents and revelations of former members, the direct and indispensable role of the NDF in its armed operations," the resolution read.
It furthered that the CPP/NPA continued to launch attacks, victimizing innocent civilians and destroying billions worth of public and private properties.
It cited data from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), saying that at least 1,506 terrorist activities had been committed by the NPA beginning 2010, including the abduction of 544 children who were forced and/or deceived to become child warriors – 304 of them boys and 240 girls.
President Duterte first scrapped the formal peace talks with communist rebels in November 2017 for their supposed insincerity in the negotiations.
However, in December 2019, he ordered Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to return to the Netherlands and talk to Sison as a last attempt at a peace deal with the communists.
Despite this, the President said last month the government's peace negotiations with the communist rebels were "dead on its tracks" as they asked too much from the government.
"It’s dead on its track. It’s --- it is in still waters," he said.
"Ayaw ko nang makipag-usap, eh. Eh, kasi arogante (I don't want to talk to them anymore, they're arrogant)," he added.