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A Young Leader in the Philippines’ Battle-scarred ‘Islamic City’
A Young Leader in the Philippines’ Battle-scarred ‘Islamic City’
Report 202 / Asia

菲律宾共产主义叛乱:战术与谈判

执行摘要

由于旷日持久的共产主义叛乱,菲律宾政府不能控制和发展国家的大部分地区。冲突已经持续了40多年,成千上万的士兵和平民在冲突中身亡。通过在当地策划袭击,并从当地获得武器和资金,叛乱分子坚实地扎根于他们开展活动的地区。事实证明,他们很难被铲除。政府的反叛乱战略已经减少了叛军数量,却未能摧毁叛乱组织。在军事上,任何一方都不会取得胜利。在阿基诺政府任期内,和平谈判重启。在谈判各方试图达成持久的政治解决方案这较为困难的长期目标时,他们应该立即致力于使现有的人权监督机制运转起来。

菲律宾共产党(CPP)和其新人民军(NPA)于1968年发动了反对菲律宾政府的武装斗争。该组织在20世纪80年代达到鼎盛,因为当时专制的马科斯政府垮台并被阿基诺政府所取代。叛乱活动后来成了社会运动,一大批地上组织与一个地下游击队武装互相呼应。政府的反叛乱行动加之共产党的一次内部分裂削弱了该组织,并使其在90年代早期失去了许多支持者。到2000年,菲律宾共产党-新人民军(CPP-NPA)又重整旗鼓,并且自此展示出了极大的灵活性。它一直活跃在全国范围内的山区和被政府忽视的地区。该组织没有改变其共产主义的意识形态,但成立了政党并且成功地与议会和平相处,还重新参与了与阿罗约政府的和平谈判。谈判于2004年破裂后,菲律宾军方加强了针对游击队的行动,但却未能在2010年6月总统阿基诺宣誓就职前将其彻底消灭。

新人民军只有不到5000名战士,但它仍拥有支持者,并正在招募新成员,在全国范围内获取武器和发动伏击。它为自己的行为辩白,包括对意识形态方面的“人民公敌”进行法外处决。即使新人民军很难招募到受过高等教育的干部,而且难以替换关键的中层指挥官,但它对于士兵、警察和其他任何被它视为向军方告密以及和军方合作的人来说,仍然是一个重大威胁。每年都有上百人死于冲突,包括在2010年,350多名新人民军成员和政府安全部队士兵身亡。

菲律宾军方未能击败新人民军。高级指挥官们觉得他们没有足够的人力,所以依赖于部落民兵和准军事力量。这些团体通常受到的监管不力,并滥用武力。历届政府所采取的反叛乱战略将军事行动和社区恐吓与发展工作结合起来,结果毫无成效并常常适得其反。

叛乱的影响超出了游击队和政府兵相互狙击的偏远山村。菲律宾共产党使用“前线组织 ”来为他们的地下同志筹集和运输资金,使得左派活动分子成了军队和准军事力量报复的目标,结果导致了过去十年中大量的法外处决。冲突使得国家左派支离破碎,而该国其实极其需要团结一致的力量来挑战有权势的家族,这些家族极大的束缚了各个级别的政治部门。对商业征收“革命税”阻碍了投资,并使得叛乱者从资源丰富却贫困的地区攫取利益。

对菲律宾当局来说,与努力和摩洛伊斯兰解放战线(MILF)达成政治解决方案相比,解决菲律宾共产党-新人民军冲突处于次要的位置。而这一问题也常常被国际社会所忽略。但对于许多菲律宾人来说,共产主义叛乱的影响更为直接,因为许多人都有亲戚或朋友在七八十年代曾参与其中或者他们自己当时就是对叛乱分子的同情者。同时,菲律宾政府和捐助者试图解决在穆斯林棉兰老岛的问题,尽管菲律宾共产党-新人民军对于困扰该岛的大量暴力事件负有责任。只关注穆斯林地区并不能解决“棉兰老岛问题”。

阿基诺政府在2010年10月决定与菲律宾共产党-新人民军重返谈判,这是值得欢迎的。但尚不清楚谈判将走向何方。2010年12月的非正式会谈实现了了十年来最长时间的停火,而正式谈判定于2011年2月开始。从历史上来看,谈判对于菲律宾共产党-新人民军来说只是一种战术,它仍然致力于推翻菲律宾政府。该组织大部分的高级领袖都已经六七十岁了,据报道一些人的健康状况不佳。他们中的许多人一辈子投身于与政府对抗的事业,一些人也许渴望在有生之年看到政治解决。但是,有报道称高层中的紧张关系有可能阻碍和平谈判,或者加深内部分裂。阿基诺政府对于政治解决的追求也为军队带来了巨大改变,多年来使得追赶新人民军在军事上畅行无阻。政府需要确保拥有全面支持,这种支持不仅是来自军队各个层级,而且也需要有来自于警察和准军事力量对其新的国内安全计划的支持。

雅加达/布鲁塞尔, 2011年2月14日

Faykha Ala, Marawi's youngest barangay chair. CRISIS GROUP/Matthew Wheeler
Commentary / Asia

A Young Leader in the Philippines’ Battle-scarred ‘Islamic City’

It is a challenge to represent South Madaya Proper, a district in Marawi, the Philippines’ historic “Islamic city”, depopulated two years ago in a battle between government forces and jihadists. To do so, a young council chair says, she acts as both official and activist.

