NPA among US think tank's top terror organizations

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 19 2017 04:57 PM

MANILA - The New People's Army has been included in a Washington-based think tank's list of top terrorist organizations in the world, joining the likes of the Islamic State, Boko Haram, and the Taliban.

The 2017 report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) put the NPA at ninth spot with 119 "coordinated terrorist attacks" from 2000 to 2014.

The attacks persisted even if peace talks with communist rebels resumed under the new administration, said Francisco Ashley Acedillo, a former air force lieutenant and National Security Council consultant.

"Herein you see the nature of the beast. This is exactly the same group that the government is talking peace with right now," he told ANC referring to the report.

Edre Olalia, legal consultant for the rebels, dismissed the report and described Acedillo as a "spoiler" in the peace negotiations.

"Kaya nga may pag-uusap ang magkabilang panig dahil nga may giyera. Magkakaroon ba ng pag-uusap kung walang giyera?" Olalia told ABS-CBN News.

The study urged the new US administration to "rethink" its strategy against Islamic extremists such as ISIS, which topped the list with 757 attacks.

To put the violence in perspective, the CSIS compared the number of attacks with those carried out by other groups worldwide.

A total of 63 such attacks were blamed on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which signed a peace agreement with the government in 2014.

A breakaway group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM), staged 55 attacks during the same period, the study said.

"All the groups listed commit acts of terrorism, but it is Islamic extremist movements that clearly dominate," the report said.

"The goal of virtually every movement is to use every possible element of force to obtain power and control over specific states or major areas of territory."

Acedillo, a former Magdalo partylist Representative, cautioned the government against "giving an arm and a leg" while negotiating peace with communist rebels.

"They have been rightly called communist terrorists because that's what they are," he said.

The government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines are set to resume the next round of talks in The Netherlands next week.