The communist NPA has been increasingly active in the south, where they have
been deadly at ambushing army and police patrols. Planting mines in dirt roads
is a particularly nasty tactic, which usually results in single vehicle patrols
being wiped out. But the NPA is a shrinking organization, increasingly reduced
to small bands of deadly, but desperate bandits.
island, soldiers and marines have suffered nearly fifty casualties in the last
two days, as they went on the offensive against MILF and Abu Sayyaf forces. The
MILF on Basilan have long helped Abu Sayyaf (former MILF members who went
radical and teamed with al Qaeda), but now the Basilan MILF are pretty much Abu
2008: Tipped off by civilians, police captured two members of a three man MILF
terrorist team that had come from Basilan island to Zamboanga City, on the main
southern island of Mindanao. The three terrorists were to carry out some
kidnappings, in cooperation with some other MILF members who are not being
sought by police..
2008: In the south, a bomb made from two mortar shells and a cell phone, went
off and wounded three soldiers. In the capital, police interrupted an elaborate
robbery (of a bus company headquarters) by a large gang disguised as policemen.
This led to a gun battle in a residential neighborhood, that left eleven
criminals, four civilians and a policeman dead. A lot of Filipino criminal
gangs are very old school, with dozens of heavily armed members and a taste for
very big, and very risky, operations. The rebel groups, like the NPA and MILF,
are organized in a similar fashion, with similar attitudes and tactics.
2008: In the south, police arrested a Pakistani man, and seized his bomb
building operation, including a quantity of explosives. This man was believed
responsible for several of the bombs that went off in the south recently.
2008: In the south, police arrested a Jemaah Islamiyah (Muhammand Alpariz, a
Bangladeshi) bomb builder. Alpariz was one of 58 foreign terrorists police believe
are hiding out in the south.
2008: The MILF is feeling hung out to dry. It's radical fringe has turned into
Islamic terrorists, and brought down all sorts of unwelcome international heat.
Locally, the Moslem population in the south has become disenchanted with the
separatist cause, and the presence of the MILF militia groups. The MILF acts as
a second government, but takes more than it provides, at least compared to the
national government. In a desperate move, the MILF is trying to get U.S. support
for its cause by blaming the United States for the plight of the Moslems in the
southern Philippines (because when the U.S. set the Philippines free in 1946,
the Moslem south was not allowed to be an independent state.) The Moslem south
would be a very poor, very violent and very corrupt place if it were a separate
2008: On many days, most of the casualties in the Moslem south are the result
of clan feuds. Yesterday, one of these clan feuds led to 13 people being
wounded when two grenades were tossed into homes. Elsewhere in the south, a
bomb was spotted outside a church and disabled. This was the third such bomb
found in the area in the last week. The long-standing atmosphere of violence in
the south is not difficult to turn against Christians, who are seen as another
clan worth feuding with.