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New People's Army
NPA logo.svg
Logo of the New People's Army
Native name Bagong Hukbong Bayan
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
Status Designated as Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department[1]
Designated as terrorist group by EU Common Foreign and Security Policy[2]
The current flag of the NPA
One of the NPA's older flags

The New People's Army (NPA) (Filipino: Bagong Hukbong Bayan) is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) It was formed and founded by Bernabe Buscayno A.K.A. "Commander Dante" 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 "revolutionary taxes" in areas where it operates mostly from businesses.[3] 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.[citation needed] The Communist Party of the Philippines refers to the NPA as "the tax enforcement agency of the people’s revolutionary government".[4] In 2014, Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala, speaking for the Armed Forces of the Philippines said "[the communist rebels] have lost their ideological mooring and now engaged in extortion [activities]."[3]

The NPA is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department[1] and as a terrorist group by the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy.[2] The Government of the Philippines, however, has delisted the NPA as a terrorist organization in 2011 [5] and has resumed preliminary peace talks pending formal negotiations with the NPA's parent political organization, the CPP.[6] There have been reports of the Chinese government shipping arms to the NPA.[7] Due to this, the NPA got an unknown number of Type 56 assault rifle.

Peace negotiations have recently reached an impasse. The Philippine government has specifically drafted a "new framework" which seeks to end the 27-year-long stalemate in the talks, hoping to build ground with the leftists rebels that is more comprehensive than human rights, the only issue on which the negotiating parties agree.[8]


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[edit]

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"[9] 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.[10][11]

After September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks[edit]

This group was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States in August 2002 and by the European Union in November 2005.[2][12] The NPA's founder, Bernabe Buscayno, lives in the Philippines in peace but under close watch by the government. 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".[13]

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.[14]

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 from 69 in 1986. Forty thousand people have died in the conflict since 1969.[15]

Amnesty Proclamation[edit]

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.[16]

Lucena prison raid[edit]

NPA rebels disguised as Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency personnel had raided a prison in Lucena, Quezon Province,[17][18] overpowering the guards and freeing rebel prisoners they deemed to be "political prisoners."[19] 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.[20] Other NPA rebels held in other prisons were to be moved into secured facilities.[21]

Morong 43[edit]

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.[22]

Attack on three Surigao mines[edit]

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."[23]

Attack on Commando Unit[edit]

On the 27th of May, 2013, the NPA ambushed a truck in Allacapan, Cagayan, transporting an elite police commando unit, by first detonating a roadside bomb and then opening fire. The attack killed 7 police commandos and wounded 8 more. The attack came shortly after the government suspended all peace talks with the NPA, following the rebels refusal to accept an "immediate ceasefire".[24]

Capture of Top Leaders[edit]

