2008: The government is trying to get
Persian Gulf Arab nations to help crack down on local "charities" and wealthy
Islamic conservatives that send money to Islamic radical groups in the
Philippines. Thousands of Filipinos work in the Persian Gulf, and there are
always a few who can be hired to act as a cash courier, and some of these are
caught, or, it is suspected, turned by local or Filipino intelligence to help
keep an eye on the Islamic radical fund raising operations. Some of the Persian
Gulf cash gets through, but the Islamic radicals, especially Abu Sayyaf, rely
on kidnapping and extortion to meet the payroll and buy weapons. Without this
cash, a lot of Islamic radical activity would just fade away. But all those oil
profits in the Gulf result in some very conservative Arabs making a lot of
money (Osama Bin Laden's father was a very wealthy Saudi builder). These men
see it as their religious duty to sustain operations like al Qaeda.
officers (five captains and six lieutenants) were dismissed from the service,
and are still being held for prosecution because they participated in a 2003
coup attempt. President Gloria Arroyo has managed to maintain the loyalty of
the senior military leadership, but many junior officers are unhappy with the
continued corruption in the military and government.
2008: Army and MILF negotiators resumed
talks, to try and halt the growing violence between MILF radicals and the
security forces. The 2003 ceasefire (to allow for peace negotiations) saw a
sharp reduction in violence (from over a thousand violent incidents a year, to
nearly none in 2007.) But the ceasefire has been unraveling, with over a
hundred clashes so far this year.
2008: Police foiled an attempt to set
off a bomb in a bus depot in the south. The bomber was also caught, and
identified as an MILF member. The MILF has been denying involvement in recent
bombing efforts in the area. Police have seized three other bombs before they
could be placed.
2008: Over the weekend, nearly a hundred
NPA rebels invaded Siargao island and attacked police stations and resort
areas. Police fought back and chased the rebels away, leaving fifteen rebels
and two policemen dead. Another dozen rebels were captured. The NPA keeps going
largely through extorting rural businesses, so it is suspected that the rebels
got turned down by one or more tourist resorts (the surfing is great) on the
island. The attacking NPA gunmen were kept away from the tourists.
2008: In the south, police found and
disarmed a remotely controlled (by cell phone) bomb. Police blamed the MILF,
but the MILF denied any involvement.