Philippines: Intractable


June 22, 2010: The military admitted that they were not going to crush the NPA this year. Three years ago the government was confident that they could defeat the leftist NPA by the end of 2010. The army estimated that NPA strength declined 14 percent in 2007 (to 6,000 fighters), and that this decline would continue because of low morale and a poor financial situation. It did, and the NPA is down to about 4,000 fighters, and far fewer camps and less territory. Some 25 years ago, the NPA had 25,000 armed members out there, but have been declining since the collapse of communism in Russia and Eastern Europe in the late 1980s.. The NPA has adapted to the increased pressure from the military, and become more of a criminal organization. The NPA also retains its political true-believers and its overseas supporters.

The UN blames lack of economic growth in the Philippines to corruption, government incompetence and population growth. Many Filipinos agree, but are frustrated at the inability to fix the problems.

Soldiers and marines continue to pursue Abu Sayyaf rebels on Basilan. While unable to crush the group completely, the pressure has disrupted the leadership (by constantly killing or capturing key people) and discovering and destroyed bomb building workshops and storage sites for bomb materials. This has reduced terrorist bomb attacks, and constantly reduced the size of the Islamic terrorist organization. Some Abu Sayyaf are operating on larger islands, creating a terrorist threat, but not a lot of violence.

June 19, 2010: In the south, NPA rebels captured two soldiers and forced 30 civilians to endure hours of lectures on NPA goals. The civilians were then robbed and released. In the last month, several dozen NPA members have been killed, along with fifteen soldiers. The troops are hitting NPA base areas, and these are stoutly defended.

June 11, 2010: On Basilan, Abu Sayyaf terrorists seized three wood cutters and beheaded them.






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