Philippine Insurgencies (1968 - )

The Maoist Insurgencies (1968 - )


The Philippines have been defined by a series of center-periphery and often ideologically Maoist, separatist insurgencies. The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), began its war against the central Philippine government in 1968 through their armed wing – the New People’s Army (NPA). Further legitimacy was gained through the establishment of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in 1973. Grievances were predominantly opposed to the corruption and repression under the authoritarian Marcos regime.


With the overthrow of Marcos’ regime in 1986, the CPP factionalized further to take on more localized characteristics. The Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) broke away from the NDF in 1986 to focus on the protection of the Cordilleran people and land in northern Luzon. Hostilities were formally ended in July 2011, with an agreement signed between the central government, the CPLA and the Cordillera Bodong Administration (CBA) that allowed for the absorption of CPLA fighters into the Philippine Army and the re-working of the CBA-CPLA into a socio-development organisation.


Meanwhile, purge among the CPP in the early 1990s, encouraged the formation of a parallel party, the Revolutionary Workers Party (RPM-P). Their armed wing, the Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB) which had carried out a number of assassinations during the 1980s at the bequest of the CPP, followed suit and allied themselves with the RPM-P in 1997 forming the (RPM-P-RPA-ABB). Severely weakened by the split with the CPP and with the arrest of several key figures, the RPM-P-RPA-ABB signed a peace agreement in December 2000, which encouraged the RPM-P’s branch in Mindanao to break away in 2001.

The CPP-NPA has only participated in intermittent talks with the government. Talks halted in 2004 when Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration sought closer ties with the U.S. in the war on terror and added the CPP-NPA to the list of terrorist organisations, renewing violence. Following the launch of a counter-insurgency by the Philippine government, negotiations have been further delayed due to suspected internal differences between the CPP ‘old guard’ and younger members.

The Moro Insurgency (1968 - )


The Moro Insurgency began in 1968, in Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago after the killing of Moro Commandos, the so-called Jabidah Massacre, by the Philippine Army following a plot to invade Sabah province in Malaysia. The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) captured a swath of territory in the mid-1970s. In an attempt to stem the violence, the constitution was reformed and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was created 1990 granting a devolution of power to the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Following the establishment of the ARMM, the MNLF splintered into a range of smaller groups including Islamic factions such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Abu Sayef Goup (ASG). The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro was signed in 2014.

The University of Edinburgh