Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army Mandy Rodriguez Homeland Security 302 10/23/2012 Werner D. Lippert Abstract International relations are an integral part of globalization and relations in the modern world between different nations. These relations extend to include state agencies, non-governmental organizations, inter-government organizations, and multinationals. It also extends to the relations that exist between nations and groups that have an international outlook.
This means that technology; communication, war, acts of terror, and global sporting events all have something to do with international relations.
In this discourse, the interest lies in the implications that terrorism has on international relations. The effects of terrorism are negative and in most cases contribute to poor and worsening relations between the countries that are affected.
The extent of damage to relations/ties is determined by whether the criminal elements within a country responsible for acts of terror in another sovereign nation are sanctioned and supported by that nation’s government or are carried out through the group’s own initiative.
The focus will be on the Philippines and on the New People’s Army that is also the military faction of the Communist Party of the Philippines. The NPA has been categorized by the U. S. Homeland Security as a terrorist group and included as one of the Foreign Terrorist Organizations as stipulated under section 219 in the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Background Terrorism continues to be a thorny issue in matters of international relations, especially in the current times characterized by religious antipathy. This is especially true for members of the Muslim community who have taken it upon themselves to seek retribution for purported evils committed by Christian or secular governments, such as the government of the United States. Terrorism is defined in the Domestic Terrorism and Homegrown Violent Extremism Lexicon as; any activity that involves an act that is angerous to human life or potentially destructive to critical infrastructure or key resources, and is a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any state or other subdivision of the United States and it appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping. The actions and activities carried out by the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army qualify the entity as a terrorist organization.
The main aim of this organization is to overthrow the Philippines government. To achieve this objective, the organization has created widespread fear through acts of intimidation toward the Filipino people. This is a discourse into the organization, its outlook, and how its actions have contributed to its classification as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Communist Party of the Philippines: New People’s Army The New People’s Army has been in existence for the last four and a half decades as the armed/military branch of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
It is a dominantly Maoist party hence its support of communist ideals and ideology. The party wishes that the same be used and adhered to uniformly in the whole of the Philippines. The group was formed with the sole aim of carrying out an armed struggle. The group was originally divided into four distinct divisions, each with different functions. However, all these entities have perpetuating the same ideology and pursuing the same objective; a communist Philippines (Saulo, 1969). Currently, the NPA is classified a terrorist group only in the United States and the European Union.
The Philippine government thinks otherwise hence its decision to delist the group in 2011. At the moment, advanced talks are ongoing to bolster peace between the group and the Philippine government. The group is the brainchild of Maria Sison who is rumored to still control operations of the group albeit from Holland. The main agenda behind its formation was the urge among its founders such as Sison and Jalandoni to topple the government back in 1969 (Glanz & Sison, 1995). The group was originally funded by the Chinese government, which also happened to be communist.
However, this ceased in 1976. The group currently obtains its finances from within its members and also from extortion carried out frequently on businesses (local and international) that operate in the group’s strongholds (Glanz & Sison, 1995). Ideology, Activities and Targets The New People’s Army has its origins in the mainly Marxist-Leninist ideologies behind the formation of the Communist Party of the Philippines. These ideologies endeared the group to leading communist nations such as China, which also acted as the main financier.
Although financing from China ceased in 1976, the movement still thrives through funding from alternative sources. The group envisages that by waging a prolonged armed conflict, the Filipino government will topple, at which point the NPA will fill the vacuum left. This will pave the way for the establishment of a communist/socialist regime. The group aims to drive away foreign investments as it considers these bad for the economy of the Philippines under the communist ideology. This means that foreign businesses are targeted for frequent mafia-style extortions.
This continued extortion has been an essential source of funds to sustain the NPA and its activities over the years. The harassment of foreign companies and investors is aimed at denying the Filipino government the much needed foreign exchange. As the group envisages, this will contribute to the decline of the Filipino government eventually. The group has taken a hard stance toward the presence of American troops on Filipino soil. Frequently, the NPA has targeted American troops stationed in Philippines as a way of ensuring that it remains relevant in the country. There have been incidences in which many U. S.
