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CPP-NPA designated as terrorist group

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star
CPP-NPA designated as terrorist group
ATC Resolution 12, dated Dec. 9, said it finds probable cause that the CPP-NPA has committed or conspired to commit terrorist acts as prescribed by Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. The ATC is the main implementing body of RA 11479, passed earlier this year.
AFP / AC Dimatatac

MANILA, Philippines — The Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) has designated the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, as a terrorist organization.

ATC Resolution 12, dated Dec. 9, said it finds probable cause that the CPP-NPA has committed or conspired to commit terrorist acts as prescribed by Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. The ATC is the main implementing body of RA 11479, passed earlier this year.

Under the law, the ATC may designate an individual, groups of persons, orga­nization or association, be it domestic or foreign, as a terror group when the coun­cil finds probable cause that the group is commiting, attempting to or conspiring to engage in terrorist acts.

Groups tagged by the government as fronts of the CPP-NPA have expressed concern that they could also be classified as terrorist organizations by the NTC under RA 11479. There was no immedi­ate comment on this issue yesterday from security officials.

The ATC said in its resolution that the CPP and NPA were organized for the pur­pose of engaging in terrorism in its over five-decade long communist insurgency.

“For almost half a century, (they) have been and still are using acts of terror to sow and create a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace in order to overthrow the duly constituted authorities and seize control of the Philippine government through armed struggle,” the resolution read.

In 2018, the government through the Department of Justice (DOJ) had asked a Manila court to declare the CPP-NPA as a terrorist and outlawed organization.

The DOJ cited at least 12 incidents of what it said constituted terrorist acts, which included murder, kidnapping and arson.

President Duterte issued a proclama­tion in 2017 declaring the CPP-NPA as a communist organization under RA 10168 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppressing Act of 2012.

Other countries have likewise des­ignated the CPP-NPA as communist groups, including the United States, the European Union, Australia United King­dom and New Zealand.

7 NPAs killed

Yesterday, authorities in Sultan Kuda­rat said seven NPA rebels were killed as

military operations were launched to foil the convergence of about 200 guerrillas on Mount Lumuton in Palimbang town for the 52nd CPP anniversary.

Municipal Peace and Order Councils (MPOCs) in Sultan Kudarat’s adjoining towns of Palimbang, Kalamansig and Lebak confirmed the deaths of alleged NPA rebels Abner Sanchez, Marco Santos, Efren Lantip, Samuel Orinday, Ruben Alferez, Marcial Tenor and Jaime Zapata.

They were killed in separate encounters with troops from the Philippine Army’s 603rd Infantry Brigade who have been patrolling the areas surrounding Mount Lumuton in Palimbang the past three days.

Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the operation to drive the NPAs away was launched after villagers reported sight­ings of armed men proceeding to Mount Lumuton early this week from the upland towns in South Cotabato province and Senator Ninoy Aquino, Sultan Kudarat.

He said local officials hoisted the Philip­pine flag yesterday on a hill surrounded by rainforests where some 200 NPAs were con­verging to celebrate their anniversary today.

Uy said credit for the feat has to go partly to Col. Eduardo Gubat, com­mander of the 603rd Infantry Brigade, and his subordinate-battalion commanders.

Attack helicopters from the Tactical Operations Group 12 of the Philippine Air Force provided fire support to the commando-style offensive that forced the NPAs to disperse.

Ethnic Teduray farmers – Urbano Tandes and Tidew Saliling – separately reported that at least 11 NPA rebels were wounded in the encounters.

Kalamansig Vice Mayor Joaquin Con­cha said a band of rebels had killed a barangay kagawad and two others in an attack several weeks before.

“My office is open to NPAs wishing to return to the fold of law. We can help return them to their communities where they can peacefully thrive as peaceful residents,” Concha said.

Abdulsatar Badruddin, executive secretary of the municipal mayor of Palimbang, said their barangay lead­ers, among them members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, are supporting the military’s anti-NPA campaign.

‘Denounce NPA’

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana urged all Filipinos to denounce the CPP-NPA  for leaving a trail of death and destruction and its “total failure” in supplanting the country’s democratic government.

“They have no reason to celebrate. In fact, they should be ashamed of what they have done to the Filipino people,” Lorenzana said in a statement.

The defense chief said it is not too late for CPP-NPA members to abandon their armed struggle and instead work with the government for the nation’s welfare.

“It is time for this long-running insurgency to end. It is time for the nation to come together and move forward as one,” he said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) noted that the CPP-NPA is already in crisis following a se­ries of setbacks forced by the military, whose ground operations have captured or killed a number of rebels.

Gen. Gilbert Gapay, AFP chief, said about 10 guer­rilla fronts of the CPP-NPA have been dismantled by the military this year alone. –  John Unson, Michael Punongbayan, Jose Rodel Clapano

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