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72,000 displaced as fighting continues on Mindanao?

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It is difficult to get a straight story with the continued war on Mindanao, but one thing is for sure - the fighting has intensified and at least one report has 72,000 people displaced. Aquino claims he was misled by his buddy who had been removed on corruption charges but despite so put command of the disastrous Mamasapano operation by Aquino. That resulted in the massacre of all those special ops policemen, and what looks like a revenge operation against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters by the army now. The government is claiming to have killed about one-third of the 300 BIFF forces, but holy Toledo that is a LOT of people displaced.

The Philippine Congress is not following through on the peace deal so long as there is fighting, and the rebels will continue to fight so long as Congress does not follow through on the peace deal. That pretty much cancels the peace deal I suppose. In the meantime, the US press (Wall Street Journal) has reported a plot to overthrow Aquino that was not reported to my knowledge in the Philippine press. Isn't that bizarre?

The upshot, it seems to me, is that Aquino tried to score points with the US (and maybe millions in reward money?) without disrupting the peace agreement by making it a police capture operation instead of a military assault. The police were almost totally annihilated and it was only US air power along with some type of ground assistance that prevented a 100% massacre. So now the army is in there with mortars and heavy guns, which has caused tens of thousands to flee the fighting. I'm not calling this success.

This isn't the only fighting going on of course. In the south it is mostly Islamic rebels trying to recover their homeland from the government. All over the Philippines you have the New People's Army (NPA) Guerillas that call themselves communists but they're mostly illiterates who wouldn't know Karl Marx from the Marx Brothers. In general, the more remote you go the more the danger from NPA. Even Luzon, up in the north, has NPA. Five Filipino troops were recently ambushed near Ilocos Sur and it is the same story of the government going in after people and having their own people killed doing it.

Edited by rlogan

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I am more familiar with what is going on wit the MILF and the NPA because my asawa and her family are from Mindanao, and they have family through out the island. My wife is from New Bataan, Compostela Valley Province and I have been there quite a few times. There is a very large presence of NPA in Agusan Del Sur, Compostela Valley, and Davao Oriental. But depending on the local commander of that NPA unit depends on how it operates.

The commander in and around New Bataan is actually civil, and tries to keep the peace. He also handles drug pushers/users, and other law breakers quite harshly in his area. It is not uncommon for some in her area who has been a drug pusher or a law violator to show up dead one day or another. This does not bother the vast majority of the populace because it keeps crime down. I have had a real long conversation with a PNP Colonel over the Panabo town and area who just happened to have grown up in Chicago. He informed me that he does talk to the NPA commander there to help keep crime down there, this is due to that commander being quite sensible and decent.

My wife has a nephew who is a journalist that is covering the Maquindanao crisis for the Pinoy Weekly and other news sites. He informed that it is pretty bad right now. There is currently the BIFF, and they have even splintered further into a even more radical element called the JIM (Justice for Islamic Movement). Supposedly according to news reports that the BIFF is being systematically taken apart piece by piece, but the problem with that is that they and the MILF supposedly interchange members of each others group like it's nothing. This might be because they are related by blood to the people and just want to help them out.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/03/14/1433409/military-offensive-turns-maguindanao-war-zone

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Thanks for that article. They have it at 73,000 displaced.

I've had a house I built on Mindanao for seven years. Iligan City, on the edge of the ARMM: Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Before that I spent quite a few years exploring the Philippines, seven main islands, before I met my wife. I stayed with the former NPA commander, an Amazonia, in the Cordillera area so yes they can be friendly if you navigate your way in OK. I played music at her nephew's wedding and the people there put me under her protection. But they killed the fellow who came in looking for the lost Japanese gold with a metal detector.

I knew more about the history on Mindanao than my wife did when we met. This is because the national government controls the curriculum in the schools and didn't want the second generation of "Christian" immigrants who forcibly displaced the Muslims to know about that injustice. It seems incredible, but they are completely ignorant that Mindanao was still over 90% Muslim in the 1960's before the government immigrated "Christian" rebels from the north. The main aim of the government at that time was to appease the communist party of the Philippines by shipping them off to Mindanao. The New People's Army is the militarized wing of the communist party.

So the NPA on Mindanao is actually the result of transplanted communist insurgents from the north. The MNLF, MILF, BIFF - anything with either "Moro" or "Islamic" in the acronym is all about regaining the homeland taken from them through this re-settlement program begun in the 1960's. One of the most important things to them is obtaining full rights to the land including minerals, timber, waterways, etc.

To their way of thinking, the National Power Company that runs all the dams on the Maria Christina providing almost 90% of the electricity on Mindanao is theft. Because it is their river. So when they blow up an electrical transmission tower it makes perfect sense: if you are stealing our hydro power then we'll just blow up your infrastructure. If you ask the typical high school student from Mindanao why they blew up a transmission tower then you will hear something about Muslims just being crazy terrorists.

