Mindanao isn’t in the Middle East
but things are heating up here. The world is a mess not just in the Middle East
but other places including Asia and , of particular interest to me, in the Philippines.
Not only is the Philippines one of the countries contesting the waters of the
South China Sea (called the West Philippine Sea here) but there are and have
been for years a number of rebel groups and criminal gangs. I am bringing this
up now because there have been new attacks lately to the power grid in Mindanao
and I don’t know whether this will continue long enough that I will also lose
communications. I’m running on my backup generator currently. By way of a little
There are Communist insurgents: the
NPA (New People’s Army)
There are also Muslim rebels
including: the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front)
the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation
the BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters)
the Abu Sayaf (Al Qaeda affiliated “bearers
of the sword)
There also extortion groups but they
and the NPA are not the current threat. Besides the Muslim groups mentioned above
these are divided into clans and all are often at odds with each other. The
government and the MNLF entered into a peace agreement a number of years ago
but not all Muslims were happy with it and that is what gave birth to the MILF.
More recently, the government has been trying to reach an agreement with that
group but in doing so has angered the MNLF which feels betrayed. The BIFF (that
is blamed for the current threat) like the MNLF has lost faith in the
government and its intentions. Last evening they blew up a power transmission
tower and that blacked out a large part of Mindanao. The power grid is fragile
to begin with and, if these attacks continue, we may be in for a long term
power outage. My assessment is that because there is no one group who speaks
for all Muslims there is little chance of a peaceful outcome. I am currently
carrying my .45 in a holster and cleaning my guns. Hopefully, this will all
blow over but who knows?
You may have heard about a
disturbance in Zamboanga involving the MNLF but that seems under control. The
U.S. Embassy in Manila has issued a couple of alerts recently. The second one
below is the one that seems to apply currently.
Emergency Message to U.S. Citizens
U.S. Embassy, Manila, Philippines
September 17, 2013
THE EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES IS
TRANSMITTING THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION AS A PUBLIC SERVICE TO U.S. CITIZENS IN
THE PHILIPPINES. PLEASE DISSEMINATE THIS MESSAGE TO ALL U.S. CITIZENS IN
YOUR ORGANIZATION OR NEIGHBORHOOD. THANK YOU.
Continuing Violence In and Around Zamboanga City, Mindanao
The U.S. Embassy in Manila is actively monitoring the
ongoing clashes in and around Zamboanga City which we understand have resulted
in casualties and property damage. U.S. citizens in the vicinity of the
fighting should exercise extreme caution and consider sheltering in place to
avoid becoming involved in the fighting or should follow instructions from
local authorities regarding evacuation.
you are a U.S. citizen in the affected area, we urge you to contact the U.S.
Embassy in Manila to notify us of your situation, especially if you are stranded
or trapped in the area, have been injured or suffered property damage, or have
otherwise been affected by this fighting.
if you are aware of other U.S. citizens affected by these events, we ask that
you encourage them to contact the U.S. Embassy. If they cannot contact
the Embassy, please contact us on their behalf.
U.S. citizens who had a confirmed airline reservation out of Zamboanga City
last week, the Embassy has verified that airline companies have made
arrangements with the Philippine military to offer transportation to stranded
passengers holding Philippines Airlines (PAL) or Cebu Pacific tickets.
Please contact your airline for further instructions.
Embassy wishes to remind all U.S. citizens to remain vigilant and maintain an
appropriate level of personal security in all circumstances by reviewing your
personal safety plans; remaining aware of your surroundings, including local
events; and monitoring local news sources for updates.
Emergency Message to
U.S. Embassy, Manila, Philippines
September 12, 2013
THE EMBASSY OF THE UNITED
STATES IS TRANSMITTING THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION AS A PUBLIC SERVICE TO U.S.
CITIZENS IN THE PHILIPPINES. PLEASE DISSEMINATE THIS MESSAGE TO ALL U.S.
CITIZENS IN YOUR ORGANIZATION OR NEIGHBORHOOD.
Threat Against Foreigners in Southern Mindanao
The U.S. Embassy wishes to alert U.S. citizens that a
credible threat against foreigners has been identified in southern
Mindanao. Individuals associated with known extremist groups are believed
to have been conducting surveillance on public shopping malls and western-based
cafés in the area, as possible targets of interest.
Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional
weapons, and target both official and private interests. Examples of such
targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business
offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas,
and other destinations frequented by foreigners.
As a result, the Embassy advises all U.S. citizens residing
in the southern Mindanao area to exercise extreme caution and re-evaluate their
personal safety situation. The Embassy strongly reiterates its
recommendation that U.S. citizens exercise extreme caution when travelling to
Mindanao and to keep personal safety and security in mind during any stay in
Mindanao. For more information on security conditions in Mindanao, please
refer to the July 4, 2013 Travel Warning for the Philippines that is posted on
our web site, http://manila.usembassy.gov/tw7513.html
The Embassy wishes to remind all U.S. citizens to remain
vigilant and maintain an appropriate level of personal security in all
circumstances by reviewing your personal safety plans; remaining aware of your
surroundings, including local events; and monitoring local news sources for
The following news article will
explain the attacks on the power grid.
will keep you updated if I can.