CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -- The Army's 4th Infantry Division (ID) has reminded that any person or organization found to be providing assistance to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing -- the New People's Army (NPA) -- could face criminal liability.

Col. Edgardo de Leon, commander of the 4th ID's 403rd Infantry Brigade, issued the reminder Wednesday at a ceremony to confer the restoration of civilian status to at least 30 former NPA combatants.

At the same time, de Leon and Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano led the handover of livelihood assistance of PHP65,000 each to former rebels under the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

In his speech, de Leon said any individual or organization found to be providing any form of assistance to the CPP-NPA or their affiliated organizations would risk being sanctioned not only by Philippine laws, but also by countries that consider the communist guerillas as terrorists.

For instance, the Army official said member countries of the European Union (EU), which considers the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization, may impose sanctions against those who provide any assistance to the rebel group.

Aside from the EU, the United States also lists the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group.

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Franco Nemesio Gacal, 4th ID commander, reiterated the military's "peaceful war" approach in addressing the "multi-dimensional nature of communist terrorism."

"Peaceful war is not literally ‘war’ through the use of military weapons, but it is a unique form of warfare, sans violence, through the delivery of social services by government and non-government entities," Gacal said in his speech during the ceremony.

"Peaceful war shall eliminate the reasons for rebellion,” he said. “Peaceful war shall bring lasting peace for sustainable economic growth and it will be launched from grass root level communities, which our peace stakeholders in the region shall designate as Convergence Areas for Peace and Development." (PNA)