Philippines: Country Killers Go To Town

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March 7,2008: The communist NPA is not backing down from the more aggressive army and police efforts to crush them. In the past two weeks, there have been over fifty casualties in clashes with the NPA. Often, it is the NPA attacking police or army bases, usually in remote areas. The NPA has also attacked another mining operation, showing it is not willing to give up its lucrative extortion racket. The government is forming a special security force for mines, while the army and police are sending more patrols into rural areas where the NPA fighting forces live.

Abu Sayyaf is trying to get out of the jungle, and transform itself into an urban terrorist operation, using bombs instead of bullets. To that end, foreign terrorists, skilled in the construction and use of bombs, have been found entering the country. There have also been more bomb-related terrorist incidents. Yesterday, someone threw a bomb into a bar on Jolo, wounding six people. Abu Sayyaf bomb makers still have a way to go, for their bombs are often weak, or don't go off at all. Despite that, it's clear that Abu Sayyaf can't survive in the bush. While the urban areas were once seen as more dangerous for Islamic terrorists, this is no longer the case. Over 10,000 police and troops have been scouring the back country of southern islands like Jolo and Basilan, for over a year. Abu Sayyaf has to get out of these places, or get caught or killed. The police are detecting more terrorist activity in towns and cities, and are catching more Filipino, and foreign, Islamic terrorists. Three Arabs were arrested recently when they were caught planning to bomb embassies in the capital.

February 23, 2008: The army has formed a special "anti-coup" battalion, to ensure that no one overthrows the government during next week's anti-corruption demonstrations in the capital. Corruption has long been a problem in the Philippines. But while everyone complains about it, no one seems to be able to do much about it. Anti-corruption efforts encounter widespread indifference, and a lot of resistance, to shutting down scams and extortion by government officials. A few senior officials or military officers are nailed each year, but that does not diminish the daily encounters most Filipinos have with corruption.

 

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