MANILA – The anniversary of the New People's Army (NPA) means nothing but lives lost and suffering due to its meaningless cause, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Monday.
"We are once again reminded of the lives lost and the suffering caused by the Communist Terrorists, particularly their armed wing, the NPA. Over the years, the NPA took pride in committing lawless activities such as extortion, destruction of civilian-owned properties, and undermining the government, all in the name of their so-called ideology," Lorenzana said in a statement, ahead of the NPA's 53rd anniversary on Tuesday.
The NPA was established on March 29, 1969, as the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Lorenzana, however, said more NPA members have returned to the fold of the law and are now leading peaceful and productive lives through assistance from the government.
"However, we are filled with hope for a more progressive and developed Philippines. Under the inter-agency Task Force Balik-Loob (TFBL), thousands have been given the chance to live their lives anew and become productive members of society through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). They have given their firearms in exchange for more peaceful tools of trade, and I am encouraged by the success stories of our former rebels," Lorenzana said.
Despite the weakening of the communist terrorists and the country now starting to reap the dividends of peace, the DND chief said efforts must continue to save remaining CPP-NPA members from their lost cause.
"There is more to be done. Even as we enjoy the dividends of peace, we continue our mission to secure our communities, encourage CPP-NPA members to avail of the E-CLIP, and finally put a stop to the decades-long communist armed conflicts in the country. It is our hope that whoever comes next will continue what we have started and sustain our peace initiatives," Lorenzana 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.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the NDF as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (PNA)