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Monday, January 23, 2012

Philippines: Maoist rebels killed about 100 troops last year

  The figure includes not only troops but police as well. The insurgency by the New People's Army has been ongoing for 43 years now. According to the military report there were 447 attacks by the group in 2011.
    The NPA often taxes businesses in areas where it operates. Since these are not government taxes the military report simply classifies them as extortion. When businesses do not pay or fail to meet other demands they are often attacked. There were 31 attacks on mining enterprises, and other businesses last year.
    According to the report not only attacks have declined over the last year but so also have the number of fighters. The report says attacks were eleven per cent less than in 2010 and the number of fighters declined 7.8 per cent to 4,043. That the military could present such exact figures is amazing. Do the rebel fighters register each year so they can be counted by the military?
    The military spokesperson Col. Burgos said that the insurgency was losing support among the people because of the popularity of the new president Benigno Aquino III. However the former president was herself first brought into power by people power but over time became corrupt and disliked. Aquino is part of the Philippine ruling elite and it remains to be seen how his presidency develops over time.
    The president has been having peace talks with the rebels but they have not been successful so far. As well as the NPA insurgency the Philippines faces insurgency from a number of Muslim separatist groups in the south of the country. The NPA also has a number of related legal political groups associated with it. The number of attacks may be decreasing as a result of a shift towards political action. After 43 years one suspects that in some areas the NPA and the Philippine military have come to a kind of live and let live understanding in some areas. For more see this article.
   NOTE: The NPA is the armed wing of the Philippine Communist Party which is banned in the Philippines. The NPA and the party are listed by the US as a terrorist organization. This causes problems for peace negotiations. The leader of the party lives in Holland. For more about the NPA see this article.  For more about the Communist Party of the Philippines see here.


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