Philippines: Are They Gangsters or Terrorists?

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October 7, 2007: In the Netherlands, NPA leader Jose Maria Sison was released from prison. Sison is still being prosecuted for ordering the murder of two NPA rivals several years ago, but there was not enough evidence to keep him jailed. Sison has been in the Netherlands for twenty years, running the NPA terror operations in the Philippines, but safe from prosecution by the Filipino government. For years, leftist European politicians indulged terrorist groups like the NPA, and provided sanctuary for terrorist leaders, fund raisers and logistics efforts for terrorist operations elsewhere. In the last decade, there has been less support for the leftist terrorists, who are increasingly seen more as criminals than political idealists. But old habits die hard, and even though the NPA has been declared an international terrorist organization, it still has many European leftists supporting it.

October 6, 2007: Another bombing attempt in the south was foiled when troops discovered and defused the explosive device. A man was caught fleeing the area, and identified as an Islamic terrorist.

October 5, 2007: Two bombs went off in the south in Kidapawan City. A child was killed and at least 30 people wounded. One bomb went off under a bus, another on a road side. No one took credit, and police were unsure if the culprits were criminals (trying to extort money from a bus company or in a dispute over who controls criminal activity in an area.) In the south, the tactics of criminal gangs are often indistinguishable from those practiced by Islamic radicals. Some gangs do a little of both, like Abu Sayyaf (which began as a local MILF group that went rouge, then got religion).

October 4, 2007: NPA rebels have increased their extortion operations against large companies operating in rural areas. The companies are faced with the choice of making the payoffs, or spending more money on security guards, and the risks of interrupted operations. The rebels usually avoid injuring company staff, so as not to antagonize locals (who are already unhappy with the NPA for threatening their jobs, for companies have been known to shut down operations in the face of NPA harassment.)

October 3, 2007: The search for Abu Sayyaf rebels continues in the south, with two clashes in the last few days leaving four marines and ten rebels dead. The 8,000 soldiers and marines keep combing the areas in the south where Abu Sayyaf recruits, and has the most support. This pressure prevents the Islamic terrorists from establishing training and base camps to support terror operations in the rest of the Philippines.

 

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