Mindanao simmers again

I was reading an analysis “The Philippines:Counter-insurgency vs Counter-terrorism in Mindanao” when news of an explosion in Zamboanga City came in.

Two persons were confirmed dead while 23 others were injured. Investigators were looking at the possibility that Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants were involved in the attack.

The analysis I’m reading was precisely warning about this situation. It said that the Philippines is mixing up counter-insurgency with counter-terrorism “with dangerous implications for conflict in the region”.

“The ‘Mindanao Model’ – using classic counter-insurgency techniques to achieve counter-terror goals – has been directed against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and has helped force its fighters out of their traditional stronghold on Basilan. But it runs the risk of pushing them into the arms of the broader insurgencies in Mindanao, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF.”

The May 14 analysis was written by Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think- tank headed by Gareth Evans, formerly former foreign minister of Australia.

The group’s profile says it was founded in 1995 as an international non-governmental organization on the initiative of a group of well known transatlantic figures who despaired at the international community’s failure to anticipate and respond effectively to the tragedies in the early 1990s of Somalia, Rwanda and Bosnia. They were led by Morton Abramowitz (former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey and Thailand, then President of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace), Mark Malloch Brown (later head of the UNDP, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN and UK Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN), and its first Chairman, Senator George Mitchell. The idea was to create a new organization – unlike any other – with a highly professional staff acting as the world’s eyes and ears for impending conflicts, and with a highly influential board that could mobilize effective action from the world’s policy-makers.

In their latest reading on the Philippine situation, the group is worried that Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), tasked specifically “to interdict and isolate kidnap-for-ransom groups and other similar criminal syndicates operating in or near MILF communities”, has been inactive. The government is represented by Maj. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, who is currently the Marine Commandant. His MILF counterpart is Atty. Abdul Dataya.

“A policy tool of proven value is at hand. Called the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), it was designed to facilitate coordination between the Philippines govern­ment and the MILF to share intelligence on terrorists and avoid accidental clashes while government forces pursued them. Allowed to lapse in June 2007, it was formally renewed in November but not fully revived. It should be, as a counter-terror and conflict management mechanism that worked, and a similar arrangement should be developed with the MNLF. The problem is that it will only work if there is progress on the political front – that is, in peace nego­tiations – so that insurgents see concrete benefits from their cooperation with the government.”

The Crisis Group said, “The U.S. and the Philippines need to revive mechanisms to keep these conflicts apart and refocus energies on peace processes with these groups. That imperative has become particularly acute since the Malaysian government announced with­drawal, beginning on 10 May, from the International Monitoring Team (IMT) that has helped keep a lid on conflict since 2004. If renewed attention to a peace agreement is not forth­coming by the time the IMT mandate ends in August, hostilities could quickly resume.”

The group further said, “As part of Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines, U.S. forces are strengthening the Philippines military and using civic action to drive a wedge between rebels and the Muslim populace. But if their goal is to defeat the ASG and its foreign, mainly Indonesian, jihadi allies, they are casting the net too widely and creating unnecessary enemies.

“Mass-based insurgencies like the MILF and MNLF rely on supportive populations. By extension, small numbers of terrorists rely on sympathetic insurgents. Counter-terrorism’s central task in a setting like that in the Philippines is to isolate jihadis from their insurgent hosts – not divide insurgents from the population. Recent gains against the ASG came only after the MILF expelled key jihadis from main­land Mindanao in 2005. Yet AHJAG, the mechanism that made this possible, is not getting the attention it deserves.”

The Crisis group noted that AHJAG has been allowed to wither “while the Arroyo administration is distracted by turmoil in Manila, and Washington focuses on economic and military approaches to an essentially political problem in the Philippines south.”

