Philippines: Government Aids Rebel Recruiters

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April 1, 2007: While the government has had success in negotiating deals with the Moslem rebels in the south, there has been no progress in working out similar deals with the NPA rebels. The NPA is a continuation of communist rebel movements that began during World War II (to resist Japanese occupation.) The basic problem is that the Philippines, like many poor nations, is stuck with a social and economic system that stifles entrepreneurs, education and economic growth. Westerners tend to be oblivious of these problems, because one reason for the economic and political success of the West is that, over the past two centuries, Western nations eliminated many of the problems that still stifle growth and freedom in so much of the world. In the Philippines, a few dozen families dominate the national economy, and government, as they have done for generations. This goes back to the centuries of Spanish colonialism (which ended in 1899), which replaced a tribal aristocracy with a more highly organized one, backed up by more effective security forces and a stifling bureaucracy. American occupation shuffled the deck a bit, but left the family fortunes largely intact. The families, and the corruption and patronage system that provides them with popular support, have resisted meaningful reform. So the economy stagnates, and the various rebel movements continue to have plenty of new recruits.

March 31, 2007: In the south, an army patrol ran into a group of NPA rebels. The resulting firefight, an NPA fighter was killed, but most fled, leaving behind six automatic rifles. The dead NPA turned out to be an eleven year old girl. The NPA have been recruiting teenagers, and younger kids, again, often against their will, because of increasing difficulties attracting adults to the organization.

March 28, 2007: The U.S. is offering a $5 million reward for a Malaysian Islamic terrorists, Zulkifli bin Hir (also known as Marwan), believed to be hiding out in the Philippines. Marwan is believed to be responsible for several terrorist bombings in the Philippines.

 

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