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A Spate of Rural Bank Closures and a Bad Legacy

January 23, 2009


A new wave of pessimism and outrage about rural banks and pre-need plans is engulfing the country including Bicol. This came about after the string of rural banks failed and the Legacy pre-need plans group closed shop without approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). And Legacy is controlled by one Celso de los Angeles.

Who is Celso de los Angeles? Currently, he is the mayor of the small town of Sto. Domingo, Albay. But I heard that when he ran last elections the question was why a non-native would be running for mayor. I also heard the rumor that he needs it for “protection”.

It seems Celso de los Angeles has a checkered past to say the least. In the mid-80s he was barred by the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas after three banks under his wing collapsed. The BSP cited him for unsound banking practices.

What the guy next did was to buy Legacy Scholarship Pension Plan and Consolidated Plans in the late 80s. Later the two firms were merged.

He next emerged as the chairman of the National Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC) which is the government’s agency tasked in assisting the so-called housing businessmen. Vice-president Noli de Castro, who was Gloria’s “housing czar”, brought him there.

One will wonder how a banned person could be appointed to such position (It also speaks about Kabayan’s capacity to choose people.) And this is after Chavit Singson tagged one “Celso de los Angeles” as a jueteng operator.

He did not last long in NHMFC because malodorous smell immediately leaked. One of his executives got busted for extortion. The agency was immediately politicized–palakasan became the norm and politicians’ recommendations (and for sure there are no audits involved in this) became important in transactions. Another two officials were later charged in court in connection with a land-titling scam. Housing NGOs strenously complained and protested against his mismanagement of the government agency.

That’s when he metamorphosed into a town mayor. It seems the guy was born in the Year of the Butterfly.

Then 10 apparently disparate and geographically dispersed (in Bicol, Luzon and Visayas) rural banks began to fail one after the other. Those banks were offering “double-your-money schemes” in 5 years. And all were traced to be connected to the Legacy group of Celso de los Angeles, the guy banned by the BSP for unsound banking practices.

Now it appears that Legacy is dipping its hand into the coffers of the banks. A big chunk of the banks chain’s fund seems to have been loaned to Legacy. And now Legacy closed shop. If that is not a scam then what is that?

Now the PDIC (Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation) buffer fund is threatened with the need to reimburse all these banks’ depositors (to the tune of up to P250,000). These types of rural banks have already learned to split big deposits into P250,000 chunks. So in the end it will be taxpayers who will have to pay for this scam.

At least Bernard Madoff was already arrested and now under custody of the court. And in the US the scammers have almost no way to wiggle out of the judgment of the courts. But here scammers are protected by a wall of lawyers, politician-patrons and TROs (temporary restraining orders).

Yes, the Philippines is a developing country. Developing in the wrong direction.

[Photo credit: Bullit Marquez, AP]

Will History Be Kind to Bush Jnr?

January 23, 2009


Certainly, Bush jnr. hopes that history will be kind at him. But I don’t think so, if one goes by history (pun intended).

He is the one who ended his presidency with the lowest approval rating in history since polls were recorded 70 years ago, at 22%. 73% disapproved of him. Even the much-maligned Lyndon Johnson, hounded by the Vietnam War, finished well ahead of him at 49%.

The figures:

PRESIDENT…..APPROVE…DISAPPROVE
G.W. Bush…….22%……..73%
B. Clinton……68%……..30%
G.H.W. Bush…..54%……..40%
R. Reagan…….68%……..26%
J. Carter…….44%……..44%
G. Ford………53%……..32%
L. Johnson……49%……..37%
D. Eisenhower…60%……..27%
H. Truman…….32%……..56%

It is just speculation if Bush finished ahead of the pitiful Herbert Hoover who was bashed by the Great Depression. Maybe it is his vice-president Cheney who is in league with Hoover at 13% final approval rating.

Truman finished next worse to Bush jnr but his 32% is significantly ahead. He was bogged by the Korean War and other foreign troubles. And to think that when he left office the US economy then has no great competitor.

Carter is next worse at 44%. He was dogged by the American hostage crisis in Iran and by perceived incompetence (same as Bush jnr). But that Iran crisis pales in comparison to Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo. And Carter left no real crisis.

