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Chapter 19: The Communist Insurgency in the Philippines
Miriam Coronel Ferrer The Philippine state has been battling for almost 40 years a persistent communist insurgency led by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA), and underground alliance called the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP, or NDF). According to military estimates, at least 43 000 people have been killed in armed confrontations.1 Several hundred thousands more have been displaced, arrested or tortured. President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law and suspended regular political institutions in 1972. CPP-NPA forces grew tremendously during the Marcos regime. After a peaceful ‘people power’ revolution ousted Marcos in 1986, peace talks have taken place between the NDF and the Corazon Aquino (1986–92), Fidel Ramos (1992–98), Joseph Estrada (1998–2001) and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2001–to date) administrations. Formal democracy was restored and there was general consensus on the need for a comprehensive approach that addresses poverty and injustice. However, dominance of traditional politics, factionalism among the political elites, and a weak bureaucracy impeded national reforms. Incoherent or contradictory policy of the diﬀerent administrations and conﬂictive issues on the process and substance of the talks between the two parties have undermined political negotiations. The CPP continues to seek seizure of political power through armed revolution. In 2002, the NPA and CPP leader Jose Ma Sison were declared terrorists by the United States government and the Council of the European Union. This chapter examines the historical background of the insurgency, the growth and decline...
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