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On Ninoy's 34th death anniversary, we are rededicating EQPost to the lofty ideals of Ninoy. "No to tyranny! No to degradation of dignity!"

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“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.”

― Archibald MacLeish

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Zamboanga War Summary


More than 100,000 people were displaced and 10,000 homes destroyed in the conflict in southern Philippines.
Zamboanga 
(From ZamboFreePort)
  • One of Philippines’ oldest city rich in history & culture
  • The only City in the Philippines and in the entire Asia that speaks a Spanish derivative language - CHAVACANO.
  • The population is also proficient in English.
  • The only International Seaport and International Airport in the region. It is the gateway to BIMP-EAGA.
  • The economic growth center of the region with the only ECOZONE & FREEPORT in the Visayas and Mindanao.
  • 12,107 hectares of old growth forest which serves as its main watershed. It is one of the three intact watershed in the Philippines.
  • It is the SARDINES CAPITAL of the Philippines. 75% of all canned sardines in the country are manufactured in Zamboanga City.
  • High English literacy of 91%
  • Although not part of the ARMM, Zamboanga city serves as an important hub and transit point to residents in the island provinces belonging to the region.
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Filipino: Nagsasariling Rehiyon ng Muslim sa Mindanaw)(abbreviated ARMM) is the region, located in the Mindanao island group of the Philippines, that is composed of predominantly Muslim provinces, namely: Basilan (except Isabela City), Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. It is the only region that has its own government. The regional capital is at Cotabato City, although this city is outside of its jurisdiction. From Wikipedia

Philippines’ Deadliest Defense Crisis Under Aquino Ends
From Bloomberg News
The Philippines said it rescued the last of almost 200 civilians seized by members of a Muslim rebel group almost three weeks ago in Mindanao, prompting the government to declare that the most-devastating security crisis against President Benigno Aquino’s administration is over.
The Peacemakers
“So far, the security crisis is over and now we go to post-conflict phase,” Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said in a mobile-phone message today.
Fighting that started Sept. 9, when more than 600 members of the Moro National Liberation Front loyal to Nur Misuari stormed coastal villages of Zamboanga City and took hostages, killed at least 202 people including 12 civilians and 23 state forces personnel, according to today’s data from the police.
Four decades of insurgency in Mindanao has killed as many as 200,000 people and stifled development of the resource-rich southern island. Ending one of Southeast Asia’s most entrenched conflicts could help bring investors to Mindanao and unlock mineral deposits worth an estimated $300 billion. The government has said it faces time limits to complete a peace pact this year with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, another rebel group.
“What happened in Zamboanga is simply an indication of the defects in the peace process that has left out some groups,” Benito Lim, a political science professor at the Ateneo de Manila University, said by phone. “This is temporary,” he said, referring to Gazmin’s declaration, adding it’s a “good opportunity for the government to see the weaknesses in the peace plan; or there will be other clashes.”
More than 100,000 residents of Zamboanga were forced to flee their homes, most of them taking refuge in the city’s sports stadium as rebels fired mortar rounds and torched more than 10,000 homes, according to the nation’s risk-reduction agency.
One-hundred thirty six MNLF members have been charged with rebellion and violation of the International Humanitarian Law for the Zamboanga attacks, Senior Superintendent Edgar Danao, an investigator with the Mindanao police, said by phone today.
Habier Malik, the MNLF commander who’s still at large, was among those charged and evidence is being gathered to pin Misuari down, Danao said.
The government will make 3.9 billion pesos ($90 million) available to reconstruct Zamboanga City, Aquino said Sept. 19. The Zamboanga peninsula, which contributed 2.1 percent to the economy last year, expanded 12.4 percent, the fastest among the nation’s 17 regions, the data show.
‘Sardine Capital’
Known as the Philippines’ sardine capital, Zamboanga’s fishing and canning companies employ as many as 40,000 people, Teresita Uy-Sebastian, vice-chairman of the Mindanao Business Council, said this month.
Mindanao accounted for 14.4 percent of Philippine output in 2012, according to government data. It’s also home to many of the country’s Muslim population, which accounts for about 5 percent of the Philippines’ more than 100 million people, according to estimates by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
Misuari and his followers will be held accountable for the devastation they caused in Zamboanga, Aquino said in the city Sept. 22 before flying back to Manila after overseeing military and relief operations for more than a week.
Misuari founded the MNLF more than 40 years ago to lobby for an independent Muslim state, signed a peace agreement with the government in 1996 and became governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. The Moro Islamic, which is in peace negotiations with Aquino’s administration, broke away from MNLF because of policy differences.
The government’s peace deal with Moro Islamic will include all Muslims, presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles said this month.
Nur Misuari achieved his goal of grabbing  the limelight
 by sowing terror and violence in Zamboanga. 
From Agence France-Presse
Nur Misuari, a charismatic Muslim leader who set the Philippines' south ablaze with rebellion decades ago, is back doing what he does best after a less-than-successful fling with peace.

At the age of 71, the former academic orchestrated a stand-off in the southern port city of Zamboanga that claimed more than 100 lives and put him back in the national spotlight.
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. MNLF chair Nur Misuari declaring his break-up with the government in Indanan, Sulu, August 12. Photo by AFP
 "We don't want to be part of the Philippines anymore," Misuari told supporters in his Jolo island stronghold on August 12 as he declared himself the president of the "Bangsamoro Republik" and railed against national government authorities.

"Their presence in our homeland is illegal, unlawful, illicit. They should pack up and leave."

However, Misuari may have overplayed his hand, according to Casiple, citing his inability to draw much support beyond the Tausug heartlands of Jolo and Basilan island.

"His problem now is that you have a president who is in no mood to negotiate," Casiple said, citing President Benigno Aquino III's rejection of a ceasefire offer by Misuari and plans to charge his men with rebellion.

"I think this is the endgame for him." – Agence France-Presse
“Enrile is so desperate that he is like a crocodile who has left his maritime kingdom and is flapping around on land, still hoping to kill his prey. I am morally convinced of his culpability in trashing the Commission on Audit and its chair, as well as in engulfing Zamboanga City in an expensive rebellion,” Senadora Miriam Santiago said in a statement.
From Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago accused her nemesis, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce-Enrile, of allegedly financing the Zamboanga rebellion to divert the attention of the public from the “pork barrel” funds scam.

“Enrile is so desperate that he is like a crocodile, who has left his maritime kingdom and is flapping around on land, still hoping to kill his prey.  I am morally convinced of his culpability in trashing the COA (Commission on Audit) and its chair, as well as in engulfing Zamboanga City in an expensive rebellion.” Senator Santiago 

She said Enrile could easily afford the reported P40-million fund to finance the rebellion in Zamboanga by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) if it was true that he had funnelled some P400 million of his priority development assistance fund (PDAF) to dummy non-government organizations (NGOs) linked to Janet Lim-Napoles.

“According to the whistle-blowers, Enrile reportedly gave some P400 million of his PDAF to Napoles’ NGOs.  Thus, in the buzzing public mind, Enrile could easily afford to spend P40 million on the Zamboanga rebellion as a diversionary tactic,”   Santiago said.

“ The public should consider his background as defense secretary during martial law, with a proclivity for coddling former police and military officials, and a feckless ambition to rewrite history,”  she pointed out.