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      Matrix Masters' Blogs     Philippines War Archives     War on Philippines Home
Communist revival worries the Philippines
The Communist rebellion in the Philippines began 35 years ago. It foundered but has regained strength and, according to military estimates, now counts 10,000 fighters in its armed wing, the New People's Army. . . . The Communists "are our utmost security concern at present," even though they have been overshadowed by Muslim insurgents, said Col. Daniel Lucero, a military spokesman. "We consider them a much bigger threat than the Abu Sayyaf, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or the Jemaah Islamiyah," he said. . . . In their camp high in the mountains of Compostela Valley province, the Communists go about their business: training cadres in military tactics and martial arts, organizing the residents below, helping peasants on their farms and studying what they call the "evils of U.S. imperialism." . . . "The U.S. is a brutal enemy," a guerrilla leader known as Richard told a dozen rebels during a class about the invasion of Iraq. "It will not hesitate to use or kill its own people." . . . Rubi del Mundo, a guerrilla spokeswoman, said: "U.S. interventionism is even more blatant nowadays. It used to just influence the passing of Philippine laws to benefit the business interests of American companies here. Now the U.S. is directly involved in counterrevolutionary activities" in the Philippines. . . . The number of rebels peaked at more than 25,000 in the 1980s, according to military estimates, but government spies began to penetrate the ranks of the New People's Army. Party officials purged the movement, torturing and killing hundreds of suspected spies. . . . The purges nearly destroyed the movement, but it began to creep back once the Communists sent guerrillas in the cities back to the countryside. In many remote parts of the country, the party functions as the government, providing services and a basic livelihood. . . . Hardly a week goes by without two or three gunbattles, and the military has responded with tough measures that have been roundly criticized. . . . Philippine analysts say it would be wrong to assume that Communist ideology is the main force driving the movement. . . . Jim, a 27-year-old former seminarian who has been in the mountains since 1996, said, "The more I see the suffering of the people, the more I am convinced of the justness of this cause." . . . Jim's wife, his mother, his four siblings and an uncle are also guerrillas. They joined the movement after Jim's father, a union activist, was abducted by the military during the Marcos years. He has never been found.

posted by LoZo 3:40 PM

NH Marine company back from Philippines
(Hunter McGee, Union Leader, January 1, 2004)
The 182 members of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 25th Marines, were stationed on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines as part of the effort in the war on terrorism. . . . the Marines served in the Philippines at the invitation of the government there. Some of the missions involved providing security assistance so military doctors and nurses could help treat local inhabitants. On other assignments, they provided security so engineers could help construct a bridge in a community. . . . The Marines also guarded an airfield on the island and provided security for a number of supply convoys that ran from the airfield after the cargo of large C-130 aircraft was unloaded, Milanette said. . . . Some insurgent groups with ties to al-Qaida call Mindanao home, and it is known as “something of a hotbed” for rebel groups, Henderson said. . . . Although no casualties were reported during their stint on the island, the Marines were always on guard against attack. . . . “There certainly was the potential for that down there, the threat level was very high,” Milanette said. “There were direct threats against us.” . . . Truck bombs were the biggest concern, said Milanette, who served as the Marine security element commander during the mission.

posted by LoZo 1:49 PM

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