AFP says ‘suffering’ from communist rebellion ‘must end now’ as CPP celebrates 54th anniversary

Published December 26, 2022, 1:42 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said that the country’s suffering from communist insurgency “must end now” even as the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) vowed to further grow its influence when it celebrated its 54th founding anniversary on Monday, Dec. 26.

FLAG BURNING – The flag of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA) is burned during the massive surrender of NPA militia members in Iloilo. (3rd ID photo)

The CPP has waged a communist rebellion against the government for more than five decades already, which is dubbed as the longest-running insurgency in Asia.

While the CPP recently lost its founder, Jose Ma. “Joma” Sison, they have also “lost its relevance” in recent years what with the dwindling support from the mass, according to AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar. Sison died while on a self-imposed exile in Utrecht, the Netherlands on Dec. 16.

“Fifty-four years after it was founded, the underground movement never achieved anything significant to get closer to its goal, violent overthrow of the government, seizure of political power, and overhaul of the political system,” Aguilar emphasized.

“To think that they can still achieve their objective is insanity. To insist and continue to exist is selfishness and insensitiveness to the call of the people for peace and unity,” he added. “Indeed, 54 years is more than enough. The country’ suffering must end now.”

On Monday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) presented 55 alleged members of the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City after they surrendered to government troops.

According to Aguilar, the CPP has been losing support from the public which was evident with the mass surrender of its members. He said the underground movement (UGM) of CPP was also left with 23 guerilla fronts (GFs), of which, 18 were already “weakened” while five others continue to operate but are now the subject of focused military operations.

On the other hand, the CPP has a different data as it said that it has established 110 GFs across the country and built “thousands of local mass organizations.”

Numbers war

The apparent disconnect in the data between the AFP and CPP only proves that there exists a “breakdown” in the communication lines of the communist group, according to the AFP.

“There is a breakdown in the communication lines between the CPP Central Committee and its subordinate organs and armed group (NPA),” Aguilar said.

“The death of its founding chair, ‘teacher and guiding light,’ leaves the UGM with no sense of purpose and direction,” he noted.

Aguilar added that there was also a leadership vacuum in the CPP as some of their high-ranking leaders were already killed including Julius Giron, alleged leader of CPP’s National Military Commission who died in an operation in Baguio City in March 2020; Menandro Villanueva, alleged NPA leader who died in an encounter in Davao de Oro in January 2022; and Jorge Madlos, alleged commander of NPA and spokesperson of NPA’s national operations command who perished in a military operation in October 2021 in Impasugong, Bukidnon.

‘Psywar, disinformation’

For the CPP, the AFP’s declaration of strategic victory over the communist group was nothing but a “psywar” and “brazen disinformation” they implement along with the country’s primary anti-communist task force, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

“The AFP and the NTF-ELCAC engage in relentless psywar operations and brazen disinformation combined with the use of armed might. It constantly feed the public with false information. Anyone who does not conform with their ideas or refuses to echo their lies are branded as terrorists or supporters of terrorism,” the CPP said in its anniversary message.

The CPP said that it will be relentless in building more of its “branches” across the country in honor of the deceased Sison and to sustain the party’s protracted people’s war.