The New People's Army (NPA) marked its 54th founding anniversary on Wednesday, March 29.
Col. Medel Aguilar, AFP spokesperson, urged the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to disband its armed group, the NPA, if it wants to "survive."
Photo: Troops of Army’s 23rd Infantry Battalion (23rd IB) discovered bomb components buried by New People’s Army (NPA) in the hinterland area of Barangay Maasin, in Esperanza town, Agusan del Sur province. (Courtesy of Philippine Army / Manila Bulletin)
AFP urges CPP: Disband NPA now
At a glance
If the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) wants to “survive,” it should consider abandoning their armed struggle which has been ongoing for more than five decades already and disband their armed group, the New People’s Army (NPA).
This was the advice given by Col. Medel Aguilar, AFP spokesperson, to the CPP on the occasion of the 54th founding anniversary of the NPA on Wednesday, March 29. This was also the first time that the NPA marked their anniversary since the passing of CPP founder Jose Ma. “Joma” Sison in December last year.
“The CPP, if it wants to survive, has to abandon armed struggle, disband the NPA, and submit to the will of the Filipino people,” Aguilar said.
The military official said that communist insurgency “is near its end” as the CPP-NPA only have a “few remaining hardcores and deceived supporters.”
“The Communist Party of the Philippines could hardly find a reason to celebrate the 54th founding anniversary of the New People’s Army. Let us pray that there will be no more 55th,” Aguilar stated.
On the other hand, the CPP Central Committee reaffirmed their “commitment to fight and end the US imperialist rule and attain genuine freedom and democracy” as it marked the anniversary of the NPA.
“The NPA is the most powerful weapon of the Party for waging the people’s democratic revolution. It carries out protracted people’s war along the strategic line of encircling the cities from the countryside,” it said in a statement published on its website, Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC).
“The NPA faces heavier and greater tasks ahead. We need to surmount and defeat the intensified campaigns of encirclement and armed suppression being carried out by the US puppet army. We must continue to accumulate strength by smashing the AFP part by part in order to bring the people’s war from its current level to the next higher level,” it added.
But for Aguilar, fighting the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will only make the lives of the communist rebels harder.
This year alone, Aguilar said that the AFP has already “neutralized” 189 communist rebels: 26 died in operations, 22 were arrested, and 141 surrendered to authorities.
Meanwhile, 606 communist supporters also “withdrew their membership” from different underground mass organizations established by the CPP-NPA while 206 firearms have been recovered from them, he added.
He said the total number of the remaining CPP-NPA guerilla fronts (GFs) was reduced to 21 from 89 in 2016. He estimated that the CPP-NPA’s strength based on their active members was also reduced to “more or less 2,000.” He said they also have 1,817 firearms as they operate in 409 remaining conflict-affected areas, mostly in Negros and Samar provinces.
Of the remaining 21 GFs, Aguilar said three are still “active” which means they can still operate while 18 others are considered “weakened” since their leaders or most of their members have already been neutralized.
“The most difficult challenge and a bitter pill to swallow is the realization of the CPP of its relevance in the life of the Filipino people,” Aguilar said.