When the NPA Runs Things Better Than Government

npaThis blog is the full comment submitted by reader David Murphy in response to a blog written by JoeAm. David is new to the Society of Honor, but has injected some interesting observations into the recent discussion threads. He poses a counter-view to JoeAm’s opinion that NPA members are “extortionist gangsters”, and suggests that in some ways, in some locations, the NPA provides better service to residents than local governments. He asks for thoughts from others.

Here is his comment, written in response to the blog “Who Funds Bayan Muna?


I recognize that this article was not about the NPA but they seemed to lurk on the periphery of the subject. I wonder what their real status is. From the headlines and items in the media it would seem that they are more extortionists and kidnappers than a political party. And yet I’ve heard anecdotes that in some areas neglected or poorly served by the central government the NPA constitutes a primary or at least secondary de facto local government presence, punishing corruption and criminal activities, seeing that those who prevail unjustly through wealth or influence in the official courts or simply through local official indifference or partiality receive a “people’s justice”.

Our diminutive maid, the most crucial person in our household, went back suddenly to her home in the provinces because her carabao and calf were stolen. I thought it was a pointless exercise but she seemed determined that she would get them back. When she returned home after a brief absence, during which she was sorely missed, she was uncharacteristically restrained in her conversations about what happened. What we pieced together was that when she arrived at her home the local authorities were indifferent to her situation and declined to do anything. We’ll never know exactly what happened but shortly after that she learned where the animals were and retrieved them. The implication was that members of the NPA or perhaps only someone who had connections with the NPA had intervened and motivated someone else to tell her the location of the animals and that the one who was holding them was aware that it was in his best interest to release them posthaste. We’ve wondered about the possibility that he simply disappeared. From subtle indications we deduced that he would not have been greatly missed by his neighbors. Like many Filipino stories this one is filled with gaps and ambiguities but it suggests that the media is not presenting the whole picture. As with most things in the Philippines I suspect that both views, Robin Hoods vs extortionists, are valid, at least in part.

Until the sort of rampant corruption that has been exposed recently is prosecuted and punished and eradicated from the supposedly legitimate government it is hard to defend that government against the communist claim that the only way to correct the injustices is to overthrow it. As someone commented earlier, the elimination of corruption must be the highest priority. And even if the central government is purged and integrity restored, it seems there may be a justification for the continued existence of the NPA in remote parts of the nation in the absence of an effective government presence there.

I’d like to hear opinions from those who have more insight into the realities of the situation.


Photo Source: Security Matters

22 Responses to “When the NPA Runs Things Better Than Government”
  1. ella says:

    Well, my experience with NPAs when I was growing-up is so different from this woman. When I was growing-up and saw how these bunch of thugs behaved I promised myself not to have anything to do with them. NPAs are a bunch of gun loving kids. They used their guns so they can get whatever little the communities have.

    • Joe America says:

      “. . . so they can get whatever little the communities have.” That’s an interesting point. Normally a business enterprise is productive, selling goods and keeping a little of the money received as profit. NPA as a business enterprise gives the community only “protection”, which, if they weren’t there, would not be needed. So they create their own market for security service, and then require it to be bought. Milking the community dry.They don’t really do anything FOR the community except set up an income transfer scheme whereby they get the income.

      But local communities are almost little autonomous states, and run pretty much as the government runs. Trading favors. If you have friends in the NPA, and need something, you can probably get an assist from them. If you don’t have friends in the NPA, “sorry ’bout that”.

  2. Geng says:

    David’s story has a hint of truth but it should have been credible if he heard it straight from the lady. It happens in remote places where the local officials are the NPAs themselves.
    This is not to refute him; this is simply to present another side of a band of men who could not make their families eat decent meals because they do not know how to earn decent wages from honest work that peace loving men toil on.
    In 1994,a close friend worked as a driver/mechanic in a company in a suburb north of Manila where the union had staged a strike. It was unfortunate that he was requested to drive for the top honcho to replace the regular driver who called in sick on that day and was killed along with his boss along the way by NPA hitmen known then as “Sparrows”. He was shot on the temple and the heart.
    He was working hard for his two young kids so his widow was really angry at the CPP/NPA about her husband’s death. It was one of the reasons why I totally got disillusioned with that movement whose trigger happy members did not know how to respect the life of a man who happened to be also a worker like those they lent their support on.
    The killers were eventually caught and had been in jail since.
    A friend who worked as a security guard 13 years ago in a bus company in a town southwest of Manila received the letter from a motorcycle man who requested that he give it to the manager. Two days later, two buses were burned down because the management refused to pay the revolutionary tax that the group demanded. The company had no choice but to stop the operation.
    There are too many cases of extortion that remained unreported due to lack of access to the media of victims and people involved and their utter lack of trust on impotent police officers who are themselves also scared of the enemy.
    The CPP/NPA will continue to exist even if a totally clean administration would be elected because its main objective is to overthrow any form of government different from what they want to establish