Army personnel have been killed. This eventually led to the closure of military bases located within the Philippines. The local police and other intelligence organs have also been targets of frequent attacks from the NPA. The main objectives of these attacks have been to undermine the government, instill fear among the ordinary citizens, and to obtain arms and valuable ammunition to use in subsequent attacks. One of the most daring attacks by the NPA is the infamous Lucena Prison Raid. During this raid, members belonging to the group were disguised in apparel obtained from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
The main objective was to free NPA rebels incarcerated awaiting trial. In total, seven individuals were targeted in this rescue mission. However, two declined in favor of facing the law in a bid to clear their names. The group has also engaged in intimidation of political aspirants in a bid to obtain money from them. This intimidation also serves as a way of coercing them to take a more lenient stand toward the NPA and its activities (Saulo, 1969). This has been in a bid to undermine the government as it continues to try all manner of approaches to deal with the scourge that the NPA has become.
Attacks have also been expanded to include strategic and critical infrastructure. In one such attack, three mines were destroyed in Surigao. This occurred as recent as 2011 and involved the incineration of trucks and machinery to stall mining operations. The mines affected belonged to firms such as Taganito Mining Corp, 4K Mining, and Thpal Mining. According to the NPA statement released after the attacks, this was necessitated by the failure by the firms to pay revolutionary (extortion) fees. Assassinations have also been highly employed by the NPA.
These assassinations mainly target senior foreign military personnel stationed within the Philippines or local politicians and public figures highly critical of the NPA, their methods, and their ideology. The most memorable assassination was carried out on two members of congress from the regions of Cagayan and Quezon in the 2001. The initiative to target foreign army installations began in 2005 when the NPA publicly voiced its intentions to attack any U. S. army personnel venturing into areas under their control. Targets In its campaign, the NPA has tended to focus on specific target categories.
To begin with, army bases and other military installations established by foreign governments with the cooperation of the Filipino government have become favorite targets (Seachon, 2004). Second, the NPA targets politicians and public figures vocal in speaking against the NPA. This serves to intimidate and coerce them. When this fails, the NPA resorts to intimidation. Foreign companies have also been targeted constantly by the NPA. The primary objective is to carry out extortion to ensure continued funding of the group. However, the failure of foreign companies to pay ‘revolutionary taxes’, has increased NPA’s hostilities toward them.
As a result, their property is destroyed in a bid to discourage such firms from operating in the Philippines. Tactics The NPA has been active over several decades. Over this period, it has devised several tactics and methods to intimidate, coerce, and terrorize people living in the Philippines. One of the most common methods used is ambushing of local and foreign security personnel. This has been as a means of perpetuating their ideology and as a way of intimidating the intelligence apparatus in the country. In addition, this also serves as an effective method to acquire arms and ammunitions.
The NPA are also known to favor the use of guerilla tactics in their continued warfare against the government. This tactic has been used favorably since the inception of the NPA. The main factors making guerilla tactics favorable are the lack of adequate personnel to carry prolonged open attacks with the army and police in the Philippines. In addition, the NPA does not have sufficient resources to sustain extended attacks. Intimidation is also another tactic favored by the NPA. This is achieved mainly through harassment of political aspirants to ensure that anti-NPA agenda remains largely unmentioned.
The harassment of foreign workers and companies to pay taxes also creates intimidation toward foreigners and ensures that they pay ‘revolutionary’ taxes. In addition, this discourages them from interfering with the activities of the NPA. Assassinations are also used to intimidate individuals critical of the NPA. The assassination of a high-profile individual meant that other high-profile individuals would refrain from publicly voicing anti-NPA sentiments. Capability and Goals The NPA is currently reported to have an estimated 5000 to 10000 active members in its insurgency and extortion activities.
The main areas of operation of the NPA include Visayas, Luzon, sections of Mindanao, and Manila. The cells in Visayas and Luzon are considered the main strongholds. The current membership of the group is significantly lower than it was in the 1980s when the NPA has 25,000 active members. Currently, the goals of the organization have been changing slowly as reflected through the continuous talks the group has been involved in with the government in a bid to seek a peaceful resolution. This has seen the group delisted as a terrorist group by the Filipino government.
However, the group’s criminal activities have not stopped. Its main goal remains to undermine the government with a view to taking over power in the Philippines. The organization still has significant funding from members and extortions. This allows it to continue with its guerilla tactics and attacks on foreign businesses, police, and army stations. Discussion The relationship between the different Filipino governments (regimes) and the NPA has ensured that NPA is not completely dealt with either through eradication or through peaceful means. Different factors have contributed toward this impasse.