Marawi’s Youngest Barangay Chair

Faykha Khayriyyah Alonto Ala is the youngest official in Marawi, a Muslim-majority city in the west of Mindanao, the second-largest island in the Philippines. Having just reached her nineteenth birthday, she is surely one of the youngest in the whole archipelago. Last September, Faykha Ala was elected chair of a barangay (village) council, the smallest political subdivision in the Philippines, an achievement of which she and her family are proud. But her village, South Madaya Proper, sits empty and off limits, littered with unexploded ordnance, many of its buildings half-destroyed.

In May 2017, militants acting in the name of the Islamic State, or ISIS, seized a zone of 24 barangays in Marawi’s centre, holding the territory until that October. This “most affected area”, as the government calls it, was the epicentre of the Philippine military’s five-month battle to oust the insurgents. The military’s airstrikes and artillery barrages, as well as pitched battles with the militants, forced some 600,000 people to flee from Marawi and environs, including all the residents of South Madaya. Residents feel that the government has done too little to hasten their return to what they call “ground zero”.

Camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) on the outskirts of Marawi, Mindanao. March 2019. CRISIS GROUP/Matthew Wheeler

“You’re Old Enough”

I met Faykha Ala at a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) on Marawi’s outskirts, where many of her constituents have lived for the past two years. Elevated above the shore of Lake Lanao, Marawi is a one-time American hill station, as Asia’s Western colonisers called their upland summer retreats. Today it is the capital of Lanao del Sur province and a centre for commerce, education and religion for the Maranao people, one of the three largest Muslim ethno-linguistic groups on Mindanao. In 1980, the city council designated Marawi, known for its mosques and Islamic schools, as the Philippines’ only “Islamic city”.

Muslims are a minority in the Philippines, making up about 11 per cent of the population. On Mindanao, however, that proportion rises to roughly 23 per cent, concentrated mostly in five central and western provinces, where 90 per cent of the population is Muslim. The island’s Muslims, or Moros, have long felt disenfranchised, voicing demands for autonomy or independence that were championed for decades first by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), an armed insurgency, and later, after its leaders signed a peace deal with the government in 1976, by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). After more than twenty years of talks with the government, the MILF itself reached an agreement with the government in 2014, which envisaged a new autonomous region, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, inaugurated in March 2019 (Bangsamoro means “Moro Nation” and refers both to the Moro people and the autonomous region). The ISIS-linked coalition of militant groups that captured parts of Marawi in 2017 included splinters of the MNLF and MILF that reject the peace deal and the new autonomous region.

Many IDPs resent the government for bombing the city centre and then failing to facilitate a return to their homes.

Many IDPs resent the government for bombing the city centre and then failing to facilitate a return to their homes. Some analysts warn that militant recruiters may exploit this bitterness. In the aftermath of the battle for Marawi, Faykha Ala acknowledges, some local people were vulnerable to the jihadists’ appeals. Recruiters told young Maranao that the government had disrespected their people. “So, it was a normal reaction for people to look for a refuge ... and some people found the wrong refuge”. But she does not see pro-ISIS militants as an imminent threat.

After fleeing the barangay, the vast majority of South Madaya’s people had other concerns, such as when the government would let them return. Faykha Ala joined the Let Me Go Home movement, which staged rallies and other activities advocating for IDPs’ rights. As the council elections approached, some villagers encouraged her to run for chair. She was hesitant, seeing herself as a government critic rather than a politician. Some of her friends told her to stick to activism, but her mother counselled her to consider how she might use a council position to achieve the same ends she was seeking in the movement, that is, to help the displaced.

Politics runs in the family. Faykha Ala’s father served as barangay chair, and her grandfather before him. It is not uncommon for women to seek and hold elected office in the region. Most often, as in Faykha Ala’s case, novice politicians – men and women – fill posts vacated by male relatives who have reached term limits.

But some conservative villagers disapproved of her following in her father’s and grandfather’s footsteps. “We are at the stage of women’s empowerment”, she explained, “but still, the culture, the religion itself, teaches us that the man will always walk ahead of the woman”. Some told her to get married, so that she would have a man to support her. “Somehow, it is still weird for women to have a say. When I became barangay chair, it was considered a flaw to be young, single and a woman”. But Faykha Ala believes that, in her own way, she is acting in accord with traditional mores. “My father and grandfather, they walk ahead of me, and I will always get advice from them”. And when her views diverge from those of her older and all-male predecessors? “It’s my decision. My father will say, ‘You’re old enough’”.

