Special Issue

Official Publication of the Civil Relations Service, AFP

July 2010

Brigadier General Francisco N Cruz Jr AFP


Official Publication of The Civil Relations Service, Armed Forces of the Philippines

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The CNN Insurgency

he cover depicts different members of society pushing a symbolic CPPNPA-NDF (CNN) effigy towards a cliff and away from a progressive community. This is an illustration of the need to unify civilian and military efforts in ending insurgency with the Local Chief Executives leading the campaign.

Center of Gravity

Good Governance: The Silver Bullet

The Peace and Order Council

Bohol and Cebu as Models of Military and Civilian Unity of Efforts 1. Bohol

2. Cebu

Insurgency is Declining Steadfastly Conclusion

Civilianizing the Insu
The Indispensable Role of LGUs in

The Philippine government has been engaged in a prolonged war against the CPP-NPA-NDF or CNN. While the CNN has failed to grab power even after 41 years, it can still endure unless an ideal campaign plan of a holistic approach where all stakeholders unite to address the multifaceted dimensions of insurgency. An effective counter-insurgency campaign plan places great demands on the ability and decisiveness of local executives to end insurgency. This magazine captures the indispensable role of the LGUs in counter-insurgency and hopes to serve as a stimulus not only for military commanders but for national and local leaders to be driven by a sense of purpose and urgency in the counter-insurgency campaign.

urgency War:

Civilianizing the insurgency war:
The Indispensable Role of LGUs In Counter-insurgency
Brigadier General Francisco N Cruz Jr AFP Commander, Civil Relations Service June 2010



NN insurgency is an armed rebellion by CPP-NPA-NDF (CNN) against the government. Its ultimate goal is to overthrow current regime and then establish a communist state which it would call the People’s Democratic Republic of the Philippines. fter 41 years of violent struggle, CNN failed to grab political power, and will never succeed, for varied reasons:
It is still in the defensive stage of the protracted war, it failed to advance into stalemate stage where its military power should be at par with that of the government forces. b. It has no state sponsor. Communist Russia, China and Vietnam declined to interfere in the internal security affairs of the country. c. It has extinct ideology manifested by the collapse of USSR. d. CNN is losing people’s support due to its unthinkable sins against the Filipino people, ranging from murder, extortion to economic sabotage.



Essential though it is, the military action is secondary to the political one, its primary purpose being to afford the political power enough freedom to work safely with the population. David Galula, Counterinsurgency Warfare, 1964

to grab political power...

e. Land reform has drained its pond of peasant supporters. f. Government’s anti-poverty programs are helping impede CNN’s recruitment. g. Lastly, CNN can never succeed in a democracy like the Philippines.


the words of Che Guevarra, ‘It is not possible to make a successful revolution against a state that is democratic… the ballot box is the coffin of insurgency.’ For as long as our democracy remains vibrant and our elections credible and free, the CNN cannot achieve victory.




has nationwide presence, its strongholds are ungoverned and misgoverned areas. It has become a political force that can influence policy. It has a well built propaganda machinery. Some political leaders are allied with the insurgents. The social and political ills of the society fuel the insurgency, like poverty, ignorance and deprivation. Lastly, the military is thinly spread, and has to confront other serious threats, namely the Muslim separatist insurgency and the Abu Sayyaf terrorism.



“The support of the people is the sine qua non of success in COIN efforts.”


he ‘people’ and not the NPA fighters is the center of gravity in the insurgency war, for it is the people that give life to the insurgent. According to Mao Tse Tung, “Because guerilla warfare basically derives from the masses and is supported by them, it can neither exist nor flourish if it separates itself from their sympathies and cooperation.” or British Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templar, “The shooting side to the business (of counterinsurgency) is only 25% of the trouble, the other 75% lies in getting the people of this country behind us.” Moreover, TE Lawrence of Arabia stresses; “Rebellions can be made by 2% active in a striking force and 98% passively sympathetic.”

The ‘people’ and no the center of gravity in


ot the NPA fighters is n the insurgency war...


herefore, the support of the people is the most critical in countering insurgency. Without it, the CNN is dead. We need to measure the effectiveness of our counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign, not by body counts by the sum of cooperation and support given by the people. Thus, the people have to be convinced that they are better off with the government than with the rebel movement.

...the people have to be convinced that they are better off with the government than with the rebel movement...

