NPA membership down to 1,800 — AFP
MANILA, Philippines — From around 2,000 members reported in 2022, the communist New People’s Army (NPA) is now down to around 1,800 fighters, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said on Monday.
“The CPP-NPA is down to 1,800 plus members,” Aguilar said in an online press conference. CPP stands for the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Aguilar, however, declined to divulge the primary locations of the insurgents.
“Let the military worry about the breakdown. These are tactical information we cannot divulge,” he said.
Aguilar added around 400 NPA rebels have pending cases.
“As we look at the data right now, with 1,800 plus remaining, around 400 plus of them … are facing cases,” Aguilar said.
“Also, based on the revelation of former rebels who have surrendered already, these cases are obstructing them because what their commanders and leaders are saying [is] when they go back when they return to the folds of the law, they will not be reunited with their family; instead they will go directly to jail,” he added.
Hence, Aguilar said he believes granting amnesty to the rebels is one of the ways to solve the dilemma.
“As far as the Armed Forces are concerned, I think amnesty is one way to end the communist insurgency,” he said.
“This is one consideration we should look into because, after all, the President wants to unify the country.”
The NPA’s leadership has rejected the repeated calls of the AFP for amnesty.
CPP spokesperson Marco Valbuena called the proposed amnesty a “sugar-coated bullet.”
Established on March 29, 1969, the NPA had 25,000 members at its height around 1987, according to Philippine military estimates.