Threats to National Security
Threats to National Security may be defined as any expression of intuition to inflict evil, injury or damage to the nation’s people, territories, vital installation, and political, economic and religious way of life.
The internal threats to national security come from the polarized groups in the Philippine society namely:
a. The Local Communist Movement
b. Southern Philippines Secessionist Groups (MILF & Abu Sayyaf Group)
c. Organized Crime Groups
The most prominent and longest lasting among them is the communist threat, started by the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) in the 1950’s and followed by the Communist Party of the Philippine in the later part of the 1960’s
A. Local Communist Movement
The local communist movement remains the main threat to our national security because of its intention to seize political power though violent overthrow of the government and the establishment of a communist ideology.
In the wake of differences in strategy and tactics to employ the ranking leaders, the local communist movement is currently divided into two groups: the mainstream CPP/NPA/NDF of Jose Ma. Sison and the breakaway Anti-Sison Rejectionist Group.
Historically, the rift within the CPP/NPA/NDF has its roots durin ghte early 1980’s when handful party members started criticizing the Marxist-Lennist-Mao Zedong (MLMZD) ideology advocated by Sison that forced the Dissident Terrorist (DTs) to the countryside caused disillusionment and demoralization among the remaining cadres, some of whom are contemplating to desert or surrender.
Our primary concern at the moment is the CPP/NPA/NDF Reaffirmist Group or Sison Group because it is far stronger in terms of manpower and firepower than the other faction. Better organized and more widely scattered in various parts of the country.
To manipulate the inherent contradictions of Philippine Society and assure victory to the insurgent movement, the CPP utilizes three main weapons in its revolutionary struggle, namely:
a. The Party (CPP) – provide the brains and leadership.
b. The Arm (NPA) – provide the military force.
c. The United Front (NDF) – act as a shield to parry the blows from its opponent and carry out the propaganda of the communist movement.
To maintain organizational unity, the CPP/NPA/NDF adopts a committee system to its organization based on the principle of democratic centralism. A Central Committee directs and supervises the different functional staffs and Regional Committee. The basic unit of the CPP is the Party Branch, which is established in barangays, urban poor communities and factories.
This faction disagrees with the CPP/NPA/NDF’s strict adherence to the Maoist concept of “Protracted People’e War” and is instead advocating the Nicaraguan Model of Insurrectionary Strategy and Tactics aimed at creating a revolutionary situation by staging crippling strikes and urban terrorism. it has been polarized into four sub-groups due to personal and policy differences, namely:
a. MLPP/RHB – Marxist-Lennist Party of the Philippines / Rebolusyonaryong Hukbon Bayan
The group was organized by breakaway personalities from the Central Luzon in 1997. The group was able to establish alliances with other rejectionist sectoral organizations in many parts of the country. The MLPP/RHB has been active in the campaign against the Visiting Forces Agreement issue and has figured prominently in the protest movements against the Balikatan 2000 Exercises.
Leader: Triumvirate called “Magdangal-Olive-Bill” faction, namely:
a. Francisco Pascual @ Robert/Daniel/Nicolas Magdangal
b. Caridad Magpantay @ Olive
c. Luisito Balgos dela Cruz @ Bill
United Front: Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD)
Armed Group: Rebolusyonaryong Hukbong Bayan (RHB)
b. RPA/RPMMML – Revolutionary Proletarian Army / Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng mga Mangaggawa – Marxista-Leninista
Leader: Arturo Tabara
Nilo dela Cruz – Vice Chairman
Manuel Calizo Jr – Execom Member
Armed Group: Revolutionary Proletarian Army
The group is based in Western Visayas. This group has announced its intention of cooperating with the government’s call for peace. Under the former administration of Pres. Estrada, the government and the RPA/ABB signed an peace agreement. The agreement was signed by Agriculture Sec. Edgardo Angara and Nilo dela Cruz of RPM-ABB. The rebels said they would implement a ceasefire but their followers would remain in the countryside. they asked for political reforms and called the impeachment proceedings against the President is a waste of time.
c. PMP – Partido ng Manggawang Pilipino
The PMP, formerly known as the Worker’s Revolutionary Party – Manila Rizal Regional Committee (WRP-MRRC) was launched during a secret congress in Bato-Bato, Brgy. Bucal, Calamba, Laguna on 30 Jan – 05 Feb 1999. During said congress, Filemon “Popoy” Lagman was elected as chairman. After the death of Lagman, Vitoro Ferdines took over the chairmanship. However, due to his weak leadership, he was replaced by Victor Briz. Victor Briz is the chairman of Bukluran ng Manggawang Pilipino (BMP), vice chairman of Sanlakas and one of the candidates in the party-list election las May 2001.
