The rebel Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has ordered its guerrillas to attack Chinese businesses involved “in the plunder and destruction of Philippines marine resources.”

The decision was announced in a statement released on October 14. The guerrillas, known as the New People’s Army, are estimated to number about 5,000, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA).

One Philippine news outlet, Inquirer.net, quoted Philippine Army spokesman Major Rodulfo Cordero Jr.

as saying the country's military was prepared to deal with the communists. Cordero also noted that the communists had attacked civilians in the past, the news site said.

'South China Sea' or 'West Philippine Sea'

RFA noted that the communists had not identified which Chinese firms would be targeted, but the communists had referred to businesses that had been building installations in disputed waters known as the "West Philippine Sea" in the Philippines and the "South China Sea" elsewhere.

The United States government has sanctioned 24 Chinese firms for building artificial islands and military installations in the disputed waters, according to RFA. Rather than follow the American example, the Philippine government had allowed those Chinese businesses to work on infrastructure projects in the Philippines, RFA said.

RFA quoted Harry Roque, a spokesman for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, as saying the infrastructure projects were in the national interest of his country. One of the infrastructure projects is an international airport, which is being built near Manila by China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), one of China's state-controlled companies, FRA said.

Former Allies of China

As well as attacking Chinese companies, the communists said they would beef up their efforts to bring down the Duterte government, Inquirer.net said. Since 1969, Philippine communists have been fighting "Asia's longest-running rebellion," according to RFA. At first, the rebellion was supported by China but Philippine communists later distanced themselves from China, RFA said, noting that Philippine communist guerrillas still wore caps reminiscent worn in China during the Mao era.

Inquirer.net quoted the rebels as saying that the government would not be able to reach its stated goal of wiping out the communists before the end of Duterte's presidency.

The President and His Old Professor

During Duterte's college years, he was a student of Jose Maria Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, and, according to RFA, there have been hopes that a peace agreement might be reached during Duterte's presidency. Currently, in exile in the Netherlands, Sison said that Chinese firms were "vulnerable to guerrilla operations," RFA said.

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