Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Aquino orders crackdown on rebel checkpoints

Philippine President Benigno Aquino has ordered the military to dismantle all checkpoints set up by the New People's Army (NPA).

Mr Aquino has also ordered the police to do more to protect politicians campaigning for next month's elections in areas controlled by the communist insurgents.

It comes after NPA rebels attacked the Mayor of Gingoog City, Ruth de Lara Guingona, and her entourage as they tried to cross a checkpoint on Mindanao Island on Sunday.

Ms Guingona, the wife of former vice-president Teofisto Guingona Jr, was wounded and two bodyguards killed in the attack.

The NPA refuses candidates from campaigning in areas under their control without a permit, which candidates must pay for.

Clarita Carlos, a political scientist from the Philippines University, has told Radio Australia's Connect Asia it is outrageous that insurgents can set up checkpoints.

"There is something so abnormal about the situation where within a country's territory, you have another group's territory and we've always been declaring that you treat all these dissident groups as ordinary criminals," she said.
"They violate our laws. Run after them - is that something complicated to do?".

Ms Carlos says based on "historical data", it's unlikely President Benigno Aquino's orders to the police and the military will be implemented.

"There are just words...he can declare as much as he wants but nothing is moving on the ground so it's more of the same thing."

The Philippines will hold midterm elections on May 13.

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