The organization has more than 1,500 founding members who consider themselves as “survivors” of the revolutionary Movement in the country which is currently characterized by Factionalism. At least six regional committees have already been established, namely:
a. Metro-Manila-Rizal Party Committee
b. CALABA (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas) Party Committee
c. Cebu Party Committee
d. Negros Party Committee
e. Panay Party Committee
f. Central Mindanao Party Committee
The PMP is currently pursuing efforts to consolidate its influence and dominance over various sectoral organizations with the labor sector as the main target as part if its front organizations such as Sanlakas and BMP.
The PMP has reportedly formed labor unions in business establishments in Luzon and Visayas under the so-called Buklod Labor Organization. Towards the end of 1999, the PMP has reportedly formed Buklod Labor Unions in 146 firms located in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Bataan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cebu in a span of three months. Thus the PMP was able to infiltrate 32% of the 461 companies they plan to organize. The PMP aims to complete the formation of Buklod Unions in the remaining 315 factories before it formally launches Buklod. The PMP has reportedly recruited a total of 60 workers who later underwent orientation seminar on union organizing.
The PMP’s program of Action is reportedly in preparation for the holding of large scale protest activities against the government.
d. Third Bloc
The group follows the teaching of Karl Marxs and aims to gain political power through mass mobilizations. It has gained momentum when its political party Akbayan won a seat as sectoral representative in 1998 elections. The bloc reportedly divided into:
a. Partido Proletaryo Demokratiko (PPD)
Leader: Manjet Lopez
Ideology: Advocates the popular democratic line which calls for a political renewal in the leftist movement by unifying the forces from different ideological traditions (i.e. social democrats, popular democrats, Progressive democrats) as well as other forces that accept the national democratic program but not armed struggle.
Leader: Ricardo Reyes
Local Communist Movement Data
As of 1st Semester 2001, the combined strength of the LCM is placed at 11,673 with an increased of 4% from the 11,255 membership in December 2000 of the total 10,072 or 8% belongs to the CPP/NPA/NDF while 1,601 belong to the rejectionist faction. The increase can be attributed to the intensified organizational expansion work, sustained recruitment activities and the reactivation of former DTS who have on lie low stage
The number of firearms also went up by 2% from 6,851 to 7,015. Of total 6,301 or 90% belongs to the CPP/NPA/NDF while 714 can be attributed tp the intensification of “Agaw-Armas” Operations and the identification of new personalities with firearms.
The LCM’s aggressive recovery and NDF’s organizing work through intimidation and deception has enabled it to expand its influence throughout the country, the presence an activities of the LCM are felt in 1,504 affected barangays or 3.6% of the 42,000 barangays nationwide.
The current trend at the national level clearly shows the persistent gains of the DTS to improve their military capability and expand their influence at the grassroots. Reasons for the success of the DTS in their mass organization works are as follows:
1. Methodical exploitation of the social, economic, political deficiencies in the rural areas.
2. Effective utilization of the void left by the reduction of territorial forces and redeployment of the AFP troops.
3. Lack of effective instrument to counter the DTS political, organizational and untied front activities
Last April 2001, GRP and NDF peace talk resumed in Oslo, Norway where both panels agreed to complete the peace process in 18 months. However, despite the resumption of peace talks, CPP-Central Committee issued and order to launch tactical offensives against government troops to serve as leverage to create a condition that would expedite the pursuance of the pace talks between the CPP/NPA/NDF and the government, then the peace talks has temporarily been put on to hold after the NPA’s gunned down outgoing Cagayan Representative Rodolfo Aguinaldo and his security aide on 12 June 2001, in Tuguegarao City. CPP chairman Jose Ma. Sison and NDF chairman Luis Jalandoni even lauded the congressman’s killer.
