Seven years of peace talks with the MILF appear destined to remain
stalled until the MILF can work out its own internal problems. It's the usual
story; the MILF has factions that demand more autonomy, or separatism, than the
government will tolerate. Actually, some of the MILF factions are very close to
Islamic radical groups like Abu Sayyaf, in that they want a religious
dictatorship in the southern Philippines, complete with the expulsion of the
Christian minority. What probably will happen, as has happened before, is that
most of the MILF will agree to an autonomy deal, and the dissenting factions
will form a new Moslem militant organization, that will fight on.
has made good on its announced offensive against the NPA, with several clashes
a week. Moreover, the army and police are tracking down key NPA personnel and
locating the remote camps where most NPA gunmen live. When these camps get
raided and destroyed, the communist rebels living there suffer a drop in
morale, more desertions and more difficulty recruiting.
On Jolo, a
similar strategy of persistent searching continues to grind down the Abu Sayyaf
Islamic terrorist group. Attempts to get a terror bombing campaign going, in
the rest of the country, has failed. Most Filipinos are hostile to Islamic
terrorism, including much of the Moslem population, and it's difficult for
Islamic radicals to travel and remain under cover.
2008: In the south, police arrested a man at a checkpoint and found him
carrying a bomb. The man turned out to be an Islamic radical, and was the fifth
arrested so far this year.