Philippines: November 27, 1999

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An army patrol came upon a dozen NPA guerillas having a meal at a farmers house. The subsequent firefight left two guerillas and two civilians dead. Another two civilians were wounded. Ten guerillas escaped, but three rifles were captured. Moslem separatists postponed peace talks with the government because the meeting between their leader and the president of Indonesia was canceled.

November 25; The meeting between the head of the Moslem separatist guerillas and the Indonesian president was postponed, then cancelled because of scheduling problems with the Indonesian president. In two separatist incidents, NPA guerillas destroyed a truck and a bus and killed two civilians. 

November 23; The government proposed that the Philippines take the lead in running the peacekeeping operation in East Timor. The two reasons given were that "brown people" were likely to get along better with the East Timorese than "white people" (the Australians). And then there's the religion issue, as both Filipinos and East Timorese are Roman Catholic. The UN has initially asked the Philippines to take the lead in peacekeeping, but at the time, the Philippines thought they were stretched too thin covering their own insurgency problems. 

November 18; After the UN requested, yesterday, that another local nation take command, Australia announced that it is in favor of the Philippines taking over command of the East Timor peacekeepers next year. Abdurralunan Wahid, the new president of Indonesia has asked for a meeting with the head of the largest Moslem guerilla organization (the MILF) when Wahid visits the Philippines next week. The government has not guaranteed to allow such a meeting, but it working on arranging it.

 

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