USDOS – US Department of State (Author)
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.
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 killed three U.S. 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 several years, CPP/NPA has continued to carry out killings, raids, kidnappings, acts of extortion, and other forms of violence primarily directed against Philippine 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.
Throughout 2016, several attempts were made to establish a ceasefire and peace deal between the CPP/NPA and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Reported violations from both sides, however, including reports of CPP/NPA’s continued recruitment in the Philippines and attacks against government forces and civilians, have stalled any peace efforts.
In February 2017, after several attempts from both parties to establish a bilateral ceasefire in late 2016, the CPP/NPA terminated its unilateral ceasefire after a number of earlier clashes between the group and the Philippine Armed Forces. President Duterte responded with ending its ceasefire and peace talks with the CPP/NPA. Attempts to reach a ceasefire continued in 2017 without success, as a number of conflicts and skirmishes have erupted between the CPP/NPA and the Philippine Armed Forces. President Duterte signed a proclamation declaring the CPP/NPA as a terrorist organization in December, although the decision must obtain court approval.
Strength: The Philippine government estimates the group has approximately 4,000 members. CPP/NPA also retains a significant amount of support from communities in rural areas of the Philippines.
Location/Area of Operation: The Philippines, including Rural Luzon, Visayas, and parts of northern and eastern Mindanao. There are also CPP/NPA cells in Manila and other metropolitan centers.