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NPA guerrillas mainly concentrated in north-eastern, southern Mindanao — AFP 

March 29, 2014 12:58pm
The New People's Army forces are now mainly concentrated in some areas in Mindanao and have resorted to banditry, an official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Saturday during the 45th founding anniversary of the NPA.

AFP spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala also told GMA News Online "[the communist rebels] have lost their ideological mooring and now engaged in extortion [activities]."

With around 4,000 fighters in the whole country, they are now mostly concentrated in north-eastern and southern Mindanao, he said.

When asked if the communist insurgency is still a long-term threat, he said: "They are more of a criminal group now."

Earlier reports indicated the NPA guerrillas have been doing extortion activities targeting politicians, especially during election season.

They also collect "revolutionary taxes" from construction companies and other businesses operating in the countryside.

21-gun salute

In an earlier report, the Communist Party of the Philippines said they will mark NPA's 45th anniversary with a 21-gun salute in their respective "territories."

It said the 21-gun salute is for "the heroes of the New People’s Army and the people’s democratic revolution."

"At high noon, prior to the general public singing of the Internationale (the communist anthem), NPA commands and people’s militia units in formation will give a 21-gun salute. Depending on prevailing military and security conditions, different NPA commands and people’s militias can modify this plan by either extending, abbreviating or rendering an alternative gun salute," the CPP said in a statement.

It added all NPA commands will parade the flags of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the NPA, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the People’s Democratic Government.

The CPP lauded the "eminent proletarian revolutionaries" who it said continue to help lead and guide the revolution as it sets its sights on the "next higher phase of the people’s war."

It said the 45th anniversary of the NPA should "celebrate the people’s victories in waging revolutionary armed struggle, carrying out agrarian revolution to smash land monopolies and improve the conditions of the peasant masses and building the organs of the people’s democratic government from the ground up."

Potent force

In January, a report on the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted military spokesperson Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan as saying the longest-running communist insurgency in Asia remains the “most potent internal security challenge.”

Tutaan said this at a command conference to assess the military's performance last in 2013.

The conference is a regular venue where senior military officers discuss the AFP’s gains in its internal peace and security operations. — LBG, GMA News



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