Posted by: JWP | 10/20/2009

Philippines faces more than just natural calamities

by Larry Johnson


The Philippines has been dealing with two armed conflicts that have been a major drain on its economic and political life, not to mention the deaths and destruction these conflicts have brought to the people.

The first is a rebellion throughout the islands led by the New People’s Army, the military wing of the Philippines’ Communist Party. The NPA, formed in 1969, has undergone a lot of changes, politically and materially since then – reportedly shrinking from a maximum of 25,000 guerrillas to about 4,000 now – but it continues to fight for what it calls a more democratic form of government. The Philippine government has been intermittently (and sometimes half-heartedly) attempting to negotiate a peace treaty with the NPA for years.

The second conflict is with Muslim guerrillas, primarily in the southern islands of the Philippines. Muslims have been struggling for their independence for several centuries, dating back to the first colonization of the islands by Spain, which called them “Moros” after the Moors of Northern Africa. The name stuck.

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