President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a proclamation declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as terrorist organizations.
In a news briefing, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte made the proclamation in accordance with the Republic Act 10168 or the Human Security Act.
This, he said, is due to the “continued violent acts of the CPP-NPA which sow and create a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace.”
“So as the President has stated before, he has finally classified the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization within the purview of the Human Security Act,” Roque told reporters.
Duterte also ordered Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd to immediately file a petition at the Manila Regional Trial Court to classify the CPP-NPA as terrorist groups under the Human Security Act.
“It is not automatic that just because the executive has classified the group as a terrorist organization, it will be considered as a terrorist organization under the domestic law and under relevant security council resolutions,” Roque explained.
“Take note, this is not just in relation to Philippine domestic law but also in relation to a UN Security resolution intended to curtail financing of terrorist organizations. So the proper petition must be filed by the DOJ in court.
Petition to classify the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group under the Human Security Act,” he added.
The terrorist tag however will not be applied to the National Democratic Front (NDF), the communist group’s political wing.
With the collapse of the peace negotiations, the President ordered NDF consultants who were given conditional freedom to participate in the peace talks to “surrender or face punitive actions.”
Roque however said he has no idea what will happen to CPP founding chairman Jose Maria “Joma” Sison, who is in exile in The Netherlands.
“I do not know what will happen to Joma. I do not know the status of Joma,” Roque said.
The CPP and NPA have been in the US list of foreign terrorist organizations since August 9, 2002. The Arroyo administration requested for the rebel group’s inclusion on the list.
Deefense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had said he is not inclined to recommend the suspension of military operations between the military and communist rebels this Christmas season.
The government declares a ceasefire with communists every December to allow them to visit their families during the holidays. The ceasefire bars government troops from launching offensives against the NPA but does not prevent them from defending themselves from attacks.
Last year, Duterte suspended offensive military operations against the NPA from December 23 to 27 and from December 31 to January 3 the following year.
Duterte earlier signed Proclamation 360, announcing the formal termination of the peace negotiations with the communist leaders.