Reds order escalated attacks, but military says it’s ready

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) ordered its armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA), to escalate attacks on government forces and other targets nationwide.

In a statement issued on Wednesday (Oct.15), the CPP said the heightened offensives were aimed at bringing about the downfall of President Rodrigo Duterte and his “tyrannical regime.”

The offensives, according to the CPP, also aim to draw the attention of the police and military “away from the suppression of the democratic movement.”

The CPP further directed its revolutionary forces “to frustrate” the expansion of Chinese companies involved “in the plunder and destruction of Philippine marine resources in the West Philippine Sea in violation of Philippine sovereignty.”

It said the same Chinese companies are posturing for some big-ticket infrastructure projects in the country.

Amid the threat, the military said the CPP’s order for greater attacks did not come as a surprise.

“We are expecting the NPA to step up its offensives since our units have already entered their bases,” said Maj. Rodulfo Cordero Jr., spokesperson of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID).

The 4ID covers the provinces of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental, and the Caraga region where recent clashes occurred between government troops and NPA guerrillas.

“Whatever it is (that) they are planning, we are ready to counter their atrocities. We have enough forces,” Cordero added, although he noted that the rebels have also resorted to attacking civilians and their communities.

The CPP said since August, the NPA has mounted 36 offensives in various parts of Mindanao, Eastern Visayas, Negros, Panay, Bicol, Southern Tagalog and Cagayan Valley.

These attacks, the group claimed, indicated that the government’s goal of ending the communist insurgency before Duterte’s term ended will fail as the NPA continued to enjoy the support of the masses in the countryside.

The CPP, however, admitted that the NPA “does not yet have the strength to overthrow the ruling system.”

But Cordero said the communist movement is running out of resources and its fighters are going hungry as support from the masses and businesses, through so-called revolutionary taxes, had dwindled.

He said the capability of the NPA has been narrowed to dispersing into small groups and disrupting military operations by launching scattered attacks “to project their presence.”

“They have committed atrocities. Their acts are no longer for the^people,” Cordero added.