Mindanao Crisis and Its
to the Peace and Development
By: The MPCPD Secretariate
(May 19, 2000)
This document attempts to provide an
in-depth study about the clearer picture and analysis of the
worsening situation in Mindanao as well as its implication to the
populace and the country. It also aims at providing framework for
the MPCPD network and other peace advocates actions and
programs in responding the said situation. It was based on the
MPCPDs clippings and compilation of formal interview
documents as well as informal discussion of the Philippines
leading personalities from across sections, and summarized
insights and thesis of the allied NGO/PO network of MPCPD. The
Mindanao islands and their natural resources have been
illustrated to be the Philippines comparative advantage to global
economy by the government and the Imperialist United States (IUS)
through globalization and neo-liberal policy. Whether we like it
or not, promoters of such policy shall impose this to the people
and those who will oppose it shall face the consequence of
fascism, hence, the worsening crisis in Mindanao clearly
manifests the fascist character of those imposing the policy. It
explains and exposes the crisis experienced by the IUS puppet
government on policies and programs of the globalization and
neo-liberalization in Mindanao.
The "all out war policy" of Erap government which is
tactically directed to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF),
is basically and strategically addressed to the entire people who
are actively opposing the anti-people policies of the
globalization and neo-liberalization dictated by the IUS. The
suffering of civilians as an effect of his "all out
war" policy is just but secondary thing. Erap through its
military advisers and agents covertly revived the infamous
conflict among peoples in Mindanao: Christians-Muslims Conflict,
Moro vs Lumad. In some instances it created intrigues to gush out
the Christians vs Christians and Muslims vs. Muslims within the
Christians and Muslim populace. Muchmore, the government
propaganda machinery has maximized unverified criminality to
justify the attacks to the MILFs position and camps. It is
in order to make sure peoples support on military actions
on governments advantage.
Aside from attributing unverified criminal charges to the
MILF, Eraps propaganda machine is now driving MILFs
connection to Abu Sayyaf despite of some verified data on Abu
Sayyafs history and characteristic. It has been exposed
that this group is a military creation and is until now
maintained by some select-officers of the Armed forces of the
Philippines (AFP). Reported systematic operation of military
agents such as sowing intrigues to Muslims, Christians, and Lumad
and then recruiting them to vigilante formation has been
widespread. MILFs tactical military offensives as offshoots
of the governments attack against them such as occupation
of highways, municipal halls, and villages etc. were
intentionally highlighted to give more credence of the intrigues.
Civil war is inevitable in Mindanao should this scheme continues.
In this light, a critical study as well as sharp steps and
concerted actions must be launched by the NGOs, POs, groups,
individuals, and all peace advocates under Mindanao Peoples,
Congress for Peace and Development (MPCPD) in order to squarely
address the worsening crisis. As among the leading stakeholders
on Mindanao lasting peace and genuine development, let us
transforms this crisis into an advantage position to strengthen
our resolve on PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT in Mindanao.
I. Brief Historical Background of the
- Circumstances in the Ramos Regime:
- The Ramos regime recognized and offered the important
role of Mindanao to the development of entire country. It
designed Mindanao 2000 that basically anchored to the
economic fundamentals of the Philippines 2000, a
regimes development package in implementing the
globalization and neo-liberalization programs.
Recognizing the existence of armed revolutionary groups,
he also described "PEACE" as the key to achieve
such development. It is in this context that the peace
process was conceptualized, thus peace talks were open to
all revolutionary forces. However, it was designed as
approach to strategically neutralize the revolutionary
- He tactically prioritized those experiencing
revolutionary fatigue, small and less complicated
revolutionary groups. He first talked the Revolutionary
Armed Movement (RAM) in 1993 while immediately after, he
concentrated to the Moro National Liberation Front
- FVR at this period recognized MILF as a big threat to its
development agenda. He then thought of some military
covert operation to strategically neutralize the MILF.
Through his select military agents, he coddled with some
members of the MILF who belongs to an influential clan in
Maguindanao with a coup plot against the MILFs
central leadership. Integral part of this operation was
the re-establishments of vigilantes, through, the
infamous Italian priest killer Mr. Manero, an anti-Muslim
vigilante member called Ilaga.
