Philippines Communist Insurgency Report – July 2018

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PSA’s Forward-Looking Assessment: Over the short term, PSA now anticipates that a high level of uncertainty will affect the intensity of communist insurgency activity. Somewhat surprisingly, NPA violent activities significantly increased in July 2018 – particularly assassinations.

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

Backchannel talks between government and communist representatives are still on hold indefinitely. 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. The August 10th raid by the NPA against a Samar police station stands out as the most sophisticated NPA operation of 2018.