Failed governance is at the heart of continuing internal armed conflicts in the Philippines. Managing these conflicts requires increased government effectiveness in delivering basic services, especially in poor conflict-areas of the country, as well as better administration of justice.
-2008 Conference Report, “Can The Philippines Break Out of Its Affliction?


e have to ‘civilianize’ this war and allow non-military methods to dominate the COIN strategy. To ‘civilianize’ the war is to let the Local Chief Executives (LCEs) lead the campaign, and to use less force--more ‘carrots’ than ‘sticks.’ An ideal campaign plan is conceived and implemented in harmony with all stakeholders, and with the LCEs leading the fight. The AFP’s main role is to secure communities and allow development to prosper. eneral Emilio Ponce of El Salvador observes, “Ninety percent of countering insurgency is political, social, economic and ideological and only 10% military”. The government’s response to insurgency requires a holistic approach to address the root causes of insurgency, not just its symptoms.

The government’s approach to address t

90% of countering insurgency

is political, social, economic and ideological and only 10% military. - General Emilio Ponce

We have to ‘civilianize’ this war and allow non-military methods to dominate the COIN strategy...

s response to insurgency requires a holistic the root causes of insurgency, not just its symptoms...


olitical warfare should take precedence over physical warfare or combat. Political warfare may encompass everything other than military opeartions. These would include Social Integration Program or SIP under OPAPP, amnesty, rural development and poverty reduction programs, information efforts (improving image of government), peace advocacies by civil society, sustainable land reform, and most importantly a peace process


s former NSA Jose Almonte said, “Killing the insurgents will not kill insurgency.” One of objectives of the counterinsurgent therefore is to persuade the rebels to come out and join mainstream society, through a mixture of military and non-military methods. As one British officer wrote:

AFP can only addres capability but LGUs can people join the rebel mo
“Persuading a man to join you is far cheaper than killing him. …by killing him you merely deprive an enemy of one soldier. If he is persuaded to join the government forces, the enemy becomes one less, but the government forces become one more, a gain of plus two.”


nvariably, our military campaign called Bantay Laya cannot win this war by itself. The COIN chain is only as strong as its weakest link. We need the LGUs and other agencies of the government to take active role. AFP can only address insurgent military capability but LGUs can address the reasons why people join the rebel movement. The Strategy of Holistic Approach confronts both rebel capabilities and motivations. The bottomline of


ss insurgent military n address the reasons why ovement...
the National Strategy to Overcome Insurgency is Good Governance, focused on poverty reduction and suppressing injustice.


he heart of the matter is, to gain people’s support, encourage rebel surrender and thwart insurgent recruitment, we need to govern more effectively, bring hope to the people, and for our political leaders to take the lead. Good governance is the silver bullet that will kill the insurgency.


Any idea that the business of normal civil government and the business of the Emergency (counterinsurgency) are two separate entities must be killed for good and all.... The two activities are completely and utterly interrelated. -Sir Gerald Templar


he Peace and Order Council (POC) has been put in place to unify military and civilian efforts in defeating insurgency. It is in this light that EO 773 is formulated--to achieve unity of efforts or convergence. Among the salient points of EO 773 are: In the provincial level: the Provincial Governor acts as POC Chairperson; three representatives from the private sector are members of the Council; creation of Regional Internal Security Operations (ISO) Convergence Office; and the KBP list drawn by DND may be amended to conform to the specific needs of the province.


mong the responsibilities of Sub-national Peace and Order Councils are:

a. Provide a forum for dialogue on issues affecting peace and order, including Insurgency; b. Recommend measures to enhance peace and order, including counterinsurgency; c. Initiate and oversee the convergence of ISO efforts; d. Apply moral suasion against local chief executives supporting the rebels; and e. Monitor the provisions of livelihood and infrastructure development programs in remote and indigenous areas. In short, counterinsurgency has become a normal function of governance.


he guidance of PGMA in 2009 is quite clear: “The AFP shall actively engage the LGUs. Establish a more active network with them through the Peace and Order Councils…I have reorganized the POCs to underscore that insurgency is the primary responsibility of every LGU with the AFP and the PNP assisting them.”


s embodied in EO 773, the governor’s and the mayor’s counterparts in the AFP are the Infantry Brigade Commander and Infantry Battalion Commander respectively.

The Peace and Order Council (POC) has been put in place to unify military and civilian efforts in defeating insurgency...


o succeed, POC needs leadership, not just oversight, and unbending commitment by all members. Our people deserve peace and better quality of life.


e believe, for the Local Chief Executive to lead effectively, he should be empowered. To this effect, we suggest the following activities: a. Formal Handover of ISO lead role to LGU; b. Governor/PPOC to declare his province insurgency-free; c. ISO campaign plan to be signed by POC/ LGU; d. LGU to lead rebel surrender rites and provide for former rebels; e. Formation of an Anti Insurgency Task Force led by the governor; f. AFP to report accomplishments to POC/ LGU regularly; g. Joint POC/LGU-AFP ISO assessment; h. LGUs to openly denounce armed struggle or declare NPA persona non grata; and i. LGUs to promote local peace talks and support the Social Integration Program.

