Thursday, 3 July 2008

Raided by Communist Rebels!

Life is so humdrum that there’s nothing much to write about.

Except, suddenly last Saturday night, something newsworthy happened.

We had a raid, the first ever, from the New People’s Army, the rebels from the mainland of Mindanao, who have been fighting the government for about 40 years. They came to General Luna by boat, and shot up the police station, wounding one policeman.

They also went up the road to Katangnan, near the Cloud 9 surfing spot, and had another little fire-fight at a local self-defence-force camp , very near the main resort facilities.

Another bunch commandeered 5 vans, and went to Dapa, about 14 km away, where they did the same, and trashed the municipal offices. They also blew up the connections at two communications towers, leaving us with no cell-phones or internet for a few days.

I slept through it all, of course, and didn’t know anything had happened until Sunday morning when my cell-phone and internet didn’t work. I got the gist of it at Victor’s Sunday Lunch.

It doesn’t worry me very much; the NPA aren’t interested in foreigners, only in corrupt politicians, and everyone’s general poverty, and I am not at all unsympathetic towards their ideals.

One detail was very telling. A policeman, probably drunk, in General Luna, tried to pull out his gun when ordered to kneel down. Someone fired a warning shot, intending to miss. It grazed his leg, so they immediately gave him first aid.

When they left (it was a quick raid), two of their five boats broke down on the way home, so about 20 of them holed up on a small island that is currently being attacked by, amongst other things, helicopter gun-ships.

Sounds to me as if the Philippine authorities have absorbed all the very worst from their American mentors.

If you want to see the official story about how our intrepid police and military chased the rebels, see, the official press release.

The NPA attacked, by name, two people.

Congressman Matugas - (congressman in the Philippines is very much an inherited title - big old Spanish-, or American-helping families were given enough rewards and now have enough cash to bribe voters - much the same as in the US)
Matugas was attacked (only by pamphlet) specifically because he has a 160 hectare farm (400 acres) in the south-east of the island.

There are notices all around it warning trespassers Not to Enter. To make an estate of that size (not very big, in American terms, but a helluvalot on a small island) you have to take away traditional land used communally (and not owned) since the year dot.

But he is pro-poor. That's mostly bullshit, and before you believe it, smell it.

The NPA's other specific target was the mayor of Dapa, Boy Ruaya, who's accused of helping the drug and gambling trades in his town. The NPA are probably right.

No comments: