The CPP–NPA–NDF rebellion is an ongoing
civil war rebellion in the Philippinesball. It started on March 29, 1969 and is still conducting guerilla warfare tactics while slowly building their strength.
- 1 Background
- 2 Insurgency
- 2.1 Formative years
- 2.2 1970 PMA Armory raid
- 2.3 First incidents of violence
- 2.4 Rapid Growth under Martial Law
- 2.5 Incidents during the Aquino Administration(1986-1992)
- 2.6 Incidents during the Ramos and Estrada administrations (1992–2001)
- 2.7 Incidents during the Arroyo administration
- 2.8 Recent incidents
- 2.9 Support from other countries
- 3 Casualties
The Communist Party of the Philippines(CCP) was itself a faction of the original Communist Party of the Philippines, better known as Partidong Komunista ng Pilipinas-1930 or PKP-1930 to differentiate themselves from the current CPP. The CCP split from the PKP-1930 due to ideological differences.
Meanwhile, the New People's Army(NPA) was formerly a Hukbalahap(Hukbong Bayan Laban sa mga Hapon) unit led by Bernabe Buscayno. The Hukbalahap was formed because the PKP-1930 needed to defend themselves but it wasn't activated(drawn to military service) until 1942, when the Huks(members of the Hukbalahap) staged a rebellion using guerilla warfare.
Despite the Hukbalahap designed to only fight the Japanese soldiers, they extended their fight against US and the Philippines. The rebellion wasn't suppressed until 1954, when Defense Minister and former guerilla, Ramon Magsaysay managed to open their hearts and give up their weapons.
The PKP continued to work underground and the remnants of the party strived hard to reunite the former affiliated groups. However, in 1964, all changed when Jose Maria Sison founded the Kabataang Makabayan(Patriotic Youth). The goal of the group is to rally young Filipinos against Vietnam War, against the Marcos Administration and against corrupt politicians. On December 26, 1968, he formed and chaired the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), an organization within the Communist Party founded on Marxist–Leninist-Mao Zedong Thought, stemming from his own experiences as a youth leader, labour, and land reform activist. This is known as the First Great Rectification Movement where Sison and other radical youths criticized the existing Party's leadership and failure. The reformed CPP included Maoism within the political line as well as the struggle for a National Democratic Revolution in two-stages, consisting of a protracted "People's War" as its first part to be followed by a Socialist Revolution.
Soon, the top leaders of the PKP-1930 sought to eliminate Sison, however, Sison was simply too powerful to stop and his new group had a larger base, revamped their ideology and it soon attracted thousands to join them. The PKP-1930 was pro-Soviet while Sison's group was aligned towards Maoism. On December 26, 1968, the CPP was officially born and the PKP was overshadowed by this new party. However, the PKP was pardoned by Marcos and in exchange, they gave Marcos intelligence support and many other stuff. They also supported the land reform of Marcos and managed to survive until this day.
The National Democratic Front(NDF) was formed in 1973 as the party's political front. The NDF was mostly used to negotiate with the Philippine government and build international relations with other communist parties, such as the Communist Party of India and Communist Party of Nepal.
When Buscayno's unit was upgraded into the NPA, they only had 60 guerilla fighters and 35 WWII-era guns. At first, the NPA tried to follow the Maoist military doctrine of "establishing stable base areas." But this was abandoned when their forces took heavy casualties in Northern Luzon, in favor of dispersing their forces.
Eventually, they managed to collect enough guns to arm themselves but this were lost in an encounter with the Philippine Army. They weren't able to acquire enough weapons to stage Sison's wet dream of turning the Philippines into a communist state until the 1970 raid.
The Marcos Administration severely underestimated the ability of the NPA to fight toe-to-toe with the modernized Philippine Army. They thought the rebels were just "backward idiots" and were poorly trained and didn't even have enough guns to fight their army. However, an event would change all of that.
1970 PMA Armory raid
The NPA were finally able to collect enough guns when they raided the Philippine Military Academy. The Philippine Military Academy, as the name suggests, is a school where students get their basic or advanced military training. The raid also occured during Christmas, timing where most cadets were out and senior officers were set to meet with President Marcos on Baguio City. The instructor of the school, Lt. Gen. Victor Corpus, decided to defect to the CPP-NPA and guided the raiding team where to get the guns. The team got away, stealing carbines, Browning Automatic Rifles, machineguns and various other military supplies.
First incidents of violence
According to Lt. Gen. Corpus, the first violent incident that the CPP-NPA did was the Plaza Miranda bombing, where alleged militants threw 2 grenades, killing 9 people and wounding 95 others. This theory was supported by some people, including Marcos himself and Jovito Salonga, who is present in the scene. Salonga himself still had 95 shrapnels(fragments of the exploded grenade) embedded unto his skin until this death in 2016. Despite this, the CPP-NPA deny the allegations.
The bombing were one of the factors that led to the declaration of Martial Law in 1972. The Martial Law however, had bad side-effects, as it radicalized many young people and they joined the CPP-NPA.
The first tactical operation of the NPA won't be achieved until 2 years later in Samar, where guerilla rebels ambushed a military scout patrol and captured a handful of their weapons.
Rapid Growth under Martial Law
The Communist Party of the Philippines underwent rapid growth from 1972 during the period of martial law under Ferdinand Marcos.
