The attack earlier this week by members of the New Peoplesâ€™ Army (NPA) on three facilities of the Del Monte Company in Bukidnon, Mindanao was startling. For a long period of time, news of NPA activity has been relatively mild â€“ a random encounter here and there â€“ with recent media coverage being mostly concerned with the predictable complaints about the Communist insurgentsâ€™ habit of extorting money from political candidates for â€œpermitsâ€ to campaign or win in the upcoming elections. The attack on Del Monte last Tuesday evening, however, was a surprisingly well-planned and coordinated operation, quite a lot more sophisticated than what weâ€™ve come to expect from a group that weâ€™ve been told is a feeble shadow of the dangerous insurgency it might have actually been several decades ago.
The NPA â€“ the militant arm of the Communist National Democratic Front (NDF) â€“ has been a thorn in the side of the Philippines for nearly half a century, and has been particularly troublesome for large agribusinesses and mining firms in the poorest sections of the country. Objectively, some of the populist grievances of the â€œinsurgencyâ€ should not be completely dismissed; there is a long history of abuses by big business in this country, sometimes with the collusion of the government at the national or local levels, which have kept economic opportunities and improved standards of living out of the hands of a large part of the population. By the same token, the simplistic Communist ideology of the NDF has already been definitively proven to be the wrong path towards correcting those inequities; there is even good reason to doubt the sincerity of that ideology, as for years it apparently has been nothing more than a fig leaf to cover a large scale extortion and robbery racket. One would think that the presence of NDF sympathizers in influential positions in the current Administration would encourage a change in the movementâ€™s methods, if the intentions were to really pursue social change rather than rustic piracy….
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Read the rest of the article in today’s Manila Times here.