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Philippines: Whether members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the New People's Army (NPA) specifically target members of the military and the police; state protection offered to victims (2011-August 2014)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date 28 August 2014
Citation / Document Symbol PHL104944.E
Related Document(s) Philippines : information indiquant si les membres du Groupe Abou Sayyaf (GAS) et de la Nouvelle armée du peuple (New People's Army - NPA) prennent particulièrement les militaires et les policiers pour cibles; la protection offerte aux victimes par l'État (2011-août 2014)
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Philippines: Whether members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the New People's Army (NPA) specifically target members of the military and the police; state protection offered to victims (2011-August 2014), 28 August 2014, PHL104944.E, available at: [accessed 11 December 2017]
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1. Armed Actions

1.1 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)

For information on the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) please refer to Response to Information Request PHL104015.

Sources report that, on 26 July 2012, 8 army officers and 4 ASG rebels were killed after the army launched an attack on an ASG encampment in Sumisip, in the province of Basilan (AP 27 July 2012; AFP 26 July 2012). Three government troops and two rebels were also wounded (ibid.; AP 27 July 2012). The same sources report that, also on 26 July 2012, ASG rebels attacked a military detachment that was providing security to rubber planters (ibid.; AFP 26 July 2012). No one was hurt or killed in this attack (ibid.; AP 27 July 2014).

GMA News Online, a Manila-based news source, reports that on 6 May 2013, two soldiers and six suspected ASG rebels were killed in an ambush perpetrated by the ASG against a military convoy in Al-Barka, in the province of Basilan (GMA News Online 7 May 2013). The Philippine Star, a newspaper based in Manila, reports that five soldiers, including an army major, were killed in the attack (7 May 2013).

On 25 May 2013, sources reported that seven soldiers and five ASG rebels were killed after a military attack against the ASG in Patikul, in the province of Sulu (IBT 25 May 2013; Al Jazeera 25 May 2013). Nine army officers and 10 ASG rebels were also wounded in the attack (ibid.; IBT 25 May 2013). The same sources report that the military attack came after government forces received reports of kidnappings in the area, including the abduction of the wife of one army officer (ibid.; Al Jazeera 25 May 2013). The wife of the army officer was reportedly released after two days (ibid.; IBT 25 May 2013) along with two government employees who had been "recently" kidnapped by the same group (ibid.).

The Voice of America (VOA), a US federal government broadcast institution, reports that 16 people were killed and "at least" 13 children were injured after 50 members of the ASG launched an attack on residents who were celebrating the end of Ramadan in Talipao, in the province of Sulu (28 July 2014). Associated Press reports that the death toll had risen to 23 one day after the attack (29 July 2014). Sources report that among the civilians killed were people who were part of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (ibid.; VOA 28 July 2014), a volunteer police group (ibid.). The volunteer group has been reportedly supporting government security forces' military operations against the ASG (ibid.; AP 29 July 2014).

1.2 New People's Army (NPA)

For information on the New People's Army (NPA) please refer to Response to Information Request PHL101566.

Sources report that the NPA targets military officers, police, government officials, and civilians who are deemed to commit crimes "'against the people'" (US 27 Feb. 2014, 17; Human Rights Watch 5 Oct. 2011). Human Rights Watch reports that they also target "allegedly traitorous NPA or Communist Party members" (ibid.). The US Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013 indicates that, between January and October 2013, 23 police officers were killed by the NPA (27 Feb. 2014, 14).

Some attacks reported by sources include:

On 2 March 2013, NPA rebels killed a village police officer who supported military operations in Davao City (US 27 Feb. 2014, 15).

On 25 May 2013, seven NPA rebels were killed, and six soldiers and ten rebels were wounded after clashes between security forces and the NPA in southern Philippines (Al Jazeera 27 May 2013).

On 27 May 2013, 30 NPA rebels set off a roadside bomb and opened fire on a police convoy in the province of Cagayan (ibid.; GMA News Online 27 May 2013). Eight police officers were killed and seven were wounded (ibid.).

2. State Protection Offered to Victims

Republic Act No. 6981 of 1991 outlines the provisions to access the witness protection program provided by the government (Philippines 1991). A copy of the Act is attached to this Response. The Act indicates that a person may be admitted into the program provided that

(d) he is not a law enforcement officer, even if he would be testifying against the other law enforcement officers. In such a case, only the immediate members of his family may avail themselves of the protection provided for under this Act. (Philippines 1991, Sec. 3)

Further information on protection offered to members of security forces could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Agence France-Presse (AFP). 26 July 2012. "12 Die in Philippine Army Clashes with Abu Sayyaf." [Accessed 26 Aug. 2014]

Al Jazeera. 27 May 2013. "Communist Rebels Kill Philippine Commandos." [Accessed 26 Aug. 2014]

_____. 25 May 2013. "Philippine Troops in Deadly Clash with Rebels." [Accessed 26 Aug. 2014]

Associated Press (AP). 29 July 2014. "Death Toll Climbs to 23 in Abu Sayyaf Attack on Villagers in Southern Philippines." [Accessed 25 Aug. 2014]

_____. 27 July 2012. "Soldiers Killed as Philippine Army Clashes with Abu Sayyaf." [Accessed 25 Aug. 2014]

GMA News Online. 27 May 2013. "8 Elite Cops Killed, 7 Others Hurt in NPA Ambush in Cagayan." [Accessed 26 Aug. 2014]

_____. 7 May 2013. "Army Major, Soldier Killed in Abu Sayyaf Ambush in Basilan." [Accessed 25 Aug. 2014]

Human Rights Watch. 5 October 2011. "Philippines: Communist Rebels Target Civilians." [Accessed 25 Aug. 2014]

International Business Times (IBT). 25 May 2013. Amrutha Gayathri. "Philippines Military Offensive Against Abu Sayyaf Militants Kills Seven Soldiers, Five Militants; Scores Injured." [Accessed 25 Aug. 2014]

Philippines. 1991. Republic Act No. 6981. [Accessed 25 Aug. 2014]

The Philippine Star. 7 May 2013. Roel Pareño. "Army Official, 4 Soldiers Slain in Basilan." [Accessed 26 Aug. 2014]

United States (US). 27 February 2014. Department of State. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013. "Philippines." [Accessed 26 Aug. 2014]

Voice of America (VOA). 28 July 2014. Simone Orendain. "Abu Sayyaf Rebels Kill 16 Civilians in Philippines." [Accessed 25 Aug. 2014]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Attempts to reach representatives from the following organizations were unsuccessful within the time constraints of this Response: Asian Legal Resource Centre; National Defense College of the Philippines; Phillipines - Department of Justice, Philippine National Police; University of the Philippines.

A professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison could not provide information for this Response.

Internet sites, including: ABS-CBN News; British Broadcasting Corporation; Christian Science Monitor; CTV News;; Factiva; Freedom House; Institute for War and Peace Reporting; Jane's Intelligence Review; The Long War Journal; Philippines - Department of Justice, Philippine Army, Philippine National Police; Reporters sans frontières; Small Wars Journal; Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; UCANews; United Nations - High Commissioner for Refugees; United States - Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Justice; The Wall Street Journal.


Philippines. 1991. Republic Act No. 6981. [Accessed 25 Aug. 2014]

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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