To succeed, POC needs leadership, not just oversight, and unbending commitment by all members.


he SIP has been effective in reducing the number of rebels. More than 2000 former rebels availed of the program in 2009 and more than P60 M released by OPAPP for rebel benefits.


Revolutionary war is 80 percent political action and only 20 percent military. Mao Tse Tung


ohol, previously the hotbed of insurgency in Central and Eastern Visayas, is a perfect example of convergence of LGU, AFP, PNP and civil society in countering insurgency. It was led by an aggressive, well meaning governor, Governor Aumentado. He declared the province insurgency-free in 2005 after an extensive poverty reduction and rebel returnee programs. He believed military efforts alone will not solve the insurgency problem in the province.


Bohol Governor Erico B Aumentado

ome of these programs include Let’s Help Bohol animal dispersal program, health and education, livelihood and job generation. He established Team Bohol to unify military and civilian efforts. He also supported military operations in many ways. In tandem with the AFP Peace and Development Teams (previously known as Special Operations Team/ SOT), he deployed community organizers in conflict areas to organize residents into cooperatives and to immerse with them to facilitate the needs of the barangay folks. The idea was to bring back public confidence.



ther COIN initiatives undertaken by Bohol LGU include:

a. Monthly civic action by the Provincial POC and joint information drives to win hearts and minds and stomachs of the people; b. Support Local Peace Forum as a venue for dialogues to address issues raised by leftist and interest groups; c. Installation of a Local Monitoring Board to oversee implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHIHL); d. Rehabilitation and reintegration of rebel returnees, some have been organized into cooperatives, others into Speakers Bureau to expose deceptive tactics of the CNN; e. Legal assistance to AFP and law enforcers charged with offenses while performing their duties; f. Deployment of Fact Finding Missions composed of PPOC members to investigate reports of human rights abuse by security forces; and g. Food support for the uniformed men and CAFGUs.



oday, Team Bohol has broken the backbone of NPA insurgency in the province which is now enjoying peace and progress. Bohol is now a major tourist destination. Gov Aumentado says in 2007 during a Local Peace and Security Assembly: “Our people woke up from their ‘sleep’ with insurgents after realizing that the government is indeed sincere in helping them out of poverty and that the military has a humane face in the campaign. The barangay folks in the (insurgent) affected areas refuse to give sanctuary to the insurgents who used their barangays as bases of operations in the past.”


“I recognize, as I have repeatedly stated before, that this is not a mere military solution, that we must address other phases that have been the root causes of the discontent among our people,” -Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia


Sukad karon, kining (From now on, this) Provincial Government of Cebu will do all that it can to address the insurgency problem. We will support unequivocally this war against communist-terrorists, and when I say total all-out war, I recognize, as I have repeatedly stated before, that this is not a mere military solution, that we must address other phases that have been the root causes of the discontent among our people,” says Cebu Gov Gwen Garcia during her first year in office. he further adds, “I could not even hope to make a significant difference in the other points in my 12-point agenda if I could not even assure investors outside of this Province, outside of this country, that here in the Province of Cebu we have the best peace and order record in the entire country.” The aggressive and brave governor formed in 2006 a Provincial Anti-Insurgency Task Force to eliminate insurgency in her province.


he task force has four divisions which manifest her multidimensional approach in eradicating insurgency:

a. Information, Rewards and Incentives Division for effective information gathering, with a rewards scheme for individuals who assist the task force in achieving its objective; b. Public Relations Division which devises ways and recommends measures to promote better public relations; c. Socio-Economic Division which drafts measures to promote social and economic upliftment so people would not be swayed by communist propaganda; and d. Legal Division which assists the task force and other bodies in attaining the objective of eradicating insurgency.


