MANILA (UPDATE) - The Anti-Terrorism Council has designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization, calling it an “integral and inseparable part” of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army.
The designation of the NDF as a terrorist organization in June comes a few months after the Anti-Terrorism Council also designated the CPP-NPA as such in December 2020.
In a resolution signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea last June 23, the Anti-Terrorism Council noted that Article X of the 2016 CPP Constitution "shows that the NDF a.k.a. NDFP is the core and most consolidated group that provides support to the armed and organizational expansion of the CPP/NPA."
It noted that CPP founder Jose Maria Sison identified the CPP/NPA as allied organizations of the NDF, while his wife Juliet de Lima-Sison was recently named interim chairperson of the NDF negotiating panel.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the principal effect of designation was not immediate arrest but "freezing of bank accounts and other financial assets of the designated person/entity."
The Anti-Terrorism Council, in May this year, also designated 19 alleged CPP-NPA leaders as terrorists.
Marco Valbuena, information officer of the CPP, said in a statement that terrorist designation of the NDF and the council's "previous resolutions against the CPP/NPA and against peace consultants and other individuals, are all done without basis."
"It shows how the term 'terrorism' is unjustly being used as a catchall legal net against political dissent and just revolutionary resistance," said Valbuena.
It "was done with the manifest aim of further shutting all doors to peace negotiations as a means of resolving the roots of the civil war in the country," the CPP spokesperson added.
"The ATC designation is a virtual slap on the face of the Royal Norweigian Government which has long provided its good offices as Third Party Facilitator in support of peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP)."
President Rodrigo Duterte formally announced the end of government's peace negotiations with communist rebels in March 2019 amid continuing attacks by the NPA on government troops despite ongoing talks.