Lorenzana says NPA anniversary only reminds Filipinos of ‘lives lost, suffering’

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana condemned the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), for its atrocities to the Filipino people as it marks its 53rd founding anniversary on Tuesday, March 29.

(File photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

For Lorenzana, the NPA has nothing to celebrate since their anniversary supposedly reminds the people of those who are killed and those who suffered as they fought the government for their wrong ideologies.

“Today, we are once again reminded of the lives lost and the suffering caused by the communist-terrorists, particularly their armed wing, the New People’s Army. Over the years, the NPA took pride in committing lawless activities such as extortion, destruction of civilian-owned properties, and undermining the government, all in the name of their so-called ideology,” Lorenzana said in a statement Monday, March 28.

The Defense Chief said he remains hopeful that the successor of President Duterte will sustain the gains of the government in its anti-communist insurgency campaign.

He said thousands of rebels have surrendered to the government through the inter-agency Task Force Balik-Loob (TFBL) and given socio-economic assistance packages under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) that helped them turn their lives and become productive members of the society.

According to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), a total of 1,417 NPA rebels and supporters have surrendered to the government from January 1 to March 17, 2022.

“We are filled with hope for a more progressive and developed Philippines... They have given their firearms in exchange for more peaceful tools of trade, and I am encouraged by the success stories of our former rebels,” Lorenzana said.

However, Lorenzana acknowledged that “there is more to be done” in the government’s anti-insurgency campaign so he hopes that the successor of President Duterte will continue the current administration’s gains.

“Even as we enjoy the dividends of peace, we continue our mission to secure our communities, encourage CPP-NPA members to avail of the E-CLIP, and finally put a stop to the decades-long communist armed conflicts in the country. It is our hope that whoever comes next will continue what we have started and sustain our peace initiatives,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, the NPA and the Central Committee of the CPP vowed to intensify their resistance to the “oppressive” government and advance their revolution.

“The broad masses of the Filipino people are being subjected to worsening forms of oppression and exploitation due to domestic and global factors. The sharp deterioration of the people’s conditions, rampant violations fo their democratic rights, and heightened campaign of postwar and disinformation are thoroughly exposing the rotten core of the ruling system,” they said in a statement.

“The are generating favorable conditions to arouse, organize, and mobilize the people in great numbers. As the crisis of the ruling system worsen, the progressive and positive class forces are increasingly receptive to revolutionary propaganda and action,” it added.