NPA transforms into terrorist group, says AFP

March 28, 2010 11:42 pm 

MANILA, March 28 – The Armed Forces of the Philippines said that the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA)has transitioned from a revolutionary movement to a terrorist organization as the NPA celebrates its 41st founding anniversary Monday..

This, according to AFP Civil Relations Service chief Brig. Gen. Francisco Cruz, is substantiated by the present illegal activities and the path of violence that the CPP-NPA continues to take.

“What the Filipino people qualify as terrorism, the New People’s Army celebrates as victories. It has tried to justify the excesses and violence of its aberrant members; but even the international community has recognized the enormous harm that the NPA has inflicted upon the innocent people,” said Cruz.

Records showed that for the last decade, there had been a total of 1,746 murders committed by the the CPP-NPA.

In 2009 alone, authorities documented 115 killing incidents perpetrated by the CPP-NPA, victimizing 117 individuals, 81 of whom were civilians and 31 were either members of the AFP, the Philippine National Police (PNP), or Civilian Active Auxiliary (CAA).

In Samar alone this year, the NPA was responsible for three brutal incidents. Most recent of which occurred on March 21 when the NPAs massacred a family in their sleep.

A few days before, Luis Durico, Brgy. Chairman of Brgy. Genaronagan, Lope de Vega, Northern Samar, was brutally murdered by a group of NPAs in front of his family; he was beheaded, and publicly displayed in the barangay center.

An unarmed farmer was also slain by NPAs in front of his family and children and his body was also publicly displayed in the barangay plaza of Barangay Madoroto in early February.

“Revolutionary groups usually attack government troops; but the NPAs proved indiscriminate in perpetrating violent acts. In truth, we find that they target more and more innocent and unarmed civilians, and silence the voices of those who complained and work against them. The NPA has lost its discipline and has gone out of control. It has become a loose organization without command and control.” said Cruz.

Cruz said that like the mafia, the NPA’s bread and butter is its extortion racket, a practice which has been slammed by the Commission on Human Rights. Cruz said the election is dubbed as the moneymaking season of the CPP-NPA wherein it compels political candidates to pay its permit-to-campaign (PTC) or permit-to-win (PTW) fees.

The CHR described this as “repugnant in all possible ways to valued human rights principles and standards…”

In a recent incident of NPA’s forcible imposition of PTC, members of the NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) burned two vehicles of Magpet, North Cotabato Mayor Florentino Villasor in Brgy. Basak in the same town on March 24.

Extortion money triggered fraud, corruption, and financial opportunism in the CPP-NPA. NPA leaders running off with party funds had been reported, specifically the cases of Southern Mindanao Regional Committee leaders Menandro Villanueva, Committee Secretary, who failed to remit collected PTCs to higher organs; and Vicente Taoy, Guerilla Front 2 Secretary who has also fled with extorted money.

Records also showed that the CPP-NPA caused the destruction of around P1.3-billion worth of both public and private infrastructures, equipment, public conveyances, telecommunication facilities, agricultural plantations, and others from year 2000 up to 2009.

The CPP-NPA has either set ablaze or bombed these targets. For the same period, there had been 66 bombing incidents, and 523 arson occurrences.

The most recent case of arson occurred in Brgy. Angas, San Josefa, Agusan del Sur on March 23, 2010 when NPAs torched an irrigation equipment, resulting to a P3-million worth of damaged property. The irrigation project is being undertaken by the National Irrigation Administration.

The CPP-NPA remains the biggest landmine user in the country, despite international prohibitions such as the Mine Ban Treaty, convened in Ottawa in 1997; and the International Humanitarian Law. AFP records show that from year 2002 to February 2010, 53 landmine incidents were perpetrated by the NPAs across the country, victimizing a total of 186 people, 34 of whom were civilians.

Children are also lured or coerced into joining the NPA to serve as their couriers, lookouts, scavengers, spies, combatants, and human shields. For the year 2009 alone, there were a total of 23 teenagers, the youngest being 12 and the oldest 19, neutralized by government troops as active combatants of the NPA.

From the 23, 14 voluntarily surrendered to government troops, eight were apprehended in actual operations and encounters; while one unfortunately died in an encounter. For the first quarter of this year, at least four other child combatants from North Cotabato, Quezon, Bulacan, and Compostela Valley were accounted.

“Aside from the killings, the manipulation of children is deemed the most repulsive of NPA’s atrocities. These children are trained to kill – with prejudice and with no moral limitation. We cannot imagine the physical dangers and the psychological toll that the NPA has forced unto our children. The continued denial of the CPP-NPA of this reality breeds a climate of impunity and brooks the practice leading to more incidents of abuses, rape and harassments, especially of their female members,” said Cruz.

The US State Department has previously declared the CPP-NPA as Foreign Terrorist Organization since August 2002; while the European Union included the CPP-NPA in its own FTO list in October 2002. This places the CPP-NPA at par/in the same category with notorious terrorist groups such as the Jemaah Islamiyah.

“Second only to the Abu Sayaff Group, the CPP-NPA organization serves as haven to the country’s most wanted criminals and crooks. Its ideological motivation has died away and replaced by selfish desire to obtain money,” he said.

“It is when the whole nation condemns and rejects the armed struggle of the CPP-NPA that we can effectively and categorically end its violence and terrorism, and the heavy toll it has inflicted upon our communities. Hence, we urge the Filipino people to support all actions against NPA violence and abuses, including convincing NPA members to lay down arms,” he said.(PNA) RMA/VR

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