The New People’s Army has managed to build up its ranks despite government’s operations and is present in nearly all of the provinces of the country, Communist founder Jose Maria Sison said, even as the military reported the surrender of 54 rebels and their supporters in Central and Southern Luzon.
Sison’s projection of the rebel group’s strength was made on the occasion of the 51st founding anniversary of the NPA on Sunday. He issued the statement three days after the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)declared a cease-fire with the government following the call of the United Nations for warring groups around the world to stop their operations and joined in the effort to combat coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-29).
“It [NPA] has thousands of Red fighters well-trained and battle-tested in more than 100 guerilla fronts in 73 provinces out of the 81 Philippine provinces,” Sison said. “It coordinates with the people’s militia and the self-defense units of mass organizations as auxiliary and reserve forces.”
Sison, also the chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, said the NPA, which is the CPP’s armed wing, is determined to build the “revolutionary bases and accumulate armed political strength” until it can seize cities of the country.
According to the communist leader, the rebels were able to carry out last year at least 710 “big and small” military actions against the government wherein at least 651 “enemy troops” were killed and more than 466 were wounded, both casualties of which, were equivalent to “around 30 platoons or two battalions” of soldiers.
The actions were in the form of “ambus-cades and raids” of military detachments, “harassments, disarming, demolition, sapper and partisan operations and punitive actions.”
“The people’s war is now in the process of moving from the middle to the advanced phase of the strategic defensive,” Sison said. “The NPA can win tactical offensives in order to further increase its arms and debilitate its enemy… all the guerilla fronts can be directed to carry out a monthly minimum quota of annihilative battles to increase arms.”
He further claims the NPA has 14 regional commands under its national operational command and conduct movement and maneuvers “freely” in more than 80 percent of the country’s areas as it carries intensive and extensive guerilla warfare on a deepening mass base.
“In every guerilla front, one third of the NPA is relatively concentrated and ever ready for waging battles that it can win. Two-thirds are relatively dispersed for mass work,” Sison said.
Malacañang condemned the “treachery” of communist rebels for attacking government soldiers in Rizal last Saturday.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Salvador S. Panelo said the incident exposed the “insincerity” of the NPA in supporting the government efforts against Covid-19.
Panelo said the incident endangered not only members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) but also of the community in the area.
The attack killed a solider and injured two others. The incident occurred after the observance of a cease-fire that was supposed to lapse on April 15, two days after the lifting of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine on April 13, 2020.
Panelo assured the AFP will be ready to continue repulsing more of its attacks from the NPA for the duration of the quarantine.
“Let this be a warning to the enemies of the state that the constituted authorities are equipped and ready to repel any and all transgressions of law and crush any armed attack against our soldiers and civilians with ferocity and might,” Panelo said.
The Federation of Free Workers (FFW) lamented the apparent short-lived truce between the government the NPA.
Despite the attack, FFW President Sonny Matula appealed to both parties to reconsider more clashes, especially for the duration of the Covid crisis.
“If we may be allow to suggest, FFW urges both parties instead of killing each other and buying arms and bullets—to use their funds to save lives and, at the same time, refocus efforts and resources to save more civilians and non-combatants in the fight against the coronavirus disease,” Matula said in a statement.
Rene Acosta and Sam Medenilla