Philippines: Ugly And Out-Of-Control


January 6, 2009: Last year, the army believes it destroyed ten of the NPAs 87 "Fronts" (independent groups of rebels, operating in a specific territory) and seriously damaged another 13. The number of villages that were under some control of the NPA was reduced 28 percent (to 1,381). The NPA is taking a beating, although the leaders of the communist group put a positive spin on it by claiming that the worldwide economic depression would help NPA recruiting. Meanwhile, the NPA becomes more and more just another bunch of bandits. The NPA full-timers have to live, and that costs money the NPA, more and more often, has not got.

The daily patrols and skirmishes continue on Basilan and Jolo islands, as troops continue looking for the last of the Abu Sayyaf camps. Elsewhere in the south, the army keeps searching for rogue MILF fighters who continue to raid Christian villages on the largest island in the south (Mindanao). The MILF has expressed interest in resuming peace talks, but refuses to actively go after its rogue elements that are attacking Christians. Meanwhile, more Christian militias are being formed in the south, to defend villages against the MILF attacks. All this is starting to get ugly and out-of-control

January 3, 2009: A clash with NPA rebels 30 kilometers south of the capital left one policeman dead, two policemen wounded and three captured. Earlier in the day, another communist rebel was killed.

December 31, 2008: In the south, someone threw a grenade into crowd in General Santos City, wounding 25 people.

December 29, 2008: In the south, a bomb went off near a checkpoint, killing the man on the motorcycle carrying the bomb. Apparently the bomb went off prematurely. Someone else threw a bomb at a police station in General Santos City, wounding several people.

December 27, 2008: NPA rebels resumed fighting with the army right after their three day Christmas truce expired.

December 25, 2008: In the south, police found, and removed, two bombs from a bus station.

December 24, 2008: In the south, a group of MILF rebels attacked three Christian villages, killing at least ten people and causing another 1,200 to flee. The rebels withdrew when soldiers and police arrived.

December 22, 2008: On Basilan island, Islamic radicals tossed a grenade into a crowd attending a music concert, wounding 16 people.


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