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Tit-for-tat: Red ‘Sparrows’ vs. Duterte army

The New People’s Army is reviving its urban strike teams, known as the Special Partisan Unit or Sparrow units, a week after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered all-out-war against the communist rebels.

READ: Duterte renews call for all-out war vs Reds

Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison said aside from the Sparrow units, the NPA is also setting up commando teams based in the provinces that can be sent to urban areas “to punish officials notorious for corruption, human rights violations and connivance with crime syndicates” as well as to sabotage or destroy key military and police detachments and installations.

“This is obviously a response to the all-out war statement of Duterte,” he said.

Sison, who is in a self-imposed exile in Utrecht, said contrary to the government’s target of crushing the insurgents, the widespread red-tagging and threats to life and killing of activists have resulted in higher NPA recruitment.

“After politico-military training, many of these activists are expected to become good fighters in armed city partisan units and commando teams,” Sison said.

“It can be calculated that what you might call ‘sparrow’ warfare in the urban areas can strategically force the military and police to take guard duties or go on the defensive in the cities and have less armed personnel for combat in the countryside,” he added.

Sison said the administration has failed miserably in implementing Duterte’s 2018 Executive Order No. 70 which institutionalized a “whole-of-nation approach” to end the decades-old communist insurgency.

“Under EO No. 70, Duterte is failing in his military strategy and tactics. Most of his military and police officers preoccupy themselves with psy-war activities instead—faking surrenders and encounters and deploying too many checkpoints and token patrols,” he said.

Last week, Duterte ordered an all-out-war against CPP-NPA, six months after ordering a permanent termination of peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front.

“I am ordering an all-out-war against the NPA. If I can, I will end the insurgency problem within my term,” the President said.

In April, the President also directed the military and police to “learn the art of assassination” and create units similar to the communist rebel’s SPARU.

“If the NPA has sparrow, why do I not have sparrow? I told them, form a unit that will sparrow the NPA. I am addressing myself to the police and the military: learn the art of assassination,” he said.

“Our government sparrow units will do nothing but hunt suspected NPAs. If you see three or four NPA rebels just lazing around, kill them immediately,” the President said.

READ: AFP told: Learn assassin’s ways

READ: Military told: Tit-for-tat vs rebels

Topics: New People’s Army , Sparrow units , Rodrigo Duterte , Jose Ma. Sison
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