The newly elected president Aquino is expected to come up with some new ideas for dealing with the communist rebels, Moslem separatists and Islamic terrorists. That's going to be difficult, as all three of these problems have been around for decades, and been subjected to a wide array of solutions. None have worked, and really new ideas are scarce. Meanwhile, officials in the south have been ordered to get the remaining refugees from an MILF uprising two years ago, returned to their homes within two months. The refugees are scattered in several refugee camps, and totally dependent on the government for supplies. Originally over 100,000 Christians were driven from their villages by rogue MILF commanders.
Then there is the problem with dozens of private armies, and the illegal weapons many of these fighters use. There are believed to be three million firearms in the country of 90 million, but 40 percent of these pistols and rifles are unregistered and illegal.
The army has asked for an additional $195 million for next year, so they can raise another eleven infantry battalions and upgrade equipment and training.
July 16, 2010: On Jolo, police are trying to find out if a 70 year old Japanese man, who had lived in the area for five years, and was recently kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf or gangsters. Elsewhere in the south, NPA rebels released a soldier they had kidnapped last month. This was done mainly for propaganda purposes.
July 13, 2010: In the south, 200 MILF rebels raided a village in the south, burning 60 homes and driving hundreds of civilians away. This was in Maguindanao province, where a bloody feud between pro-government clans has been getting most of the attention. But those Moslem clans, and their militias, are there to keep the MILF away. The Ampatuan clan lost the recent elections in Maguindanao province. Esmael Mangudadatu, the head of a rival clan won, largely because of a massacre of his kin, followers and journalists by Ampatuan gunmen last November. As a result, Ampatuan clan leaders moved their families out of the province, knowing that the Maguindanao is likely to seek vengeance. The newly elected Maguindanao governor lost his wife and two sisters in the massacre (that killed 54 other people as well.) Government efforts to prosecute Ampatuans for the killings have been moving slowly. A judge recently accused the Ampatuans of trying to bribe witnesses, an effort that did not succeed. The Ampatuans apparently has some friends inside the government, who helped broker the bribery attempt.
Elsewhere in the south, an MILF ambush killed a soldier.
July 12, 2010: In the south, a bomb went off near a police base, and a seven year old child, playing nearby, was killed and five other civilians wounded.
July 10, 2010: In the south, Islamic radicals killed three civilians suspected of being police informers. More civilians are supplying information on Islamic separatist (MILF) and terrorist (Abu Sayyaf) organizations, because many of these groups have degenerated into criminal gangs that prey on the Moslem population they claim to be serving.
July 9, 2010: In the north, seven soldiers were killed in a NPA ambush.
July 8, 2010: In the south, soldiers and MILF gunmen clashed, and three civilians were killed and four wounded when caught in the crossfire.