CPP detests Duterte’s terrorist tag

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 8 Dec) – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) detested on Thursday their designation, including its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), as a terrorist organization.

The CPP issued the statement two days after President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Proclamation No. 374 declaring the CPP-NPA as a designated/identified terrorist organization pursuant to Republic Act No. 10168, also known as the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2002.

The law states, “It is the policy of the State to protect life, liberty, and property from acts of terrorism, to condemn terrorism and those who support and finance it and to recognize it as inimical and dangerous to the national security of the country and the welfare of the people, and to make financing of terrorism a crime against the Filipino people, against humanity, and against the law of nations.”

The proclamation added that the law “criminalizes the financing of terrorism and dealing with property or funds of designated persons/organizations, and prevents and suppresses the commission of said offenses through freezing and forfeiture of the property or funds of said designations persons/organizations, among others.

The communist group criticized Duterte for making as reference the US Government’s list of foreign terrorist organization (FTO) in which they have been listed since August 9, 2002. The US State Department has listed 61 international terrorist groups from 1997 to 2017, with only 13 groups so far delisted.

It said the declaration has made the Duterte administration a “strong contender” to get increased aid for military and weaponry under the US Government’s budget for its global war on terror.

“By kowtowing to the US line of ‘counterterrorism,’ Duterte is opening wide the door for increased US military intervention across the country, as he did in Marawi and Mindanao when he declared the now defunct Maute group as ‘terrorists’,” he said.

The CPP also criticized the declaration as it targets the persons and organizations who stand risk of being designated as terrorists if proven that they are “financing and aiding” the communists.

“This clearly targets the national democratic legal mass movement which he has repeatedly threatened with a crackdown for supposedly ‘conspiring’ with the NPA.

“Duterte will also be able to shake down or extort from corporations and businesses by simply associating them with the NPA,” the CPP said.

Upon the issuance of the proclamation, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguire was then directed to file a petition in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) under the provisions of the Human Security Act for a judicial affirmation, according to Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

“The reason why it has to be brought to court is for purposes of due process. They want the CPP-NPA to be heard why they should not be designated as a terrorist organization,” he told a Palace briefing on December 5.

Roque said the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) was exempt from the proclamation.

“Because it is not automatic, that just because the Executive has classified the group as a terrorist organization it will be considered as a terrorist organization under the domestic law and under relevant Security Council resolutions. Take note, this is not just in relation to Philippine Domestic law but also in relation to UN Security Council resolution intended to curtail financing of terrorist organizations,” he said.

Roque said Duterte will hold responsible all legal fronts of the CPP-NPA.

The supposed discreet fifth round of peace negotiation between government (GRP) and NDFP last November 25-27 in Oslo, Norway was cancelled.

On November 23, Duterte issued Proclamation 360 ordering the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and the government peace negotiators to stop all peace talks with the communist group for failing to show “sincerity and commitment in pursuing genuine and meaningful peace negotiations as it engaged on acts of violence and hostilities, endangering the lives and properties of innocent people.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)