You are absolutely right about BIFF and MILF being both blood relatives, neighbors, and effectively interchangeable military forces. So it is ludicrous to have the MILF say that the government did not co-ordinate the Mamasapano capture attempt with them. That would be telling the BIFF exactly what they were going to do.

It is Abu Sayyef and Jemaah Islamiah that brings the US directly into the fray because they are a pan-Islamic, meaning movements aimed at an Islamic Super-State crossing current international borders. Most US citizens have no idea whatsoever that both attacks on the World Trade Center were first by a Nephew (Ramzi Youseff) and then by his Uncle (Khalid Mohammed) of Abu Sayyef, operating out of the Philippines.

If you tell people that they'll think your stupid when you know a lot more than they do. It is one of the reasons I don't like the extreme naiivite I see often on this forum by people who met a Filipina and have a Pollyanna view of the Philippines. There are groups there who are extremely hostile to Americans and are now aligned with ISIS. If you are not careful about where you go and how you conduct yourself then you are a target.

Edited by rlogan

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If you tell people that they'll think your stupid when you know a lot more than they do. It is one of the reasons I don't like the extreme naiivite I see often on this forum by people who met a Filipina and have a Pollyanna view of the Philippines. There are groups there who are extremely hostile to Americans and are now aligned with ISIS. If you are not careful about where you go and how you conduct yourself then you are a target.

You need to be extremely careful where you go in Mindanao. I have a house in Digos City about 30 minutes south of Davao. It's part of Davao and extremely safe due to the mayor. But there are many place only about 1 hour from Davao that I won't go alone or without firearms. And there are many places in Mindanao especially extreme west that an American would be a risking his life, and I would never set foot in some area.

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You need to be extremely careful where you go in Mindanao. I have a house in Digos City about 30 minutes south of Davao. It's part of Davao and extremely safe due to the mayor. But there are many place only about 1 hour from Davao that I won't go alone or without firearms. And there are many places in Mindanao especially extreme west that an American would be a risking his life, and I would never set foot in some area.

I couldn't agree more. I occasionally read about NPA attacks on police outposts rimming Davao - and this is the capital city with longstanding corporate America connections like Dole Philippines. Not long before Zamboanga was destroyed in that battle between the MNLF and the Army we had someone here chirping about how nice everyone was there. Abu Sayyef kidnapped a couple of teachers there last week and is demanding 10 million pesos ransom. It is quite true that a person can have a lovely time being escorted by his family even on Tawi-Tawi I imagine without realizing how dangerous it is.

They've taken boats up to Palawan to kidnap tourists there too because of the proximity and the fact Northern Palawan is known as an international destination that is considered safe. People that pay the ransom are returned to their families. While the USA negotiates with enemies for its own soldiers, generally for prisoner exchanges, it will not do so for civilians and threatens families with prosecution for negotiating with terrorists.

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Thanks for that article. They have it at 73,000 displaced.

I've had a house I built on Mindanao for seven years. Iligan City, on the edge of the ARMM: Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Before that I spent quite a few years exploring the Philippines, seven main islands, before I met my wife. I stayed with the former NPA commander, an Amazonia, in the Cordillera area so yes they can be friendly if you navigate your way in OK. I played music at her nephew's wedding and the people there put me under her protection. But they killed the fellow who came in looking for the lost Japanese gold with a metal detector.

I knew more about the history on Mindanao than my wife did when we met. This is because the national government controls the curriculum in the schools and didn't want the second generation of "Christian" immigrants who forcibly displaced the Muslims to know about that injustice. It seems incredible, but they are completely ignorant that Mindanao was still over 90% Muslim in the 1960's before the government immigrated "Christian" rebels from the north. The main aim of the government at that time was to appease the communist party of the Philippines by shipping them off to Mindanao. The New People's Army is the militarized wing of the communist party.

So the NPA on Mindanao is actually the result of transplanted communist insurgents from the north. The MNLF, MILF, BIFF - anything with either "Moro" or "Islamic" in the acronym is all about regaining the homeland taken from them through this re-settlement program begun in the 1960's. One of the most important things to them is obtaining full rights to the land including minerals, timber, waterways, etc.

To their way of thinking, the National Power Company that runs all the dams on the Maria Christina providing almost 90% of the electricity on Mindanao is theft. Because it is their river. So when they blow up an electrical transmission tower it makes perfect sense: if you are stealing our hydro power then we'll just blow up your infrastructure. If you ask the typical high school student from Mindanao why they blew up a transmission tower then you will hear something about Muslims just being crazy terrorists.

You are absolutely right about BIFF and MILF being both blood relatives, neighbors, and effectively interchangeable military forces. So it is ludicrous to have the MILF say that the government did not co-ordinate the Mamasapano capture attempt with them. That would be telling the BIFF exactly what they were going to do.

