The government is
confident that they can defeat the leftist NPA within the next three
years. The army estimates that NPA
strength declined 14 percent this year (to 6,000 fighters), and that this will
get worse because of low morale and a poor financial situation.
December 24, 2007: The NPA changed
their minds and decided to have at least some holiday truce time. The NPA said
it would not attack on the 24th and 25th, as well as
January 1st. The government declared a 22 day holiday truce, that
the NPA used to go along with. This year, the NPA is under a lot of pressure to
earn money, to make up for contributions it used to get from leftist supporters
overseas (especially in Europe.) But now that the NPA has been declared a
terrorist organization, most of the foreign money is gone, and the rebels have
to support themselves via local scams. The leadership finally relented on the
holiday truce because of low morale in the ranks.
In the Moslem south, a bomb went off in
a market in Cotabato City, wounding three people. This appears to be the extent
of the threatened Islamic terror campaign to disrupt Christmas celebrations. In
response to that threat, some countries, like Australia, had earlier warned
their citizens to stay out of the south during the holidays.
Outside the capital, an explosion in a
politicians home left seven people injured. It's not known if the explosion was
an accident, political, criminal or Islamic terrorism.
December 22, 2007: On Jolo, marines clashed with MILF rebels,
killing several, but losing one of their own. The marines noted that the rebels
used civilians as human shields to cover their escape. Several civilians were
wounded in the cross fire, as a result. Some local MILF splinter groups are
supporting Abu Sayyaf rebels on Jolo.