- In 1996, the peace talks between MNLF and Ramos regime
ended with an agreement to establish the SPCPD. It was
when Prof. Nur Misuari assured Ramos to adopt the
Mindanao 2000 development agenda and framework.
Afterwards the MNLF as revolutionary forces weakened and
was later completely isolated from the Moro masses.
- Ramos initiated talks with the MILF in January 1997.
However, it did not prosper because it got busy with the
presidential election in 1998. Moreover, the Ramos
coup plot within the MILF also failed when 200 agents
were accidentally discovered and arrested by the MILF.
The regime then reduced their tactics towards MILF by
using "carrots and stick". Carrots or
development funds to maintain the peace process with
minimal "sticks" or military offensives/attacks
towards MILF position and camps to soften some MILF
stance on some particular issues. Meanwhile, Ramos also
open talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF.
- Ramos and his master from IUS worried over Eraps
popularity. They expected that Erap would win the
election and would not continue the globalization program
and neo-liberal policy Ramos had started. IUS, to ensure
its interest entered into compromise with Eraps
camp. One of the trusted men of Erap was summoned to
United States for the deal. In exchange for smooth
transition of power IUS asked for their interest
including the Visiting Forces Agreements (VFA), and
retention of CIA/FVR henchmen like Sec. Aguirre as
national security council chief, Sec. Siason as foreign
affairs chief, and Gen. Calimlim as intelligence and
presidential guard chief. These are the people who will
ensure and maintain IUS interest should Erap assumes
power. Eraps camp at that time was amenable to the
compromise for the reason of ensuring victory and
avoiding Erap place in danger like assassination.
- Circumstances within Erap Administration:
- Faithful of their agreement, Erap adopted policies that
support globalization and neo-liberal programs including
the affirmation of the strategic role of Mindanao into
global economy. He also installed all trusted men of IUS
into sensitive position as well as endorsed the VFA.
Because of his popularity he implemented policies and
programs which Ramos failed to implement such as Marcos
wealth resolution, placement of Marcos cronies back to
business, charter change etc.
- In 1999 the peace talk between Government of the
Philippines (GRP) and CPP-NPA-NDF collapsed because of
differences on the peace talks framework while the
GRP-MILF peace talks move very slowly.
- Meanwhile, the economic crisis of the nation continues to
break off. Effects of the impact of globalization have
worsened this year 2000. Eraps absence of
comprehensive development program confounded this crisis.
Governments program on empowerment, food security,
agriculture and rural development and housing remains a
slogan. One hundred million pesos a day expense for
military offensive against MILF deepen further the
- Evidence on cronyism, massive graft and corruption,
impact of globalization to the people intensifies: oil
price increase and deregulation, also complicates further
the economic crisis and has cost seriously Eraps
popularity to melt down at negative 16%.
- Evidence of squabble and differences within the AFP and
civilian circles in the Erap government have been
reportedly worsened. The squabble is attributed to the
serious differences on the handling of the growing
effects of the globalization to the people. Hence, the
popularity of Erap has overturned and is blamed to his
policies and programs that cost the deepening economic
crisis in the country. It also worsened the crack within
the government and elite, thus plot of coup de tat
against Erap emerged from the significant circle of
generals loyal to Ramos. It also consolidates the Oust
- Meanwhile, this row has been dragged to serious
differences over the handling of Mindanao problem. There
were two opposing schools of thoughts on how to handle
the Mindanao problem that emerged. First the
"non-military approach" which is pushed by the
liberal circles in his cabinet and other development
oriented groups, and second the
"military-approach" which is pushed by the Sec.
Almonte and Fidel V. Ramos (FVR)s circle of
generals and men in the Erap cabinet.
- The former is basically a continuation of FVR approach
with the MILF by pouring development funds so long the
MILF sit in the negotiating table. This is being actively
played by the groups of Aventajado. However, the
militarist advocates who are not comfortable with the
said approach have held Erap hostage with the latter. Low
popularity rating made him convince to give in to
militarist approach. Expecting a bounce of his rating he
orders "all out war". Like Mr.Putin of Russia
did against Muslim separatist in Chechnya.
