Military commanders are urging the government to do something about the cultural problems down south, that lead to young Moslems getting little education, lots of unemployment, and resulting in religious and civil leaders who blame the problems on outsiders. Military commanders, coming from the outside, see the corruption and lack of civic responsibility in the south, and recognize a dysfunctional culture that breeds resentment and makes it easy for Islamic terrorists to recruit. The military commanders are urging the government to be more forceful in providing educational and job opportunities for young Moslems, even if this means butting heads with Moslem religious leaders.
Down south, two bombs went off, killing a soldier and wounding eight others.
July 20, 2009: Down south, two Islamic terrorist suspects were arrested and charged with throwing hand grenades at stores, and wounding seven civilians.
July 19, 2009: Troops freed five logging company employees who had been kidnapped by MILF rebels a week ago. Local villager provided information on where the kidnappers were hiding, even before a ransom demand could be made.
July 16, 2009: Some Abu Sayyaf down south have proposed an amnesty, where they would lay down their arms and live in peace, in return for no prosecution and pensions. The government refused, and the army commanders there believe they will have wiped out Abu Sayyaf by the end of the year. In the last three years, they have reduced Abu Sayyaf strength from 700 to 300, and disrupted the support network that enabled Abu Sayyaf to avoid capture, and carry out terrorist attacks.
July 12, 2009: On Basilan, Abu Sayyaf freed an Italian Red Cross official after holding him for ransom for six months. The ransom was never paid, and Abu Sayyaf released their captive to get the army and marines off their case, and because the government had rounded up two wives of an Abu Sayyaf leader, and announced that these women would sit in prison until the Red Cross official was freed.
July 11, 2009: In the south, 30 NPA rebels ambushed an army truck and killed a soldier. This will not halt the upcoming peace talks between the government and the NPA, to negotiate a surrender of the communist rebel group.
July 10, 2009: In the southern city of Cotabato, Moslems and Christians both held anti-terrorist demonstrations, and clergy of both faiths preached anti-terrorist sermons. This was in reaction to a terrorist bomb set off outside a Christian church, earlier in the week, that killed six and wounded fifty. An MILF faction was suspected, but most southerners, especially Moslems, are fed up with all the Islamic terrorism, and other horrors committed on their behalf.