March 22, 2014 saw the arrest of Benito Tiamzon, chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) in the Cebu province, along with his wife Wilma and five other members of the central committee of the CPP-NPA. Wilma Tiamzon is also the secretary general of the CPP-NPA. The arrest of the Tiamzons happened exactly a week before the 45th anniversary of the CPP-NPA on March 29.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Foreign Terrorist Organizations", http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm#, www.state.gov, retrieved 19 September 2012
  2. ^ a b c "Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1285/2009". EUR-Lex. 2009-12-22. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  3. ^ a b FERNANDEZ, AMANDA (March 29, 2014). "NPA guerrillas mainly concentrated in north-eastern, southern Mindanao — AFP". GMA News. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "ABOUT THE NEW PEOPLE’S ARMY AND THPAL-SUMITOMO". [1]. December 23, 2011. 
  5. ^ "NDFP opening statement on resumption of formal peace talks", http://www.ndfp.net/joom15/index.php/peace-talks-mainmenu-75/grp-ndfp-peace-talks-mainmenu-77/1031-ndfp-opening-statement-on-resumption-of-formal-peace-talks.html, www.ndfp.net, retrieved 19 Sept. 2012
  6. ^ "GPH and NDFP agree to continue meaningful discussions prior to formal talks", http://www.ndfp.net/joom15/index.php/peace-talks-mainmenu-75/1445-gph-and-ndfp-agree-to-continue-meaningful-discussions-prior-to-formal-talks.html, www.ndfp.net, retrieved 19 September 2012
  7. ^ SIPRI Yearbook 2002-2005, World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers, 1999-2002, The Military Balance 2000-2001 to 2004-2005
  8. ^ "Gov't drafts new framework to guide peace talks with leftist rebels" http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/05/06/939112/govt-drafts-new-framework-guide-peace-talks-leftist-rebels
  9. ^ Abreu, Lualhati Milan (2009). Agaw Dilim Agaw Liwanag. Quezon City, Philippines: University of the Philippines Press. p. 271. ISBN 978-971-542-617-6. 
  10. ^ http://www.usvetdsp.com/story16.htm
  11. ^ Bio, Rowe, James N. "Nick"
  12. ^ Powell, Colin (2002-08-09). "Designation of a Foreign Terrorist Organization". U.S. State Department. Archived from the original on 2007-03-14. Retrieved 2007-03-17. 
  13. ^ New People's Army (NPA), Federation of American Scientists.
  14. ^ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/LD22Ae01.html
  15. ^ Abs-Cbn Interactive, NPAs down to 5,700[dead link]
  16. ^ Inquirer.net, Arroyo signs amnesty proclamation for communists
  17. ^ PDEA to conduct own probe on Quezon jailbreak. Retrieved on October 31, 2008.
  18. ^ Manhunt on for 7 escaped Quezon inmates. Retrieved on October 31, 2008.
  19. ^ Rebels storm jail, freeing seven.[dead link] Retrieved on October 31, 2008.
  20. ^ 2 Quezon jail detainees stayed behind. Retrieved on October 31, 2008.
  21. ^ High-risk NPA detainees to be transferred to secured facilities - Palace. Retrieved on October 31, 2008.
  22. ^ After 10 months in jail, 38 members of 'Morong 43' set free | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features
  23. ^ GMA News (October 3, 2011). "NPA rebels attack 3 mining firms in Surigao del Norte". GMA News Online. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Communist rebels kill Philippine commandos" http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2013/05/2013527845538490.html
  25. ^ http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/588110/high-ranking-communist-leader-captured-in-cebu#ixzz2wtqKlria

External links[edit]

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233 news items


Sat, 13 Sep 2014 02:30:17 -0700

SOLDIERS from the Army's 41st Infantry Battalion received awards Saturday for their successful campaign against New People's Army (NPA) rebels in Abra. Army Chief Lieutenant General Hernando Iriberri conferred the Gold Cross Medal, Bronze Cross ...
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 04:37:30 -0700

THE strength and weapons of the New People's Army (NPA) rebels had been steadily decreasing in Zamboanga Peninsula, a top military official said. Army's 1st Infantry Division commander Brigadier General Gerardo Barrientos attributed the decline to the ...
Sun, 31 Aug 2014 09:05:34 -0700

SUSPECTED members of the New People's Army (NPA) swooped down on the security post of a privately-owned subdivision in Bukidnon and took away their firearms shortly before noon on Saturday, authorities said. The military said around 40 to 60 Maoist ...


Tue, 30 Sep 2014 18:56:55 -0700

LUCENA CITY – Two Army soldiers and one civilian were gunned down by suspected New People's Army (NPA) rebels in Gumaca, Quezon Tuesday evening, in what the military believed was the start of renewed offensives by the dwindling local communist ...
Wed, 01 Oct 2014 00:18:45 -0700

ABOUT 60 members of the New People's Army (NPA) burned a backhoe and dump truck used in road construction at Sitio Buta, Barangay Caliling, Cauayan, Negros Occidental Monday evening. Superintendent German Garbosa, chief of Cauayan Municipal ...

Bulatlat (blog)

Bulatlat (blog)
Wed, 01 Oct 2014 00:30:00 -0700

His captors warned that they would harm his mother if he does not admit that he's a member of the New People's Army (NPA),” Ridon said, adding that at one point during the interrogation, he was brought out of the room, told to kneel down “on the ground ...
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 06:41:15 -0700

CEBU - The alleged leader of the New People's Army in the Central Visayas has posted bail for his rebellion and frustrated murder cases, the military said Thursday. Roy Erecre posted a P456,000 bail for his temporary freedom, Major General Nicanor ...
Mon, 15 Sep 2014 02:11:15 -0700

At least three communist New People's Army rebels were killed and two government soldiers wounded in a firefight in Kapalong town in Davao del Norte province on Sunday, a military spokesman said. Capt Alberto Caber of the military's Eastern Mindanao ...

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