The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) remains a potent threat to national security, the military said Saturday.
“Of course, the CPP-NPA is still the most potent challenge to security, to internal security and peace efforts that we have,” Major General Domingo Tutaan, the Armed Forces spokesman, said after a command conference of the military’s five unified commands and service branches in Camp Aguinaldo.
Tutaan told reporters that the conference was called to assess the military’s performance and the threat from various armed groups in the country.
The CPP-NPA has been waging the world’s longest communist insurgency, which has claimed more than 50,000 lives since it began in the late 60’s.
“I wouldn’t say it’s biggest threat… but it’s the threat that we have to contend with the reality as far as internal security is concerned,” Tutaan said.
The AFP puts the number of NPA rebels at 4,800, operating mainly in rural areas and targeting military and police.
Other threat groups discussed at the command conference are the rogue elements of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf.
“The rogue MNLF elements… we see that they are a force that has been decimated of its capability and strength… but again, let’s not rest on these things and simply ignore them,” Tutaan said.
MNLF rebels loyal to its founder Nur Misuari staged the three-week siege of Zamboanga City last September where nearly a hundred combatants were either killed or wounded in street fighting.
Tutaan said the Abu Sayyaf has its ideology negated and has turned to banditry and kidnapping.