During 1969 up to 1970, there were political unrests in the Philippines. The "First Quarter Storm" protests were among the early watershed events in which large numbers of Filipino students of the 1970s were radicalized against the Marcos administration. Due to these dispersals, many students who had previously held "moderate" positions (i.e. calling for legislative reforms) became convinced that they had no choice but to call for more radical social change.
Other watershed events that would later radicalize many otherwise "moderate" opposition members include the February 1971 Diliman Commune; the August 1971 suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in the wake of the Plaza Miranda bombing; the September 1972 declaration of Martial Law; the 1980 murder of Macli-ing Dulag; and the August 1983 assassination of Ninoy Aquino.
The parallel Moro insurgency created favorable conditions for the development of NPA. During the 1970s, 75% of the Philippine military was deployed on the island of Mindanao, a Moro stronghold, despite the 1976 peace deal between the government and MILF. As of 2000, 40% of the AFP troops continued to engage Moro rebels.
Incidents during the Aquino Administration(1986-1992)
After Ferdinand Marcos was deposed during the 1986 EDSA Revolution, president Corazon Aquino ordered the release of political prisoners, including Jose Maria Sison and Bernabe Buscayno. Buscayno ceased activities related to the CPP-NPA while Sison eventually went into self-exile in the Netherlands, ostensibly to become chief political consultant to the NDF. Many activists who had joined the underground movement against Marcos chose to resurface.
Preliminary peace talks were held between the new administration and the CPP–NPA–NDF, but these ended when the Mendiola massacre took place on January 22, 1987.
Incidents during the Ramos and Estrada administrations (1992–2001)
Between the 1970s and 1980s, thousands of volunteers, including youth and teenagers from both urban and rural areas, joined the organization. In 1992, NPA split into two factions: the reaffirmist faction led by Sison and the rejectionist faction which advocated the formation of larger military units and urban insurgencies. Through NPA's history, 13 smaller factions emerged from the group, the most notable being MLPP-RHB, APP, RPA-M, RPM/P-RPA-ABB and CPLA.
The split significantly weakened the CPP-NPA due to the large reduction of manpower but it resurged again due to the breakdown of peace talks in 1998, the unpopularity of the Estrada administration, and because of social pressures arising from the Asian Financial Crisis that year.
Incidents during the Arroyo administration
In 2001, the AFP launched a campaign of selective extrajudicial killings, in an attempt to suppress NPA activity. By targeting suspected rebel sympathizers, the campaign aimed to destroy the communist political infrastructure. The program was modeled after the Phoenix Program, a U.S. project implemented during the Vietnam War. According to records, the Philippine Army carried out a total of 1,335 extrajudicial killings between January 2001 – October 2012.
On August 9, 2002, NPA was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the United States Department of State. A parallel increase in counter-insurgency operations negatively affected the course of the rebellion. Netherlands-based Jose Maria Sison is currently the leader of CPP's eight member politburo and 26 member central committee—the party's highest ruling bodies. Despite the existence of the politburo, NPA's local units receive a high level of autonomy due to difficulties in communication between each of the fronts across the country.
Rebel recruits receive combat training from veteran fighters and ideological training by Mao Zedong in: the Three Main Rules of Discipline and Eight Points of Attention; the Comprehensive Agreement to Respect Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. NPA units usually consist of 15–30 fighters, with special armed partisan units of 50–60 rebels serving in a special operations capacity. NPA also formed a limited tactical alliance with the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on the island of Mindanao, enabling the mutual transfer of troops through each other's territory. Between 1969 and 2008, more than 43,000 insurgency-related fatalities were recorded.
Plantations run by Japanese companies have been assaulted by the NPA.
Currently, the CPP-NPA-NDF and the Philippine government are negotiating peace talks to end the rebellion but despite this, the NPA are still attacking military units, police stations and more to resupply themselves. The NPA also resort to extortion, revolutionary taxes and large scale foreign support campaigns to collect enough funds for the CPP-NPA-NDF. They also resort into kidnapping civilians and businessman to gain more money.
Support from other countries
China provided support to the NPA from 1969 until 1976 when they ceased all aid. Both the CPP and NPA attempted to garner support from the Workers' Party of Korea, the Maoist factions of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Japanese Red Army, Sandinista National Liberation Front, Communist Party of El Salvador, Communist Party of Peru, and the Algerian military. Financial aid, training, and other forms of support were received from a number of the above. NDF-controlled trading companies were allegedly set up in Hong Kong, Belgium, and Yugoslavia. At the same time the Communist Party of the Philippines formed a unit in the Netherlands and sent representatives to Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Ireland, United States, Sweden, and various parts of the Middle East. Despite the massive amount of aid previously received, foreign support eventually dried up following the 1990s collapse of socialist governments worldwide.
The CPP-NPA-NDF also received large-scale support from the Gaddafi government in Libya. Gaddafi gave them $7,000,000 worth of funds, guns to arm themselves and also logistical support.
The Philippine Army suffered 9,867 killed from 1969-2002 according to the estimates of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the numbers are still growing. Most of the killed were ambushed by rebel forces while the NPA suffered 22,799 killed, also according to the estimates of the AFP. Meanwhile, more than 10,000 civilians were killed from 1969-2002, as the AFP commenced a campaign to destroy rebel sympathizers.