MANILA – The designation of the National Democratic Front (NDF) as a terrorist group will prevent its members from circumventing the law to evade arrest, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Wednesday.
“Napakarami nang mga miyembro at lider ng CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army) na ginagawang dahilan ang pagiging umano’y peace talks consultant kapag sila ay naaresto. Sa pagdeklara ng NDF na isang teroristang grupo, mawawalan na ng palusot ang mga taong ito at lalo lang mapapalakas ang ating mga operasyon upang tuluyan ng wakasan ang mga grupong ito na naghahasik ng karahasan sa mga kanayunan (There are already too many CPP-NPA members and leaders who claim that they are peace talks consultants when they are arrested. With the declaration of the NDF as a terrorist group, these people will no longer have an excuse and our operations will be further strengthened to put an end to these groups that are sowing violence in the country),” said PNP chief, Gen. Gullermo Eleazar in a statement.
Eleazar said the CPP-NPA-NDF is no longer focused on advocating an ideology but rather pushes for armed conflict through threats, intimidation, extortion, and attacks that included civilians as casualties.
He cited the case of college football player Kieth Absalon and his cousin who died in an NPA ambush in Masbate and the death of watchman Eldrin Daraman who was killed when the communist terrorists attacked a construction site in Surigao del Sur.
“Sinuportahan ng PNP ang deklarasyong ito at patuloy na makakaasa ang ating mga kababayan ng agresibong kampanya upang makamit natin ang tunay na kapayapaan at kaunlaran na hinahadlangan ng mga grupong ito (The PNP supports this declaration and our countrymen can continue to count on an aggressive campaign so that we can achieve the real peace and development that these groups are hindering.),” the PNP chief said.
In Resolution No. 21 dated June 23, the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) chaired by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea cited the NDF as an integral part of the CPP-NPA.
“Article IX of the 2016 CPP Constitution shows the command, lead and guidance of the CPP over the NPA, while Article X shows that the NDF (a.k.a. NDF of the Philippines) is the core and the most consolidated group that provides support to the armed and organizational expansion of the CPP-NPA,” the resolution read.
The resolution also said the “direct and indispensable role of the NDF in armed operations“ has been repeatedly confirmed by CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, including the latest when he identified the CPP-NPA as allied organizations of the NDF in his message for the NDF’s 48th anniversary in April.
Sison and his wife, Juliet, who is the interim chairperson of the NDF negotiating panel, were previously designated as terrorists, too.
On Monday, the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) also issued a freeze order for all assets of the NDF following its designation as a terrorist organization.
The AMLC's freeze order under Resolution No. TF-42 covers property or funds that are owned or controlled by NDF, which is also known as the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP); property or funds that are wholly or jointly owned or controlled, directly or indirectly by the terrorist group; property or funds derived or generated from NDF funds; and property or funds of persons and entities acting in behalf of the NDF.
In a related development, Eleazar welcomed reports on the reduction in the number of communist guerilla fronts and the continuous surrender of communist rebels in Southern Mindanao.
According to Philippine Army 10th Infantry Division commander, Maj. Gen. Ernesto Torres, the number of communist armed groups in southern Mindanao has been reduced from 23 to just six.
Data from the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) indicated that a total of 18,433 communist rebels have surrendered to the government since 2016, including 92 “child soldiers”.
Eleazar said this could be attributed to the intensified anti-communist insurgency campaign of the Duterte administration.
“Marami na din ang naitatalang mga rebelde na sumuko na sa gobyerno. Napagtanto na ng mga ito na walang kabuluhan ang ideolohiya na itinuro sa kanila at walang saysay ang isinusulong na armadong pakikipaglaban ng CPP-NPA na ang inaatake ay pawang mga tahimik na komunidad at inosenteng sibilyan (Many rebels have been recorded has already surrendered to the government. They have realized that the ideology taught to them is meaningless and that the armed struggle being waged by the CPP-NPA is meaningless that the attackers are all peaceful communities and innocent civilians),” he explained.
Eleazar said this latest development would motivate the police and the military to strive harder in ending the communist insurgency.
He also urged the remaining rebels to lay down their arms, return to the fold of the law, and avail of reintegration and livelihood programs being offered by the government.
“Hindi pa huli ang lahat. Maaari pa kayong magbalik-loob sa gobyerno at magbagong-buhay (It's not too late. You can still surrender to the government and change your life),” Eleazar said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)