To begin with, the martial law regime that existed in the 1980s was extremely hostile toward the NPA. This made the organization more radical and strengthened its communist ideology. The classification of the NPA as a terrorist organization was necessitated by its frequent attacks on Filipino civilians and government officials. This is in addition to violent ambushes on both the nation’s army and foreign military installations and bases in the Philippines. The group may not be responsible for terror attacks on the scale of Al Qaeda but its activities duly fit the description of a terrorist organization.
Homeland Security The United States has established a department to specifically deal with national security. This includes terrorism that has affected the nation adversely over the last few decades, in which Islamic insurgents have waged a jihad against the United States and its citizens within the country as well as abroad. Ideal examples of terrorism against Americans include the September 11 attacks in America and the bomb attack on the American embassy in Nairobi. Homeland security was established to reduce the extent to which the country was vulnerable to such attacks.
The efforts of homeland security extend beyond American borders. The homeland security has more mandate than homeland defense that ensures the safety of American territory, its domestic population, and vital infrastructure. The department is controlled from the Whitehouse through the Homeland Security Council. Its main responsibilities with respect to terrorism include protection of critical infrastructure, detection of radiological and radioactive materials, international intelligence, and emergency preparedness.
The policies and interventions instituted by the Homeland Security are not restricted to the United States but are spread out to include cooperating countries as well as countries where the United States has vested interests. In the case of the Philippines, American citizens as well as American multinationals still require protection from the Homeland Security despite not being on American soil (DHS, 2011). The Department of Homeland Security has a distinct program geared toward securing the United States from terrorists. This is spelt out under the Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program.
This is an essential program given the threats facing the United States and other countries in the world. Through this program, Homeland Security explores the different ways that can be used to nip terrorism in the bud. It also bolsters the capacity of cooperating countries to deal with terrorists and to recover from acts of terror. One such country benefiting from cooperation with the United States is the Philippines. The country has been home to a group listed by the United States as a terrorist organization since the 1970s.
Specifically, the group has targeted American military personnel engaged in different capacities in the Philippines as they help local security personnel and apparatus deal with the NPA menace (DHS, 2011). To begin with, one needs to understand the key principles that guide the policy. These include adherence to values considered core to the American society, application of tools related to counterterrorism, and building partnerships with other countries to bolster security. Cooperation with other countries is important as it has led to the current partnership between the United States and Philippines.
Although the United States closed its army bases in the Philippines for security concerns after persistent attacks and subsequent deaths of many American soldiers, it continues to partner with the Filipino government in combating the NPA. The zeal with which the United States approaches the issue of terrorism can be seen in its decision to maintain the NPA on the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) despite the delisting of NPA by the Filipino government. The main reason behind this is that the government in Philippines is in the process of trying to seek a peaceful amicable end to the conflict that has existed etween successive Filipino regimes and the NPA. However, the United States’ main concern is the safety and security of Filipino citizens, foreign citizens, and foreign businesses operating within the Philippines. This is because the United States is steadfastly committed to the respect and preservation of human rights The policy came into effect following the terror attacks of 2002 and has been improved on every subsequent year. However, the policy has taken a direction change in relation to its approach in dealing with terrorist organizations and their members.
Previously under the administration of Bush, there was a hard-line stance that created a war-like response to terrorist elements around the globe. This was labeled as the infamous ‘global war against terror’. Currently, the emphasis is on pursuit of diplomatic solutions to terrorism where possible before any war-like responses are conducted within and outside the borders of the United States. Ability of Policy to Combat Threat The policy has a high ability to effectively deal with terrorists and prevent the perpetration of terrorism on American soil and in countries where American interests lie.
The recent attacks in Libya show that there still remains much to be done toward making the policy fully effective and reliable. The policy has ensured that all security organs of the United States are properly staffed and equipped to deal with all manner of terrorist acts. This includes the ability to carry out proper investigations into criminals and organizations with terrorist traits and to assess how they may at one time undermine security within or outside the United States. Investigation is especially important given that it allows for intervention before acts of violence are committed.