- IUS is also worried over the declining popularity rating
of Erap. Its dwindling support to Eraps government
is timetable until September 2000 should he fails to
regain the rating. Stratford warned him the consequence
of military coup, constitutional coup, or a combination
of both, like to what had happened to Pakistan and Sri
- As such, Erap quickly followed the IUS advised to take
harsh formula in handling the Mindanao problem with the
MILF to heal his popularity inspite of strong opposition
from his civilian advisers. He also ensure tough but
loyal officers in place in strategic positions like
Generals Lacson and Reyes while either removing or
floating officers with uncertain loyalty.
- Eraps "all out war policy" combines
scheme of sowing intrigues with Christians and Muslims
and Lumads. Among the intrigues it propagated was like
this one, "what will happen to Christians and
Lumads if MILF version of autonomy is given?" It
showed obviously that Christians and Lumads have no place
in the autonomy. This issue creates confusion to them.
Since MILF also has limited or no ready-made answer to
this issue because accordingly they are still talking
peace or the autonomy mechanics with the GRP.
- Included also in the scheme is the operationalization of
the vigilantes and fundamentalist groups. The Abu Sayyaf
consolidates its organization with anti-Christian
posturing; the Christian Liberation Army (CLA) and the
Ilaga, with anti Muslim posturing. Concerned Basilan a
mix Muslims and Christians group organized by Sec.
Aguirre with anti-Abu Sayyaf posturing but also conducts
counter-kidnapping. Military agents aided by CIA advisers
were reportedly organizing and funding these vigilantes
and fundamentalists. Hence, the "all out war"
policy and military offensive against the MILF has
relatively obtained support from the people of Luzon and
Visayas who used to witness war at the tri-media that
covers most of the time atrocities of the Abu Sayyaf in
Basilan and Jolo. It was also the effects of massive
campaign of the Erap government to associate MILF to Abu
- Frightening reactions from MILF and its supporters both
within and outside the country have also been carried out
to contain "all out war policy". However, to
the camps of the government instead viewed this as
welcome sign to easily neutralize pro-MILF including low
- In Mindanao after it realized alarming war damages, most
of the people call for peace and appeal to resolve
differences in the negotiating table. Peace marches,
rallies, fora and lobbying to campaign "peace not
war" has now gaining momentum and support in the
country including the wide section of the population.
II. The Current Situation:
In last quarter of 1999 Erap set the deadline to finish
talking peace with MILF on June 30, 2000 while the preparation
for a joint military exercise with IUS and the Philippines was
hammered out to begin and ends in February 2000. The joint
military exercise was named OPLAN Balikatan 2000. When the AFP
catches justification to attack Camp Omar of MILF in
municipalities of Talayan and Shariff Aguak, those who graduated
from the said military exercise were deployed and augmented
government troops for the assault. Significant victory in Camp
Omar over the MILF proved accordingly the effectiveness of the
war tactics undertaken in the joint military exercise as well as
the military hardware left by IUS soldiers.
After the Omar incident, criminality like bombings with public
utility vehicles like ferries and busses as well as bombings of
public places became rampant in which MILF, the military suspect
denied any involvement. Along these issues, the Manero haste as
well as Abu Sayyaf kidnapping activities competes capturing
headlines in tri-media. The bombing of passenger ferry that cost
lives of 42 innocent civilian again the AFP finds excuse to
attack Camp Bilal of MILF. The attack justification was based on
unverified intelligence report that that suspects was hiding in
the said camp. They, for the second time, employed tactics and
armaments acquired from OPLAN Balikatan 2000.
Unlike Camp Omar where MILF lost some strategic positions,
Camp Bilals MILF troops had successfully defended its
position that in 3 day fight the government forces suffer heavy
casualty. As offshoots of the AFPs intense attack, the MILF
launched military counter offensive by attacking AFPs
garrisons and occupied Kauswagan town for 10 days. Later however,
MILF forces left Kauswagan in view of the appeal from the
civilians and peace advocates. The vigilante group called the
"God Shepherd" was then organized with anti-Muslim
posturing. The organizers highlighted MILF occupation of the
Christian predominated town of Kauswagan. Combat gear wearing
President Estrada inspired the groups formation.
