Forging a Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines by Regletto Aldrich Imbong
The Philippines has experienced the longest Maoist insurrection in Asia. For almost half a century, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) the New People’s Army (NPA), and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) have waged a civil war against the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). Claiming to the end centuries of neo-colonial bondage and plunder, feudal and capitalist exploitation, bureaucratic corruption, and state repression, the CPP-NPA-NDFP have resorted and continue to resort to an armed form of struggle.
The aims of the NDFP’s people’s war are well encapsulated in their 12 point agenda. The agenda also sheds light on the particular problems the war claims to be addressing. In this way, the belligerent forces under the umbrella of the NDFP, as far as their agenda is concerned, prove to be fighting a just and legitimate fight as they wage a war to achieve or develop a progressive socioeconomic system. It is also a from the legitimacy of their struggle that successive GRP administrations opened the negotiating tables for the peaceful settlement of the armed hostilities.
Since the commencement of the NDFP’s armed struggle in 1969, the Philippine government has largely resorted to a militarist approach in solving the armed insurrection. Proof of this are the varied yet failed counterinsurgency programs dating from the time of the Marcos dictatorship up to the current Duterte administration. Patterned after U.S. low intensity conflicts, these counterinsurgency program did not really address the root causes of the armed insurrection, as these merely aim at reducing to an inconsequential number of insurgents waging a civil war. Pronouncements to reduce or pulverize the communist movement were made in every regional military command across the archipelago, and in every counterinsurgency plan, yet the insurgency of the Maoists lingers (and escalates as claimed by the NDFP).