CPP says UN does not categorize PH Reds as terrorists
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the political arm of the communist rebel movement, insisted it was not a terrorist group nor has the United Nations (UN) declared it as such.
In a statement, Marco Valbuena, CPP information officer, said the party and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), have never been involved in terrorist acts, contrary to what the government “repeatedly insinuates.”
The CPP, through the National Democratic Front (NDF), and the government have been in on-and-off talks for a political settlement to more than 50 years of rebellion anchored on mainly agrarian unrest in the countryside. NDF is the umbrella organization of underground groups supporting the CPP-NPA.
At the start of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, prospects for peace appeared rosy until enmity grew between communist rebel leaders and the former mayor who had won the trust of rebels in Davao and had been tapped several times as negotiator for the release of rebel captives.
Duterte as President has repeatedly declared he was shutting the door to peace talks with communist rebels.
On Dec. 5, 2017, he issued Proclamation No. 374 declaring the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations under Republic Act No. 10168 or the Terrorist Financing Prevention and Suppression Act.
Duterte mainly cited a 2002 decision by the United States government, upon prodding by the administration of then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to categorize CPP and NPA as foreign terrorist groups.
“The CPP and NPA are revolutionary organizations that uphold and pursue the Filipino people’s aspiration for national freedom and social justice,” Valbuena said.
“Terrorism is anathema to the revolutionary principles of the CPP,” he added.
“As a matter of fact, the United Nations Security Council Consolidated List does not include the CPP nor the NPA,” according to Valbuena.
The UN list of terrorist organizations included only three Philippine-based groups—Jemaah Islamiyah, Abu Sayyaf and Rajah Solaiman Group, which have alliances or contacts with international terror networks like Al Qaeda and Islamic State.
At least 13 individuals affiliated to any of these three groups had also been put on the UN list.
“It should be pointed out that the CPP and NPA are also not included in the most recent updated list of ‘designated terrorists’ of Australia, Canada or the United Kingdom,” Valbuena said.
Aside from local affiliates of Islamic State, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, a former military general, recently said that the communist rebels are also among the targets of the government’s anti-terrorism drive, boosted by Duterte’s signing of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
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