From the Manila Times (Jul 1): AFP: ‘NPA degenerated into bandit group’
THE New People’s Army (NPA) “degenerated” into a group of bandits that has resorted to extortion, a military spokesman said on Saturday.
Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., the AFP spokesman, said the public should already be reminded about the “true nature” of the NPA by now, following attacks perpetrated by the communist rebels to some private and public infrastructures.
“The public by now knows the true nature of the NPA…a group that has degenerated to being bandits and plain extortionists and must be shunned,” Padilla told reporters in a text message.
Padilla was reacting to a recent statement of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) on Friday that its armed wing, the NPA, must carry out “more and more” attacks in order to “derail and blunt the all-out attacks” of the military.
The CPP also described the AFP as “the most notorious human rights abusers” and also criticized President Rodrigo Duterte during his first year for showing strongman attributes and hit his bloody crackdown against illegal drugs.
Its political wing, the National Democratic Front, is currently engaged in peace negotiations with the Philippine government.
The peace talks nearly fell through after Duterte ordered a suspension following continued attacks by the NPA against government security forces.
Padilla said the NPA actions were “clearly anti-peace, anti-development, anti-progress, and truly anti-people”.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the NPA was a “terrorist group and “anti-poor”.
In June, a group of NPA rebels attacked a police station in Iloilo. After the President declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23 following the deadly attacks by the Islamic State-linked Maute group, the CPP ordered the NPA to intensify its attacks as a way of resisting military rule.