LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – New People's Army guerillas around the country must hike its number to 25,000 in the coming years, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said ahead of its 44th year anniversary on Dec. 26.
In the CPP Central Committee anniversary message titled: “Seize the initiative in all forms of struggle and intensify the offensive against the enemy”, the unchanged situation in the country is perfect breeding ground for the growth of the NPA, even as the government claims success in its ‘Oplan Bayanihan’ lowering down their number to only 5,000.
According to official organs, the CPP “absolutely controls and leads” the NPA.
“Since the beginning of last year, we have scored victories in further building the Party, the New People's Army, the National Democratic Front, the organs of political power and mass organizations; as well as in carrying out the strategic plan to advance from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate in our people's war,” the CPP central committee said.
Making parallelisms with the past administration, the CPP said, “(they) have effectively combated and frustrated the enemy campaigns of military suppression and deception under the US-designed Oplan Bayanihan and we have gained strength in the process.”
The CPP denied claims that its 25,000-strong armed men dwindled to 4,000 in the mid-1980s.
“The people's democratic revolution through people's war is advancing,” the CPP central committee said, adding, “It is making substantial progress in carrying out the strategic plan to advance the people's war from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate.”
Being the “(CPP’s) main mass organization,” the New People's Army, has thousands of high-powered rifles in the hands of its fighters and aims to increase this to the level of 25,000 in order to reach the threshold of the strategic stalemate in the next few years.
The CPP said the NPA “is currently operat(ing) in more than 100 guerrilla fronts and is striving to increase these to 180 within the next five years since 2010 or for a longer period if need be.”
In certain regions, especially in Mindanao, the NPA claims to have “carried out significant offensives against mining, logging and plantation enterprises.” Nationwide, these offensives are meant to stop and discourage landgrabbing, the plunder of natural resources for export and the destruction of the environment and agriculture; and to make more land available for land reform, to conserve the natural resources and use them wisely for national industrialization, the CPP said.
Although mainly encouraging “armed confrontations”, the CPP said it believes in “engaging in peace negotiations (as) relevant to the united front.” It said “it involves propagating the program of people's democratic revolution and exposing to the public how the reactionary government reacts to demands for basic reforms and offers of truce and alliance or cooperation against imperialism and the worst forms of local reaction.”
The group added that it is "tolerating the electoral process of the reactionary government on whatever scale” as relevant to the united front, “because it involves developing cooperation with patriotic and progressive candidates and groups and encouraging them to fight the worst reactionaries in the reactionary government and do what they can to help disintegrate the reactionary ruling system.”
The CPP, the central committee further claims, “is now present in nearly all provinces of the country”, as “it runs ahead of the building of the New People's Army.”
NPA red fighters and other revolutionary forces can move freely in more than 90 percent of Philippine territory, the CPP further said, while it claims, “(the government) has only enough armed force to concentrate on a few guerrilla fronts at every given time.”