Philippines Domestic Conflict 1

Philippines Domestic Conflict 1

Since the independence of the Republic of the Philippines on July 4, 1946, a number of virulent political, economic and social conflicts have existed, which to this day have not been resolved or only partially resolved by all governments.

Counterinsurgency with tradition

Counterinsurgency, or the struggle against internal subversion, was at the center of domestic politics in the first decade of the young republic (1946-56). The formerly anti-Japanese People’s Army (Hukbalahap) had not fought against the Japanese colonialists in order to let the old American colonialists into the country again through the back door. A few years after the end of the war, the partisans of the Hukbalahap renamed themselves the People’s Liberation Army. Their goal was to continue fighting for a people’s democratic republic. First in the mid-1950’s, Philippine-American troops and elite units succeeded in defeating the Hukbalahap militarily and getting their leading cadres to give up (armed) struggle.

When the Philippines were drawn ever deeper into the American war in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia from the mid-1960’s, massive protests arose from the (student) youth and militant workers ‘, farmers’ and trade union associations. This protest movement reached a temporary climax in the First Quarter Storm at the beginning of 1970.

Shortly before, the Communist Party CPP and its guerrillas had been constituted in the form of the New People’s Army (NPA) on the north island of Luzon, while in southern Mindanao the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) led by Nur Misuarifought for an independent Bangsamoro state and wanted to break away from the Philippine state association. The then President Ferdinand E. Marcos took this conflict and the existence of widespread private armies of influential politicians and business people as an opportunity to impose martial law nationwide on September 21, 1972, the consequences of which can be felt all over the archipelago over 40 years after its proclamation. Above all, in all these years the military has gained a great deal of political influence and it actually operates in the hinterland in a climate of extraterritorial immunity.

After many years of radio silence and a zigzag course of sporadic negotiations and mutual hostility, talks between the Philippine government and the umbrella organization of the communist underground alliance, the NDFP, have been resumed since summer 2016 under the auspices of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. Years of negotiations between Manila’s emissaries and today’s largest and most important Muslim resistance organization, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), in Malaysia almost led to a breakthrough at the negotiating table in the summer of 2008.

With great satisfaction and euphoria, the signing of the “Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro” (CAB) negotiated on March 27, 2014 between the MILF leadership and the emissaries of Manila was finally held at home and abroad. recorded. It remains to be seen whether this agreement will be successful. The President has submitted a corresponding Basic Law (Bangsamoro Basic Law, BBL) to the Congress and Senate as urgent, which, if it has passed both chambers, is to be voted on in a plebiscite. A Bangsamoro government is then to be installed in the presidential, congressional and gubernatorial elections due in May 2016. At the end of June 2016, the term of office of President Aquino ends, who would like to see the CAB implemented by then. So-called “spoilers” should not be ignored in this context, forces who, on the basis of different interests, take a stand against the CAB and want to thwart its implementation. Among other things, based on the argument that it violates the Constitution.

From January 25, 2015, this actually seemed to be the case after a commando operation by the Special Action Force (SAF), an elite unit of the Philippine National Police (PNP), to capture three internationally wanted terrorists, ended in disaster. According to militarynous, during this night-and-fog operation in the early morning hours of January 25th, there were shootings between the approximately 400-strong SAF and units of the MILF and the rival Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM), during which, according to official information, 44 members of the SAF, 17 MILF members and at least three civilians died. In the first investigation reports, the president was named as one of the main culprits and was even drawn into “complicity with US authorities”.

IS (IS) or: Black flags over Mindanao?

Since spring 2014, contacts between the jihadist IS (Islamic State) – formerly ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) – and like-minded people in Southeast Asia have been growing ever closer. In addition to Indonesia, the south of the Philippines has also moved into the center of IS propagandists and recruiters – the Jolo Cathedral was most recently attacked with bombs in January 2019 – around 20 people died in the attack and at least 100 were injured There, with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), a militant organization that has long and repeatedly caused a sensation internationally, the founding members of which had already fought as mujahideen in Afghanistan against the Soviet occupation forces.

Philippines Domestic Conflict