DND, AFP confident CPP will be defeated by end of Duterte's term

Published December 25, 2021, 3:47 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The once influential Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is supposedly slowly fading into irrelevance due to the whole-of-nation (WON) approach of the government in addressing communist insurgency.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (Photo courtesy of Department of National Defense)

The Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) made similar declarations on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, ahead of the CPP’s 53rd founding anniversary, as the two agencies expressed confidence that the communist group will be defeated by the end of President Duterte’s term in 2022.

“As we celebrate the Christmas season, we are also reminded of the national cancer that continues to ravage our country – the Communist Party of the Philippines. For more than five decades, the CPP has brought nothing but misery, loss of lives, destruction of property, and denial of a bright future for many Filipinos,” DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement.

But the Defense Chief said the CPP’s “long years of futile resistance” should be “more than enough for them to realize that they will never succeed in forcing their unchristian ideology and communist principle on our people.”

“The influence of the CPP will continue to diminish as the government implements a whole-of-nation (WON) approach, where the people themselves are in the forefront of the fight,” he said.

The so-called WON approach was launched by Duterte in December 2018 when he created the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) with the ultimate goal of ending the country’s insurgency problem before he steps down from office in 2022.

Lorenzana said that goal is now within reach.

“Since the WON was started in 2018, we saw the flood of surrenderees and capture or killing of ranking NPA cadres. At last the people are fed up and are rising up against them,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Andres Centino, AFP Chief of Staff, said the CPP suffered an “irreversible” damage this year as government troops “continued to gain tactical and strategic victories” against the enemies.

Centino said several ranking leaders of the CPP were “neutralized” or killed in various military operations. Perhaps most prominent of them was Jorge Madlos alias “Ka Oris,” commander and spokesperson of New People’s Army (NPA) National Operations Command, who died in a firefight in Bukidnon on Oct. 31.

Centino also said that 21 guerilla fronts were dismantled while 14 others were “weakened” by the military this year. It also cleared 340 conflict-affected barangays and confiscated 579 unexploded anti-personnel mines in anti-communist operations.

“The CPP has nothing to celebrate on its December 26 anniversary. The year 2021 was the most successful period in our fight against insurgency,” Centino noted.

Lorenzana then urged members of the remaining communist groups to lay down their arms and return to the fold of the law.

“The government has offered benefits for those laying down their arms and rejoining society. Tens of thousands have availed of this offer,” Lorenzana said.

“We call upon those still in the hills to also take up this offer. Come down for the sake of your families. Together we shall work to make our country peaceful and prosperous,” he concluded.

The CPP was founded by communist leader Jose Ma. Sison on Dec. 26, 1868.