May 30, 2008 12:16 am   Posted in: Foreign Affairs, Malaya, Military

20 Responses

  1. Valdemar - May 30, 2008 7:10 am

    Lets look at it in another perspective. The US has gone a long mileage wooing the Muslims down south. Its military like the peace corp goes deep into the Muslim country with the help of our unwitting marines on the pretext of socio-what not exercises. It reaches down the right pocket for its national interest with the south and the friendly pocket aid for us.

    Somehow,our side gets mauled often and our generals’ instinct is survival and to attain it it sends its experts to demolish obvious gains of the other side like bombing the US aids office in Zambo. We didnt listen much on what the Magdalos were saying that our general problem is the bombings instigated allegedly by our generals themselves.

  2. Dr.Kwak - May 30, 2008 9:22 am

    Sa hirap na ng buhay nating ngayon at magkakagulo na naman diyan sa Mindanao, ano na lang ang mangyayari sa ating bansa? Sana hindi baril-sa-baril at bala-sa-bala ang usapan. Kailangan ang mapayapa at makatotohanang pag-uusap ng bawat paning upang makamit ang kapayapaan. Kung hindi, lalo lang mababaon ang mga Filipino sa kahirapan.

  3. parasabayan - May 30, 2008 9:42 am

    Peace may never be attained in the South until we have a genuine leader who really wants peace. The Mindanao problem had always been a source of funding from first world countries for arms, transport equipments etc. Eh di wala ng perang darating kung may peace talaga. The war in the south is also an income for vultures in the AFP. Dyan yumayaman ang mga heneral na sangkot sa mga smuggling, kidnapping for ransom at iba pa. This is the reason why asspweron is now the Adviser for Peace! The evil bitch wants to drum up more business in the South! Get ninyo?

  4. parasabayan - May 30, 2008 11:25 am

    The evil bitch is in Palawan and she wants to be left alone! Nagmimilagro na naman ang bruha! She is probably surveying the oil fields! Kung ano pa ang pwede niyang ibenta.

  5. parasabayan - May 30, 2008 1:23 pm

    The situation in the South is a justification for the US to be in the Philippines. If the South is peaceful, the US military has no reason whatsoever to be in Mindanao. Someone has to “stir the pot”. The recent Zamboanga bombing may very well be a staged.

    There is no genuine reaching out because the government gains more with the unrest- more funds flowing in and more perks given to a selected few!

  6. sioktong - May 30, 2008 3:47 pm

    That tiyanak pidal are dangling the mindanao mini US bases, which are scattered around mindanao, which are already operational as reported by some newspapers before including agence france. A few months ago even Col. Oliver North, former Pres. Reagan’s advisor on Iran-Contra affair, reported these mini US bases in Mindanao to US press. That tiyanak pidal is going there in US to negotiate with Pres. Bush on how much the US will pay for the rent of those mini US bases. Just like during the Marcos time when US was paying for renting the Subic US base. So, where do you think that rental fees for those mini US bases will go?? Where else but to that little pocket of that tiyanak pidal just like during the Marcos time, those rental fees for US bases went to the pocket of Marcos.

    The more bombs that will blow up before the scheduled meeting of tiyanak pidal with Pres. Bush then it magnifies the importance of Mindanao in fighting against terrorism, in which US is deathly scared of, the better the chances for tiyanak pidal to get more money for the rental of those mini US bases.

  7. sioktong - May 30, 2008 4:11 pm

    About three months ago the Tribune on their editorial lambasted the visit of US Ambassador Kristie Kenney in Mindanao without RP high official with them to have a direct talk with MILF, if I am not mistaken. According to editorial the US Ambassador did not respect the sovereignty of our country, the Republic of Pidal, I mean the Republic of the Philippines.

    It just shows how important these Mindanao US mini bases to President Bush.

  8. sioktong - May 30, 2008 4:28 pm

    The more bombs that will blow up, before the scheduled meeting of tiyanak pidal with Pres. Bush, the better because it magnifies the importance of Mindanao in fighting against terrorism, in which US is deathly scared of, the better the chances for tiyanak pidal to get more money for the rental of those mini US bases.