It is Abu Sayyef and Jemaah Islamiah that brings the US directly into the fray because they are a pan-Islamic, meaning movements aimed at an Islamic Super-State crossing current international borders. Most US citizens have no idea whatsoever that both attacks on the World Trade Center were first by a Nephew (Ramzi Youseff) and then by his Uncle (Khalid Mohammed) of Abu Sayyef, operating out of the Philippines.

If you tell people that they'll think your stupid when you know a lot more than they do. It is one of the reasons I don't like the extreme naiivite I see often on this forum by people who met a Filipina and have a Pollyanna view of the Philippines. There are groups there who are extremely hostile to Americans and are now aligned with ISIS. If you are not careful about where you go and how you conduct yourself then you are a target.

I am from iligan too.

they do believe that they own the river that is why they wont pay electric bill and when their power is cut off, they would blow up a transmission tower.

And believe me, the government has been paying a lot as "protection money" but they are just too greedy and too uneducated :(

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Thanks for that article. They have it at 73,000 displaced.

I've had a house I built on Mindanao for seven years. Iligan City, on the edge of the ARMM: Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Before that I spent quite a few years exploring the Philippines, seven main islands, before I met my wife. I stayed with the former NPA commander, an Amazonia, in the Cordillera area so yes they can be friendly if you navigate your way in OK. I played music at her nephew's wedding and the people there put me under her protection. But they killed the fellow who came in looking for the lost Japanese gold with a metal detector.

I knew more about the history on Mindanao than my wife did when we met. This is because the national government controls the curriculum in the schools and didn't want the second generation of "Christian" immigrants who forcibly displaced the Muslims to know about that injustice. It seems incredible, but they are completely ignorant that Mindanao was still over 90% Muslim in the 1960's before the government immigrated "Christian" rebels from the north. The main aim of the government at that time was to appease the communist party of the Philippines by shipping them off to Mindanao. The New People's Army is the militarized wing of the communist party.

So the NPA on Mindanao is actually the result of transplanted communist insurgents from the north. The MNLF, MILF, BIFF - anything with either "Moro" or "Islamic" in the acronym is all about regaining the homeland taken from them through this re-settlement program begun in the 1960's. One of the most important things to them is obtaining full rights to the land including minerals, timber, waterways, etc.

To their way of thinking, the National Power Company that runs all the dams on the Maria Christina providing almost 90% of the electricity on Mindanao is theft. Because it is their river. So when they blow up an electrical transmission tower it makes perfect sense: if you are stealing our hydro power then we'll just blow up your infrastructure. If you ask the typical high school student from Mindanao why they blew up a transmission tower then you will hear something about Muslims just being crazy terrorists.

You are absolutely right about BIFF and MILF being both blood relatives, neighbors, and effectively interchangeable military forces. So it is ludicrous to have the MILF say that the government did not co-ordinate the Mamasapano capture attempt with them. That would be telling the BIFF exactly what they were going to do.

It is Abu Sayyef and Jemaah Islamiah that brings the US directly into the fray because they are a pan-Islamic, meaning movements aimed at an Islamic Super-State crossing current international borders. Most US citizens have no idea whatsoever that both attacks on the World Trade Center were first by a Nephew (Ramzi Youseff) and then by his Uncle (Khalid Mohammed) of Abu Sayyef, operating out of the Philippines.

If you tell people that they'll think your stupid when you know a lot more than they do. It is one of the reasons I don't like the extreme naiivite I see often on this forum by people who met a Filipina and have a Pollyanna view of the Philippines. There are groups there who are extremely hostile to Americans and are now aligned with ISIS. If you are not careful about where you go and how you conduct yourself then you are a target.

That is because the vast majority on this site and in the USA are from Luzon and Metro Manila. The people in MM from the Politicians on down usually have no idea what is going on out in the provinces of say Mindanao. I can't tell you how many times I have got bad looks from pinoys when I was working in Afghanistan and I would say that she is from Mindanao, They always give a bad face and say "oh I stay away from there because of Abu". It makes me mad because the majority of Mindanao isn't like that at all, of course there are bad places where you don't go. There is even a purok in New Bataan where I am not allowed to go to at night because "it is full of thieves, killers, and troublemakers" according to my wife.

I have no problem going where I want to go whenever I want to, but that is if I am by myself. When I am with my wife I follow her advice and take heed when I need too. She can speak Illongo and Bisaya, so we are good with the language issue in the vast majority of Mindanao. I have been throughout Northern and Eastern Mindano, and the Davao Region. We have never had any problems at all, and people are usually very kind to me and laugh because I try to pronounce Bisaya words.

The only problem that I have ever seen is when I was traveling with my brother in law who is a business man and a politician. He carries a pistol around with him everywhere he goes, just in case something happens. We drove into a NPA check point one time in Agusan Del Sur and had to give them money so we could pass. He was ready if something popped off but it didn't.

