Duterte signs proclamation labeling CPP-NPA as terrorist group

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte signed a proclamation declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) as a terrorist organization.

This was announced by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday, December 5, during a press briefing.

"It's a proclamation declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army a designated, identified terrorist organization under Republic Act (RA) No. 10168," he said in Malacañang.

This, Roque said, is 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."

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After Duterte signed the proclamation, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, through a memorandum, directed Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to file a petition with the appropriate regional trial court for the declaration of the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization.

A court decision is necessary since a proclamation from the President is not enough to classify the communists as terrorists. (READ: Military agrees NPA should get 'terrorist' tag)

The proclamation would have an impact on United Nations Security Council resolutions, aside from domestic policies, said Roque.

He added that the classification would also mean authorities can arrest members of communist "legal fronts" found to be financing the CPP-NPA, based on RA No. 10168 which defines the crime of financing terrorism.

In a statement, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Major General Restituto Padilla said that following the declaration, the military will "fully execute and perform its mandate without reservation and restrictions."

"This proclamation clearly classifies and labels the group for what they really are.... We can now address without any hesitation and with all the means and resources available to us the increasing criminal and economic sabotage activities of these terrorists," he said.

Padilla added that despite government efforts to pursue negotiations, the communists "never aspired for peace." – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.