Government sees end of CPP-NPA in 2 years

Michael Punongbayan - The Philippine Star
Government sees end of CPP-NPA in 2 years
This undated file photo shows a flag bearing the logo of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Philstar.com / Fle

MANILA, Philippines — The government now considers the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), as a dying threat that will finally end in the next two years under the Marcos administration.

With the confirmed death of top communist leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon in August and Jose Maria Sison in December as well as the recent arrest of Eric Casilao in Malaysia, the National Security Council (NSC) believes that total victory against the insurgency is at hand.

With the CPP-NPA allegedly now at its weakest, the government is rejecting any idea of reviving the peace talks and is instead pushing for an amnesty law that will give remaining communist fighters and supporters more reasons to lay down their arms and live peaceful lives.

“It is in a dying stage now based on the latest data we have, which showed that of the 89 guerrilla fronts of the CPP-NPA, 67 have been dismantled since 2018. In 2018, four; 2019, 13; 2020, 10; 2021, 21 and 2022, 19,” NSC assistant director general Jonathan Malaya said in an interview with One News’ The Chiefs aired over Cigal TV/TV5 on Monday night.

Malaya said there are currently 22 guerrilla fronts nationwide left, including 18 that have been severely weakened by the intensified operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the combined efforts of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

“We only have four active guerrilla fronts in the country. Essentially we are in a good place. The military considers that we are at a strategic victory level and hopefully in the next two years, we will have total victory against the CPP-NPA,” Malaya said.

Noting similar claims in previous years that the country’s insurgency problem is soon coming to an end, Malaya said the difference now is the whole-of-government approach or whole-of-nation approach started by the Duterte administration, which President Marcos adopted and continued to implement.

He said during the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the approach was that the CPP-NPA or the communist terrorist group problem is a military or police matter.

“Through the NTF-ELCAC, there is this understanding that it has to be a whole-of-nation approach. It cannot be solved merely by a military solution. You need the support of other government agencies to develop rebel-controlled barangays. Because the problem is, when the military comes in, they clear the barangay and move on to the next without pursuing development in these areas. And because of that, the NPA just keeps coming back,” he said.

“The other problem is, we were not doing anything about recruitment because they continue to recruit in urban areas. And now that we are doing something about it, they are facing less and less, they are recruiting less and less people to the mountains,” he added.

Malaya said the CPP-NPA problem should be handled through a multi-faceted approach, wherein focused military operations have so far resulted in the dismantling of 67 of 89 guerrilla fronts with 3,340 NPA-controlled barangays now cleared and with only 409 remaining under the influence of the rebels.

“This is the first time that we reached that stage – 409 remaining barangays and the estimated armed strength of the NPA is now down to around 2,000 members in 22 guerrilla fronts all over the country… and also the widespread loss of support coming from many parts of the country. Seventy-nine percent of the LGUs have denounced the CPP-NPA,” he said, referring to local government units.

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