After Camp Bilal, the military brings the war into the main
Camp of MILF, the Camp Abubakar Asidique. The justification by
this time is the illegal toll collection in the Narciso Highway
where residents denied of such activity. The Narciso Highway
traversed the said main camp which MILF manning checkpoints also.
The MILF formally informed the government that touching the said
highway would mean a big war. Hence, in a peace panel meeting on
27th of April 2000 the MILF brought the highway issue
to their attention. Both the government and MILF peace panels
came up a "peace formula" on the said highway. Since
the issue raised was police matter, they both agreed National
Police should the one clearing the area and not the AFP. However,
barely 6 hours after, the government troops violated the
agreement by attacking the main camp instead MILF garrisons in
Intense fighting ensued after the MILF suspended peace talks
in protest with the violation of the agreements at the Narciso
Highway and the war had spelled over in almost entire areas
suspected near the camps of MILF in Mindanao. Alarmed over the
situation, the peace advocates called for the resumption of peace
talks and cease-fire between the two warring camps, however, only
the MILF responded the call for 48 hours cease-fire, thus war
resumed again it lapse. The peace advocates had again asked the
MILF to reposition its forces into 1 kilometer away from the
contested highway to avoid prolonging the war and ease civilian
sufferings. MILF faithfully responded the call but however, the
government still continues pounding MILF position with mortars
and airdrop bombs. The government has still to decide its
response with the MILF repositioning until today. And on the 18th
of May 2000, the AFP extended their demands from Narciso highway
into additional 3 kilometer repositioning of MILF troops away
from the said highway after occupying the Narciso Highway. What
the military really wants, the Highway or the MILF camp?, a
question that nags the minds of most peace loving people of
Gradual and strategic constriction military tactic is the
model employed by the AFP-GRP to crush and capture the main camp
of MILF, the Camp Abubakar. It employs the elite forces of the
AFP, the Marines and Scout Rangers with heavy armaments where the
Army and para-military are placed as support forces. The AFP also
involved 80% of its ground force, 80% of its air force, 90% of
its Marine combat force, and 80% of its naval force. Further 5
AFP Division assigned in different parts of the country was also
asked to commit 1500 combat force each as augmentation force in
the ground forces. More or less the AFP deployed 50,000 personnel
excluding the 42,000 auxiliary forces in Mindanao. To boast
militarys moral further, Erap went around the areas near
the fighting with complete military gear.
The MILF on other hand deploys 12,150 combat force with heavy
ground armaments scattered in 4 provinces where the heavy
fighting is taking place. These are Lanao Norte, and Matanog- 2
Brigades each, Lanao Sur, Buldon, Zamboanga Sur- 1 Brigade each,
Maguindanao and Pikit, 1 division each. The fighting ratio
between AFP and MILF is 5:1 respectively. However, in Lanao Norte
only 1500 MILF ground troops are fighting against 13,000 Marines.
As a result of these intense firefights, AFP recorded as of
this writing, 324 dead, 542 wounded and 42 missing while 80 MILF
mujahedeens dead and 123 other wounded. On the innocent
civilians, again massive evacuations and displacements, loss of
lives and millions worth of properties are again among the common
reality. The government welfare agency recorded as many as
300,000 individuals displaced, 121 innocent women and children
killed from indiscriminate firings, airdrops bombs from the
AFPs aircraft and artillery.
The closures of major highways, sea and airports as well as
bombs scare and panic buying have led to the collapse of commerce
and business that cost 1 Billion pesos a day losses. It also
threatened widespread scarcity of food supplies among the
populace especially areas surrounded with heavy fighting. The
damaged public utilities such as source of water, light, etc. due
to heavy weapons and bombs has further compounded the misery
The IUS direct participation in the said war is through their
military advisers and logistical and armaments support like the
global positioning system (GPS), gadget to take satellite photo
to detect MILF position. These are manifested in the MILFs
captured armaments and gadgets during the war.
