Philippines: Tell It To The Judge

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October 21,2008:  Two months of fighting MILF rebels in the south has left about 300 dead, most of them rebels. The MILF refuses to help catch the two rogue commanders who began the fighting. The MILF has refused to resume negotiations, because the Supreme Court recently ruled illegal key items the Moslem rebels wanted (like lots of autonomy). This has caused a split within the MILF, as well as growing anxiety in the Moslem community (which sees itself losing out economically because of the ineptness of the MILF rebels).

In the south, MILF and Abu Sayyaf are acting more like bandits than religious rebels. But religion based violence is still there, with Christian leaders more likely to be kidnapped for ransom by Moslem gangs (especially Abu Sayyaf, which likes to behead their victims if a suitable ransom is not received.)

October 20, 2008: The government announced a new amnesty program where an additional $1,063 will be paid to any NPA rebel who accepts amnesty and brings his M-16 rifle with him. That's in addition to the existing $1,450 payment to those who quit the NPA and settle down. At least seven NPA rebels came forward to accept as word of the new program got out. The NPA has lost about 80 percent of its strength in the last two decades, and the shrinkage continues.

October 19, 2008: The army captured an NPA camp in the south. The facility was apparently the home for about a hundred rebels, who fled at the approach of the troops.

October 16, 2008: In the south, troops cornered MILF rebels in a fortified position in a marshland. An air strike was called in, leaving 13 rebels dead and 30 wounded.

October 14, 2008: Police dismantled two roadside bombs in the south. Apparently the bombs were placed by the MILF, but their design was one previously only used by the communist NPA rebels in the north. Thus is appears that the NPA and MILF are working together (even though the two groups are ideologically opposed to each other.)

October 11, 2008: Several MILF attacks in the south left four civilians, two soldiers, one policeman and a rebel dead.

 

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