Country Report on Terrorism 2018 - Chapter 5 - 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 FTO 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, 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.

Throughout 2016, several attempts were made to establish a cease-fire 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 cease-fire in late 2016, the CPP/NPA terminated its unilateral cease-fire after several earlier clashes between the group and the Philippine Armed Forces. President Duterte responded with ending its cease-fire and peace talks with the CPP/NPA. Attempts to reach a cease-fire continued in 2017 without success, as a conflicts and skirmishes 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 2017, although the decision was still pending court approval at the end of 2018.

In August 2018, seven suspected members of CPP/NPA were killed in a shootout with Philippine police in the town of Antique; authorities found a cache of cellphones, laptops, firearms, and explosives at the site. In December 2018, CPP/NPA members attacked a military patrol in the city of Catarman using an anti-personnel mine. The attack killed four soldiers and two civilians.

Strength: The Philippine government estimates the group has about 4,000 members. CPP/NPA also retains a significant amount of support from communities in rural areas of the Philippines.

Location/Area of Operation: CPP/NPA operates in 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.

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