Country Listing

Philippines Table of Contents


Financing and Foreign Support

The CPP traditionally relied on "revolutionary taxes" as the principal income for what the communists portrayed as a selfsufficient , home-grown movement. In the areas where they were active, CPP and NPA cadres obtained funds from individuals and businesses through a combination of coercion and persuasion. The party's peasant supporters usually were more forthcoming, providing a few pesos and supplies such as rice to local guerrilla fighters. However, the CPP obtained most of its funds by extorting money from businesses--such as logging, mining, and planting--that operated in guerilla zones. NPA units commonly promised not to foment labor strikes, restrict the transport of goods, destroy company property, or assassinate executives in return for money or material support. The communists enforced their threats through NPA attacks on uncooperative owners and businesses. In addition, the rebels derived some revenues from growing and selling marijuana in remote areas.

During the 1980s, foreign nongovernment financing, mainly from sympathetic leftist groups in Western Europe, but also from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and other Asian countries, became increasingly important to the rebels. By 1990 the AFP chief of staff estimated that support from foreign sympathizers netted the CPP from US$6 million to US$9 million annually, an amount that rivaled the estimated US$7.5 to US$10 million that the CPP netted in domestic revenues. Increased foreign donations resulted in part from intensified "international solidarity work" by the communist-controlled National Democratic Front through its international office in the Netherlands. Luis Jalandoni, a former Catholic priest, headed the CPP's fund-raising and international liaison efforts. He was joined in this work by Jose Maria Sison, the CPP's founder and reputed chairman in absentia, following Sison's release by Aquino in 1986. Donated monies frequently were funneled through party front groups, such as the KMU labor federation.

The CPP also began to appeal openly for support from sympathetic foreign governments for the first time during the late 1980s. Although there was no evidence that any foreign government had responded to the CPP's request in 1990, this campaign represented a dramatic departure from the communists' self-reliant approach, long a source of pride. (Two Chinese attempts to ship weapons to the Philippine communists--in 1972 and 1974--were intercepted by the AFP. Chinese support apparently ended in 1975.) The policy reversal resulted from the CPP's conclusion that more and better weapons were needed to escalate the war against government forces and that domestic revenues could not be increased without aggravating growing popular resentment of rebel taxation.

Data as of June 1991