So what are the lessons of history? One, bad foreign entanglements are not liked by the American public, whatever the rationale (Nobody said then that getting into Korea was wrong; it was just Truman was drawn into a stalemate). Two, don’t bequeth them with crisis. And Bush jnr left generous portions of these to his citizenry. Even his rationale for getting into Iraq and Afghanistan doesn’t wash well with the American public. Is he now praying on his knees for a miracle?

Hoover was shunned by Washington, D.C. and by its politicians long after he retired. It is thought nobody wants to be besmirched by his legacy of crisis. Until Truman called him up to advice him on German rehabilitation, which is Truman’s expertise before. But, in general, he is not remembered well up to this day.

Except for Kennedy nobody paid much attention to Truman after he left office. His reputation only recently got refurbishing when it was realized he helped won the Cold War. Is Bush jnr praying for this salvation?

I don’t think the US will win its so-called war on terror by utilizing Bush’s ways. And I don’t think any future president will be calling on him for advice. At least Truman had solid credentials in rehabilitation.

Will he be forgotten soon like Hoover and Truman? Well, like it or not, probably no. He was born with practically a political silver spoon in the mold of Preston Bush and George snr. This political dynasty will surely work overtime to try to burnish Bush jnr’s soiled legacy. But again, I say, history is not on his side. And, anyway, the American public and political establishment are not that gullible either.

[Image credit:CBS news]

Some Floodings Explained: The Conflict Between Man and Nature

January 16, 2009


These recent days heavy floodings have been reported in some parts of the Philippines–Northern Samar, the Agusan provinces (flooding due to the swelling of Agusan River), Cagayan de Oro (flooding due to the overflowing of Cagayan River of its banks), Iligan City and Linamon in Lanao del Norte, Capiz and Cagayan provinces.

The rains might have been frequent but not really that strong. And flood-prone areas like Metro Manila and Central Luzon were generally spared this time. But all know that during the habagat (southwest monsoons) those areas are almost always flooded when the heavy rains come.

If one will notice all of these now-flooded areas lie to the north of the island to where they belong. The floodings were due to the overflowing of the banks of their rivers which all flow northward.

Funny that the reporter in Lanao del Norte charged that “storm surge” was the cause of the flooding. What he meant was the rivers cannot empty to the sea (causing it to rise) because there’s a surge coming from the sea. A sea surge, yes, but not a “storm surge” because there’s no storm.

This sea surge fuelled by the amihan (northwest moonsoon) is capping the flow to the sea of these northward-flowing rivers. That’s why the river banks are being breached. And also why flooding occurs in the upper reaches of the rivers.

This is one relationship that people must understand. A strong amihan produce a southward-flowing sea surge capping the northward-flowing rivers thereby slowing their capacity to empty to sea and this in turn cause the river to overflow its banks. During habagat, the relationship is reversed. Southward-flowing rivers are bottled up by the sea surge going north.

If tropical cyclones or typhoons are not all bad so do this phenomenon. Storms and typhoons are the primary elements the sea and oceans have in order to cleanse themselves. Sea surges and storm surges have the capability to push back river flows. It is known that Manila Bay sea water even enters the Laguna de Bay through the Pasig River and these cleanses the lake. Flooding and the entry of sea water does the same for rivers.

But herein lies the classic confrontation between man and nature. In the olden days man will simply just give way to nature. But with ever-burgeoning population pressures and urbanization man now occupy nature’s former path.

And so disasters occur.

[Photo credit:Agence France-Presse]

Sea State: A New But Needed Concept

January 16, 2009



No, the term sea state does not refer to some group of atolls in the Pacific or Indian oceans that comprises a small state. This instead refers to the state of the sea much like a weather forecast.

The Philippines, though a maritime country, does not use this concept. At least not in weather forecasting. But events of the last few days and during the first days of January points to the need of using this concept. Repeated suspension of ferry sailing and floodings have been frequent recently [see: “Wicked Weather Count: 2,500 Stranded in Bicol, 50 Homes Destroyed in Cebu, 16,000 Flood Evacuees in Agusan del Sur”, 1/15/09]

Let’s face it. Small ships and fishing vessels sink even without a storm warning, like now. It is because seas can be too rough if the monsoons are in full swing. Like now. But there is a crucial lack of forecasting the state of the seas or sea state.

