New People's Army

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New People's Army
NPA flag
Major actions March 29, 1969
Leader(s) Bernabe Buscayno
Motives Proletarian revolution
Active region(s) Philippines
Ideology Maoism
Notable attacks U.S. Army Colonel James N. Rowe assassination

The New People's Army (NPA) (Filipino Wp→: Bagong Hukbong Bayan) is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). It was formed on March 29, 1969. The Maoist NPA conducts its armed guerrilla struggle based on the strategical line of 'protracted people's war'.

The NPA collects taxes from business owners in areas where it operates. This includes mining and logging operations - especially foreign owned enterprises that provides employment to the people with the belief that crippling the country's economy would give favor for a revolution to occur. The Communist Party of the Philippines refers to the NPA as "the tax enforcement agency of the people’s revolutionary government".[1]

The Government of the Philippines, however, has delisted the NPA as a terrorist organization in 2011 [2] and has recently resumed preliminary peace talks pending formal negotiations with the NPA's parent political organization, the CPP.[3]



The New People's Army traces its roots to the HUKBALAHAP ( or Huks), which was organized by the old Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas during the Second World War to counter the Japanese invasion of the islands. During the war, the Huks gained immense local support, establishing a mass base in whole areas of Central Luzon and in parts of Southern Tagalog region.

However, by the late 1950s, the Huks had been greatly reduced by intense military operations (aided by the U.S. through the C.I.A.) and winning "hearts and minds" tactics under the Magsaysay Administration. This was aggravated by the old PKP's political and strategic line which constantly changed its appreciation for an armed struggle. By the early parts of the 1960s the Huks were operating in small groups, some resorting to banditry and other similar criminal acts. [citation needed]

Founding of a New People's Army

The 1960s saw a revival in nationalism and patriotism, especially among the youth and students, in the Philippines. The ongoing Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China, sparked a renewed interest in Marxist study, with emphasis on lessons from the Chinese Revolution. National democratic organizations such as the Kabataang Makabayan and other progressive groups began to see the need for a renewed armed struggle base upon Mao's strategy of protracted people's war. On December 26, 1968, the Communist Party of the Philippines was re-established on Marxist-Leninist-Mao Zedong Thought line. Adopting the strategy of protracted people's war, the CPP immediately went about organizing a new people's army. The CPP had previously made contact with former members of the Hukbong Mapagpalayang Bayan (HMB) - to which the Huks changed their name in the 50s - in Central Luzon. On March 29, 1969, the New People's Army or NPA was formed. It had only 72 fighters and was equipped with light weapons. After its initial formation, the CPP and the NPA dispersed and established regional cells in several parts of the country.

Second Great Rectification Movement

In the 1990s internal criticism about mistakes in the 1980s led to the Second Great Rectification Movement, launched in 1992 and largely completed in 1998, leading to a resurgence in the Philippine insurgency. The Second Rectification ended internal purges of the movement that killed hundreds of members on allegations of being deep penetration agents of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine intelligence community. Former CPP-NPA cadre Lualhati Milan Abreu's award-winning memoir "Agaw-Dilim Agaw Liwanag"[4] chronicled the executions.

The Rectification Movement, despite its successes also resulted in a series of splits within the Party and even the People's Army. The Alex Boncayao Brigade, notorious for targeting policemen and officials that were allegedly corrupt, bolted out of the party while some ended up forming groups such as the Revolutionary Proletarian Army and the Rebolusyonaryong Hukbong Bayan.

The NPA claims responsibility for the assassination of U.S. Army Colonel James "Nick" Rowe, founder of the U.S. Army Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) course, in 1989. Colonel Rowe was part of a military assistance program to the Philippine Army. The NPA insist that this made him a legitimate military target.[5][6]

Post 9/11

This group was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States in August 2002 and by the European Union in November 2005.[7][8] The NPA's founder, Jose Maria Sison, lives in the Netherlands in exile. The NPA operates mostly in the rural areas and their targets often include military, police, government informers, and rural residents who refuse to pay "revolutionary taxes".[9]

The Arroyo administration has been negotiating intermittently with delegates of NPA in European countries.[citation needed]

The arrest of a Naxalite guerrilla by Indian security forces suggested links with the NPA, who were said to have traveled to India to teach them how to conduct guerrilla warfare against the army and police.[10]

