On NPA’s 53rd anniversary: CPP calls for ‘intensified recruitment’
MANILA, Philippines — The 53rd founding anniversary of one of the world’s longest-standing communist armed groups on Tuesday, March 29, have prompted calls from two sides of the conflict, who may be diametrically opposed in their cause but similar in objectives: to win hearts and minds of the people.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Tuesday ordered the members of its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA) to intensify their recruitment, while the government renewed its appeal to the combatants to surrender their arms.
In a 20-page anniversary message, the CPP said the NPA should muster its strength “militarily and politically.”
“There must be a clear plan to recruit thousands upon thousands of Red fighters from among the peasant masses, especially the youth,” the CPP said in a statement.
The CPP also said that the NPA should “systematically proselytize” among government forces: “We must effectively carry out propaganda addressed specifically to the rank and file foot soldiers of the enemy who are usually used as cannon fodder in the enemy’s brutal counterinsurgency operations.”
The government’s Task Force Balik-Loob, on the other hand, encouraged Maoist rebels to surrender to the government’s side as the group celebrated what they call the “day of infamy.”
“We understand that these rebels are also victims of the damaging propaganda,” the task force chairman Reynaldo Mapugo said in a statement.
Mapugo added: “We take this opportunity to encourage the remaining active members to turn their backs on the NPA’s life of violence and hardship, and return to their families.”
The government is always ready to assist communist rebels who will surrender, according to Mapugo.
“Instead of a grim reminder of the death and destruction caused by the NPA, today is a celebration of peace and freedom for former rebels. We hope that with the support of all Filipinos, our efforts for the reintegration of our brothers and sisters will be sustained so that the entire nation will enjoy the dividends of peace,” Mapugo added.
The NPA was established on March 29, 1969.
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