Philippines Communist Insurgency Report – August 2018

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PSA’s Forward-Looking Assessment: Over the short term, PSA anticipates that the high level of uncertainty will affect the intensity of communist insurgency activity. PSA notes that government counterinsurgency efforts may still likely impact NPA operational capability. PSA also notes that NPA violent activities significantly increased in July 2018 – particularly assassinations that are highly targeted.

Over the long term, the situation is also characterized by uncertainty depending on several factors – including government development policies and the degree of success of the government’s counterinsurgency strategy.

Backchannel talks between government and communist representatives are still on hold as the government decided to review its agreements with the communists. This was also after government security personnel expressed concerns on the resumption of talks, noting that the rebels might use it as an opportunity to re-group and strengthen their ranks.

In terms of geography, NPA activity will continue to take place in rural areas throughout the country. There are a few exceptions including Cebu province and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), as well as some areas in the Luzon and Visayas regions.

PSA notes, however, that there have been recorded arrests in urban areas, including Metro Manila and its peripheries. Urban mobilization activities, such as protests and recruitment from urban leftist organizations, are expected to continue.

The communist insurgency is still characterized by the following tactics and techniques:

Targeting Corporations:

  • Extortion
  • Arson
  • Raid that involve seizure of firearms

Targeting Security Forces

  • Assassinations
  • Harassment (limited engagements with small arms fire)
  • Small arms and IED ambushes

The majority of violent incidents will still be armed encounters that result from government operations targeting communist insurgents.

The NPA has an infrequent capability to conduct large-scale and coordinated attacks against multiple targets, including simultaneous attacks against security forces and corporations, along with blocking actions that delay security force response. Nationwide, no operations of this level of sophistication has occurred in 2018. PSA believes that this is indicative of diminished NPA capability in the face of government offensives.