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Anti-Terrorism Council redesignates CPP-NPA as terror group

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Anti-Terrorism Council redesignates CPP-NPA as terror group
Under the implementing rules and regulations of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the ATC shall conduct a review every three years to determine if the basis for designation as terrorist still exists.
Interaksyon / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) has maintained the terrorist designations of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as well as the Islamic State East Asia (ISEA) and other Daesh-linked groups and has tagged an individual linked to various activities of communist rebels as a terrorist.

The council’s decisions are contained in separate resolutions issued last December but uploaded to the Official Gazette only last April 17.

Under the implementing rules and regulations of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the ATC shall conduct a review every three years to determine if the basis for designation as terrorist still exists.

Through Resolution 54 approved last Dec. 6, the council decided to keep the designation of the CPP-NPA.

“After careful review of the verified and validated information, sworn statements and other pieces of evidence gathered by different Philippine law enforcement agencies, the ATC determined that the basis for designation still exists, this warranting the continued designation of the CPP-NPA,” the resolution read.

The council cited the killing of national football athlete Keith Absalon, who died in a roadside explosion caused by an improvised explosive device, the attacks in Masbate, and several pending cases filed against CPP-NPA members.

The ATC designated the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization through Resolution No. 12 issued on Dec. 9, 2020.

The resolution retaining the terrorist designation of the CPP-NPA was issued days after the Marcos administration and the National Democratic Front, the political wing of the communists, agreed to a “principled and peaceful resolution” to the conflict in a joint statement released on Nov. 23 and signed in Oslo, Norway.

ATC Resolution 55, meanwhile, retained the terrorist designation of ISEA and other Daesh-linked or associated groups in the Philippines.

“After careful review of the verified and validated information, sworn statements and other pieces of evidence gathered by different Philippine law enforcement agencies, the ATC found probable cause for the continued designation of the ISEA and other Daesh-linked or associated groups in the Philippines,” it read.

The groups tied to Daesh include the Abu Sayyaf, Maute, Maguid, Turaifie and Hassan groups, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and their variant names.

The council cited the groups’ “continued involvement in terrorist activities,” including the twin suicide bombings in Jolo, Sulu in August 2020 that left 15 people dead and 77 others wounded; the occupation of the Datu Paglas town market in May 2021 and the bombing of the National Grid Corp. transmission towers in Maguing, Lanao del Sur in December 2021 and Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte in October 2022 and September 2023.

The resolution said ISEA has no controlled territory but is regarded as a Daesh province in Southeast Asia that seeks to establish an Islamic State in the region.

The council also designated a CPP-NPA Central Committee member identified as  Elizabeth Pineda Principe as a terrorist through Resolution No. 53.

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