Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Debold Sinas on Sunday said the surrender of nearly 3,000 communist terrorist personalities from January to November this year and major operational setbacks have weakened the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
BIG HAUL. The firearms, war materiel and subversive documents seized by troopers from the 3rd Special Forces Battalion of the Philippine Army after a one-hour encounter with New People’s Army members in a remote area of Sitio Paradise, Barangay Magsaysay, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur on Dec. 18, 2020. A rebel was killed during the gun battle. (Photo courtesy of 3SFBn)
Sinas said over the entire 11-month period, a total of 3,312 CPP-NPA members were accounted for, of which 366 were arrested; 117 died during the operations; and 2,829 surrendered during separate police operations.
On the very day of the 52nd founding anniversary of the CPP on Dec. 26, he said 35 communist fighters surrendered and renounced their membership with the CPP and its armed wing, NPA in Caraga and Eastern Visayas regions.
On the same day, two ranking CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front leaders, both wanted by the court to stand trial for kidnapping and murder, were captured in Quezon province.
From Dec. 18 to 26, Sinas said six CPP-NPA-NDF members were arrested, 108 surrendered and 45 assorted firearms and eight explosive devices were confiscated.
Sinas said the enactment of Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 on July 3 boosted “the opportunities for the PNP to fully end the local insurgency.”
He said the communist group was generally passive in terms of mounting offensive operations that could show its strength and relevance relative to the celebration of the CPP’s 52nd founding anniversary.
“This passive stance strongly supports the overall assessment that the CPP/NPA has been substantially weakened because of the sustained and intensified government efforts to end local communist armed conflict that resulted to significant losses of key CPP-NPA leaders, seasoned fighters and mass supporters,” he said.
Sinas said the PNP has enrolled 350 rebel returnees to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) and amnesty program, while 407 surrendered firearms were processed for grant of government benefits under E-CLIP.
Pursuant to Executive Order No. 70 creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), these rebel returnees are given the life-changing opportunity to lead normal lives with their families as free and empowered citizens, he said.
Sinas, however, said the PNP remains vigilant in ensuring that it is able to effectively neutralize the remaining strength and armed capabilities of the rebels.
“It is still likely that they will attempt to mount armed offensives, possibly through the use of improvised landmines to ensure casualties,” he said.
He said the recent formal tag by the Anti-Terrorism Council of the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization, is another significant setback to the underground local communist movement and its affiliate organizations. This means that CPP-NPA assets may now be subject to the Anti-Money Laundering Council’s authority to freeze pursuant to Section 11 of RA 10168 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act as provided under Section 25 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
“With more equipment and personnel for tactical police operations, including five newly-organized maneuver battalions of the PNP Special Action Force, the PNP is poised to hit harder on its assigned internal security tasks and specific target,” he said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (Christopher Lloyd Caliwan, PNA)