Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has proclaimed the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), as a “terrorist organization.”
Duterte signed the proclamation on Tuesday, December 5, using Republic Act (RA) 10168 or “The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012” as basis, which lays down provisions on the financing of terrorist groups.
Malacañang, however, clarified that the terrorist tag is not applied to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), which serves as the CPP’s political arm.
In a media briefing, Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte signed the proclamation due to the “continued violent acts of the CPP-NPA which sow and create a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace.”
Following the signing of the proclamation, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea has ordered Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to file a petition seeking to classify the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group before a Regional Trial Court (RTC).
This, in accordance with the provisions of the RA 9372 or the Human Security Act—which lays down acts that are defined as terrorism—according to Roque.
“They (CPP-NPA) have been proclaimed by the president [as terrorists] and that has effect already because, of course, we don’t talk peace with terrorists now,” the Palace official said.
“But for the purposes of the Human Security Act, the RTC must rule that pursuant to the government petition that the CPP-NPA is in fact a terrorist organization,” he added.
According to Roque, the court proceedings will also give the CPP-NPA the chance to be heard.
Last November, Duterte terminated talks with the communist rebels amid the latter’s continued attacks on state troops.
Welcoming the recent proclamation tagging the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Major General Restituto Padilla said the military can now “fully execute and perform its mandate without reservation or restrictions.”
“This proclamation clearly classifies and labels the group for what they really are…. We can now address without any hesitation and with all the means and resources available to us the increasing criminal and economic sabotage activities of these terrorists,” he added.