    • Geng says:

      Correction: The sentence should read: man who came in on a motorcycle…

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, yes, the truth that Bayan Muna will not acknowledge, that their tacit backing of the ideology behind NPA is in part what fuels such ruthless and tragic acts, devoid of any ideology. Your last line is what nails it for me.. NPA terrorist gangsters won’t accept anything but what they deem as correct. And anyone who disagrees deserves not to live. Can you imagine what that government would be like under these guys? Raise your voice and be “disappeared”.

      • cha says:

        “Can you imagine what that government would be like under these guys? ”

        In the 1980s, hundreds of NPA rebels were tortured and killed by their own comrades, in an operation aimed at ridding the movement of perceived enemy infiltrators. One of the survivors of the purge, Robert Francis Garcia, wrote it all in a book, To Suffer Thy Comrades, reliving and relating the days of torture and mayhem in the hands of their fellow revolutionaries. This should give us an indication what it would be like if these people indeed become the government.

        Some excerpts:

        One of the early detainees, Ka Paulito, had endured torture for two months. Still, he held on, believing that all would be cleared up in the end, and he would be proven innocent. The last straw for him was when he was made to witness cold-blooded murder. This is what he said:

        “I was brought to the execution site together with a handful of other detainees. At that time, my senses were almost deadened by the torture I had received. I could barely feel anything anymore. But what I saw brought me new shock and completely erased any hope I had that all this would turn out alright in the end.

        “One of our companions was brought in front of us. They then turned him around while we waited in suspense. Next thing we knew, the back of his head was hit with a large wooden club. He fell down, then shouted: “Wala akong kasalanan, mga kasama!” (Comrades, I’m innocent!). He repeated this line incessantly, as if in a chant. He was groggy but was still able to stand up. Again, he was hit on the same spot but he remained standing. With the third blow on his head, his skull cracked open, and he lay dead on the ground.

        “I wasn’t able to utter a single word after that. It would have been more bearable a sight if they shot him or even stabbed him, but this was such a gruesome spectacle. At that point, all my defenses broke down and I decided to spin whatever story I could think of.”


        • Joe America says:

          Yes, some of us think these things only happen in books. No.

          It walk amongst us, this gross ability to end another’s life for the flimsiest of reasons. It is encouraged by the politicians who shrug off the evil and argue the problem rests with government, as if they could do it better.

  3. Maria Socorro Reyes says:

    JoeAm, you nailed it. First, perverted “vigilantism” to win the people’s hearts, then extortion, banditry, terrorism, even conscription of farmers’ sons to their “Army.” That’s how it is in Southernmost Luzon.

    • Joe America says:

      You know, Maria, I understand how local people are vulnerable to these thugs. They have no where to turn. What bothers me in the extreme is Bayan Muna and other leftist “reputable” organizations not doing all they can do to stop the thuggery. Instead, because it suits their political agenda, they excuse it. Thereby fueling it.

  4. JM says:

    Based on the stories my parents tell me when I was a little kid, NPAs are a bunch of thieves. My grandfather had a sugar plantation until NPAs stole it from him and threatened to kill any member of my family who steps on “their” land. My grandfather died early so I was not able to ask him directly. He was born poor from a family of farmers. He worked hard to become a lawyer and buy his own land. It must have been a terrible experience for him.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, that seems to be the character of the beast in most areas. Unkind in the extreme.

      • ella says:

        Mr. Joe I grew-up in a community frequented by the NPAs. They go around even distracting classes talking about communism, capitalism and all the isms that our little minds cannot understand and our teachers are very afraid to talk about. It was a school for grades 1 to 2. Our parents and teachers are afraid to talk about all these isms that these thugs are talking about because they might say something that will make the NPAs get mad and extort more what they can extort and on the other side the military might suspect them as sympathisers … so every time we ask about what the NPAs are talking about we were shhhedd.

