Country Reports on Terrorism 2014 - Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army

aka CPP/NPA; Communist Party of the Philippines; the CPP; New People's Army; the NPA

Description: The Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army (CPP/NPA) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on August 9, 2002. The military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) – the New People's Army (NPA) – is a Maoist group formed in March 1969 with the aim of overthrowing the government through protracted guerrilla warfare. Jose Maria Sison, the Chairman of the CPP's Central Committee and the NPA's founder, reportedly directs CPP and NPA activity from the Netherlands, where he lives in self-imposed exile. Luis Jalandoni, a fellow Central Committee member and director of the CPP's overt political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF), also lives in the Netherlands and has become a Dutch citizen. Although primarily a rural-based guerrilla group, the NPA had an active urban infrastructure to support its terrorist activities and, at times, used city-based assassination squads.

Activities: The CPP/NPA primarily targeted Philippine security forces, government officials, local infrastructure, and businesses that refused to pay extortion, or "revolutionary taxes." The CPP/NPA charged politicians running for office in CPP/NPA-influenced areas for "campaign permits." In addition to its focus on Philippine governmental targets, the CPP/NPA has a history of attacking U.S. interests in the Philippines. In 1987, the CPP/NPA conducted direct actions against U.S. personnel and facilities, killing three American soldiers in four separate attacks in Angeles City. In 1989, the CPP/NPA issued a press statement claiming responsibility for the ambush and murder of Colonel James Nicholas Rowe, chief of the Ground Forces Division of the Joint U.S.-Military Advisory Group.

Over the past few years, the CPP/NPA has continued to carry out killings, raids, kidnappings, acts of extortion, and other forms of violence which are directed mainly against domestic and security force targets. In May 2013, the Armed Forces of the Philippines reported that from 2011 through the first quarter of 2013, 383 people, including 158 civilians, were killed in encounters between the CPP/NPA and government forces.

On July 10, 2014, heavily armed NPA fighters attacked a municipal police station in Surigao del Norte, and held four police officers captive during the attack, wounding two of them. At least two soldiers were killed and another wounded following a confrontation with suspected NPA rebels in Negros Occidental on July 17, 2014. During a nominal "holiday" ceasefire with the Government of the Philippines in December 2014, NPA carried out multiple attacks, including setting fire to construction equipment and a civilian's vehicle, abducting a jail warden, and shooting and killing three military-affiliated individuals – all unarmed and in civilian clothes. The NPA continued to use explosive and improvised explosive devices to target police and security forces.

On March 22, 2014, two leaders of the CPP/NPA, Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma, were arrested by Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police in Aloguinsan, Cebu. Abraham Delejero Villanueva, a suspected leader of the CPP/NPA, was also arrested on July 20, 2014, and on August 5, 2014, Eduardo Almores Esteban, a high-ranking official in the CPP/NPA, was arrested by the military and police in Jaro, Iloilo, Philippines.

Strength: The Philippine government estimates there are 4,000 CPP/NPA members.

Location/Area of Operation: Rural Luzon, Visayas, and parts of northern and eastern Mindanao. There are also cells in Manila and other metropolitan centers.

Funding and External Aid: The CPP/NPA raises funds through extortion and theft.


This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.