A sea state refers to the height, period (the two components of a wave in physics) and character of waves of a large body of water (waves can be said to be confused which makes it more dangerous). The strength of the wind is just one factor in creating a sea state. The monsoon swell is another. And tides play a factor, too.

PAGASA, out local forecaster uses the term sea condition. It bases its reading on the old Beaufort wind scale but with 9 gradings (The modern Beaufort wind scale has 12 gradings with the additional grades 13-16 to describe strong tropical cyclones; but some countries even use the 17th grade to describe phenomenal wind forces).

The beauty of an integrated Beaufort scale is that it not only describe wind strength but also the sea conditions including wave height. This is the failing of tropical depression/typhoon forecast we use locally that has only 4 grades and is just the measure of the wind strength, basically.

One small advancement, at least, of PAGASA is that they now use the concept of a gale which is a very strong wind. A full gale, at 63-87kph generally describes our Typhoon Signal #1. So sometimes when PAGASA forecasts gale it is actually describing near-gale winds (not now because half of Philippine seas are under gale conditions and that is why there are waves that are in the range of 3.7-7.0 meters which is more than enough to cancel the trips of regional ferries [not the inter-island ferries from Manila]).

However, more advanced countries than us have sea state forecasts aside from tropical cyclone warnings. Rather than relying on transmissions from passing ships and coast watchtowers it now uses satellite imagery. Shouldn’t we be subscribing to these services? If the government can hardly procure Doppler weather radars there is no way we can launch a dedicated weather satellite.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations has a sea state code. Other countries have their own systems. Even NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) has their “Definition of Sea States” and this one even has modal periods (period between waves). I have seen sea state definitions that even traces different causal conditions which is one reason for the dangerous conditions called confused waves (conflicting waves). With an understanding of the theory of modal periods collosal (or rogue) waves, which capsize boats and launches, can be anticipated.

It seems we are a little bit behind the times.

[Note: Images above describe a full gale or Force 8 on the Beaufort scale]

[Images credit: brianlean, lavoieverte]

The Valley Golf Incident Will Affect Us All Now

January 11, 2009


I did not think that that Valley Golf incident will turn out the way it is heading now. A not-so-simple incident, which might have been minor if not a Cabinet secretary is involved, it escalated into a legal and Internet battle. Charges and counter-charges have been filed, which is normal for powerful and influential people in the Philippines who can easily afford lawyers. And for being powerful the Pangandamans received a big bashing in the Internet, denting their prestige and pride the same way that the pride and prestige of the de la Pazes were dented in the golf course.

Now, what is the bad fall-out of this incident? The Pangandamans have filed criminal libel charges in a court in Lanao del Sur! Now, to those who know Lanao del Sur and the influence of powerful and influential clans there, it is a foregone conclusion that that case will be accepted in the courts there (unless Mrs. Arroyo says otherwise), the case will “prosper” and there is no way a powerful and influential clan will lose a case there unless their opponents are more powerful and influential than they are.

Cases in Morolandia normally does not end in court decisions. Courts there almost always have vacancies. Ruling one way or another is dangerous to the health of the judges. And prosecution of cases there is much more complicated than dancing the tinikling. And any Manila lawyer that will go there for the hearings will be escorted by at least two SUV-loads of armed men (not the short kind, I assure you). Lawyers are in short supply in these areas and many retire prematurely. Lack of judges, prosecutors and lawyers interminably delay the resolution of cases in these areas. Unless it is overtaken by “force majeure” with the characteristic overload of copper, lead, nitrate and thunderclap.

Now what will prevent bloggers from being haled to decrepit courts in some far-flung areas of the Philippines where the accused have no chance of winning a case? One can hire the most gwapo lawyer in Manila but I wonder if his BP won’t reach 220/110 and his balls shrink and his legs turn jelly in these areas.

This is the grim implication of this cursed Valley Golf brawl.

January 6: Amon Jadid and an Incongrous Greeting

January 6, 2009


Yesterday, January 6 was the first day of Muharram, when the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar started, hence the connotation of being the Islamic New Year. However, Muslims around the world are divided on its signifance and on the way they celebrate it.