A confirmed report stating that there is an on-going power struggle between the pro-Sison Group and Tiamzon Gang, composed of the Tiamzon couple (Benito and Wilma) and the other senior cadres of the Luzon based dissident-terrorist. The Tiamzon gang criticizes the foreign basing the un-proletarian lifestyle of the Sisons. the pro-Sison group retaliated by criticizing the Tiamzon couple on their reported gambling activities and luxurious lifestyle. Also Joma Sison started questioning the party’s finances under the supervision of Wilma Tiamzon.
With this, if growing rift between the two groups is not immediately settled there is a big possibility that the party will further split. if this happens the pparty;s struggle will again be setback. Thus the government will surely benefit from it.
B. Southern Philippines Secessionist Groups (SPSG’s)
The threat from the southern Phiippines (Mindanao in particular) dates back to the Spanish era, but the main issue then is the clash of interest between the Christians and the Muslims. However, the present problem drew its root cause from the neglect and total disregard for the Muslims by the then Marcos regime. The SPSG’s are divided into two groups:
a. Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
b. Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)
1. Moro Islamic Liberation Front
Leader: Hashim Salamat
Armed Group: Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Force (BIAF)
Objective: Self-determination with the creation of a Mindanao Islamic Republic. The objective of the MILF is to carve out portions of the Philippine territory where it intends to establish an Islamic state. To attain its objective, the MILF relies on Dawah or Islamic call and Jihad or struggle in the way of Allah. To finance its activities, the MILF conducts “Zacat” or Tax Collection, Kidnapping for Ransom and Extortion activities. It also solicits political and financial support from local and international Islamic organization.
The MILF is the exponent of Islamic fundamentalism in the Philippines. It is headed by Ustadz Hashim Salamat, a religious scholar who originally served as the Vice-Chairman of the Nur Misuari - led Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). He led the Maguindaon, Iranon and Maranao followers in breaking away from the MNLF main body due to policy and ideological differences with the MNLF Chairman.
Unlike the MNLF which is more of a sectoral organization, Salamat molded his Moro Islamic Liberation Front into an organization which advocates for the establishment of a genuine Islamic state in Mindanao governed entirely by the dictates of the Qur’an. It defines its ideology as La Ilaha Illa Allah Muhammad Al Rasul Allah, which means that there is no God worthy to be worshipped but Allah and that worships of Goad must be in accordance with the teachings of Prophet Muhammad.
Strength and Disposition: as of June 2001, the MILF strength is placed at12, 446 while firearms is estimated at 9, 261. It has been increasing at an annual average rate of 25% and 18% respectively, since 1995 to 1999. However, there was a drastic reduction of 20% in strength and 19% in firearms in 2000 which was attributed to the big number of casualties incurred during AFP operations and the series of mass surrender. Another 1% reduction in strength was also registered in June 2001 from 12, 571 to 12, 446 but 1% increase was recorded in their number of firearms in June 2001.
The AFP conducted all-out operations against the MILF and as a result, nine major camps and 88 other established camps, satellite camps and defensive positions captured by our troops.
However, since the signing of the GRP-MILF preliminary agreement in Kuala Lumpur on 24 March 2001, there has been resurgence in the establishment of new MILF camps. Seventeen new MILF encampments have been reported in Maguindanao, Lanao del Norte and Sur, Sulatan Kudarat and Basilan. they have likewise re-established camps in Maguindao, Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato and South Cotabato.
The MILF at the moment is being confronted by the following weaknesses:
1. Inability to establish strategic control over so-called MILF camps.
2. Isolated from the backing of organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).
3. Loss of popular support from Muslim communities in areas now occupied and controlled by the AFP.
4. Rift between ranking MILF/BIAF leaders.
5. Mutual suspicions between the multi-ethnic composition of the MILF.
6. Present firearms inventory is not enough to put the MILF.BIAF on a “ready for battle” status.
7. Susceptible to artillery fires and air strikes of the AFP.
1. capable of conducting semi-conventional type of confrontation with AFP and launching terroristic activities in non-Muslim areas.
