The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) praised the New People’s Army (NPA) on its 54th founding anniversary Wednesday, March 29, citing achievements and victories through more than five decades of revolutionary armed struggle in the country.
In a statement, the CPP said the NPA has defeated numerous government campaigns of encirclement and suppression from the first Marcos regime to the present, growing from its original “60 fighters and commanders, nine automatic rifles, 26 single-shot rifles and handguns, and a mass base of around 80,000 in the first district of Tarlac province.”
While balance of forces overwhelmingly remain in favor of the Manila government, the CPP said the NPA has fought indefatigably over the over the decades and “it has grown by leaps and bounds.”
In its 54th founding anniversary statement last December 26, the CPP said the NPA currently has more than 110 guerilla fronts all over the country.
“The NPA is the most powerful weapon of the Party for waging the people’s democratic revolution. It carries out protracted people’s war along the strategic line of encircling the cities from the countryside,” the CPP said.
The revolutionary group said the NPA has adapted to the particular conditions of the country, achieving “great successes in carrying out guerrilla warfare, building guerrilla zones and base areas, and establishing Red political power covering vast areas in the countryside.”
“Day by day, the seeds of the future people’s democratic government are sown in thousands of villages across the country, existing side by side with and antithesis to the present reactionary and fascist government,” it added.
The CPP said the NPA however faces heavier and greater tasks ahead, needing to “surmount and defeat the intensified campaigns of encirclement and armed suppression being carried out by the US puppet army,” referring to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
“We must continue to accumulate strength by smashing the AFP part by part in order to bring the people’s war from its current level to the next higher level. The Party and NPA remain fully determined to carry forward the people’s war to victory,” it said.
The CPP said NPA commanders and Red fighters have to “stir up and spread the flames of the people’s war for national freedom and democracy.”
The underground party cited “intensified imperialist oppression against the Filipino people” and emphasized the need to “attain freedom from US control and domination, and carry out land reform and national industrialization” which it said are key steps to improve the lives of the Filipino people.
It also denounced the plan of the US to construct more military bases in the Philippines to use the country “as part of its war theater preparations against China.”
The CPP said “the broad masses of the Filipino people are suffering from increasingly intolerable forms of oppression and exploitation… they are ever determined to wage resistance in order to free the country from clutches of US imperialism and the subservient ruling classes, and attain genuine national freedom and democracy.”
‘It lasts because it is loved’
In a separate statement, the NPA in Southern Panay said it joins all revolutionary forces in the country in celebrating the Red army’s anniversary.
Ariston Remus, NPA-Southern Panay spokesperson said the people’s love and support enabled them to outlast massive military operations launched by the government.
“The masses continue to put their faith in armed struggle as the only effective solution to their poverty and with the NPA as their true defenders,” Remus said in Filipino.
“The masses are getting better in their underground activities to show their love and give their fathomless support to their army,” he added.
Founded in Capas, Tarlac in 1969, NPA’s armed struggle is often regarded as the longest-running Communist Party-led armed revolution in the world.
It has been designated as a so-called terrorist organization by the Philippine, United States and other Western governments, an accusation the revolutionary groups vehemently rejects.
In September 2022, a Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) rejected Manila government’s bid to have both the CPP and the NPA proscribed as terrorist organizations.
Manila RTC Branch Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar wrote that while both organizations may be regarded as rebels, they are not terrorists because violence is simply part of their means but not their end.
“A perusal of the foregoing Program consisting of lofty ideals readily shows that the CPP-NPA is organized or exists not for the purpose [of] engaging in terrorism,” Judge Magdoza-Malagar ruled. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)