The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines will shift their focus to the New People’s Army (NPA) ahead of the upcoming anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos, PNP spokesman, said the police and the military have deployed their units for offensives against the communist rebels, now that they have been officially tagged as “terrorists” by the government.
“The PNP high command has mobilized all its tactical and maneuver units for a coordinated offensive alongside the Armed Forces of the Philippines against remaining guerrilla fronts of the communist New People’s Army,” Carlos said.
The police force expects the communist armed group to launch its own offensives just before the 49th anniversary of CPP on December 26. The NPA is the armed wing of the CPP.
The PNP warned financiers of communist groups, or those who provide material and financial help to rebels, that they would be tagged as conspirators, accomplices or accessories to terrorism.
Carlos, however, was unsure if protest groups that support the NPA and the CPP would be considered conspirators.
“I’d check with the DIDM (Directorate for Investigative and Detection Management) regarding that,” Carlos told The Manila Times.
Director Camilo Pancratius Cascolan, chief of the PNP Directorate for Operations, said the police favored more offensive attacks than defensive ones against the NPAs.
“Offense is always better than defense. Emphasize alertness, especially during administrative transport of personnel and others,” Cascolan said in an order to police personnel.
“Conduct social investigation not only for intelligence networking but to establish rapport. All personnel should know the community they are in,” he added.
Cascolan reminded the police force to be on guard for possible attacks by the NPA.
“Preventive and prophylactic combat patrols in coordination with the AFP should be launched in addition to target-hardening of all camps and vital installations,” Cascolan said.
On December 5, Duterte declared the NPA and CPP as terrorist groups, under Presidential Proclamation 374.
According to Palace spokesman Harry Roque, the proclamation was 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.”