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In current Philippine vernacular, a "lost command" is a armed group, typically company-sized or smaller, which has lost contact or direction from its commanders. They have been used as a major plot device in many local action films, as several famous examples exist in history.

Lost commands are usually created from the dissolution or breakup of large rebel organizations, like the assimilation of the Moro National Liberation Front into the government's ARMM, or the various "brigades" formed when the New People's Army experienced widespread internal dissent concerning ideology upon the collapse of the Soviet Union. Note that a lost command is differentiated from other rebel groups by their lack of an ideological cause, being driven primarily by money or revenge.

Most lost commands degenerate into banditry, since the low-level officers usually do not believe in the cause as much as the higher-ups. These roving bands of bandits (tulisan) are problem for the police in remote rural areas. They usually engage in kidnapping, extortion, armed robbery, and other crimes. Some, like the Abu Sayyaf, grow large enough, or create enough media interest to become a major problem for the government.

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