Sep 152014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/06/06MANILA2777.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA2777 2006-06-30 09:08 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO5796
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2777/01 1810908
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 300908Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1828
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002777

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PHUM PINS PREL RP
SUBJECT: GRP LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN AGAINST COMMUNIST INSURGENTS

REF: 05 MANILA 5506

¶1. (SBU) Summary: In In June 2006, President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo approved a new strategy for defeating
Asia’s longest-running communist insurgency by the
Communist Party of the Philippines and its New People’s
Army (CPP/NPA). Under this plan, the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP), with a subsidiary role for the
Philippine National Police (PNP), will launch multiple
offensives to “eliminate” the NPAew People’s Army in
critical areas, including Central Luzon, Southern Luzon,
parts of Northern Luzon, and the BicolSorsogon
regionProvince. The new campaign will simultaneously seek
socio-economic development, lack of which has fueled the
Communist insurgency over almost forty years. U.S. experts
working with the AFP on Philippine Defense Reform are so
far convinced that the new anti-NPA campaign will not be a
distraction. While total victory over the CPP/NPA in the
foreseeable future remains unlikely, the new campaign could
over the next couple of years contribute to improvements on
the ground, although at the risk of higher AFP casualties
that may be politically difficult to sustain, especially
with elections due in May 2007.
End Summary.

————–
“New” strategy
————–

¶2. (U) The New People’s Army (NPA), with an estimated
strength of 7,400 members and 130 guerrilla fronts,
continues to threaten the the Philippines’ internal security
and impede economic development (reftel). In a Cabinet
meeting in Isabela province on June 16, President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo rejected an estimate by the Department of
National Defense of 10 years to defeat the communist
insurgency as “too long,” and set a target of two years
instead. Under a “new” strategy entitled the Internal
Security Operations (ISO) Oplan Bantay Laya, President
Arroyo announced a special new budget allocation of P1
billion (approximxately US$18,870,000), effective
immediately (ref A).

¶3. (U) According to media accounts, the AFP will receive
P400 million (approximately $7,550,000) of the new fund,
primarily to purchase attack helicopters but also to fund
overall anti-NPA military operations. The AFP reportedly
has redeployed three Army battalions from Mindanao — about
1,500 soldiers — to areas in Luzon to assist in military
operations against the NPA: the 3rd Infantry Battalion (IB)
to Central Luzon and parts of Northern Luzon; the 4th IB to
Tanay, Rizal in Southern Luzon; and, the 9th IB to the Bicol
regionProvince. The AFP has announced that an additional
3,000 troops now assigned to other duties (notably, security
details of VIPs and other civilians) will also join the new
campaigns.

¶4. (U) The PNP will receive P300 million (approximately
$5,660,000), reportedly mostly to beef up protection of and
capabilities of police outposts in remote areas, but also to
resume the counterinsurgency role in metro Manila ofby its
elite Special Acton Force (SAF).

¶5. (U) The remaining P300 million (approximately
$5,660,000) will be part of a major “hearts and minds”
campaign, led by the AFP, to wean away remote and under-
served parts of the Philippines from CPP and NPA control or
influence. The still-unpassed 2006 budget had included
special funding for a “500 barangays” project by the AFP
with this same goalto this intent by the AFP; this funding
could also become available if the Senate and Lower House
approve a budget once the two houses of Congress resumes
their sessions in late July. President Arroyo has also
announced a plant to commit an additional P75 billion
(approximately $1,415,000,000) over the next three years to
generate investment and development in Northern Luzon in
particular.

¶6. (U) GRP leaders have separately also indicated a new
effort to target CPP/NPA “sympathizers and financiers,”
stating publicly that anyone who provides comfort or aid to
the insurgents will be subject to counterinsurgency
operations. Leftists have already expressed concern that
the AFP or PNP could go after local farmers already

MANILA 00002777 002 OF 002

“squeezed” by the NPA’s revolutionary taxes, possibly
leading to an increase in extrajudicial killings allegedly
involving security forces. However, GRP officials have
claimed that they will also investigate and prosecute
business firms that pay “revolutionary taxes” to the NPA,
with the objective of restricting the flow of funds to the
communist insurgents, although they have not publicly
targeted the largest suspected “victims” – cell phone
companies whose remote relay stations are often at risk if
they do not pay up.

——-
Comment
——-

¶7. (SBU) The NPA indeed remains a deadly threat throughout
the Philippines; its elimination would tangibly improve the
prospects for peace and development nationwide. The NPA
has suffered significant losses during the Lombat-Bitag
campaign in 1989-1993,, and have then resortedcommitted to
traditional guerrilla tactics since their its reemergence
in 1996 as a serious threat. Likewise, Due to with the
designation by the U.S. and the EU as a Foreign Terrorist
Organization, the CPP has had to adopted more
diversifiedsophisticated methods to raise funds from their
legal front support base, methods difficult if not
impossible to prove evidentiary. The NPA havse also had to
recommitted to Netherlands-based CPP leader Joma Sison’s
original strategy of being self-sufficient units, making
them less easy targets for the AFP.Early campaigns have
scattered NPA forces into ever-smaller operating units
(making them more difficult targets for AFP or PNP
offensives), while the listing of the CPP/NPA by the U.S.
Government and EU as a Foreign Terrorist Organization has
led to a major cutback on foreign funding, forcing the NPA
into its current role as a serious extortion gang. Apart
from the announced AFP troop redeployment from Central
Mindanao (where observers sayth theey were no longer
needed), other elements of the new “strategy” remain vague,
with no clearer prospect for success than earlier
campaigns. However, AFP programs with the U.S. Joint
Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSTOF-P) in
Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago – notably in Basilan and
now in Jolo – have enhanced the skills of AFP troops in
conducting civil/humanitarian programs, which that could
improve the likelihood of success in this larger “hearts
and minds” campaign nationwide. U.S. experts working with
the AFP on Philippine Defense Reform are so far convinced
that the new anti-NPA campaign will not be a distraction
from PDR initiatives, and actually reflect some of the
priorities enunciated in the first-ever DND Defense
Planning Guidance (DPG), DND planning guidelines issued in
¶2005. While total victory over the CPP/NPA in the
foreseeable future remains unlikely, the new campaign could
over the next couple of years contribute to improvements on
the ground, although at the risk of higher AFP casualties
that may be politically difficult to sustain, especially
with elections due in May 2007.
KENNEY

   

 

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