Serving a Scattered Constituency

The barangay chair’s job is challenging. Her constituents are scattered across three provinces and have diverse concerns. “It’s challenging because when we were in the barangay, people had the same needs. If there was a damaged road, the entire barangay would complain about it. You know you have to fix the road. Now, our constituents have different problems”. The most pressing of these is access to water. But many constituents, accustomed to Marawi’s temperate lakeside climate and now displaced to areas near the humid coast, also complain about the heat. “You want water, I can help”, she says, “but the weather?”

Faykha Ala worries as well that extended displacement is killing off a way of life. The Agus River runs through South Madaya, which flows from Lake Lanao to the sea at Iligan Bay. Most of the residents were lavanderas, people who launder clothes in the river, or fishermen, diving for fish. She notes that in their absence the government has built an embankment that will impede access to the water and has encouraged some to take up farming in their temporary homes: “Then you give them seeds and tell them to plant. Why would you teach that man to plant if he has spent his whole life as a fisherman?”

The government’s plan seems to revolve around business and profit rather than Maranao culture and traditions.

Life as an IDP is not easy. She feels that some of her compatriots regard the Maranao as a threat. In Cagayan de Oro, 100km north of Marawi, where her family first lived after fleeing the fighting, guards sometimes followed her in the shopping malls: “They see us in our veils, talking in our strong Maranao accents, and next thing you know there’s a security guard walking around us. And my reaction is, ‘I’m in pain. Why are you labelling me like this?’” Faykha Ala supports Rodrigo Duterte, the first Philippine president from Mindanao. But she cannot forgive him for saying that Marawi’s residents brought destruction upon themselves by “coddling terrorists”. This remark, she said, twisted perceptions of the Maranao across the Philippines. “We are the unconquered Maranao, unconquered by the Spanish. We have the Battle of Bayan [in 1902 against the U.S. Army], we fought against guns with swords and arrows. This is what people should know about us, not that we are ‘coddlers of terrorists’”.

In representing her constituents, and reconciling her identities as activist and official, Faykha Ala sometimes ruffles the establishment. “I go to [government] offices and ask questions. If I am not satisfied with the answer, I have to find it, even if it means talking to the media. I am not scared. ... The welfare of my people is supreme. I do what I have to”. Her persistence and outspokenness are assets in her job. “I have always been loud”, she says. “And I like arguing. Only my mother can ‘shush’ me”.

Faykha Ala is also a full-time second-year student at Mindanao State University, studying public administration, majoring in local and regional government. The demands on her time are heavy, requiring constant shifting between studies and official duties. And the job can be emotionally taxing. “People break down in front of me. You have to deal with it. You sit there and feel sorry. You can only do so much. I’m not Superwoman who can solve all your problems. Sometimes the best thing I can do is listen”. As the link between her constituents and the government, she must draw on reserves of patience.

Colossal Tasks Ahead

Like many in Muslim Mindanao, Faykha Ala and her constituents have high hopes for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. An interim Bangsamoro Transition Authority, lead by the MILF, is responsible for establishing a parliamentary-style sub-national government in the region before an election in 2022. In a plebiscite early this year, Faykha Ala’s constituents voted overwhelmingly to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the legal instrument establishing the new autonomous region.

Amid these expectations, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority faces a colossal task, as outlined in Crisis Group’s report The Philippines: Militancy and the New Bangsamoro. It must erect an entirely new institutional edifice in the poorest part of the Philippines in just three years. The new Bangsamoro autonomous entity replaces a previous autonomous region established in 1989 as part of the peace deal with the MNLF and must contend with the legacy of this “failed experiment”. Faykha Ala is optimistic, though, that the Bangsamoro can succeed “as long as there is clear communication between local government and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region”.

Damage at the epicentre of the Philippine military’s five-month battle in 2017 to oust Islamic State insurgents. March 2019. CRISIS GROUP/Matthew Wheeler

Faykha would like to see the national government lift martial law, which the president imposed on all of Mindanao on 23 May 2017, the first day of the Marawi siege. Congress has since extended it three times, most recently until the end of 2019. Faykha says martial law has helped bring a sense of security, especially in tamping down rido, or clan feuds, but that it comes with a cost. She is concerned about the impact on Marawi’s children. “I want the next generation to see that you do not need the military to have peace and order in your place. … Someone needs to tell them, ‘You don’t need to have a gun. If you have wisdom and values, you can be admired instead of feared’”.

Marawi’s youngest official appreciates the scale of the challenge she has taken on in helping the Bangsamoro region reap the benefits of its new autonomy. She is now “rowing in two rivers”, she says, meaning that she combines the roles of official and activist. “Now I have two perspectives. I can see clearly the government plans and at the same time, I see what the people want”. She embraces the opportunity to bridge the gap between the two. “You don’t have to be a man or be married. You can be single, widowed, have kids. Things will be easy if you love it. … Despite the stress, I can say I am grateful for having that honour”.