ILIGAN CITY –- The communist leadership in the country has lauded the New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas in North Cotabato for achieving “sterling victory” during a raid at a militia detachment in M’lang town last March 26.

The Maoist rebels claimed to have captured 35 high-powered rifles from the offensive which the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said is a “demonstration of the NPA's determination and capability to intensify its tactical offensives and raise people's war to a higher stage of development.”

Click here for Election 2010 updates

On Monday, the NPA observes its 41st founding anniversary. Starting off from just a small band in Tarlac, NPA’s strength grew throughout the country during the Martial Law period but waned in the post-Edsa years.

Last December, during the 41st founding anniversary of the CPP, the local communist leadership vowed to push its armed struggle with government towards an even keel within five years.

The M’lang offensive followed the one in Mansalay, Occidental Mindoro early this month that also netted a haul of firearms for the guerrillas.

In a statement, the CPP Information Bureau urged all NPA commands “to duplicate and even surpass the victorious tactical offensives in North Cotabato and Oriental Mindoro.”

It said the M’lang raid underscores the continuing failure of government to neutralize the Maoist insurgency which only “gives the revolutionary movement more confidence in reaching the stage of strategic stalemate by mid-decade."

The CPP noted that the number of weapons seized in the North Cotabato tactical offensive was the biggest so far this year.

"The newly seized weapons will arm a new platoon of NPA Red fighters. There is a growing need to seize more weapons from the enemy in order to arm the increasing number of NPA recruits," the rebel group said.

The CPP had said in December that the firearms for the new guerrillas will necessarily come from government forces that they will seize through tactical offensives.

In its fortnightly publication Ang Bayan, the CPP also stressed the need to take advantage of the lingering land ownership disparity to stir the masses in the countryside into joining the Red ranks or serving as community strongholds.

The rebel group particularly cited launching in its rebel-influenced communities “agrarian revolution” which is a far radical way than the mainstream land reform program, reduction of land rent and interest on loans, increasing the wage of farm workers, achieving reasonable price for farm produce and helping improve agricultural productivity.