mong her concrete programs relating to peace and order and insurgency include:

a. Distribution of military jeeps to police stations and firetrucks to towns and cities; b. Construction of the P10-million new headquarters for the Cebu Provincial Police Office, and request for the release of P10 million from the Philippine National Police for the improvement of provincial police capabilities;

c. Continued logistical support such as communication systems and other equipment not only for the CPPO but also for the Regional Mobile Group, the 78th Infantry Battalion, and the Special Reaction Unit, the first of its kind among provinces; d. Steering the thrust for the maintenance of peace order by being head of the Regional Peace and Order Council, wherein she pushes for an all out war against insurgents by focusing on improving economy in the countryside and offering second chance to those who turn themselves in; and e. Through a private partner, distribution of close circuit television (CCTV) or security cameras to each police station. Cebu was formally declared insurgency-free in March 2010. “Our comprehensive efforts to see to it that basic services reach the remotest communities through the Social Integration Program of former rebels and surrenderees created the necessary government impact among the people…We can’t just sit back, we have to continue to guard our peace, because peace is the ingredient and the foundation of our economic growth and development,” states Gov Garcia during the ceremony. Invariably, both governors governed effectively and knew quite well their powers and responsibilities under SEC. 16 (General Welfare) of the 1991 Local Government Code: “Every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure and support, among other things, the preservation and enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support the development of appropriate and self-reliant scientific and technological capabilities, improve public morals, enhance economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among their residents, maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.”




NN insurgency strength has declined over the years. There has been a consistent reduction of CNN affected barangays. At the end of 2009, NPA presence can be felt only in 1,077 barangays, or merely 2.6% of the 42,000 barangays nationwide, compared to 20% (8,500 brgys) in 1986. There has been a consistent reduction of CNN strength. From its peak of 25,000 in 1987, it is now down to just 4,702 in 2009. More rebels are coming out each year to embrace the SIP. The widening rift inside the CNN over strategy and funds is dividing the organization. Many have gone above ground as a result. CNN is losing people’s support and supply networks mainly due to its criminal/extortion and terrorist acts. It is also losing its cadres and ideologues. More LCEs are cutting its links with the CNN. Government anti-poverty programs are holding back insurgent recruitment.

he AFP has also shifted its efforts to development or soft power approach to win people’s hearts and minds. In fact, it has dispatched more than 300 Peace and Development Teams or PDTs (formerly called Special Operations team nationwide) as a means to help fast-track the delivery of government’s basic services and development projects especially in remote communities. It has also created the 81 % decrease compared National Development to the peak strength of Support Command or NADESCOM to undertake 25,200 in 1987 rural development projects in conflict areas under the Kalayaan Barangay Program (KBP), like constructing school buildings, water systems, farm to market roads, bridges etc.



ut again CNN can endure.


only 2.6% of the 42,022 barangays in the country




NN is either absent or weak in majority of the provinces nationwide. It has strong presence only in some parts of Bicol, Samar, Negros, Surigao and Davao regions. Beginning in Dec 2008, 14 PPOCs have formally declared their provinces insurgency free, meaning the threat of insurgency in those areas is non-existent or too insignificant to affect the lives of the residents and the COIN lead role is transferred to the POC or LCE. These provinces were Guimaras, Siquijor, Biliran, Marinduque, La Union, Nueva Vizcaya, Romblon, Bohol, Apayao, Aurora, Cebu, Quirino, Cavite and Tarlac. The more provinces freed from the menace of CNN insurgency, the more apparent its defeat becomes.




ndeed, insurgency is a governance problem that least requires a military solution. CNN has weakened over the years but there’s more to be done to finally defeat it. CNN insurgency will persist unless the entire government, with its enormous resources, unite and get its act together towards confronting the root causes of conflict and winning public confidence. Counterinsurgency must therefore be well led at national and local levels, leaders are driven by a sense of purpose and urgency, and the non-military, political efforts dominate the COIN strategy.

When a country is being subverted, it is not being outfought; it is being outadministered. -Bernard Fall

About the Author
BGen Francisco N Cruz, Jr. AFP is an intelligence and civil military operation professional. He was conferred the Gold Cross Medal and meritoriously promoted to Captain after he led a daring raid against MNLF rebels in 1983. He also received the Philippine Military Academy Cavalier Award for Air Force Operations in 1995 and the most coveted The Outstanding Philippine Soldier (TOPS) award in 2002. He studied strategic intelligence at the US Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington DC. He served three years in Singapore as Defense and Armed Forces Attache (DAFA) and was given the Outstanding DAFA Post Award for two consecutive years in 2004 and 2005. He completed two Master’s degrees: Master in Public Management at the University of the Philippines, and Master in Strategic Studies at the prestigious Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies of Singapore under its scholarship program. He now heads the AFP Civil Relations Service where he leads a ‘hearts and minds’ campaign. His penchant for community work gave him two Sagisag ng Ulirang Kawal and two Gawad sa Kaunlaran awards and also made him Adopted Son of Pasay City and Mabalacat, Pampanga.
For comments, please email: fncruzjr@yahoo.com