For example, bombs and suicide bombers can be discovered before they are used to perpetrate violence. The policy also provides information and mechanisms to allow the country recover quickly from terror acts as a way of mitigating consequences and frustrating terrorists. This especially relates to critical infrastructure, which is important for normal everyday activities such communication facilities, water supplies, and transport networks. Effectiveness of the Policy/Recommendations The policy has gone a long way toward securing the United States against otential attacks from terrorist elements across the globe. However, it remains insufficient as far as timely detection and nullification of terror threats is concerned. On 17 October 2012, reports in the media indicated that the Federal Reserve could have been destroyed by an individual who managed to get a dummy bomb weighing 450 kilos near the building (Katz & Dye, 2012). Although the culprit was arrested after being set up by the FBI, it is a strong indicator that there are still loopholes as far as the counterterrorism policy is concerned.
Many attacks have been carried out in different countries targeting American embassies and their staff. To begin with, the policy should be widened to increase the level of cooperation that currently exists between intelligence agencies currently cooperating with the United States. This will allow for easier and faster sharing of information. In addition, it will facilitate monitoring of suspected terrorists in a way that will ensure they do not plan and execute attacks on America, its allies as well as American interests abroad.
This will, for example, help the American government offer greater protection to its citizens working or with interests in the Philippines. In addition, it will facilitate the neutralization of insurgent groups such as the NPA at the base level. Sharing of intelligence information and logistical assistance to Philippine’s security apparatus will aid in successfully dealing with the endemic problem that has been the NPA. Last, the government through the department of Homeland Security should stop spreading false propaganda concerning terrorists and terrorist activities.
This increases paranoia among ordinary citizens and also infuriates terrorist elements to carry out more attacks (Bellavita, 2008). Conclusion In the last one decade, terrorism has become an issue of concern not just to the United States and Europe but also to other countries throughout the world. Although the recent upsurge of terrorism has been linked to religious fanatics, other reasons have been known to spur terrorist activities in different parts of the world. For instance, Philippines have been experiencing a long-standing problem with regard to criminal/terrorist elements operating in the country for the last few decades.
One such group that has persisted for decades is the New People’s Party. This group, classified as a terrorist group, is the militant arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines. This group subscribes to Marxist-Leninist ideologies. In its early days, it received most of its financing from China. The group’s main agenda is to replace the Filipino government with a communist government. Toward this end, the NPA has waged a guerilla war against the democratically elected government in the Philippines.
Over the years, the NPA has been trying to scare foreign firms from investing in the Philippines as a way of denying the government taxes. Though limited to the national borders of the Philippines, its actions and activities have had an overbearing influence on international affairs, especially in relation to countries that trade or have multinationals active in the country. This explains why the NPA is considered as an international terrorist organization despite having influence only within the Philippines.
This group obtains its finances from extortions and illegal taxes imposed on businesses and individuals. The NPA has become a problem for the United States following continued hostilities from members of NPA targeted at American businesses, citizens, and military personnel within the Philippines. Under homeland security, acts that endanger human life are considered terrorism. As such, Homeland security considers the NPA a terrorist organization and therefore a threat to Americans and American interests.
Given the limited capacity of the Filipino to deal with armed groups, there is need to incorporate outside resources and know-how. This is why the cooperation between the United States and the Filipino government needs to be bolstered through improvements of counterterrorism program currently being implemented by the Department of Homeland Security. A peaceful resolution should be the main objective but should this fail, alternative avenues may be sought to conclusively deal with the New People’s Party. References Bellavita, C. 2008) Changing Homeland Security: What is Homeland Security? Homeland Security Affairs. Vol. IV, No. 2. June 2008. Department of Homeland Security (2011) National Strategy for Counterterrorism. Retrieved on 17th October, 2012. www. whitehouse. gov/sites/… /counterterrorism_strategy. pdf Glanz, D. , & Sison, J. M. (1995). The implosion of the Communist Party of the Philippines: An interview with Jose Maria Sison. Clayton: Monash Univ. Katz, B. & Dye, J. (2012) FBI arrests man for attempting to bomb New York Federal Reserve. Yahoo news.
Retrieved on 18th October, 2012. http://news. yahoo. com/fbi-arrests-man-attempting-bomb-york-federal-013457938. html Saulo, A. B. (1969). Communism in the Philippines: An introduction. Manila: Ateneo Publ. Office, Ateneo de Manila Univ. Seachon, R. L. (2004) Insurgencies in History: A blueprint for future strategy. OG5 Digest. October-December, p. 16. http://www. army. mil. ph/OG5_articles/Insegencies. htm The Communist Party of the Philippines, 1968-1993: A story of its theory and practice. (2001). Diliman, Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press.
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