In March, 2008, AFP chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr., claimed that the New People's Army (NPA) rebels had only around 4,900 members, significantly down from 26,000 at its peak in 1980's. NPAs currently fight in 10 of 81 Philippine provinces down from 69 in 1986. Forty thousand people have died in the conflict since 1969.[11]

Amnesty Proclamation

On September 5, 2007, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Amnesty Proclamation 1377 for members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People's Army; other communist rebel groups; and their umbrella organization, the National Democratic Front (Philippines). The amnesty will cover the crime of rebellion and all other crimes "in pursuit of political beliefs," but not including crimes against chastity, rape, torture, kidnapping for ransom, use and trafficking of illegal drugs and other crimes for personal ends and violations of international law or convention and protocols "even if alleged to have been committed in pursuit of political beliefs." The National Committee on Social Integration (NCSI) will issue a Certificate of Amnesty to qualified applicants. Implementing rules and regulations are being drafted and the decree will be submitted to the Senate of the Philippines and the House of Representatives of the Philippines for their concurrence. The proclamation becomes effective only after Congress has concurred.[12]

Lucena prison raid

NPA rebels disguised as Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency personnel had raided a prison in Lucena, Quezon Province,[13][14] overpowering the guards and freeing rebel prisoners they deemed to be "political prisoners."[15] Two of the seven people deemed political prisoners did not escape with the NPA raiders, opting to be cleared of any wrongdoing by lawful, legal means.[16] Other NPA rebels held in other prisons were to be moved into secured facilities.[17]

Morong 43

There were 43 people arrested at a community health meeting in Morong, Rizal on February 6, 2010. They were accused of being part of the NPA. On December 10, 2010, President Benigno Aquino III ordered the release of 38 of the 43 because the Morong 43 case had due process violations. Seven of the released were reported to have returned to the mountains to continue the NPA's armed struggle. The last 5 admitted being part of the NPA and are being prosecuted for various criminal offenses including murder, extortion, and other offenses.[18]

Attack on 3 Surigao Mines

The NPA conducted attacks on October 3, 2011 against three large-scale mining corporations in Surigao del Norte. The spectacular attacks spanned only three hours but resulted in grave damages, including the burning of ten dump trucks, eight backhoes, two barges and a guest house. The mining firms attacked include the Taganito Mining Corporation at Taganito village in Claver town, the 4K Mining at Cadiano village, also in Claver, and the Thpal Mining located near the Taganito Mining Corp. compound. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) claimed that the NPA attacked the mining firms because of their failure to pay "revolutionary taxes."[19]

In popular culture

During the late 1980s, after the EDSA Revolution, movies such as Dante, Victor Corpus, Alex Boncayao Brigade, Sparrow, and Balweg, Rebel Priest featured prominent leaders and members of the group.Template:Or

The 2011 ABS-CBN and Tagalog-language soap opera Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin partly dramatizes a group similar to the NPA and their fight against the Philippine military and government.

See also


  1. "ABOUT THE NEW PEOPLE’S ARMY AND THPAL-SUMITOMO", [1], December 23, 2011. 
  2. "NDFP opening statement on resumption of formal peace talks",,, retrieved 19 Sept. 2012
  3. "GPH and NDFP agree to continue meaningful discussions prior to formal talks",,, retrieved 19 September 2012
  4. Abreu, Lualhati Milan (2009). Agaw Dilim Agaw Liwanag. Quezon City, Philippines: University of the Philippines Press. pp. 271. . 
  6. Bio, Rowe, James N. "Nick"
  7. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named eucouncil
  8. Powell, Colin Designation of a Foreign Terrorist Organization. U.S. State Department. URL accessed on 2007-03-17.
  9. New People's Army (NPA), Federation of American Scientists.
  11. Abs-Cbn Interactive, NPAs down to 5,700[dead link]
  12., Arroyo signs amnesty proclamation for communists
  13. PDEA to conduct own probe on Quezon jailbreak. Retrieved on October 31, 2008.
  14. Manhunt on for 7 escaped Quezon inmates. Retrieved on October 31, 2008.
  15. Rebels storm jail, freeing seven.[dead link] Retrieved on October 31, 2008.
  16. 2 Quezon jail detainees stayed behind. Retrieved on October 31, 2008.
  17. High-risk NPA detainees to be transferred to secured facilities - Palace. Retrieved on October 31, 2008.
  18. After 10 months in jail, 38 members of 'Morong 43' set free | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features
  19. GMA News. "NPA rebels attack 3 mining firms in Surigao del Norte", October 3, 2011. Retrieved on April 6, 2012. 

External links

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