On 87th anniversary, Marcos Jr. lauds AFP for 'significant decline' of CPP-NPA

Raffy Cabristante, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 19 2022 05:20 PM


MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. lauded the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on its 87th anniversary on Monday, citing its role in the "significant decline" of the communist insurgency in the country.

"For years, growth in the regions has been held back by the presence of communist terrorists, lawless elements who hamper the delivery of government services in infrastructure development," Marcos said in his speech.

"Through your efforts, along with other law enforcement authorities and government agencies, we now see a significant decline in their numbers, and that you have helped in to pave the way for development to foster and for communities to live in peace," he added.

Marcos' remarks came days after Jose Maria "Joma" Sison, the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), died at the age of 83 while in exile in The Netherlands.

The defense department said his death could finally lead to an end of violence in the country, calling Sison the "greatest stumbling block" to peace. 

The ongoing armed struggle, launched in 1969, grew out of the global communist movement, finding fertile soil in the Philippines' stark rich-poor divide. 

At its peak during Ferdinand Marcos Sr.'s regime in the 1980s, the CPP boasted about 26,000 fighters, a number the military says has now dwindled to a few thousand. 

The AFP, together with the Philippine National Police (PNP), earlier said that they were ready for any possible attack or tactical offensive by the CPP's armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), following Sison's death and on the party's 54th anniversary on Dec. 26.

For its part, the National Security Council (NSC) described Sison's death as a "significant blow to the weakening rebel cause in the country, and a metaphor for the closing of a 53-year-old chapter in our political life."

"We hope that his death will convince the remaining communist cadres to return to the fold of the law and rejoin Philippine society with a positive influence," the NSC said in a statement on Sunday.

The CPP, which has been in the forefront of the world's longest-running communist insurgency, said it would not seek a ceasefire with government forces following Sison's passing.


Meanwhile, Marcos Jr. also reaffirmed his administration's commitment to the modernization of the AFP during the latter's anniversary.

"Hindi lingid sa aking kaalaman ang sakripisyo ng ating hukbo at ang panganib na kanilang hinaharap sa tawag ng tungkulin kaya naman bukod sa kagamitin, patuloy nating susuportahan ang kanilang pangangailangan," he said.

(I am aware of the sacrifices of our troops and the danger they face in line with their duty, so aside from providing them equipment, we will continue supporting their needs.) 

"We will be partners towards your vision of a strong, credible, world-class armed force that is a source of national pride and a source of national security," he added.

He also thanked the military for its role in humanitarian efforts following major natural disasters in the country and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as in addressing security concerns.

"The country and its people are forever grateful to you for your service," Marcos Jr. said.

— With a report from Agence France-Presse

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