Country Reports on Terrorism 2016 - Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Communist Party of Philippines/New People's Army (CPP/NPA)

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. NPA's founder, Jose Maria Sison, reportedly directs CPP/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. Although primarily a rural-based guerrilla group, CPP/NPA has an active urban infrastructure to support its terrorist activities and, at times, uses city-based assassination squads.

Senior CPP/NPA leaders Wilma and Benito Tiamzon were arrested in the Philippines in 2014. NPA second-in-command Adelberto Silva was arrested in 2015.

Activities: CPP/NPA primarily targets Philippine security forces, government officials, local infrastructure, and businesses that refuse to pay extortion, or "revolutionary taxes." CPP/NPA also has a history of attacking U.S. interests in the Philippines. In 1987, for example, CPP/NPA conducted direct actions against U.S. personnel and facilities, killing three U.S. soldiers in four separate attacks in Angeles City. In 1989, the group 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, CPP/NPA has continued to carry out killings, raids, kidnappings, acts of extortion, and other forms of violence primarily directed against Philippine security forces. 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 CPP/NPA and government forces.

Despite a ceasefire with the Government of the Philippines in December 2014, CPP/NPA continued to carry out attacks. During the first few months of 2015, the CPP/NPA attacked a Dole plantation, killed several soldiers and a policeman in an attempt to seize a police station in Mati City, and ambushed and killed several Philippine soldiers in Kalinga and Compostela Valley.

In 2016, the group was responsible for a number of clashes and attacks against government forces, police, and businesses. In August, multinational banana company Dole-Stanfilco closed its operation in Barobo due to escalating attacks by suspected CPP/NPA members.

Throughout 2016, several attempts were made to establish a ceasefire and peace deal between the CPP/NPA and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Reported violations from both sides, however, including reports of CPP/NPA's continued recruitment in the Philippines, have stalled any peace efforts. In November, CPP/NPA announced it would not sign a deal until the government formally broke ties with the United States and resisted foreign intervention from other nations, including China and Russia.

Strength: The Philippine government estimates the group has approximately 4,000 members. CPP/NPA also retains a significant amount of support from communities in rural areas of the Philippines.

Location/Area of Operation: The Philippines, including Rural Luzon, Visayas, and parts of northern and eastern Mindanao. There are also CPP/NPA 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.