  9. grizzy - May 30, 2008 8:55 pm

    Off the loop. FYI
    —– Original Message —–
    Sent: Friday, May 30, 2008 10:06 AM
    Subject: Photos/Text: Huling Paalam kay Ka Bel: Tribute at the House, March to and internment in Norzagaray

    For photos of the tribute to Ka Bel at the House of Representatives and the march to Fairview and caravan from Fairview to Norzagaray, please visit:


    or go directly to


    Arkibong Bayan Web Team

  10. Ellen - May 30, 2008 11:29 pm

    Update on Zambo blast: MILF, Abu hands seen behind Zambo bombing

    Police are eyeing the possibility that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Abu Sayyaf were behind the explosion near the Edwin Andrews base in Zamboanga City Thursday.

    The blast caused by an improvised explosive device believed triggered by a cell phone killed two people and injured at least 20 others.

    “The incident is perceived to be the handiwork of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front alliances with the ASG, Jemaah Islamiah, whose intention is to create bomb scares and havoc in high-impact areas for diversionary tactics as a result of the ongoing military offensive in Basilan,” said Director Jaime Caringal, chief of the Western Mindanao police.

  11. grizzy - May 30, 2008 11:55 pm

    Any news coming from Malacanang should be subject to doubt. No doubt, this is all just to gain pogi points with Gloria Dorobo ever willing to accept and provide US troops being driven out of Japan a refuge, and cause the lands there to turn arid and useless as the lands abandoned by the Moslem refugees clogging cities like Manila and Baguio now because of sporadic attacks by US and Philippine military who have used them as targets for their Balikatan exercises.

    Maski ako, kung Moslem ako, kukulo ang dugo ko. Maghahalo talaga ang balat sa tinalupan!

    Puede ba, patalsikin na iyong idiotic criminal calling herself “President”? Wala namang alam kundi umalembong at magpasikat!!! Pwe!

  12. Valdemar - May 31, 2008 6:35 am

    If the enemy is trained on explosives, the government are better trained on cell phones’ use like eavesdropping DOJ is so proud about, and in other alleged covert operations. Going back at the IED carriers, they were supposed to leave their wares at the target and did not have the temerity to belong yet with the suicide genre. But someone was just so addicted with his cellphone. The trigger code was “HU U”.

  13. grizzy - May 31, 2008 1:04 pm

    What a creep this Gloria Dorobo really is! Just when these bombings are being staged and innocent bystanders getting killed, the idiot has announced the possible appointment of her daughter to theARMM as if the daughter can really make a miracle.

    Kung si Nur Misuari nga walang nagawa, siya pa na pakendeng-kendeng at patsismis-tsismis lang!

    But wait, these bombings can be just a ploy to make the the daughter’s appointment valid. Without those mercenary soldiers planting bombs like what Querubin, et al complained they were being made to do but refused and caused their present incarceration, and with an expensive publicity, you bet, Luli will look like an effective administrator.

    Wais ha? What an ideal way to start up the political career of the daughter, who has in fact been advertised as immaculately clean, unstained, no crook, and even far, far different from her corrupt parents, especially her father.

    Naalala ko lang ang drama nila noong mabulgar iyong Toh scandal ni Miguel Mandarambong.

    I hope, however, the Filipinos have had enough of this family not to be deceived by any more of their expensive publicity. As the old adage goes, “Like father like son or daughter” or “Like mother like daughter or son!” In short, kurakot din iyan. Saan pa ba magmamana iyan?

    So, if ever the Dorobo and her husband prop up Luli in the 2010 election, puede ba pakibato na lang ng bato o tekla sa mga miting de abanse niya?! Please no more Pidal in the Philippine Congress, Senate and Malacanang.

  14. Ellen - May 31, 2008 8:04 pm

    Inquirer’s update:

    FBI in Zambo for bomb probe

    ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Agents of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation have arrived here to re-evaluate the site of Thursday’s blast that killed two people and injured more than 20 others.