2. Can shift forces using indigenous and commercial watercrafts.
3. Mastery of the terrain in their base.
4. Effective use of Islam and strong family ties to recruit adherents to its cause, and
5. Effective use of propaganda in articulating their separist aspirations.
Last 22 June 2001, The GRP panel and the MILF counterpart resumed peace talk during the peace talk, both panel laid down the general framework and agreed on the following agenda:
1. Security Aspect
2. Rehabilitation Aspects
3. Ancestral Domain Aspects
4. Activation of the Committee
And on 07 August 2001, the Philippines government through the GRP panel forced a cease fire agreement with the MILF. After which, agreed to meet again.
2. Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)
Leader: Khadaffy Janjalani
Objective: creation of independent Islamic state in Mindanao. Mere autonomy or independence will not stop them from pursuing their mission which is the eventful reign of Islam worldwide.
The Al-Harakat’ul Al-Islamiya (Islamic Movement), or the so-caled Abu Sayyaf Group is the exponent of Islamic extremist in the Philippines. It was organized early in the 1990’s by the late Ustadz Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani, a religious scholar who studied the Islamic faith in Saudi Arabia. When the Russo-Afghan was erupted in the early 1980’s, Janjalani joined the Third International Islamic Brigade to help the Afghan Mujahideen repel the Russian invaders. it was in that country where Janjalani was educated on the extremist side of Islam and upon his return to Mindanao, he organized his own group to fight for the Islamic cause patterned after the Shi’ite Guerillas in the Middle East.
Originally, it refused to tie up with the MILF group believig that the latter organization is not true to its objective since the MILF allows for a peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims in Mindanao. For Janjalani, Mindanao must be free from any influence of the Christian faith.
Based on this belief, the Al-Haraka’ul Al-Islamiya initially carried out operations patterned after the terrorist activities of their counterparts in the Middle East such as bombing and sabotage operations, kidnap-for-ransom activities targeting mostly Christian religious personalities. Eventually, however, the need for more financial and logistical resources to sustain its day-to-day operations forced the ASG to direct its attention to more lucrative undertakings such as kidnap-for-ransom activities preying on local wealthy businessmen and their families, school teachers and foreign tourist who are soft targets for ASG operations. Because of this, the ASG became notorious as a terrorist and criminal organization.
Their preoccupation with terrorist undertakings, however, affected their propaganda activities limiting their ability to spread their influence outside of Basilan and Sulu.
By yearend 1998, the group suffered a serious setback with the death of Ustadz Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani who was killed in an encounter with government troops in Basilan. His death initially weakened the organization but later gained tremendous propaganda boost and heightened its notoriety in view of the atrocities in Basilan and in the big time hostage crisis in Sulu.
Presently, Khadaffy Janjalani acts as the “Amir” or leader of its Islamic executive council, the highest governing body of the group. The ASG has its main force operating in the island provinces of Basilan and Sulu with token forces in Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur, South Cotabato and Saranggani.
Since 1994, the streght and firearms of the Abu Sayyaf group steadily grew by an annual average of 15% and 11% respectively. Compared to the 1999 figures, the year 2000 data showed that the ASG strength and firearms increased by 14.6% (1, 107 to 1, 296) and 2.1% (384 to 392). Nevertheless, we expect a significant reduction on the strength and firearms of this notorious group as a result of the ongoing relentless government offensives against them.
3. Syndicated Crime Groups/Terrorist:
Another threat to national security is the existence of syndicated crime groups locally and internationally which continue to sow terror, panic and wreak havoc to the Philippine economy. These syndicated crime groups are the local and foreign crime groups who engage in the dealing of prohibited drugs, those who are engage in the smuggling of economic goods and arms and other deadly weapons, and those who engage in mercenary works to liquidate prominent personalities in the public and private sectors.
Organizations, individuals and other groups involved in economic sabotage, the numerous illegal organizations, private individuals and groups or cartels who engage in economic sabotage also pose a threat to national security by crippling the Philippine economy by their illicit and illegal activities