By Priam Nepomuceno
MANILA – An official of the National Security Council (NSC) on Wednesday said the New People’s Army (NPA) is at its weakest state ever in its 55th year of existence as it has “zero active guerilla fronts” and with less than 1,500 fighters remaining nationwide.
“To us in the NSC and NTF-ELCAC (The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict), if we can prevent bloodshed and prevent the loss of more Filipino lives, kung makakasalba tayo ng kahit isang Pilipino (if we can save even one Filipino life), exploratory talks are worth considering even if as mentioned (NTF-ELCAC director) Undersecretary (Ernesto) Torres (Jr.), there are now zero active guerilla fronts,” NSC Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya said in an online briefing of NTF-ELCAC.
Last Dec. 31, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said that it had dismantled eight NPA guerilla fronts in 2023, aside from weakening 14 others in the same year.
In the same briefing, Malaya said he was “extremely disappointed, and perplexed” over the statement issued by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) during its 55th anniversary on Dec. 26, where it launched a ‘3rd Rectification Movement’ and called on the NPA to “stir up and spread the flames of the people’s war” while it is engaged in exploratory peace talks with government.
He added that this move goes against what has been agreed by both parties in the Nov. 23, 2023 Oslo Joint Communique.
“Nowhere in the anniversary statement does it state their full commitment to ending or abandoning its revolutionary armed struggle or at the very least, their sincerity and commitment to the exploratory talks,” Malaya noted.
While the NSC and the NTF-ELCAC are fully supportive of the exploratory talks, Malaya said they cannot turn a blind eye to the CPP’s anniversary statement, which he said is filled with numerous directives to launch basic or annihilative tactical offensives, strike the isolated and detached units of the government, wage active warfare and guerrilla campaigns, undertake widespread warfare, carry out special partisan operations. (PNA)