More Trouble In Mindanao

Christmas eve found violence in the Mindanao city of Cotabato.   Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels are thought to be behind the attacks.  Moro Map of Cotabato Provinceleaders claim that they were reacting to attacks from the Philippine army.  The Philippine army claims they were not part of any offensive actions as there was a cease fire in place for Christmas.

The attacks left an elderly woman dead, a family of three kidnapped and at least eight wounded.

I’m really confused by the situation in Mindanao.  Nearly every expat I meet here in the Philippines tells me Mindanao is safe.  Most say that even the area known as Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is safe but not all of it.

I continue to be able to understand how that can be.  The US State department warns American’s to use extreme caution in all of Mindanao, especially in rural areas.  At least one bomb exploded in Northern  Mindanao last week.  Another bomb was found and defused.

The Philippine Legislature has signaled it is ready to renew peace talks.  Military conflict has been ongoing for over 40 years.  Peace would be welcomed by many.  Seems most long term expats and Filipino are jaded about the prospect of peace.  Peace seemed to be at hand in July but it ARMMended up with renewed fighting instead of peace.

However, once Ireland and England agreed to peace it took around ten years to see it implemented.  I don’t think anyone could expect for 40 years of armed conflict to suddenly end.  After 40 years of fighting, for some rebels it is all their life has ever known.  I doubt a transition to peace would be easy for many people that have endured war for their entire lives and trust would be next to impossible.

I will continue to hope for a more peaceful world and a more peaceful Philippines.

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