Country Report on Terrorism 2015 - Chapter 6 - Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army

aka CPP/NPA; Communist Party of the Philippines; the CPP; New People’s Army; the NPA

Description: The Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on August 9, 2002. The military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People’s Army (NPA), is a Maoist group formed in March 1969 with the aim of overthrowing the government through protracted guerrilla warfare. NPA’s founder, Jose Maria Sison, reportedly directs CPP/NPA activity from the Netherlands, where he lives in self-imposed exile. Luis Jalandoni, a fellow Central Committee member and director of the CPP’s overt political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF), also lives in the Netherlands. Although primarily a rural-based guerrilla group, CPP/NPA has an active urban infrastructure to support its terrorist activities and, at times, uses city-based assassination squads.

Senior CPP/NPA leaders Wilma and Benito Tiamzon were arrested in the Philippines in 2014. NPA second-in-command Adelberto Silva was arrested in 2015.

Activities: CPP/NPA primarily targets Philippine security forces, government officials, local infrastructure, and businesses that refuse to pay extortion, or “revolutionary taxes.” CPP/NPA also has a history of attacking U.S. interests in the Philippines. In 1987, for example, CPP/NPA conducted direct actions against U.S. personnel and facilities, killing three American soldiers in four separate attacks in Angeles City. In 1989, the group issued a press statement claiming responsibility for the ambush and murder of Colonel James Nicholas Rowe, chief of the Ground Forces Division of the Joint U.S.-Military Advisory Group.

Over the past few years, CPP/NPA has continued to carry out killings, raids, kidnappings, acts of extortion, and other forms of violence primarily directed against security forces. In May 2013, the Armed Forces of the Philippines reported that from 2011 through the first quarter of 2013, 383 people, including 158 civilians, were killed in encounters between CPP/NPA and government forces.

Despite a ceasefire with the Government of the Philippines in December 2014, CPP/NPA continued to carry out attacks, including setting fire to construction equipment and a vehicle, abducting a jail warden, and shooting and killing three unarmed military-affiliated individuals.

On January 24, 2015, the CPP/NPA attacked a Dole plantation, burned down a facility and chopped down more than 700 banana trees. On February 16, CPP/NPA attempted to seize a police station in Mati City; four AFP soldiers were killed and a policeman wounded. The group left behind landmines upon withdrawal, which killed another three soldiers. On February 28, two Philippine army soldiers were killed and three wounded in an ambush by CPP/NPA in Kalinga. In March, the CPP/NPA killed a soldier and wounded three others in an ambush in the Compostela Valley and executed two unarmed Philippine soldiers wearing civilian clothes in a separate attack. Senior CPP/NPA leaders Wilma and Benito Tiamzon were arrested in the Philippines in 2014, followed by CPP/NPA second-in-command Adelberto Silva in 2015.

Strength: The Philippine government estimates there are 4,000 CPP/NPA members.

Location/Area of Operation: The Philippines, including Rural Luzon, Visayas, and parts of northern and eastern Mindanao. There are also cells in Manila and other metropolitan centers.

Funding and External Aid:  The CPP/NPA raises funds through extortion and theft.