    US military warned vs involvement in Zambo bomb probe

  15. grizzy - May 31, 2008 11:43 pm

    Baka kasabwat nga ang mga kano sa bombing na iyan. Remember that bombing in Davao before?

    Di ba may kanong involved doon? And the guy was soon airlifted somewhere para hindi mabisto ang involvement ng US spy agents sa mga kalokohan sa Mindanao to validate US presence there.

    Ang nakakainis sa mga balitang ito ay ang nakikitang kagaguhan ng mga nakaupo sa gobyernong gusto pang maging extension ng US government. Ulol talaga!

  16. sioktong - June 1, 2008 6:20 am

    Rebecca Thompson, US embassy information officer, is a big liar but she has no choice but to lie otherwise she will get fired from her job. The specialty of FBI is on domestic issues only, within the territorial boundary of the United States. So, FBI in the Pinas is a big bull.

    I can explain this better with an example. Do you remember when Saddam Hussein was captured by US soldiers. Do you remember those pictures of Saddam Hussein guarded by US soldiers in uniform while a US military doctor, in US military uniform also, was examining his teeth? Ladies and gentlemen those people are CIA AGENTS!
    How did I know that? About two to three months ago the National Public Radio (NBR) interviewed a lebanese-american man who is in his late 20′s or early 30′s. He was chosen by CIA to coordinate the interrogation of Saddam Hussein and that lebanese-american guy personally interviewed Hussein himself. This lebanese-american guy was chosen in spite of his age because his profile fit the profile that Hussen can be responsive to or can open up to. I don’t remember the name of the guy but he is fluent in English and Arabic. If I remember it right he said his family moved to US when he was about three years old. Anyway, this lebanese-american guy confirmed to NPR that those US soldiers in full uniform, including the doctor, in the pictures with Hussein are CIA agents.

    So, there you have it. Those people posing as FBI agents or Navy personnels invited by AFP/PNP kuno are CIA agents.

    The question is why are they there? Of course, they are there to protect the US interest not the Filipino interest. So, what cover up are they doing? Are they doing surveilance of the area? Why? Are AFP/PNP so clumsy in their work of planting evidence to pin down MILF that’s why they invited CIA for help? Are CIA agents trying to develop trust to community leaders there so that they can get a better feel of the local people and get some more informations? What are those CIA AGENTS doing there?

  17. sioktong - June 1, 2008 6:32 am

    Are CIA AGENTS trying to erase evidence that will lead to US as the culprit of bombing in Mindanao?


  18. Valdemar - June 1, 2008 6:43 am

    Theres nothing we can do if the CIA, FBI, US military come here. They have a total say on us. We are an imperfect territory of the US without any say on US administration, election, travel, export, air reciprocacy, etc whatever.

  19. sioktong - June 2, 2008 1:57 am

    Why President George Bush was forced to have tiyanak pidal at the White House? As I said before this has something to do with those several mini US bases scattered around and inside Mindanao. Is that all there is to it?

    Is tiyanak pidal going there to personally convey to Pres. Bush that she is going to declare martial law, a la Marcos, and asking for his support? In exchange for his support that tiyanak pidal will guarantee the existence of several US mini bases in Mindanao. During Marcos time the United States implicitly supported Marcos despite the evidences of human rights abuses as long as US interests are protected, i.e. US milary bases in RP.

    If tiyanak pidal gets the nod of Pres. Bush then she has to declare martial law before his term ends on January 20, 2009. If it is so then expect more staged bombings in Mindanao and maybe one staged bomb blast in Luzon to justify martial law.


  20. TonGuE-tWisTeD - June 3, 2008 3:23 pm

    Diba pag sinabing “simmer” e malapit nang maluto at tinutuyo na lang ng konti ang sarsa para lumapot?

    Malapit na bang maluto ang Mindanao? Malapit na bang matuyo?

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