For the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the National People’s Army, strategic positioning is key to spreading influence from the organization’s core to the grassroots level in light of the great reduction in the size of their armed wing.
NPA tactics of dispersal, concentration, and shifting can be viewed from two perspectives: in line with their activities or ideological, political, and organizational (IPO) efforts as well as about that of their perceived enemy, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
To conduct extortion and other malign activities, NPA territorial platoons break up into squads to cover the area of the platoon within the guerrilla zone with each squad having an assigned number of 10 barrios at an average.
The Sentro de Grabidad (SDG), which serves as a rallying point of all other NPA units engaged in military or mass works in the guerrilla front, disperses with its squads only deployed in a shorter distance from a relative center conducting the same activities.
Both platoons consolidate during conferences, training, and assessment exercises. Shifting is done when a platoon transfers to a different area within the same guerrilla front (GF) or to a different front to participate in a new mission or for a more specific reason, like augmenting the forces of the neighboring GF.
The NPA has also been externally linked with Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) where financial aid is being used to entice both members of the Lumad ethnicity and others to join.
Yunit Milisyang Bayan (YMBs), a highly acclaimed foothold of NPA, has driven a lot of Lumads to take part in the revolution from the ground. As an organized group, they are being armed by NPA themselves to become rogue members of NPA units.
For instance, Surigao’s ALCADEV (Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural Development) secures foreign funding from Europe for a hidden agenda—instilling the belief that the government cannot help them, the only groups that can are CPP cadres disguised as teachers, management committees, and even politicians.
As usual, with the support of legal fronts, the issue of confronting this is uphill in the process because of the protection and bias of various interest groups in favor of NPA including the Makabayan bloc—Bayan, Anakbayan, Karapatan, Anakpawis, Act Teachers, Gabriela, and other related groups.
In the aftermath of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte‘s 2017 State of the Nation Address (SONA), the CPP-NPA exploited the President’s controversial statement that Lumad schools were being run and manipulated by CPP-NPA.
According to Armed Forces of the Philippines’ official website, the CPP-NPA employed an institutionalized self-imposed ‘Taktikang Bakwit’ as a well-versed orchestra of rhetoric directed at the President.
The front organizations composing the Makabayan Bloc have stepped up their attacks against the President and his administration. They also fielded candidates for Senator during the midterm election but not one made it.
Their most visible Senatorial bet Neri Colmenares, didn’t even come close to the top 12. The President’s urging the electorate not to vote for the Makabayan Bloc party-list groups had been moderately successful as the number of seats they won was reduced.
The Task Force to End All Local Communist Armed Conflict has been formed by the President with the goal of ending the insurgency by the time he steps down in 2022.