I do believe that the majority of problems in Mindanao come about from the Imperalist view that MM has over the rest of the country. They is rotating brown outs in Mindanao so that Metro Manila can keep power with no interruption at all. Most of the economic policies come from and are about Manila, while totally ignoring the majority of the country. When I found out that they elect Senators from a nationwide pool I was taken back. I say that because then the individual provinces are left out. What I am reading is telling me that the Federalism debate is growing stronger.

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This is really interesting post especially when coming from members with first hand knowledge of the issues at hand. I hope it continues for a while or as long as there is new info to relate. Just as educational for me at least than just "How long do I have to wait." Etc. Etc.

Rlogan... Quick question for you: Can you elaborate on the US air power support provided in the police raid? I didn't think US had any presence other than in an advisory capacity. Just curious.


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This is really interesting post especially when coming from members with first hand knowledge of the issues at hand. I hope it continues for a while or as long as there is new info to relate. Just as educational for me at least than just "How long do I have to wait." Etc. Etc.

Rlogan... Quick question for you: Can you elaborate on the US air power support provided in the police raid? I didn't think US had any presence other than in an advisory capacity. Just curious.

According to the news, i think the participation of the Us troopa was only to help airlift the bodies of the casualty. Then the milf and the biff are pointing fingers at the US troops. Granting they violate one provision with their agreement to the PI government.... Kiss the agreement goodbye.

Biff and milf dont like the us troops here in PI. Especially in mindanao.

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The participation by the Americans is concealed because the Philippine constitution forbids the "permanent" stationing of foreign troops, in addition to the secrecy the US generally follows for "national security" reasons. So the information we have is from people that are reporting what they saw in addition to whatever admissions the US has to make because pictures are being circulated or because it is useful for propaganda reasons. So on the air power I have only passed on what I am reading in various publications. Nobody has the full story.

Among the more incredible things we have heard of in recent times is the CIA covert operations in the capital city of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao - Marawi City. The family of a Filipino security guard who was taken there covertly tried to expose that after he was killed under mysterious circumstances, but if you know the history of corruption and malfeasance in the Philippines police and military then you know this will never be solved and no answers will be given.

As the other posters have mentioned, US CIA or troop involvement is welcomed in some places like Metro Manila but explosive in the region where we tend to deploy them. In the Spratleys the bulk of the Philippine population approves because the Chinese and six other countries are vying for the oil resources under the sea floor. So many Filipinos want the US to push the Chinese out. But putting our ships out there necessitated upgrading a number of ports to receive the ships, along with that airbase on Palawan which, along with operations in Mindanao starts to look an awful lot like the kind of stationing that was protested in 1991 and led to the prohibition. Because that is less controversial though, the US and Philippines have been making announcements about the super spy plane P-8A Poseidon operating out of Clark Airbase and 7th fleet operations. Mindanao is much more covert.

lol, Cyber - about these checkpoints. I have many times been stopped by police at these checkpoints and had them try to extort money out of me. Generally I ask to be taken to their commander when they do so, and they let me go. Even non-uniformed civil highway workers have flagged me down thinking I am so stupid I will buy them lunch if they press me. So it isn't just the NPA to worry about but anyone who thinks they can get away with it, including the police.

Probably the most interesting thing to the people at large on this forum is how the house investigation of this Mamasapano disaster was suspended in mid-February after it became clear how extensive Aquino's involvement was and how he had covered it up. There was a senate investigation that had too much of it behind closed doors and left a lot of questions unanswered. The excuse the leadership used was that the police are investigating themselves, lol. So after they vindicate themselves I guess there will be no need for the house to resume its investigation.

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More coming out on US involvement:

http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/news/philippines/326926/us-role-in-philippine-clash-revealed

So there's six Americans at the command center for the operation, approved by Aquino and led by his buddy who at the time was suspended from his position for corruption. The Embassy denied the involvement at first, but now it is clear that the drone sighting is how the US was providing the "real time information" on this operation.

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Very interesting.....Hope tensions die down soon.

Edited by coa24

Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.
Hebrews 11:6 - And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

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They must be making an all-out effort. The leader of the Justice Islamic Movement was captured on his way to a seaport in General Santos City

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/16/us-philippines-rebels-idUSKBN0MC09S20150316

This guy was in the MNLF, then the MILF, then the BIFF, and broke from all of them for lacking sufficient violence. He was thought to be in this same region where the 44 national police were slaughtered and where the army subsequently moved in with heavy weapons, displacing 80,000 by this article's reckoning.

This one has better detail:

http://www.interaksyon.com/article/107005/biff-chiefs-right-hand-man-kumander-tamabako-arrested

Edited by rlogan

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So the local rumor mills have the US droning from Palawan? I would think that media could get some eyes on photos if true.


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