Philippine military backs Duterte’s terrorist tag on the NPA

The Armed Forces of the Philippines are supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration that the New People’s Army (NPA) is a terrorist group, The Manila Times Online reported on Monday.

“We totally agree with the Commander-in- Chief in calling the NPA terrorists because it is clearly reflected in the numerous criminal, lawless, terrorist acts they have been committing against defenseless and innocent civilians,” AFP spokesman Maj-Gen Restituto Padilla Jr. said in a statement on Sunday.

Duterte said on Saturday he would issue an announcement calling the NPA a terrorist group as he reaffirmed that he would not pursue peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines and its political arm, the National Democratic Front (NDF).

The peace talks with the communists were called off by Duterte in July after a string of attacks by the NPA, the armed wing of the CPP, against government forces in North Cotabato and Palawan.

Padilla accused the communists of violating the truce and of suspending the peace talks.

A senior military officer who asked not to be named told the media that Duterte’s decision was the right thing to do. He said the NPA would lose support once it is branded as a terrorist group.

Another source said the United States had already declared the NPA a terrorist organization and such an action by a foreign government would pave the way for blocking funding for the NPA.