SECURITY officials are gearing up for the massive crackdown on the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which were recently tagged as terrorist groups by President Rodrigo Duterte.
A source from the military who asked not to be named said security officials are preparing to arrest communist leaders and their supporters.
The crackdown may also cover representatives of party-list groups linked with the CPP-NPA-NDF (National Democratic Front).
The source said security officials now have a list containing the names of persons giving financial support to the communist group.
“There is a complete list being discussed on who will be arrested. These will include the supporters and financiers of the CPP-NPA-NDF (National Democratic Front). But I do not have the exact figure as to how many were included in that list,” the source said in an interview.
He added that the military no longer needs arrest warrants to be able to capture those in the list since the NPA/CPP have been declared terrorist groups.
“Just like the Daesh-Maute, if you went out of Mindanao and you were tracked in Pasay City selling DVDs, you are verified to be a Daesh member, then you will be arrested. The same applies with the CPP-NPA,” the source said, using another name for the Islamic State.
However, the crackdown will not include released consultants aged 70 or above for humanitarian reasons. However, they will have to report to the government.
The source said the peace consultants were released on the basis of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).
“Now, those who won’t report will be arrested,” the source added, noting that they are to be considered as supporters of the CPP-NPA.
Under Republic Act 10168 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012, financial supporters will be included in the list of potential detainees, the source said.
“Because, if you are a front organization for the CPP-NPA, you are already a terrorist so it is a very heavy implication,” he noted.
On Wednesday, the President threatened to order the mass arrest of the NDF consultants released for the peace talks.
“If the RTC (regional trial court) affirmed that these people are terrorists, then it’s game on. That will be the sign that we have to move for their arrests,” the source said.
He shared the President’s stand that the government had “given almost everything” for the leftist movement.”
“They asked for the release of [political]prisoners, that was granted by the government then the President thought that ‘why are we having peace talks if these will all be granted’ then you will see it that lately, the rebels have intensified its attacks against soldiers,” the source said.
“We have an intelligence report that they (NPA) activated their sparrow units targeting government officials. In that sense, you can say we are going back to the Marcos era but you will also have to look on the other side, that they are the ones who started it,” the source added.
On Thursday, Duterte dared CPP founder Jose Maria Sison to leave his “sanctuary” in The Netherlands and bring the fight in the Philippines.
In his speech during the Kapampangan Food Festival, the President criticized Sison for living a good life in Utrecht, Netherlands while members of the NPA, the armed wing of the CPP, struggle daily in the mountains.
“You Sison, you’ve been fighting a war, directing a violent struggle while you enjoy your sanctuary in The Netherlands,” the President said. “Bakit hindi ka umuuwi dito? Tayo na lang ang magka-upakan. Para kayong mga senyorito doon. In the expense of another, you have been subsidized by the Norwegian government (Why don’t you come home? Let’s fight this out. You live like a prince at the expense of another),” he added.
The President on Wednesday said he will order the arrest of about 32 communist leaders who were granted temporary liberty to join the peace negotiations.
Duterte first ordered the temporary release of some detained communist leaders in July last year to pave the way for the resumption of peace talks between the government and the communist group.
Duterte lamented that the peace talks were stymied because the “enemies of the state,” apparently referring to the communists, lacked sincerity in achieving peace and order.
with CATHERINE S. VALENTE