Manila – Taking a leaf from the insurgency in Iraq, Philippine communists have opened a guerilla front in Metro Manila to take advantage of the country's messy political situation, said a senior intelligence officer. Under this new strategy, the rebels would, among other things, kidnap more soldiers as part of an effort to demoralise government troops.
The decision to open an armed front was made during a meeting of Central Committee Members of the New People's Army (NPA). "They are adopting deadlier tactics similar to what were being used by Iraqi insurgents," said the officer who is familiar with communist insurgency operations.
The officer said the rebels are planning to stage more attacks against government forces and facilities while the police and the military are bogged down by the political crisis.
"They (NPA) see the current political situation as an opportunity to take advantage and ensure that their plans of taking over are realised," the officer said.
He revealed that the shift in strategy was not approved by its European-based communist members or the Central Committee in Europe.
In another development, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has stepped up its campaign against terrorists and communists insurgents in the southern island of Mindanao by deploying fresh Marine troops in the area.
Newly-installed AFP chief, Lt-Gen Generoso Senga, said he is giving the campaign the highest priority on his military operation agenda. "We will adjust accordingly. We'll improve our capabilities and systems" against terrorism, he told reporters.
* AFP deploys more marines in Mindanao vs terrorists, rebels (The Manila Times, Aug 25)
* NPA to form Metro Manila squad (The Manila Times, Aug 24)