        The worst part is they lure kids not to go to school and teach them how to hold guns. They use kids as informers and runners. Imagine making kids who don’t even know how to read and write as warriors. That was back in the 80s and 90s.

        I am glad though because most of my classmates in that school became smarter and used our heads and no one of our kids and grandkids were lured by these thugs.

        I will never believe these leftist groups, whatever ideas and cause they are fighting for, they are a bunch of thugs, trigger happy, extortionist and use any thing they could think of even violence just for their political belief.

        • ella says:

          They shout the loudest about human rights but they are the worst violators of any right a person should have.

        • Joe America says:

          That is about as inhumane as it gets, to use kids like that before they are formed. It smacks of a certain desperation of soul. I get angry at provincial and municipal leaders who must be off enriching themselves rather than developing their own networks of informants. Or organizations like Bayan Muna that spew the fertilizer that these thugs use.

  5. ricelander says:

    My cousin, an engineer. He was an employee at the municipal hall. On spare time he was an active organizer of the youth in our village. One day in the dead of the night, the NPAs descended on his home and took him away from his wife and very young children never to be seen again. He was suspected of spying against them. About two decades later, the NPAs sent an emissary to admit and apologize for the mistake and point to the family his burial site. Apparently, someone who held a grudge against my cousin was responsible for the NPAs act.

    • Joe America says:

      Wow. I mean, wow. Judge, jury, executioner. A guy with a grudge. I suppose the uplift is the apology, that someone had a sense of kindness, two decades after. Or big guilt.

  6. ricelander says:

    In February this year, amid all the fanfare and celebratory mood of the EDSA revolt celebration, the President signed the Human Rights Victims Recognition and Reparation Act of 2013 allocating P10B to supposed victims of Marcos ruthless rule. Who are the beneficiaries? I am one of those who suspect that most of these nameless men and women in the class suit against Marcos were communists combatants or supporters who were dedicated to the advancement of communist rule, whatever the anti-Marcos forces are claiming now. You too would get more suspicious if you find that SELDA is becoming more and more impatient and furious at PNoy: http://seldapilipinas.wordpress.com/tag/human-rights-victims-reparation-and-recognition-act-of-2013/

    P10B! uh

    • Joe America says:

      I’ve come to really dislike protests and the groups that sponsor them. They show pictures of the protests and claim some kind of moral high ground because they protested. Fringe lunatics with a gripe, it looks like to me.

    • ricelander says:

      One of the beneficiaries of the P10B bonanza is JoeMa Sison, would you believe?

      … the Hawaii class suit or the MDL-840 is a consolidated case of three groups who sued Marcos in the Hawaii Court in 1986. The three groups were the SELDA group of 9,539; the group of 21 Filipino expatriates in the US led by Vic Clemente and Fluellen Ortigas and the group of three of Prof. Jose Maria Sison, the parents of the former representing his disappeared brother, Francisco Sison and Jose Piopongco…

      Is the P10B reparation pay separate from the $2B exemplary and $776M compensatory damages this group has already won in the Hawaii courts?

  7. Edward says:

    NPA enjoys local support in remote communities where there is lack of sincere governance and poverty incidence come in staggering numbers. Non-inclusive growth and persistent socio-economic ills ensure the survival of NPA. I agree with Mr. Murphy when he said that unless we address what continues to plague the country, e.g. extreme poverty and weak governance, there will always be a place for NPA in the sphere of Filipino public life. In the context of Mr. Murphy’s story, the swift “justice” delivered by the NPA is one effective way of getting support. The NPA took advantage of the lack of response from local authorities and turned it into an opportunity to assert its relevance. The situation of Mr. Murphy’s maid and the ineptness of local authorities are only some of the many conditions that favor the continued existence of the NPA.

    But to elevate the discussion, I refuse to believe that NPA is a viable alternative to the government. I come from Sorsogon, one of the provinces branded as home to many NPA rebels. Our stories here are grim and gut-wrenching. Many disappearances have been attributed to them. Their income comes from extortion of local businesses. They have also supported “traditional politicians” and members of political dynasties who give them hefty financial support. In fact, one congressman has even admitted during a radio interview that he donated regularly to the NPA because they are still our brothers.

    I want to ask: If the NPA is really serious about advancing the welfare of the proletariat, why did they support political dynasties in Sorsogon and allowed its members to stuff their already lined pockets while in power? Why did the NPA try to hijack a government convoy carrying relief suppliers intended for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas area?

  8. Edward says:

    *poverty incidence comes

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