Philippines: Gangbusters


October 28, 2006: While Islamic terrorists scare people, the terrorists act much less frequently than common criminals. In the last few years, the government has actually put more effort into shutting down criminals gangs, especially kidnapping gangs, than it has in counter-terror operations. Along those lines, the government announced it has identified some 1,100 criminals, belonging to 189 gangs in Manila and its suburbs. The police will go after these gangs, and try to destroy them by the end of the year. Many of the gang members already have outstanding arrest warrants against them. By taking down the organized gangs (which contain only about ten percent of the criminals currently being sought, the police believe they will make a disproportionate cut in criminal activity. Gangs are basically more "efficient" at committing crimes. Same thing with Islamic terrorists. There are many Moslems eager to participate in terrorism, but it's the organized groups (or "cells") that do the most damage.

October 27, 2006: The search for Abu Sayyaf, and other Islamic terrorists, continues in the south. Most of the action is on the three smaller islands of Jolo, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi. At least one major Abu Sayyaf leader has been caught in the last week, and troops believe they are hot on the trail of at least three others.

October 26, 2006: Another corruption case became public when it was revealed that dozens of Philippines Air Force pilots have been holding second jobs as commercial pilots. The air force has no shortage of pilots, but old equipment, low fuel budgets and poor maintenance means that pilots spend little time in the air. So some of them get second jobs, which is against military regulations. Some of those second jobs involve flying. Military pilots who can successfully shift from military to commercial flying can quadruple their incomes.

October 23, 2006: Faced with growing evidence that factions of its organization were involved with terrorism, the MILF repeated its pledge to cooperate in the war on terrorism. These assurances have not, in the past, been backed up by most action. The MILF members involved with the Islamic terrorists appear to be break-away factions that are beyond control of anyone. Recent attempts to charge MILF leaders, with responsibility for Islamic terrorist attacks, collapsed from lack of evidence.


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