Conflict & Justice

Philippine Maoists "New People's Army" wreaking havoc


A New People's Army guerrilla performs a play during the 42nd anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines at a remote village in the southern island of Mindanao on December 26, 2010.



Armed Philippines Maoists, the "New People's Army," is on an out-of-control extortion spree, according to the outlet ABS-CBN News.

But why?

Just last year, as the Philippines government negotiated with the communist rebels, officials seemed sure they could end the insurgency once and for all. The rebellion, which seeks a capatalism-free Philippines, has left more than 40,000 dead.

The Philippines is explaining -- spinning? -- the escalation in extortion and violence not as a resurgence but as a campaign of desperation. The rebels, according to the military, are suffering "continuously declining mass-base support."

Whether they're on the upswing or downswing, Maoist insurgency still pays: the insurgents collected, according to the military, about $6.9 million last year.