However, Mrs. Arroyo greeted the local Muslim community ‘Happy Amon Jadid’, which corresponds to ‘Happy New Year’. However the message after the greetings immediately turned controversial. She said and I quote portions of it:

“Amon Jadid…gives Muslims the oppurtunity to look forward to a better future and to live in peace and prosperity….I ask our Muslim brothers to support our resolve in turning the fragile peace in Muslim Mindanao into a genuine and lasting one…”

I am astounded by the disconnect of the greetings to reality. I do not even know if this already amounts to an insult. It is as if Mindanao is not enveloped in war right now. And as if there are no refugees who are mainly Muslims.

Fragile peace? All I know is there’s a lull in the fighting because of the holidays. But I am also aware Field Marshal Teodoro is asking for additional budget in order to continue the war. And as if the peace treaty has not been flushed down the drain and the OIC International Monitoring Team and Mindanao aid donor countries leaving and suspending aid.

As of today the Philippine military has already attacked and overran nearly all the MILF camps in Mindanao. But it has failed in its avowed purpose–to bring daw to justice the three MILF ‘rogue’ commanders.

Did the military “win”? If the yardstick of guerilla warfare is used it seemed it is the MILF that has won because they were able to preserve their forces. Will the military be able to hold on to the territory they gained? Probably not except for selected showpieces (like Camp Abubakar before) because they simply do not have troops for it. And it is occupying hostile territory where the population is nearly 100% Muslim. In fact, the MILF has already stepped up harassment attacks.

The derisive comment of Marines commanding general Allaga that Camp Bilal is wherever Commander Bravo is might ironically turn to be true. MILF camps are much like ordinary villages where the population is the family and relatives of the MILF forces. It moves according to the demand of the situation.

As it is there will be no peace in Mindanao. And it is generally conceded by observers that no peace treaty is possible until the end of Mrs. Arroyo’s term in 2010. So I’m really wondering where she picked up those words. Hey, do liars care?

[photo credit:wri.org]

The US-supported Middle East Bully Invades Gaza

January 6, 2009


Israel is lucky they are the favorite client state of the US. It invades Gaza and US reaction is mute. Even the US press is relatively subdued in its reactions with some major news agencies having no commentary at all regarding the invasion.

When Russia made their incursion into the Abkhazia region of Georgia in August 2008, the US nearly went ballistic. The US press condemned it, too, without verifying the history and situation of the region. Abkhazia is historically distinct from Georgia and its people are not Georgians ethnolinguistically but related to the Russian North Caucasus. They even differ in religion. It was only Stalin who added it to the old Georgian SSR of the former USSR and when it broke up Abkhazians held on to their Russian passports.

And it was Georgia, bent on ending the autonomy earlier granted to Abkhasia, who started the crisis. Its armed venture against Abkhazia was prepared with US and Israeli help.

This was the same hypocrisy as the shootdown of KAL 007. Reagan was bristling but when one US warship shot down a Iranian airliner which was flying over Iranian territory the reaction was mild. And it conveniently forgot that Israel shot down a Libyan airliner in 1973.

Everybody knows Israel has nuclear weapons. South Africa, when Mandela came to power, surrendered 8 atomic bombs that Israel gave to the apartheid government in exchange for its use of a secluded South African island for nuclear tests. Yet when the US invaded Iraq in 2003 its primary “reason” was Saddam was on the verge of acquiring WMDs. Ho-hum!

This is the double standard in the world. Obviously, the US has the most foreign invasions of the last century but the US media blithely ignores that most of the time. But when an foreign incursion is made by a state not their ally the condemnation is fast and strident.

Israel has no right to be in Gaza. It is Palestinian land from time immemorial. I say the UN decision to divide Palestine in 1947 was wrong because it is a contravention to the declared principle of the UN regarding the right of self-determination of nations. They never consulted the Palestinians then. The Jews had no right to half of Palestine. Maybe it was just the payback of the British to Jewish capital that was instrumental in its rise to being the strongest country in the world in the 1700s and 1800s.

After the Arab-Israeli wars of 1948 and 1967 Israel formally annexed conquered Palestinian territories which is a direct violation of UN statutes. Yet Israel was never expelled from the UN because the US protects Israel.

60 years after the division of Palestine the Palestinians still does not have a state of their own. It is because Israel opposes it and I wonder why it should be Israel’s decision. Nothing will move because Israel still occupies Palestinian territory and Israel doesn’t want to give it back (the problem if Israeli settlers and the holy sites). Here you have a people forced into diaspora forcing other people into diaspora. Maybe there is no word for justice in the Hebrew and Yiddish languages.

