Phillipines Army Says Maoist Rebels Killed in Clash, Recent Attacks in Sultan Kudarat

The Philippines Army reported the death of seven members of the communist New Peoples Army insurgent group in the municipality of Pantabangan in the Nueva Ecija province on Thursday.

Recent attacks in the past two days by militants of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist group resulted in the killing of a leader of the indigenous people, Emong Kantala, in Sen.

Clashes between the military and the coalition of leftist guerillas that make up the insurgency have been exchanged for decades since 1969. An estimated 60,000 people on each side have been killed in the insurgency, according to the Philippine Army; the conflict is considered to be one of the longest ongoing in the world. The NPA is represented in politics by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, which itself falls under the National Democracy movement.

Despite the Phillipines Army and President Marcos Jr. claiming that the military had destroyed almost 1,400 NPA targets in 2023 and had wiped out all bases of the rebel group by December, in January 2024, Armed Forces Chief Romeo Brawner said eleven bases of the militants, albeit diminished, were operational still. The military claims the peak of the group was in the 1980s, when they held large swaths of land, but rebel activity has continued, and leaders of the insurgency claim they are still growing.

In 2019, under President Rodrigo Duterte, a policy of total elimination of the rebels under a broad war policy for the whole nation was implemented after failed accelerated peace talks proposed to the coalition by his administration in 2016 and 2017. Both the militant and political branches of the group have in recent years been re-labeled as terrorists, in 2017 and 2021, respectively. The NPA group size likely sits around several thousand, according to the Philippine government.