THE Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4th ID) has belittled the plans of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to expand its guerilla fronts and recruit more members to win its war against the government.

“Nothing could be more absurd than the pronouncements of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) that they will gain a strategic leap in its armed struggle from strategic defensive to strategic stalemate within the next five years,” the 4th ID said in a statement responding to CPP’s call for its armed unit—the New People’s Army (NPA) to “draw strength from the mass base in areas of expansion."

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

In a statement released during its 41st anniversary last December 26, the CPP said the party said the expansion would help the NPA "cover the rural congressional districts and gain ability to deploy armed city partisan units in the urban congressional districts."

The 4th ID said the idea was preposterous.

“This is not to say, however, that the CPP cannot indulge in daydreaming and wishful thinking. They have every right to weave its own ambitious plans and targets. But the public has every right to know the real score, lest they may be terrified by the claims of the CPP, which is the only political party in the Philippines who rejoice in using and espousing violence by virtue of its private army -- the New People’s Army,” the 4th ID statement read.

The CPP had earlier belittled President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s promise to crush the party by 2010, saying it would just be another failed “pipe dream."

The party claimed that it had achieved “resounding victories" against the Arroyo administration in 2009. It vowed to “intensify (its) tactical offensive" next year against the government.

The Cagayan de Oro-based 4th ID laughed off the CPP’s claims of victories.

For example, the 4th ID said the rebel group “has suffered tremendous setbacks” within its area of responsibility.

The NPA “suffered tremendous setbacks especially in the area of coverage of Guerilla Front 89 where People’s Militia and NPA regulars have surrendered en masse to government authorities. The effective coverage of Front 89 includes a major part of the Province Bukidnon, part of Misamis Oriental, and part of Agusan del Norte,” said Maj. Michelle Anayron, 4th ID spokesman.

“The CPP-NPA could not claim that they have not been weakened by the government’s Internal Security campaign. Days before the celebration of the CPPs anniversary, a major encampment in Barangay Concepcion, Valencia City, Province of Bukidnon, was overrun in an encounter that left 14 NPA guerillas dead, while three were captured, and 15 others were wounded,” Maj. Anayron said.

He said the encounter “prevented the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee to push through with its planned plenum in time for the CPP anniversary celebration.”

He added: “Also, recent operations led to the discovery of encampments in the different provinces where caches of explosives have been recovered such as the ones found in Barangay St. Peter, Malaybalay City.”

All these, he said, “indicate that the CPPs dens are extremely vulnerable and that their area of operation is getting smaller every day. There is no way the guerilla bases can be expanded further.”