Meanwhile, the situation in handling MILF crisis and Abu
Sayyaf activities of kidnapping foreign people are also seen not
remote in the near future to be among the IUS justification of
the deployment of seven fleets in the seas around Mindanao using
III. Reactions of the People in the Mindanao
- Church: Organized its response to "peace not
war". However, it came late and divided. The
position of the Catholic Bishops Conference of
Philippines (CBCP) differs to one another: Bishop
Quevedo, the CBCP Pres., an advocate for peace has called
for the GRP and MILF to go back in the negotiating table.
While Bishop de la Cruz of Basilan and considerable
number of priests understandably called for "all out
- Business Groups: They position for all out war if
the war would only last for 3-7 days. But however, later
they called to stop the war when they realized that war
has prolonged and already causing more than 1 billion
pesos a day loss for business activity.
- NGO/POs: Reactive and in most cases only confined
to relief response activity with the victims of war: the
evacuees. Those who are active were mostly coming from
- Local Government: Sold out to support "all
out war" but those within the war zones who opposed
war were pressured to support the policy.
- Media: Generally stands for the government.
However, some are reporting objectively.
- Development Agencies: Consider withdrawal of its
support in Mindanao Projects.
- Senators: Mindanao senators (Barbers, Pimentel and
Guingona) called for: "resumption of peace
talk", stop the war in Mindanao. But majority of the
senators and congressman are supportive to all out war.
Only 6 of 49 Mindanao congressperson campaign for peace.
- International Community: Those who were updated of
the situation had letter-barraged to their friends and
Philippine Government. This is not yet systematic and
- International Media (EU, France, Germany): Reacted
and penetrated Basilan and Sulu due to hostage taking of
- When the war intensified the Christian-Muslim animosities
also heighten. The Christians and Muslim fundamentalist
and Christian vigilantes and others have been emerging
- Most of those who participated in the peace campaigns
started from above. Minimal coming from the grassroots.
The peace campaigns are launched separately and
uncoordinatedly. The TFME allied NGO/POs also had
relatively failed to immediately react, lead and maximize
the opportunity to strengthen peace and development
advocacy in Mindanao.
IV. General Analysis:
- The Eraps handling of the current Mindanao crisis
is the concrete approach of the IUS dictated fascist
state that fetches modern globalization program and
neo-liberal policy. The IUS direct intervention in
Eraps handling could be manifested in the
MILFs captured US made-sophisticated armaments and
modern war technologies on communication used by the AFP
in the offensive.
- The IUSs war ideology that the number 1 enemy of
the world today after the cold war is the
"fundamentalist Islam religion and terrorists
Muslim" is clearly noticeable on Eraps
campaign in handling the Mindanao crisis. The said war
ideology has maintained and justified IUS own existence
as world police dog and the imperialist country that
maintains world peace and order.
- The advanced capitalist countries such Japan, European
Union and US have utilized multi-forms to bring the
developing countries into the framework of modern
globalization under their control. It employs direct
military intervention through provision of military
logistical support and multi-national forces especially
those countries keeping up problem with revolutionaries
and freedom fighters in order to forcibly crush
resistance and force these countries integrate to modern
globalization. It also maximizes international
organizations such as United Nation and World Security
Councils to systematically integrate those countries that
they have limited control and bring these countries
integrate to modern globalization.
- Mindanao on the Philippine Context:
- Mindanao has been said the land of promise as declared by
almost all governments which passed in the country. The
strategic development success of the country depends on
the Mindanao significant role and its abundant natural
resources. The current government has placed Mindanao as
the food basket where foods of generations to come in the
country will be taken from Mindanao. In the world
economy, it also plays important role in the BIMP-EAGA,
and politically and militarily, it has strategically
placed in Asia Pacific regional rim.
In this reality,
IUS tries and wants to integrate Mindanao Islands into
world standing politically, economically and culturally.
In this context also the Filipino elite represented by
Erap also finds no room for Islamic State in Mindanao.
The Erap government employs "stick and
carrots" approach to assimilate Mindanao and by
crushing the rebellion. The "carrots" or
development funds are channeled through Aventajado group
and "sticks" through Gen. Reyes of AFP.
However, Erap prioritized his self-preservation in the
face of his dwindling popularity and avoid the coup, thus
he seriously considers the step of President Putin of
Russia. He used force to appear as hero in the eyes of
mis-informed general public.
