MANILA, Philippines - The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) wants its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), to train small teams in bomb-making and carry out operations against specific targets.
The CPP's central committee, in a message to its commanders and fighters on the eve of the NPA's 43rd founding anniversary, said its fighters "can be trained and employed to use AMFO (ammonium nitrate fuel oil) bombs, plastic bombs, TNT and incendiaries, including the modest cigarette lighter, to destroy target objects such as military vehicles, facilities, fortifications and other fixed structures."
It added that the NPA can use land mines and gasoline bombs against government forces, as well as fuel depots, motor pools and military planes and helicopters.
The CPP said the NPA should also continue to create urban death squads, which it calls as "partisan or sparrow units" for special operations in cities.
It also encouraged its "people's militias and self-defense forces" in rural areas to create and use improvised explosive devices.
"The NPA has various functions: political-military training, combat, mass work, production and cultural work. But the main function that distinguishes it from all other revolutionary forces is its capability to wage armed struggle. It is responsible for annihilating the enemy military forces and laying the ground for establishing Red political power," the CPP said.
"The people's army must launch tactical offensives that it is sure of winning. For this purpose, it must apply flexible tactics and use various types and sizes of armed formations, including small teams, squads, platoons and companies," it added. "The main objective is to wipe out enemy units and seize weapons so that more units of the people’s army can be formed. The people’s army must seize several thousand more high-powered rifles and other weapons from the enemy."
It said the NPA should also make use of the Internet for propaganda work and spread "images and video footage of their work."
The CPP claimed that the NPA, which has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department and as a terrorist group by the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy, is operating in more than 100 guerrilla fronts in 70 provinces nationwide.
"The guerrilla fronts cover thousands of barrios and extensive areas of several hundred towns and cities," the CPP said. "The big fronts cover 60-100 barrios while the small and medium-size fronts cover 40-59 barrios."
It added that it continues in setting up new battle fronts in its expansion of guerrilla warfare in its bid to overthrow the government and wrest control of the country.
"Subregional and provincial guerrilla war theaters or areas composed of three to five guerrilla fronts are being developed with a complete force structure of subregional, front and local forces down to the militia and barrio self-defense corps, as well as partisan or sparrow units for special operations in urban centers," the CPP said.
"The subregional and front forces in a well-developed guerrilla theater can grow into battalion to oversize battalion strength complemented by brigade strength of militia units and barrio self-defense corps," it added.
Waning rebel strength
The military, however, believes that the CPP-NPA's strength has waned after the rebel movement's heyday in the 1980s.
The Armed Forces said the CPP-NPA's numbers have dropped from 24,430 to less than 5,000 fighters in the past two decades.
The military also estimated that the NPA now only influences 2.4% of barangays nationwide, compared to 20% in 1986.