The Communist Party (CPP) said the New People’s Army (NPA) has in fact grown in strength despite the Manila government’s all-out war operations against the underground revolutionary groups.
In a statement issued last Christmas Day on the Party’s 52nd founding anniversary, the CPP said the NPA has built new guerrilla fronts and expanded old guerrilla fronts in several regions despite the large-scale and sustained military operations mounted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) the past year.
According to CPP’s Central Committee (CC), NPA units are expanding to new territories and recovering old areas as well as forming new guerrilla fronts.
The expansion is in order to avail of wider areas for maneuver as the NPA’s guerrilla forces face the AFP’s large-scale combat and aerial bombing operations, the CPP said.
The statement did not give specific numbers but cited “outstanding” experiences in guerrilla territory expansion in Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Negros and Eastern Visayas regions that the Rodrigo Duterte government placed under “state of emergency” in 2018 under Memorandum Order 32.
The AFP subsequently deployed large number of troops in these regions, as well as in Northeast Mindanao, North Central Mindanao, Southern Mindanao and Far South Mindanao.
“It (CPP) estimates that there are now close to 150 battalions of enemy maneuver troops deployed against the NPA. Up to 82% of the total enemy forces are concentrated in eight regions,” the statement said.
The group said the AFP also aims to further increase the number of CAFGU paramilitaries to 70,000 by completing the recruitment of 9,000 more, proof that the AFP is far from annihilating the guerrilla army by the end of the Rodrigo Duterte presidency in 2022.
The CPP reported that the steady expansion of the areas of operation of the NPA renders large-scale AFP operations ineffective as the government troops fail to encircle and overpower the smaller NPA units.
It however admitted that some NPA commands have been constricted and overstretched by the AFP’s large-scale operations and aerial bombardment.
The CPP however expects Party leaders to carry out reorganizations of besieged NPA guerrilla fronts, drawing lessons from advanced experiences of commands of regions that effectively combine platoons to meet current AFP tactics.
It also called on the NPA to continue mastering guerrilla tactics of concentration, dispersal and shifting to evade the AFP’s main attacking force.
“[C]ause it to beat the air with large and wasteful operations, and then strike the weaker forces from its flanks,” the CPP said.
Despite the absence of ceasefire declarations by both the government and the CPP, the AFP failed to prevent celebrations of the Party’s 52nd anniversary yesterday, Saturday, December 26, the Party added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)