AFP, PNP deployed 21 more battalions against NPA since last year—CPP
Despite repeated declarations that the New People’s Army (NPA) is set to be crushed before the end of Rodrigo Duterte’s term in June, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) continue to increase their combat units against the revolutionary army.
This was noted by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP-CC) in a message to the NPA on the occasion of its 53rd anniversary on March 29. The CPP-CC said there are now 166 combat battalions of the Army, Air Force, Marines, Scout Rangers, PNP Special Action Force and other military and police units deployed against the NPA, 21 more than last year.
The CPP-CC noted that apart from building new AFP units, the increase in deployment of combat troops against the NPA was also due to the redeployment of forces from Moro areas after the surrender of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
This superfluity of force has enabled the AFP and PNP to deploy 5 to 6 battalions against their priority guerrilla subregional or front areas of the NPA, and 2 to 3 in non-priority areas, the anniversary message said.
The CPP-CC estimates that 60% of the total number of combat battalions assigned to the NPA are concentrated in five regions, namely, Southern Tagalog, Eastern Visayas, Southern Mindanao, Bicol and North Central Mindanao. There is also a marked increase of AFP and PNP deployment in Far South Mindanao, Negros and Cagayan Valley.
The overwhelming use of force against a guerrilla people’s army indicates the growing strategic weakness of the ruling system, according to the Party. “It shows that to preserve the ruling system, the neo-colonial state relies more and more on armed suppression and fascist methods, rather than political persuasion and support.”
This same overwhelming military superiority, however, has the opposite effect of exposing the political inferiority of the reactionary government, the CPP leadership asserts. It said that the overabundance of troops and weapons promotes the “culture of fascist impunity and complete disregard for people’s democratic rights and freedoms which exposes its barefaced defense of the interests of the ruling oppressive and exploitative classes.” This results to the AFP’s deepened isolation from the people, added the CPP.
The CPP-CC denounced Duterte’s “overspending” for the military and police. It noted the increase by ₱4 billion to ₱221 billion of its defense budget compared to last year, mostly for the purchase of surplus military equipment from the US, and to raise above standards the salaries of military and police officers to buy their loyalty. Also, ₱17.5 billion was allocated to the NTF-Elcac, which the CPP describes as a “civil-military junta.”
The CPP-CC also censured the AFP for being under the virtual operational control of the US, pointing to the permanent presence of US military advisers in military camps to direct the AFP’s counterinsurgency operations. The CPP-CC noted that the AFP has received a total of \$1.14 billion worth of military assistance since 2015 in the form of US Foreign Military Financing, military training programs and others. (CPP Information Bureau)
READ | CPP Central Committee’s Message to the NPA on its 53rd anniversary: Raise the fighting capability of the NPA and the masses! Persevere and advance along the path of protracted people’s war!