Philippines: Culture of Crime

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August 5, 2007: Moslem politicians are insisting that much of the violence in the south is caused by criminal gangs claiming to be Abu Sayyaf or MILF. Thus they demand that the military cut back on their operations and treat it as a police matter. The politicians also insist that the Abu Sayyaf no longer exists, and that the MILF does not cooperate with the gangs. Finally, the politicians insist that most Moslems support the non-existent Abu Sayyaf and very real MILF, but resent and fear the criminal groups. The government, and Christians living in the south, have a different take on this. They believe clan politics in the south support the criminal gangs, MILF and Abu Sayyaf, and all three are intertwined in ways that Moslem politicians would rather not discuss. Clan politics and Islamic radicalism (MILF and Abu Sayyaf) get mixed up with organized crime, and that's what makes the violence and corruption in the south so difficult to deal with. None of the armed groups in the south want law and order imposed, and are threatening a major uprising to prevent this. Most people in the south, however, would like a change. The clan and warlord politics have a lot to do with the relative poverty of the Moslem south, compared to the rest of the country.

August 4, 2007: Most Filipinos believe the government has failed in its efforts to deal with corruption. The main problem is weak laws for prosecutors, and a court system that is slow and vulnerable to bribery and threats.

August 3, 2007: Two more bombs went off in a bus terminal in the south. One person, a Christian clergyman, was killed. An Islamic terrorist group was believed responsible. The terror involves politics as well as seeking extortion payments.

August 2, 2007: In the south, police are seeking to arrest 130 MILF members believed associated with the July 10 ambush and killing of 14 marines. Two men surrendered, one with a rifle carried by one of the dead marines, and admitted they were two of four men who did the beheadings.

 

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