Philippines: Communists Aging Ungracefully


May 19, 2006: The communist NPA rebels appear to be going through some rough times. There is growing evidence of defections, and teenagers are being kidnapped to keep the ranks filled. Moreover, graves have been found recently, that indicated the NPA is again holding trials and executing dissident members. The NPA has gone through purges like this in the past. But this time around the reasons are more practical than ideological. The global war on terror has been hard on the NPA, cutting into overseas donations and making it difficult for NPA leaders to travel. Communist revolutionaries are considered old school and out of date. Some NPA members want a radical change in tactics, which would turn the NPA into something of a criminal gang with an ideology. The old timers consider this sacrilege. It's unclear which faction is winning.

May 18, 2006: Starting on the 20th, the military will halt most operations in the south for a week. This is so an an 18-man peace monitor team from the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) can come in and travel through Moslem areas of the south to check on implementation of terms of a peace deal with the MILF. Operations against Islamic terrorists will continue.

May 15, 2006: In another small blow against military corruption, the navy has gotten several senior retired officers to leave naval base housing they have been illegally occupying for years (in one case, 14 years.) The housing is needed for active duty officers, but using their political clout, the retired officers had managed to remain in the houses after they retired. This was deeply resented by active duty officers, who sometimes had to double up or find housing off base. The illegally occupied quarters were a constant reminder of the corruption in the military.

May 9, 2006: Over the last two weeks, three key Abu Sayyaf members were arrested in the south. The Abu Sayyaf organization still exists, but it is being taken apart piece by piece.


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