And all of these incongruities are not fully exposed because US media generally supports US foreign policy. And US media dominates the world.

That’s the reason why most Filpinos do not understand this issue.

Sheer hypocristy and double standard, I say.

[photo credit:iranian.ws]

They Let the Ferries Sail That Night Anyway: The Denouement of the Classic Conflict

January 6, 2009


As I said in my previous article [“Storm Signals Lowered, Coast Guard Suspension of Trips Remain, the Classic Conflict and Ten Thousand Stranded in Bicol, 01/04/09], I would like to see how the classic conflict between ensuring safety at sea and ships wanting to sail in borderline conditions (seas are probably rough because of prevailing weather conditions but storm signals were lowered) will be played out.

At 8:30pm the same night the Coast Guard allowed ships to sail, citing that PAGASA has already lifted the storm signal (though the typhoon is still signal and there is no guarantee that it will not change course; after all, Typhoon Frank changed course during the night and capsized the unwary but negligent MV Princess of the Stars).

Did they just wait for media to finish the early evening news? Or is it the situation that ship captains and owners are at their faces demanding to sail? It could also be the pressure coming from many passengers who are already at the end of their patience. And local governments tiring of caring for the thousands of passengers encamped in their jurisdiction. It could also be all of the above.

Fortunately, no “unfortunate incident” happened. But we cannot be lucky all the time. But taking chances is life’s reality here.

I just wonder why Philippine Navy and Coast Guard vessels are moored in major ports and not near the busy ferry lanes. How can they respond fast if a distress call is issued? So many ferries left Allen (Northern Samar) and the ports of western Leyte and Bohol that night carrying thousands and thousands of passengers. Wouldn’t it be better if they have been escorted?

I just hope that when they let the ferries sail that they were in a better position to help if things did not go right.

The True Story of the Start of the 2000 Mindanao War: A Recollection and View from Lanao del Norte

January 5, 2009


Approaching the end of 1999, the non-technical end of the last century, there was a certain disquiet in Cagayan de Oro City. For some months already troops from Luzon and Visayas kept arriving to be hosted temporarily in the Army’s divisional camp there before being sent to Muslim areas. Of course there was already intermittent fighting in Cotabato and Lanao del Sur.

Soon there were whispers of war. Then President Estrada came. In a war-like tone he said he gave the MILF his personal guarantees that “he will treat them fairly” if they will give up their struggle but its leadership has been rebuffing him. He said he is ready to launch an “all-out war” to resolve the Mindanao problem.

When asked if it is true that there are already 36 battalions in Mindanao, President Estrada replied, “38!” And soon after that another two battallions arrived (and more after the war began).

Sometime early March the commander of a newly-arrived Army batallion near Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte sent a letter to Commander Bravo, commander of the MILF-BIAF’s then-2nd Division, demanding the return of an abandoned schoolhouse which Bravo was occupying. Reportedly a man of few words and having a short fuse, Bravo refused.

It must be noted that in 1997 the government and the MILF signed a ceasefire agreement and in 1999 the two sides held formal peace talks. In the process, the MILF submitted a list of 13 major and 30 satellite MILF camps for verification and recognition. However, when the count reached 7 major camps “noted”, hostilities started.

When the Army commander threatened attack, Bravo declared his “green line” and said he will fire upon any government forces that breach it.

Soon two tracked Army armored personnel carriers (M-113s) came. A Chinese B-40 rocket launcher was fired breaching the two sides of the APC and killing all the crew. The second APC beat a hasty retreat. All these were captured on video and shown uncut on Iligan City TV.

Soon a full-scale Army assault ensued. Unable to hold on to his camp, Bravo launched an attack on Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte. He was able to occupy the who town for 12 hours on March 17, 2000. This is the part of the war which the government highlighted as the “start” of the 2000 Mindanao war.

The MILF ransacked the police headquarters but they spared the municipal hall. Bravo withdrew from Kauswagan before the Army came (but medals were handed out for the “liberation” of the town). A handful of Muslim homes were set on fire by Christians in the aftermath.

