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Philippines: March 7, 2002
   

China will not make a big stink as the Philippines receives (for free)  24 second hand F-5E warplanes from Taiwan. While the aircraft are 1950s designs (built in the 1970s), they are easy to fly and suitable for operations against the various rebel groups. Meanwhile, the leader of the MILF, Hashim Salamat, has returned to the Philippines and ordered a new offensive (despite the ceasefire.) Salamat fled to the Saudi Arabia two years ago as a government offensive destroyed most of the MILF camps and much of the MILF infrastructure. Salamat is apparently upset at how the MILF is splintering, and many rebels are turning to banditry. The return of Salamat apparently means the end of the cease fire, as the government makes no secret of its plans to resume its military offensive.