Leadership: Raising the Bet For Victory

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October 4,2008:  The Filipino military is asking for an 18 percent increase in their $1.6 billion budget, in order to speed the end of the communist and Moslem rebellions. Both have been going on since the 1960s, but have been largely defeated in the last decade. The Moslems have been worn down, and several Moslem rebel organizations have already made peace. The last major rebel group, the MILF, has hastened its demise by getting involved with Islamic terrorism and groups like al Qaeda. Most Filipino Moslems want no part of this, and are generally unhappy with their lack of economic progress, compared to the Christian majority. Poverty has persisted in the Moslem south, in part, due to the constant violence. Few investors, Filipino or foreign, want to build anything in such a chaotic environment.

The communists have been a problems since the end of World War II. The current player, the NPA, suffered greatly with the collapse of so many communist states and the end of the Cold War in 1991. It got worse after September 11, 2001, when the NPA was declared an international terrorist organization, which dried up a lot of the contributions they received from foreign leftists (especially in Europe). The NPA has now become rural bandits with a political agenda, but mainly they are a nuisance because of their resorting to extortion and theft to maintain themselves.

The government has capitalized on these weaknesses over the last few years, negotiating peace deals with the Moslems, and treating the NPA as a police problem. In addition, the military has bought lots of helicopters (inexpensive second-hand American UH-1s and AH-1s) and new equipment (communications, sensors, and weapons). American Special Forces and electronics warfare experts have assisted as well.

The government believes that with the extra money, they have an opportunity to destroy the NPA and MILF within two years. After that, the remnants will survive as bandits and gangsters for decades, but that's a much easier problem to deal with.

 


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