16 groups linked to NDFP tagged as ‘terrorists’
MANILA, Philippines — The Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) has designated as “terrorists” 16 underground groups, including the 57-year-old militant youth organization Kabataang Makabayan (KM), which were linked to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) by its founding chair Jose Maria Sison who identified them as allies in a 2021 video.
The designation was stated in ATC Resolution No. 28 on Jan. 26 but made public only on Tuesday on the council’s website. The resolution was signed by National Security Adviser and ATC Vice Chair Hermogenes Esperon Jr.
The designation, among other sanctions, would place the financial assets and properties of the 16 organizations under investigation leading to a freeze by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), which took such action on the same day that the ATC publicly disclosed its resolution.
The AMLC said that individuals and organizations that deal directly or indirectly with these groups would be subjected to sanctions under the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.
In addition to KM, also designated as terrorist organizations were the Revolutionary Council of Trade Unions, Katipunan ng mga Samahang Manggagawa (Federation of Labor Organizations), Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid (National Association of Peasants), Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (Patriotic Movement of New Women), Katipunan ng Gurong Makabayan (Association of Patriotic Teachers) and Makabayang Samahang Pangkalusugan (Patriotic Health Association).
Also labeled by the ATC as terrorist groups were: the Liga ng Agham para sa Bayan (League of Scientists for the People); Lupon ng mga Manananggol para sa Bayan (Committee of Lawyers for the People); Artista at Manunulat ng Sambayanan (Artists and Writers for the People); Makabayang Kawaning Pilipino (Patriotic Government Employees); Revolutionary Organization of Overseas Filipinos and their Families; Christians for National Liberation; Cordillera People’s Democratic Front; Moro Resistance Liberation Organization; and the Revolutionary Organization of Lumads.
ATC noted that Sison, who had been “a designated terrorist individual” under ATC Resolution No. 17 in 2021—in his keynote speech on the 48th founding anniversary of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)—identified these underground organizations, along with the CPP and New People’s Army (NPA).
The NDFP, which represented the communist rebels in aborted peace talks with the Duterte administration, has publicly identified the 16, as well as the CPP and the NPA, as its member organizations.
The resolution pointed out that the terrorist designation of the 16 organizations was “based on verified and validated information as well as testimonial and documentary evidence” which established that they were organized to “commit or attempt to commit or conspire in the commission” of terrorism.
CPP spokesperson Marco Valbuena condemned the move.
In a statement on the CPP website, he said the terrorist designation was “arbitrary and baseless” and that it was “part of preparations to steal the upcoming May elections.” He did not explain how this could be done.
Valbuena maintained that the groups were “patriotic and democratic and have long been fighting for the rights and interests of their represented sectors.”
“By remaining underground, these organizations have successfully avoided the acts of suppression of the reactionary state. Their members, numbering in the tens of thousands, are incognito and unidentifiable,” he said.
He said that the ATC would use the resolution as a blanket authority to “clamp down on social activists.”
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