Philippines: America Will Sort-Of Help Against China

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May 5, 2014: This year’s army offensive against the NPA is expected to finish the communist rebels once and for all. With the MILF peace deal signed the NPA is the largest rebel organization still operational. There are only about 4,000 armed NPA men left and many are fighting to survive, not win the revolution. That 45 year old struggle has left over 100,000 people dead and there is little popular support for the NPA anymore. Many of the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) leaders are in exile in Europe but key leaders in the Philippines are still essential for keeping the NPA operational and loyal. That task has been more difficult since 1989 and the collapse of popular support worldwide for communism. These leftist rebels have been fighting, in one form or another, since the end of World War II, trying to establish a communist dictatorship in the Philippines. They have not been very successful despite lots of economic and social problems they could promise to fix if they obtained control. Enthusiasm for a "communist solution" has gone downhill since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and its East European communist allies in 1989-91. That massive failure of communist states left NPA much weaker ideologically, and vulnerable to the current amnesty program. Even NPA leaders admit that they currently have only about a quarter of their peak (in the 1980s) strength of 26,000 armed members. There have been recent attempts to reverse the decline in popularity. NPA men are instructed to behave better around civilians and the NPA has been found giving some civilians (especially health or aid workers) compensation (a few hundred dollars each) for wounds received during NPA attacks on soldiers or police. The government has increased its efforts to provide medical care for such victims of NPA violence and the NPA is trying to compete.

May 4, 2014: In the south (Davao del Norte province) NPA used a roadside bomb and gunfire to ambush an army patrol. Three soldiers were wounded.

In the north (Sorsogon province) the army revealed that a clash with the NPA on April 27th had resulted in the death of an NPA leader (Recto Golimlim) who had a $70,000 price on his head. The dead man was the number two NPA leader in the region. It took a week to verify that the dead man was Golimlim.

May 3, 2014: In the south (Compostela Valley province) nearly a thousand troops were used to find and destroy a group of NPA rebels operating in a remote area. The NPA men escaped, in part by kidnapping 39 gold miners and using them as human shields.

May 2, 2014: In the north (Abra province) an NPA ambush left one soldier dead and six wounded. The NPA suffered some casualties but took them when they fled.

In the south (South Cotabato) police arrested a senior NPA leader in the region.

May 1, 2014: In the north (Ilocos Sur province) an NPA ambush left three soldiers dead and one wounded. The NPA suffered some casualties but took them when they fled.

April 29, 2014: In the south (Sulu) about a hundred Abu Sayyaf gunmen attacked marines occupying an Abu Sayyaf camp. The attack was defeated, with 25 of the Islamic terrorists killed, along with one marine. This was a major defeat for Abu Sayyaf, which only has about 300 members still active. There are several factions and the camp the marines took and held onto belonged to the largest Abu Sayyaf faction.

April 28, 2014: In the south (Sulu) marines found and seized a major Abu Sayyaf camp.

The U.S. signed the EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) with the Philippines, at the same time that the U.S. made it clear that the 1951 mutual defense treaty between the United States and Philippines applied if China used force to assert claims over Filipino territory. The details of EDCA are still being worked out, especially which Filipino military bases the U.S. can share and to what extent. The U.S. was, however, vague about what kind of support if would provide if China managed to continue driving Filipino ships out of areas claimed by China (most of the South China Sea including Filipino coastal waters) without using armed force.

April 21, 2014: In the north (Cagayan province) some fifteen NPA gunmen ambushed a local mayor and his two bodyguards and killed all three. The NPA later revealed that the mayor was suspected of letting the police know about NPA operations in his town.

 

 

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