The campaign against Abu Sayyaf continues
down south. In the last week, three rebels have been killed, and several
suspected Abu Sayyaf members arrested. It's slow going, with the rebels
hunkering down in the hopes that the government will eventually give up and go
away. In the past, as in for the past few centuries, that has been the pattern.
But this time around, the fear of more terrorist bombings is keeping the
pressure on the Islamic radicals. The soldiers and marines appear ready to keep
patrolling Basilan and Jolo for as long as it takes.
November 2, 2007: NPA rebels
destroyed a communications tower in the central Philippines. This is part of a
long term campaign against the communications company, to extort money. The
communist rebels say its all about opposing exploitation of the workers. But in
this case, the communists just want a pay off. Elsewhere, the NPA is attacking
foreign mining companies. The NPA says it is trying to shut down the mining
operations because of environmental damage. The companies say the NPA is trying
to extort money.
October 29, 2007: Nationwide, elections were held for local
leaders. A month of campaigning left 23 dead, hundreds wounded and 300 arrested
for possession of weapons. The violent incidents declined by more than half, compared
to the last elections in 2002. The election violence stems from the custom of
some local politicians to maintain their own militia, or hire local criminal
gangs, to intimidate rival politicians and their followers. This is a common
custom worldwide in countries that have only had democracy for a few
generations, and have a somewhat feudal social structure.