- Option by Force:
- This is the modern application of the low-intensity
conflict (LIC). It employs modern war logistics,
equipment and armament. The Erap government called this
as an "all out war", this however to appear his
macho image he acquired in filmmaking. This option is
also the modern version of "total war policy"
of US-Aquino regime launched against the communist. The
insincerity of the Erap government in the peace talks is
exposed on this option.
Meanwhile, other revolutionary
forces viewed the Mindanao crisis base on what they think
advantageous to them. The CPP-NPA-NDF has entered into
tactical alliance with MILF, but it however is not as
serious as that. The NDF did this just for propaganda
purposes. This group is also looking for the
sophisticated military hardware from the MILF. The
RPA-ABB-RPM entered tactical alliance with MILF on the
bases that they viewed MILF as the representatives of the
toiling Moro masses, which is fighting for the right to
self-determination. As such, they accordingly are obliged
to support any political objectives of MILF as a
proletarian obligation. Thus, recent attacks at the
strategic establishment in Metro Manila in support MILF
cause were attributed to them.
The massive support from the masses to this option by
force is also an important element. It would
strategically integrate Mindanao to global economy by
means of this option if Erap successfully rally the
support of the Christian, Moro and Lumad masses in
- The peace process being advocated by the government
within the framework of pursuing the interest of IUS
through globalization program and neo-liberal policy in
Mindanao would only mean a preparation for a big war by
the government against those opposed the said program and
policies like the MILF.
- The Mechanics of OPLAN PHEONIX
The Oplan Phoenix is the general military plan that
particularized offensive design of the AFP to neutralize, if not
crush the MILF positions and camps. (Oplan Phoenix literally
means the "use of intense fire/offensive). The primary
objective of this designed is to neutralize the MILF leadership
and crushes its central base, the Camp Abubakar. It mainly
employs military tactics on "gradual constriction" to
all MILF recognized camps. It also believes that crippling and
crushing one after the other small and satellite camps would
ensure AFP-GRPs victory.
The Oplan Phoenix also sets for an estimated of two months
intense fire exchanges and strong resistance from the MILF should
it starts attacking Camp Abubakar. This estimate accordingly, is
based on the data gathered from the AFPs strategic agents
within the MILF that it losses logistics and war ammunitions for
that span of time. The IUS military adviser also affirmed the
timetable. The further set the timetable of seven months to
completely neutralize MILF force in the entire Mindanao.
The Oplan Phoenix was also based on the conventional warfare
strategy of the MILF wherein it shall justify the AFP-GRP to
mobilize their entire heavy war materials and forces. It includes
drops of international regulated bombs from its air force,
deployment of Naval near suspected sea exit of MILF camps,
concentration of heavy artillery as well as all of its elite
forces. It also seriously considers modern technologies and
armaments acquired from the IUS.
Below are some features of the Oplan Phoenix
- GRP vs MILF
- The AFP-GRP would use its elite forces as the
leading troops in the ground and launch intense
and indiscriminate firing of artillery and
airdrops bombs. They identified the elite ground
forces as the Marines and Scout Rangers while the
army, police and para-military shall perform
support contingent. It shall also mobilized
military reserve forces for medical and food
relief operations to the war victims particularly
Included also in the tactics of
Oplan Phoenix is the massive campaign and
launching of provocative actions that comprise
indiscriminate mortar firing towards civilian and
massive psychological operations against the
MILF. Psychological operation embodies schemes on
isolating the MILF by associating this
revolutionary force to criminality and Abu Sayyaf
activities. It also maximizes the psychic of MILF
ranks and files of leader oriented and close
family ties to scramble field commanders into
emotional state in retaliation of leaders and
families hit by the AFP with its indiscriminate
firing. It was also designed to isolate MILF with
their international support/allies and to weaken
support of the Moro masses locally.
