PNP: Communist rebels to meet stiffer penalties once categorized as terrorists

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 22) —The Philippine National Police on Wednesday said members of the left-wing insurgent New People's Army may meet stiffer penalties if the group will be categorized as a terrorist organization.

PNP Spokesman CSupt. Dionardo Carlos said with President Duterte's declaration that the CPP-NPA may soon be considered as a terror group, the Human Security Act may be applied to the activities of its members.

"We always look at what's the crime committed. So kung now they are tagged as terror group, applicable na to their action ang Human Security Act, violation of the Human Security Act," Carlos said.

Under Section 3 and 4 of  the Human Security Act or Republic Act 9372 of 2007, those who sow widespread fear and panic among the public in order to coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand is terrorism. Any terror act is punishable by 40 years of imprisonment without the benefit of parole.

"If they violate any provision of the anti-terror law, yun ang i-a-apply namin. Hindi 'yung specific crime na nasa penal law. It will be mas harsh ang punishment. 'Yun ang gagawin namin," Carlos reiterated.

President Duterte on Wednesday said an annual ceasefire implemented by police and military on operations against the New People's Army during Christmas will not be implemented.

Carlos said this means the PNP will pursue their usual anti-insurgency operations and continue providing intelligence support to the military.

"Intelligence-based, and in coordination with the AFP. 'Yun naman ang normal namin. Dati kasi pag may declaration ng ceasefire, we take the defensive stance. Pero parang one-step back tayo. Now, hindi. We will continue with our normal anti-insurgency operations," said the PNP Spokesman.

With the termination of formal talks with the communist group, Carlos said the government has been consistent that it will not negotiate with terrorists.

Carlos added the PNP will create guidelines to implement the President's order.

The government's peace advisers on Wednesday said all planned peace talks with the communist rebels have been canceled upon President Rodrigo Duterte's order.

Related: Gov't cancels all planned peace talks with communist rebels