Hundreds of Filipino troops are searching for communist guerrillas who killed 11 soldiers Saturday in an ambush of a platoon of soldiers patrolling in a remote village in the island of Mindoro 140 km south of Luzon. Seven soldiers were wounded. It was the worst government loss this year, coming just three weeks before the communist-led rebel forces celebrate their 41st founding anniversary, the world’s longest such guerilla campaign. But despite the spectacular nature of the action, it doesn’t indicate that the New People’s Army have suddenly got any stronger. It is nearing election time, when traditionally the NPA uses the period to extort protection fees from candidates to allow them to campaign in "rebel-held territories."
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