Further, the Oplan Phoenix also designed
scheme of systematic cracking down of those
supportive personalities within the government
and business community. Witch-hunts undertaken by
select-military agents are now plying and it
would later mature into sporadic disappearances,
salvaging and other serious cases of human rights
- Muslim vs Christian:
Oplan Phoenix recognizes this conflict to the strategic
victory of the AFP-GRP against the MILF. The sensitive and
traumatic experience of both Muslim and Christians could be
easily maximized once provoked. Thus, criminality, bombings of
public places before the attack of MILF camps and the Abu Sayyaf
activities had been highlighted. The MILF however repeatedly
denied including any relation with the Abu Sayyaf of all cases
attributed to them.
It also employs kidnapping, counter kidnapping, bombings and
counter bombings at sensitive places for the both Muslim and
Christians. Included in here is the bombing of Mosque for the
Muslim as well as Cathedral for the Christian in Mindanao. This
scheme is to ensure moral justification to block any local and
international support for the enemy of the AFP-GRP.
Below are some nagging data gathered and nagging question
taken from an in-depth study with the Abu Sayyaf group.
- Abu Sayyaf fighters were initially recruited to be
volunteer mojahedeens to fight the American surrogate war
in Afganistan in the early 90s.
- Some select military officers of the AFP trained the Abu
Sayyaf troops in Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Basilan and other
remote places in Mindanao.
- The funds and arms of the Abu Sayyaf were provided by IUS
covert operators, probably connected to the CIA. Olama
Bin Laden could have been the principal courier for
either the Abu Sayyaf funds, or the arms or both.
- In 1994 an NGO which is an ally of TFME in Zamboanga
confirmed that 5 leading Abu Sayyaf leading personalities
were actually military agents including Edwin Angeles.
For estranged reason, Edwin Angeles was assassinated
sometimes 1998. Where are the four others now?
- Sometimes in 1995, the funds either failed to come or did
not come on time, Thus, the Abu Sayyaf troops raided the
town of Ipil, Zamboanga del Sur. Their initial intention
was to rob the banks of Ipil. Unexpectedly, however, a
group of soldiers not belonging to the Ipil Command who
were eating in a restaurant engaged them in a firefight.
The shoot out drew the attention of the local police and
military units who had earlier reported ordered confined
to their camps and were thus caught flatfooted by the Abu
Sayyaf raid. To divert the attention of the responding
police and military units, Abu Sayyaf bandits razed Ipil
to the ground.
- Mr. Kadaffy Janjalani, the current Abu Sayyafs
commander, was detained in Camp Crames detention
cell with a maximum security. But for strange reasons he
escaped his cell and went back to the hill immediately
after his brother, former head of the group, was killed
in a raid.
- The spokesperson of Abu Sayyaf in the name of Abu Sabaya
was reportedly frequented talking with a certain colonel
in AFPs Southern Command before the bloody hostage
taking in Basilan took place that includes priest,
teachers and students.
- Senator Aquilino Pimentel is parenthetically suggesting
to read the book: Blowback, by Chalmers Johnson, that
accordingly it may justify a deeper study into the
affairs of the CIA in our country that have a direct
relevance to the problems that the Abu Sayyaf is causing
the country today.
- Christian vs Christian:
- The Christian church particularly the Catholic is
considered to be one the critical institution to
the anti-people policies and action of
Eraps government. However, recently and
perhaps for the first, the AFP-GRP is relatively
succeeding to divide the church with the Crisis
in Mindanao. In the burning Mindanao crisis, it
was very clear that the Catholic Church
contradicts its position as institution. The
church leaders particularly Bishops and priest
differ on its position on the "all out
war" of Erap in Mindanao.
- Muslim vs Muslim
- Oplan Phoenix also recognized the scheme of
intensifying cracks within the Moro society. It
designed scheme on how to mobilize Moro
personalities within the local government units
to support all out war. They mobilized these
personalities to convince Moro elders to do away
supporting MILF by disallowing their children to
actively support MILF cause. However, some
minimal number were sharp and smarter to this
scheme, they instead join multi-sectoral
formation for peace movement.
- Lumad Communities
There were also scheme being designed to sow intrigues within
the Lumad society especially near Muslim communities in order
revive the Lumad vs. Muslim conflict. Lumads are now encouraged
by their leaders to arm themselves against the Muslims.
