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2003-05-13

The Philippines: The Next Front in the War on Terror?

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As Filipino police make an arrest in Saturday’s bombing, we’ll hear from Philippine author and journalist Luis Francia, author of Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream, 1899-1999.

Philippines President Gloria Arroyo has called on the separatist rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front — the MILF — to renounce terrorism and commit itself to the peace process. She warned that time was running out on peace talks.

She spoke during a visit to Korondal, the site of a bomb blast that killed at least 10 people over the weekend. The MILF has consistently denied the government’s charge that it was behind the attack.
The explosion in a busy market left a trail of carnage and destruction. Body parts were strewn across toppled vendors, a bloodied and maimed body hung off the back of a motorcycle cab and shattered glass and debris were everywhere.

Peace talks between government officials and MILF leaders broke down last week following other bomb attacks in the region.

The MILF, which numbers around 12,500, has been waging a 25-year war against the government with the aim of establishing an independent Islamic state in the southern third of the country.

The BBC reports that if Manila officially brands the group a terrorist organization the army will be given the green light to escalate their military activities in the area. The U.S. Army recently put 1,000 more troops on the ground in Indonesia to help the government combat terrorism.

Luis Francia, Philippine author and journalist. He is the editor of the Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an American Dream, 1899-1999. This was recorded at New York University, April 23.


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