THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is stretching its forces to the limit that it has become incapable of launching sustained simultaneous attacks against the New People’s Army (NPA), according to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
The CPP Central Committee on Thursday also belied claims by the AFP that it is winning the war and that it would make the NPA “irrelevant” by bringing down the insurgency problem into a negligible level within the term of President Aquino.
“The enemy has repeatedly boasted that it can destroy or reduce the NPA to inconsequentiality but is always shamed soon enough. Enemy forces have so far been incapable of attacking simultaneously in concentrated strength for six months to one year on more than 10 percent of the guerrilla fronts,” the CPP Central Committee said in a statement during the celebration of their 45th founding anniversary yesterday.
The AFP had earlier claimed that trough its sustained operations, 25 provinces had already been declared “insurgency-free” since the Internal Peace and Security Plan (ISPS)-Bayanihan, government’s anti-insurgency strategy was launched in 2010.
It added that NPA strength has also dwindled to 4,043 from a peak of 24,430 during the 80s.
On the contrary, the CPP said, the NPA is now a nationwide revolutionary force operating in more than 110 guerilla fronts, which exist in substantial portions of 71 out of 81 Philippine provinces with thousands of full-time Red fighters armed with high powered rifles and has a mass base of millions of people, mainly peasants.
It further said that their combat capability is not limited to the full-time Red fighters but augmented and amplified by the people’s militia and self-defense units.
“Within a typical guerrilla front, the space for maneuver is wide enough for NPA platoons and squads to launch counteroffensives against an enemy battalion that subdivides itself for covering wide areas,” the CPP said.
It explained that a typical guerrilla front has a total force of a guerrilla company, with a platoon serving as the headquarters, organizer of offensives on the scale of the front and cooperator with a higher command for the purpose of offensives of wider scale than the front.
The two other platoons, the CPP added, disperse into squads and teams for mass work and for combat operations appropriate to their size, capability and interoperability with the people’s militia and the self-defense units of the mass organizations.
According to the CPP, the NPA forces under a sub-regional or regional command can launch counteroffensives within or outside the guerrilla front under enemy attack.
“When in certain regions the enemy is concentrating combat operations, the NPA in other regions can take the initiative of attacking the enemy forces in their region in order to take advantage of lesser enemy strength and in order to help the NPA in the regions under attack,” it said.
The NPA, it further said, launches annihilative offensives such as ambushes, raids and arrest operations to seize the weapons of military, police, paramilitary and private security units, and also take attritive actions against the enemy forces through sniping operations, land mines, grenades, sapping, interdicting supplies and destroying military vehicles and fuel stocks at depots.
It said that their recruitment continues to bring the number of Red fighters back to 25,000, no matter how long it will take to do so.
In order to reach the strategic stalemate, the CPP said they were striving to reach the goal of more or less 200 guerrilla fronts, while always improving the Party leadership and army command at the national, regional, sub-regional and front levels.