For one week the private TV station in Iligan City covered the war uncensored, showing video footages from both sides including the Army’s “clearing” operations (all I saw of this were soldiers blanketing by gunfire any possible hiding space and animals running in all directions).

The radio stations of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro cities gave free rein to partisans of both sides. Exchanges readily escalated to the level of insults, taunts and threats. But I noticed that the Muslim partisans were more level-headed. The most searing was the question, “How can you call yourself Christians if you burn and ransack houses of your neighbors?”.

After one week the government threatened to close the stations. It was losing the propaganda war. The vivid coverage stopped but not the fighting.

The military assault spread throughout Mindanao. The famed Camp Abubakar and the Buliok complex (the MILF’s biggest camp) fell to government soldiers. President Estrada claimed victory when he was able to raise the Philippine flag in Camp Abubakar, the MILF’s central base.

And the Filipino people believed the war started with the MILF’s attack in Kauswagan. In the same way the people believe now that the recent war started with the MILF’s attack (again) in Kauswagan.

[photo credit:christusrex]

The True Story of the Start of the 2000 Mindanao War: A Recollection and View from Lanao del Norte

January 5, 2009


Approaching the end of 1999, the non-technical end of the last century, there was a certain disquiet in Cagayan de Oro City. For some months already troops from Luzon and Visayas kept arriving to be hosted temporarily in the Army’s divisional camp there before being sent to Muslim areas. Of course there was already intermittent fighting in Cotabato and Lanao del Sur.

Soon there were whispers of war. Then President Estrada came. In a war-like tone he said he gave the MILF his personal guarantees that “he will treat them fairly” if they will give up their struggle but its leadership has been rebuffing him. He said he is ready to launch an “all-out war” to resolve the Mindanao problem.

When asked if it is true that there are already 36 battalions in Mindanao, President Estrada replied, “38!” And soon after that another two battallions arrived (and more after the war began).

Sometime early March the commander of a newly-arrived Army batallion near Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte sent a letter to Commander Bravo, commander of the MILF-BIAF’s then-2nd Division, demanding the return of an abandoned schoolhouse which Bravo was occupying. Reportedly a man of few words and having a short fuse, Bravo refused.

It must be noted that in 1997 the government and the MILF signed a ceasefire agreement and in 1999 the two sides held formal peace talks. In the process, the MILF submitted a list of 13 major and 30 satellite MILF camps for verification and recognition. However, when the count reached 7 major camps “noted”, hostilities started.

When the Army commander threatened attack, Bravo declared his “green line” and said he will fire upon any government forces that breach it.

Soon two tracked Army armored personnel carriers (M-113s) came. A Chinese B-40 rocket launcher was fired breaching the two sides of the APC and killing all the crew. The second APC beat a hasty retreat. All these were captured on video and shown uncut on Iligan City TV.

Soon a full-scale Army assault ensued. Unable to hold on to his camp, Bravo launched an attack on Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte. He was able to occupy the who town for 12 hours on March 17, 2000. This is the part of the war which the government highlighted as the “start” of the 2000 Mindanao war.

The MILF ransacked the police headquarters but they spared the municipal hall. Bravo withdrew from Kauswagan before the Army came (but medals were handed out for the “liberation” of the town). A handful of Muslim homes were set on fire by Christians in the aftermath.

For one week the private TV station in Iligan City covered the war uncensored, showing video footages from both sides including the Army’s “clearing” operations (all I saw of this were soldiers blanketing by gunfire any possible hiding space and animals running in all directions).

The radio stations of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro cities gave free rein to partisans of both sides. Exchanges readily escalated to the level of insults, taunts and threats. But I noticed that the Muslim partisans were more level-headed. The most searing was the question, “How can you call yourself Christians if you burn and ransack houses of your neighbors?”.

After one week the government threatened to close the stations. It was losing the propaganda war. The vivid coverage stopped but not the fighting.

The military assault spread throughout Mindanao. The famed Camp Abubakar and the Buliok complex (the MILF’s biggest camp) fell to government soldiers. President Estrada claimed victory when he was able to raise the Philippine flag in Camp Abubakar, the MILF’s central base.

And the Filipino people believed the war started with the MILF’s attack in Kauswagan. In the same way the people believe now that the recent war started with the MILF’s attack (again) in Kauswagan.

[photo credit:christusrex]