August 5, 2011: The military announced that it is going to increase its efforts to develop informants in the Moslem south, especially in areas where Abu Sayyaf is active. While Abu Sayyaf has only a few hundred members, most of them come from the same few clans, and getting information out of these close-knit family groups has been difficult. Thus the “increased efforts” is believed to mean more money to offer informants.
August 4, 2011: The Filipino president and head of the MILF met in Tokyo to try and break the logjam in their peace negotiations. A major point of contention is how much control a new, semi-autonomous Moslem government in the south, would have over oil and gas exploration. The national government does not want to share a lot of this with the Moslem government, mainly because of the higher degree of corruption in the south, and the likelihood that most oil and gas taxes would never reach the people in the south.
August 3, 2011: In the south, a terrorist bomb went off, killing one and wounding twelve. The bomb consisted of four 81mm mortar shells, a cell phone based detonator, all mounted on a motorcycle. Abu Sayyaf is suspected.
August 2, 2011: China announced that it would take its claims (to everything in the South China Sea) to the UN. This is apparently in response to all the other claimants uniting, with American support, against China.
July 31, 2011: In the south, soldiers and NPA fighters clashed, leaving one soldier and twelve of the leftist rebels dead.
July 30, 2011: In the south, a soldier was wounded by an NPA landmine.
July 28, 2011: On Sulu, seven marines were killed in a clash with Abu Sayyaf. This battle went on for four hours, as troops closed in on an Abu Sayyaf camp. At least 30 Abu Sayyaf men were killed. But the Islamic terrorists managed to behead five of the dead marines, which enraged all the soldiers and marines in the region. The government ordered troops to continue the pursuit for those responsible for this, even during the Moslem holy month of Ramadan, which begins on August 1st. The terrorist camp was believed to hold at least a hundred men, and most of them escaped and are now being sought. Abu Sayyaf often mutilates soldiers and marines when they have the opportunity, in an effort to demoralize their enemy. But in this case it appears to have backfired.