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The early communists: 1930-68

ORIGINS: the first decade 1930: Philippine Communist Party is organized and outlawed a year later. 1938: Party leaders, the most important being Luis Taruc (later commander in chief of Huk movement), are pardoned. Peasant-landlord clashes, particularly in central Luzon, increase. RISE AND FALL OF THE HUK REBELLION: 1942-68

March 1942: Communists form People's Anti-Japanese Army, or Huks (abbreviation for Tagalog word for army) in central Luzon.

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1946: Several Huk leaders, including Luis Taruc, win seats in national elections. Government, charging they won through fraud and intimidation, denies them seats.

1950: Ramon Magsaysay becomes defense minister.

Oct. 1950: Most of party politburo is captured.

1953: Magsaysay becomes president.

1954: Luis Taruc surrenders (persuaded to do so by young journalist Benigno Aquino Jr.). Huk rebellion is essentially over. HARNESSING PEASANT DISCONTENT

Huks gain popularity among poor, increasingly militant peasants and wage guerrilla war against Japanese and landlords, whom Huks accuse of collaborating with the Japanese. Many landlords are driven from countryside to Manila. Huk rebellion gains strength after '46 election and ensuing government suppression. By 1950, rebellion has spread to southern Luzon and parts of Visayas, particularly Panay Island.

But after 1950, Philippine government - with US support, notably of Col. Edward Landsdale - launches counterinsurgency campaign. Defense Minister Magsaysay undermines support for Huks by reforming Army and using it to help rehabilitate and resettle peasants. As President, Magsaysay sees his social-welfare and land-redistribution programs watered down by the Philippine Congress.

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During 1950s and '60s, scattered bands of Huks persist in Luzon, but pose no great threat to government.

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