- It appeared those criminality charges, bombings of public
places in random urban centers, occupation of town halls,
clearing of highways are but secondary things to the main
objective of neutralizing if not totally crushing the
MILF militarily. These were happening and shall continue
happening while MILF, the AFP-GRP suspect, keep on
denying any responsibility, until such time AFP announces
strategic military victory over the MILF.
- The Oplan Zero Hour:
- The "Oplan Zero Hour" (OZH) is the defensive
and counter offensive military tactics of the MILF
against the Oplan Phoenix of the AFP. Its an "all
out Jihad" or holy war. The OZH will according
commence should strategic military position at Camp
Abubakar are attacked by the military. OZH also embodied
plan to spell over the war in all places of Mindanao,
Visayas and even Metro Manila.
OZH shall engage mainly
a positional warfare however, recent war appears that
MILF did not only employ positional warfare but combined
guerrilla warfare in their offensive. Thus, big damaged
had been inflicted with the AFP as it widely believes
that MILF would only used mainly the conventional
warfare. Meanwhile MILF have also augmented its perimeter
defense in Camp Abubakar with their elite forces and
heavy weaponry. In some instances, OZH had also flexibly
improvised the positional warfare into tunnel warfare.
To counter psychological operation of the Oplan
Phoenix, OZH employs critical handling of the mass media
as well as critically following the peace movement of the
masses wherein they base their defensive and counter
offensive actions. Though, there were some reported
excesses in the field the MILF has imposed strict
discipline to its forces. In effect, MILF had successful
captured the support of the people across section
especially the Muslims and peace advocates as well as the
international community when it declared 48-hour
cease-fire and voluntary repositioning of forces as its
response to the call for "peace not war".
In effect psychological operation for the AFP-GRP
becomes self-defeating as the Cluster E couldnt
even know what to do of such troops repositioning and
peace declaration. The morale support from the people to
the AFPs action before they attack Narciso Highway
is now eroding. The Cluster E of the Pres. Erap and the
president himself is now isolated specially among peace
advocates in Mindanao. By the way, an IUS boy Sec. Siazon
heads the Cluster E, or the executive departments
What has been lacking with the OZH is the legal
machinery that supports military actions with the
effective and massive legal offensive from the Moro
masses. There were some actions from some legal
organization but they still need enhancement into a more
coordinated, intensive and extensive in nature at the
- Squabbles within the Ruling Elite:
The ruling elites efficient and effective control in the
country is now eroding as the squabbles continue to intensify.
Below are some features of these squabbles.
- Erap Clique:
- President Joseph Ejercito Estrada is determined to finish
his term in 2004. However, with his dwindling popularity,
some sector comments that he might not finish it. The
President then employs formula of giving preferential
options on the Military to ensure loyalty and avoid the
serious threat of coup.
- FVR Clique
- The FVR clique continues to play a big thorn on
Eraps government. This group is now consolidating
and waiting for a proper time to strategically strike
against the Erap government. They are critically watching
the popularity ratings of Pres. Erap and the loyalty of
the AFP. This clique is the most inheritor sector should
the Oplan Phoenix fails and the Mindanao crisis prolongs.
IUS is now undertaking trial to the effectiveness of Ms.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. It is the face authorizing her
as care taker of the country while Erap was forced to
visit other country while situation in Mindanao and in
the country is alarming.
- Combined FVR and Cory Cliques:
- Alliance of these two groups is also manifested to some
considerable observation especially on their actions and
critical position against Erap government. They are of
the same tune to maximizing constitutional and
extra-constitutional means to disrupt Erap government.
This would be clearer during election fever in 2001 and
- IUS Interest:
The furtherance of the IUSs interest will however be
still the determining factor who among these cliques rules. The
warring cliques look into the strategic support from the IUS and
other imperialist countries like the Japan and EU. Any action
coming from those cliques must have the blessing coming from
these countries. Interestingly, all of them got the blessing as
they all bring the interest of the globalization program and
Below are scenarios that would help us design our moves and
actions to advance peace and development in Mindanao.
- Scenario 1: GRP-AFP will intensify military offensive
against the MILF:
It is the face of widespread and intense military crack down
among the combat forces and civilian base of the MILF and
declares the suspension of peace process. No cease-fire and No
Peace policy even if there is a widespread call from the peace