NPA turns 53

·3 min read
BICOL REGION, PHILIPPINES - DECEMBER 12: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been shot in black and white. Colour version not available.) NPA guerilla fighters march in formation inside a stronghold on December 12, 2018 in a remote village in the Bicol region, Philippines. Backed by a formidable guerrilla army, the communist movement in the country led by the Communist Party of the Philippines will mark its 50th year anniversary on December 26. The movement rose in 1969 to fight against US military and economic control and to topple an oppressive dictator through a protracted war, the CPP and the New People's Army has been waging one of the longest armed insurgencies in Asia. The armed insurgency reached its peak with more than 25,000 fighters during the height of the Marcos government atrocities and Cory Aquinos total war campaign in the 1980s.
FILE PHOTO: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been shot in black and white. Colour version not available.) NPA guerilla fighters march in formation inside a stronghold on December 12, 2018 in a remote village in the Bicol region, Philippines. Backed by a formidable guerrilla army, the communist movement in the country led by the Communist Party of the Philippines will mark its 50th year anniversary on December 26. (Photo by Jes Aznar/Getty Images)

The New People’s Army (NPA), the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) armed wing, is celebrating its 53rd anniversary Tuesday (March 29).

CPP issued a statement of salutation for the group, and called for its strengthening, expansion, and advancement of the “people’s war” in the countryside.

According to the CPP, the oppression and exploitation of Filipinos are pushing people to support the revolution.

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

They added, “As the crisis of the ruling system worsen[s], the progressive and positive class forces are increasingly receptive to revolutionary propaganda and action.”

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana sought to diminish the NPA's anniversary, saying it means nothing but lives lost and suffering due to its meaningless cause.

"We are once again reminded of the lives lost and the suffering caused by the Communist Terrorists, particularly their armed wing, the NPA. 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.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) says that they are set to defeat the NPA by the time President Rodrigo Duterte leaves office.

“We have a very good strategy. It is really working, we see how effective it is. We have here a strategy that works,” AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Jose C. Faustino Jr. said in October 2021.

CPP says otherwise, however, and even claims that they have “frustrated Duterte” in their methods.

“The preservation and successes of the NPA in most guerrilla fronts, however, continue to prove the political superiority of the people’s war against the enemy’s war against the people,” CPP said.

Duterte has also urged the NPA to surrender numerous times. Last January, he told the military to accompany and “support rebel surrenderees.” He repeated his call in March during an event in Leyte.

But the rebel group remains adamant in continuing the armed struggle.

“Despite experiencing some setbacks, the NPA remains ever determined to advance the Filipino people’s revolutionary armed struggle,” CPP said. “The determination of the NPA Red fighters and the masses to resist is based on the correctness and justness of waging armed resistance.”

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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