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NPA started in the 1960s, not 1950s

Screengrab of Duterte's speech misstating founding date of New People's Army
Screengrab from

The New People’s Army has been waging war against the government since the late 1960s—not the 1950s as President Rodrigo Duterte wrongly claimed.

The president mixed up the dates in his June 22 public address during which he tagged the communist movement as the country’s top security threat which he warned could spill into the next generation.

Duterte said:

Pero itong away ng COVID, ng terrorism (But this fight with CoVID, with terrorism), this has been taken advantage of by the itong mga (these) forces arrayed against us — Abu Sayyaf, mga terorista (terrorists) with no ideology, the Communist Party with ideology but more pernicious ang effect which could undermine the peace and security of our country not only this administration, but it can transcend to the next generation, giving no not — giving us no respite…
The fight against — fight against the NPAs has long been there. It started in the 50s hanggang ngayon nandiyan pa (and is still there). It has undermined the national security of the country.

The New People’s Army (NPA) is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

The CPP was founded by Jose Maria Sison on Dec. 26, 1968 following a doctrinal split within the old-line, pro-Soviet Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP), according to a declassified document of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Sison set up the NPA on March 29, 1969 with Bernabe Buscayno as its first commander. A former activist, Buscayno had commanded an armed group during a communist-led uprising in the 1950s called the Huk Rebellion.

The CPP and NPA are so closely intertwined, they are often jointly referred to as the CPP-NPA.

After his election to the presidency, Duterte pursued peace talks with communist rebels but ended the negotiations on Nov. 23, 2017. He declared the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, as a “designated/identified terrorist organization” under RA 10168, or The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.

The United States designated the CPP-NPA a “foreign terrorist organization” in 2002.

Dubbing leaders of the CPP-NPA “high-value targets,” Duterte is offering a P2 million reward for information leading to their arrest.

The controversial Anti-Terrorism Bill is awaiting his signature.

The PKP was established on Nov. 7, 1930, the anniversary of the October Revolution or Bolshevik Revolution. The revolution took place on Oct. 25, 1917 by the Julian or old-style calendar, which corresponds to Nov. 7, 1917 in the Gregorian calendar.

The PKP was behind the Hukbalahap, the most effective guerrilla organization during the Japanese occupation. It is now called the PKP-1930 to distinguish it from the CPP.


Center for International Security and Cooperation. (n.d.). Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army. Retrieved from

Central Intelligence Agency. (1982). The Communist Party: Organizing for Revolution. Retrieved from

Fuller, K. (2011). Forcing the pace: The Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas, from foundation to armed struggle. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press

October Revolution. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas-1930. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Presidential Communications Operations Office. (2020, June 22). Talk to the people of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Retrieved from

Proclamation 360. (2017, November 23). Declaring the termination of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front-Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army. Retrieved from

Proclamation No. 374. (2017, December 5). Declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-New People’s Army (NPA) as a designated/identified terrorist organization under Republict Act No. 10168. Retrieved from


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