BlackEagle/BlackEagle Logistics & Procurement Branch, Data Support Section
Results of Criminal Organizations Database Search: New People's Army
New People's Army #CR0001111
(Also... Some alternate names are aliases, other are names for specific subgroups or
Army of the People
Communist People's Party
Source: CIA, MI-6
Type: Political terrorist organization/guerrilla insurgency
Infrequent raid and ambushes on local police and politicians. Also acts of assassination
against private US citizens and US military personnel.
Members of the NPA have received training in Libya with various other terrorist
organizations, although none of those organizations maintain permanent links with the
Personnel: 16,000 plus a variety of support groups [CIA]
Military style hierarchy. Militia units of ten to twenty individuals, organized into
companies, all falling under a single central command group.
Jose Maria Sison [#LL5187345], head of the Communist People's Party, currently
resides in the Netherlands, Romulo Kintanar [#LL5209734], head of NPA General
Command, arrested 1991.
Connections with members of the Philippine military and politicians. Further training may
come from members of the Philippine military.
Smallarms, explosives and some light military weapons. Receives funding from overseas
fundraisers in Western Europe and elsewhere; also linked to Libya. Derives most of its
funding from contributions of supporters so-called revolutionary taxes extorted from local
Suspected Criminal Activity:
The NPA is in disarray because of a split in the CPP, a lack of money, and successful
government operations. With US military gone from the country, NPA has engaged in
urban terrorism against the police, corrupt politicians, drug traffickers, and other targets
that evoked popular anger. From 1974 to 1991, the NPA conducted at least 56
noteworthy actions of which 23 were assassinations, 8 were bombings and arson, 5 were
kidnappings, 4 were armed attacks, while the remaining 16 were threats not followed by
any fulfilling action. Four kidnappings were for ransom, while a kidnapping of a South
Korean contractor on 10 November 1987 was undertaken to force the Philippine Army to
remove units from a certain region. Certain of the bombings and arson attacks against
foreign-owned farms and factories also may have been retaliation for refusal to pay
Except for the shooting deaths of three servicemen at Subic Bay on 13 April 1974 and a
few sniping and mortar attacks on the Voice of America transmitting station in the Tinang
area, there had been virtually no attacks on Americans until 28 October 1987 when two
U.S. servicemen, one retired U.S. serviceman, and a Filipino retired from the U.S. armed
forces were gunned down by Sparrow Squads. On 15 April 1987, the NPA had
announced that it would deploy the Sparrow Squads to kill U.S. military personnel or
diplomats involved in the Philippines counterinsurgency program, but none of those
killed on 28 October fit that description. On 21 April 1989, Sparrows shot dead U.S.
Army Colonel James Rowe while he was driving to work in Manila. On 26 September
1989, the NPA murdered two U.S. Defense Department civilian workers outside Clark Air
Force Base. On 6 March 1990, an American rancher was murdered for refusing to pay
the NPA extortion money. On 13 May 1990, two U.S. Air Force airmen were shot dead
by NPA gunmen near Clark Air Force Base.
The guerrilla arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines [(CCP)], founded the NPA in
1969 as its armed wing to carry out protracted armed struggle to overthrow the current
constitutional government in favor of a "people's democratic state." Although primarily a
rural-based guerrilla group, the NPA has an active urban infrastructure to carry out
terrorism; uses city based assassination squads called sparrow units. Chinese
sponsorship of the NPA ended in 1976, and following some retrenchment, the group
began to grow again by 1982, financing itself through extortion and arming itself by raids
on police and army units.
While the NPA is the armed wing of the outlawed CPP-ML, it has established its own
legal political front, the National Democratic Front, which operates openly in Manila. The
head of the CPP-ML, Jose Maria Sison, currently resides in the Netherlands. The
membership of the NPA is estimated to have 18,000 to 20,000 members and a much
larger support network. While originally a rural guerrilla insurgency following Maoist
precepts of guerrilla warfare, in recent years the NPA has involved itself increasingly in
urban operations and in entrepreneurial terrorism in targeting foreign investors and
contract workers for extortion or else for kidnapping to gain ransom. The more purely
revolutionary terrorism of the group is seen in the operations of its death squads, called
"Sparrow Squads," who murder Filipino politicians, military figures, policemen,
government collaborators, and even members of the news media who dare criticize the
NPA. These actions are meant to drive foreign investment out and to provoke the
government to undertake repressive measures that would discredit it with the Filipino
population. Prior to the 1992 closing of Clark Air Force Base and the Subic Bay U.S.
Naval facility, the Sparrows had also targeted U.S. servicemen. Within those parts of
central and northern Luzon island where the NPA controls rural areas and villages as
well as within the ranks of NPA members and supporters, the organization also practices
its own repressive terrorism, having imprisoned, tortured, or executed some 1,000 of
their own ranks in recent years.
Since 1987 there has been a marked upswing in NPA terrorism. The growth and success
of the group is in part due to the neglect of the countryside and corruption experienced
during the Marcos regime as well as the difficulties of the Aquino administration in
presiding over the transition to a democratic order. The marked increase in NPA
terrorism since 1987 may be due to the NPA exploiting a unique historic opportunity
afforded by the instability accompanying the transition from dictatorship to democracy.
Such an explanation may account for increased NPA terrorism directed at others but
does not so readily explain the upswing in the NPA's internal purges and disciplining of
its own members. This increased internally directed terrorism may be an attempt to quell
dissent within the NPA ranks over the proper goal and strategy of the NPA in the post-
During 1991, the Philippine government captured over 80 ranking members of the CPP-
ML and the NPA, including Romulo Kintanar, head of the NPA General Command.
These arrests and the successful convictions of the murderers of Colonel Rowe set back
the terrorist operations of the NPA for most of that year. Despite these setbacks, the
NPA has shown itself to be one of the few leftist insurgencies that is still actively
growing, despite the demise of communism throughout the rest of the world, and through
its urban terrorism it continues to pose a significant threat to the stability of the current
democratic government in the Philippines.
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