CPP-SMR is intact, claims of collapse are false—CPP

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) dismissed today as fake news and “completely without basis” the recent claims of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that the Party’s Southern Mindanao Regional Committee is on the “brink of collapse.”

Last Tuesday, the AFP’s 10th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen Ernesto C. Torres Jr. bragged that their “focused military operations and community support programs,” are set to spell the defeat of New People’s Army (NPA) fronts and units in Southern Mindanao. In their press conference, the 10th ID presented 12 “surrenderees” whom they claim are “former high-ranking leaders” of the SMRC.

CPP Chief Information Officer Marco Valbuena said that these pronouncements “are false declarations that will fail to deceive and demoralize the Red fighters and the revolutionary forces of Southern Mindanao.” Valbuena pointed out that “despite the brutal suppression unleashed by the AFP, the peasant masses and Lumad people in the region continue to support and take part in the revolutionary struggle to fight worsening forms of oppression and exploitation.”

“The CPP’s Southern Mindanao Regional Committee is intact,” said Valbuena. “Members of the SMRC are steeled in revolutionary struggle and are determined to lead the NPA in fighting and frustrating the brutal all-out war of the AFP and defend the peasant and Lumad masses.”

“The ‘surrenderees’ presented by the 10th ID are misrepresenting ‘high-ranking’ regional cadres in Southern Mindanao so they can pocket more funds and boost their credentials,” said Valbuena. He pointed out that ‘surenderees’ included Noel Legazpi, who in fact came from another region, and had defected to the AFP years ago.

“All the key leadership duties of the Party in the region are being performed by high-caliber and experienced revolutionary cadres,” he said. Valbuena further pointed out that the Party committee in SMR has a deep pool of cadres. “who can be promoted when necessary to take on bigger and heavier tasks of leadership,” Valbuena said.

Valbuena also noted that some of those presented by the AFP as “surrenderees” are in fact captives. “They are being denied proper legal representation and misrepresented before the public,” he said. “They are kept inside AFP camps where they cannot go out and are denied free access to information and communication.”

Valbuena stressed that they are prisoners who do not have free access to lawyers and are not allowed to speak before the public. “They are being subjected to intense psychological pressure to force them to give up their principles and mouth AFP propaganda in their activities,” Valbuena added.

CPP-SMR is intact, claims of collapse are false—CPP