Crossroad for Communist Movement in the Philippines
The Philippine military is confident of the eventual collapse of the communist insurgency in the country, citing its members’ loss of confidence, fatigue and lack of financial support from its erstwhile backers.
This was reported during the round table discussion on the state of the Maoist armed movement in the Philippines held at the headquarters of the Armed Forces – Camp Aguinaldo.
According to Brig. Gen. Francisco Cruz, chief of the AFP’s Civil Relations Service said the NPA, its umbrella organization the Communist Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front continue to lose members because of the effort of the national government to weaken its support particularly in the countryside.
He said the NPA’s tag as a terrorist organization is also wreaking damage on the organization as the public continues to lose faith in the armed struggle.
Cruz, however, said the CPP-NPA may resort to more dangerous mutations such as becoming a full-fledged terrorist organization targeting civilians and soft targets as well as becoming a criminal organization to raise money and survive as a group.
Better options are for members of the armed movement of the communist party to lay down their arms and surrender, to take advantage of the government’s various amnesty and livelihood programs or join the political arena to push their legitimate causes.
Other speakers during the event were Miriam Coronel Ferrer, a professor of the University of the Philippines professor and lead convenor of Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (Sulong CARHRIHL) and Executive Director Ramon Casiple of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER) to give a political and social perspective on the matter.
The event was organized by the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR). More than 100 guests from the government, private sector, diplomatic corps, academe, private security management sector, business sector, media and other civic entities joined the affair.
Meanwhile, Ferrer said that the communists’ growing practical pragmatism is making it survive. She said there is a trend for CPP/NPA/NDF political officers to join the political arena, joining political parties and running for office. Some even join the ranks of politicians which Maoists once opposed violently.
Casiple said the communist part and its armed wing, the NPA is now on a crossroad – whether to become a viable movement, a political movement or an irrelevant movement. He said the communists can either drop their firearms and join politics to push their political agenda or continue an armed revolution in the rural areas.