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Mindanao Fighting Intensifies As Ramadan End Nears

September 26, 2008

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is drawing to a close and with it, the fighting in central Mindanao is intensifying with the military resuming air attacks against positiions of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front,

Reports from the field are saying as many as 22 Moro rebels were slain although the MILF is virously denying this.

A disturbing incident this morning: a grenade bombing in Cotabato City that is said to have injured 6 people.

This sign of the conflict reaching an urban center is ominous.

This is certain to heighten the fears of the civiian population while making it imperative for the police to ‘harden’ pontential civilian targets.

The upsurge in the fighting comes just days after President Arroyo told the UN General Assembly of her government’s commitment to the peace process even as the military tries with its fast dwindling resources and thinly spread men under arms to keep the peace and contain the rebels.

Serving as backdrop to this are the recent Commission of Audit findings about unliquidated cash advances of military officials totaling PhP 1.6-B while the AFP told a congressional budget hearing it needs 10-B in new funds to sustain the war effort.

All these as the government is assessing the impact of the global financial crisis triggered by the collapse of the giant investment house Lehman Brothers, the 200-M dollar trade deficit, and the erratic world oil prices.

We  are in a socio-economic pressure cooker with the pressure building up as the grim events play out.

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