Communist attack in the Philippines – December 19, 2018

On this day in 2018 the New People’s Army abducted two soldiers and a dozen militiamen in an attack on an army base in the south of the Philippines.

Ideas, even bad ones, can hang around forever. Communism as practiced by a Philippines terrorist group is a good example.

Have humans ever come up with a worse idea than communism? Or at least as it was practiced in the Soviet Union and its allies? From the brutal suppression of human rights, to incredibly failed economic systems the whole experience was a disaster on all fronts.

This of course did not stop some from seeing this ideology as a saver of humanity. There were those in the West who either left their home countries to live in the USSR or provided information (i.e. spied) to its government to allow it to steal ideas from the West. Joseph Stalid described these poor saps best: he called them ‘useful idiots’.

Well, it appears that there are still some idiots out there. Except they are not useful: they are violent killers.

The Philippines has been threatened by a wide variety of terrorist and ‘insurgent’ groups for decades. There are those associated with Al Qaeda and Islamic State. Others are ethnically-based. Then there is the New People’s Army (NPA).

New People’s Army (NPA)

The NPA is a communist ‘guerrilla’ organisation that has been around since the 1970s. There are reports that it received arms and inspiration from China’s Chairman Mao – hence it is sometimes described as a Maoist group – although the former ended when China signed an agreement with then Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos in the late 70s.

It is believed that the NPA has around 16,000 members. It’s stated goal is “to reverse injustices (bureaucrat-capitalism, imperialism, and semi-feudal landlordism) dealt to the Filipino people by the Philippine government and the capitalist class such as the large landlord/property owners. For its part, the US lists the organisation as a terrorist entity (Canada does not).

If you thought that after a half century the NPA would have exhausted its activities you would be in error. In 2018 alone the group claimed to have killed 380 government security personnel. Philippine President Duterte has vowed to eliminate the NPA.

2018 Communist attack in the Philippines

On this day in 2018 the NPA abducted two soldiers and at least a dozen militiamen in an attack on an army base in the south of the Philippines. They also seized firearms and radio equipment. The attack led to a decision by the Duterte government to suspend peace talks with the terrorist entity that were taking place in Norway.

I find it hard to believe that a terrorist group in 2019 (almost 2020) can espouse Maoist communist ideology. Then again I have learned after two decades in counter terrorism that there is little of true surprise in terrorism.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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