Yes, I said wars…because here, like in India, there are two wars: One against a group that wants a strict utopian paradise under their version of Islam and the other one who wants a strict utopian paradise under the guise of socialist brotherhood.
In the first, the good news is that an Abusayyaf Group (ASG) is slowly being rooted out, with the Philippine military continuing their aggressive stance despite “international peace groups”.
I put peace groups in quotations because one way to get foreign governments to pressure the government to stop the attack is for ASG and their allies to cause massive civilian casualties and displacement/refugees. The refugees and casualties are then blamed on the government, with no one noticing that the people could be left in peace if the murderers would just turn in their weapons and ask for peace…and the government would bend over backward to give them amnesty.
But there is another war going on: Against the communist “insurgents”, AKA the NPA who are slowly morphing into politics.
The CPP-NPA insurgency … succeeded in establishing a highly organized, national criminal extortion operation, collecting hundreds of millions of pesos annually from farmers, businesses and institutions….. Hundreds of kidnappings, assassinations, arsons, remote-controlled land mine explosions, raids on police stations, and small-scale military engagements are the sharp end of of CPP-NPA fund-raising in the countryside.
The CPP-NPA also runs dozens of political front organizations among workers, students, peasants and other â€œmarginalized sectorsâ€. … In recent years, Communist front organizations have won several seats in the Philippine House of Representatives under the party-list system. Perhaps the best known of these is Rep. Satur Ocampo of the party list Bayan Muna, who also happens to be Mr. Sisonâ€™s co-accused for having ordered the murderous purges of the 1980s, when both were running the CPP-NPA.
Some years ago, they cleaned house, and murdered quite a few of their own. Whenever the international Left points out (correctly) about “extrajudicial killing”, the right says: Ah, but what about these mass graves?
But one side effect of the “War on terror” is that there is less tolorence in Europe for other political groups associated with terror, and so the NPA was placed on a terror list, and lost a lot of nice European funding.
But last week we were all surprised to see the Dutch arrest long time Communist party leader Sison for murder…not of civilians, but against rival leaders and those suspected of betraying the revolution. And the complaint behind the arrest was made when two of their widows petitioned the Hague for justice.
In our area,last year there was a lot of harassment in the farm areas by the Army trying to root out NPA members, and some NPA were killed. The low grade killing goes on all the time against local police and politicians, and the NPA members are often freelancing in crime, drugs, and as hitmen.
But the loss of the European money was a blow, and now their respected leader is in jail. The latest report is that two NPA (communist insurgents) camps are reported as deserted and the Philippine Military have destoyed a third.
No one expects peace to break out any time soon, but one gets the feeling that the worst of the bad guys might be taken care of.
The next hurtle for the Philippines is the verdict on ex president Estrada AKA Erap for corruption.
The joke in the Philippines is that he is probably the only president that was truly elected by the majority.
If he is convicted, expect riots. If he is not convicted, expect outcry about being removed illegally from office.
The consensus is that ERAP will be convicted and then pardoned quickly. Must move on…after all, there’s another Presidential election coming up in two years…
Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.Â