Kuratong Baleleng (Philippines)

Country: Philippines
Details of Formation: Sources disagree on when the group was founded, but agree how it was founded. Evidence on date of formation suggests dates ranging from the 1970s to 1987. The group was set up with the help of the military, and most sources mention that its later leader Octavio Ongkoy Parojinog was involved already in the group’s creation.
Details of Termination: The group was officially disbanded by the military in 1988 after the threat of Communist rebels waned and additionally, the Kuratong Baleleng became more involved in criminal activity. This coincided with President Corazon Aquino’s order to disband all vigilante groups nationwide. The group splintered and its different factions continued to engage in many criminal activities including robbery and drug trafficking. These criminal groups are reportedly supported by some politicians and military members, but are rejected by higher-level politicians and military ranks.
Purpose: Kuratong Baleleng was formed as a counterinsurgency force to counter the growing influence of communist rebels. It was considered very effective and successful in fighting ACPU members and defusing the NPA’s mass base in Ozamiz City.
Organisation: Kuratong Baleleng was led by Octavio Ongkoy Parohinog, a former CHDF commander. According to one news source, Parohinog had been appointed by Army Maj. Franco Calanog, who had formally organized the PGM. Kuratong Baleleng was officially under the supervision of the Philippine Army's 101st Battalion based in Misamis Occidental. It also had links to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF). It received special commendations by the government, and its status with military authorities emboldened its members to plunder and loot local residents with impunity.
Weapons and Training: Kuratong Baleleng received weapons from the Souther Command military headquarters in Zamboanga City; another news source says in more general terms that the government issued them firearms. In 1988, when officially dissolved, the PGM was armed with 65 high-powered rifles from the military’s armory. According to one news source, Kuratong Baleleng received financial support from businesses and local residents and used these resources to buy equipment needed for its operations.
Size: By August 1987, the movement claimed 66 members. At the time of the group being disbanded in 1988 it was reported to have 316 members.
Reason for Membership: Kuratong Baleleng members shared their loots with residents of the communities and thereby obtained admiration and trust.
Treatment of Civilians: Kuratong Baleleng allegedly had an “official” death list of human rights activists, church workers and government officials. It was accused of executions and being responsible for disappearances.
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References: Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD