Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pearl Farm

Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 24, 2001, page 14,

May 24, 2001, Inquirer News Service, 2 Killed; Six Hostages Taken, Pearl Farm attacked, by Jowel F. Canuday, PDI Mindanao, Posted: 11:01 PM (Manila Time) May 23, Printed May 24, |

ISLAND GARDEN CITY OF SAMAL--Heavily armed men attacked the high-profile Barcelo Pearl Farm Resort Hotel here shortly before midnight Tuesday, killing two persons and wounding three others. 

Numbering about 30, the gunmen also took with them six hostages, including two crewmen of a pumpboat that they commandeered from nearby Talicud Island during their retreat. 

The hotel’s 18-strong security force managed to repel the intruders. No one among the 122 hotel guests was hurt or taken by the armed men. 

As of press time, the intruders were engaging soldiers of the 25th Army Infantry Battalion in Malinta, Davao del Sur, reports said. 

The night attack came more than a year after Abu Sayyaf bandits seized more than 40 foreigners and Filipinos from the Malaysian island resort of Sipadan and from Jolo Island, and gained international attention. 

All of those hostages had been either released after payment of large ransoms, rescued by soldiers or had escaped, except for a Filipino resort worker who is still being held captive. 

In Manila, President Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the military and police to go after the raiders. She expressed concern that the incident would hurt tourism in the county. 

"She was monitoring it as early as midnight and she was very concerned about what happened. She has ordered the authorities, the police and AFP units, to conduct a hot pursuit operation," presidential spokesperson Rigoberto Tiglao said. 

The resort, owned by the family of Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo, is 970 kilometers south of Manila and seven nautical miles from Davao City. It is 40 minute-ride by boat from Davao City. 

Known for its white sands, Pearl Farm is a popular destination among foreign and local tourists. At the time of the attack, the hotel had 49 Koreans, 23 Taiwanese, four Americans, two Australians and 44 Filipinos as guests. 

Armed with 50 cal. and 60 cal. machine guns, M-203 grenade launchers and M-14 and M-16 rifles, the armed men approached the berthing area in two pumpboats and a motorized outrigger boat (kumpit) at 11:40 p.m. 

They tried to dock at the berthing area and one of the gunmen claimed they were lost, Chief Insp. Eduardo Reyes, Samal police chief, said. 

A security guard, Jimmy Kulam, shouted at them not to dock, but he was shot dead. A 10-minute exchange of gunfire ensued. 

The intruders blew up the resort’s berthing place, where luxury and high-speed boats were docked. 

Two Cougar speedboats and four jetskis exploded after being hit by M-203 grenades, police said. 

Killed in the crossfire was Rolando Jara, a boat mechanic. His body was badly burned from the explosion. 

Wounded were Danny Orbuda, Samuel Morales and Leopoldo Ibañez, all security guards.

Reyes said the armed men failed to reach the berthing place because of low tide. They withdrew and headed for Talicud, where their bullet-riddled kumpit was found beached in Barangay Dadatan, seven kilometers from the Pearl Farm.

Reyes said the kumpit, the FB Sassien, had a 230-horsepower engine. On its side was painted No. ZAM-2-F-00357, indicating that it was registered in Zamboanga City.

Police recovered a 50 cal. machine gun mounted on the boat.

According to Reyes, the villagers saw at least 23 heavily armed men left the boat and demanded another vessel from them.

The gunmen found a pumpboat, the FB Teresita, and took its skipper, Lando Bayato, and engine operator, Winnie Duran, with them.

Samal Mayor Rogelio Antalan told the INQUIRER that the armed men left Talicud around 5 a.m., or some five hours after the raid, as the police had failed to intercept them.

Antalan said the island, which has a 118-km coastline, had only 66 policemen.

Police found the pumpboat abandoned in Barangay Ginalucan in Malita, Davao del Sur. There was no sign of the hostages, they said.

Pursuit mission

The Air Force immediately dispatched two MG-520 attack helicopters and a Huey chopper to scour the coastal areas along the Davao Gulf.

Senior Supt. Eduardo Matillano, regional police chief, alerted all police forces and asked the local chief executives to help them run after the suspects.

He said the police had already identified the attackers, but refused to divulge their identities to the media so as not to jeopardize their operations.

Asked if the Abu Sayyaf was behind the raid, presidential spokesperson Tiglao said there were conflicting reports about who the perpetrators were.

"The police haven’t given any report that it was the Abu Sayyaf. In fact, there are reports that it might have been politically motivated," Tiglao said.

Matillano said police investigators were looking into the incident’s possible link to an earlier extortion attempt by a group of bandits.
Tourism impact

President Macapagal was "very concerned that these kinds of incidents will be hitting our tourism image precisely because she has identified tourism as one of the main focus for jumpstarting the economy," Tiglao said.

In a statement issued in Manila, Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon described the situation as "under control."

"This banditry is an isolated case. It should not cause alarm among tourists and locals," Gordon said.

Sonia Garcia, tourism regional director, appealed to the media not to sensationalize and speculate on the incident pending the results of the investigation.

Garcia said steps had already been taken to ensure the continued confidence of tourists in the resort.

Pearl Farm guests hailed the security force of the resort for handling the incident well.

"The security force did a good job. Security is not a problem but I hope this incident should not happen again," said Winson Go, a Chinese-Filipino from Cebu who brought with him 15 Taiwanese tourists from Taipei. 

A Danish guest checked in yesterday despite the incident. He said the hotel had the best security. 

"There are always risks anywhere in the world and an incident like this could happen in other hotels in other countries," the foreigner said. He declined to give his name. 

Alex Groizard, Pearl Farm general manager, said 58 guests checked out from the resort but most of them were already scheduled to leave. 

"In light of this terrible tragedy, the owners, the management and the staff of Pearl Farm call for sobriety and calm," a statement issued by hotel said. 

Groizard said he regretted what happened, noting that the resort and other hotels in the region were slowly picking up guests since the Macapagal administration took over. 

The hotel and resort industry in Mindanao has suffered setbacks, especially after the Sipadan hostage crisis and the "all-out war" policy carried out by the previous Estrada administration against Moro rebels. 

"Coming at a time when our country is desperately trying to lure foreign tourists to our beautiful shores, this act must not hamper our efforts to bring the tourism industry back to its feet," the Pearl Farm statement said. With reports from Ayan C. Mellejor, PDI Mindanao Bureau, and Juliet Labog-Javellana in Manila

May 24, 2001, Inquirer News Service, Pearl Farm raiders on the run; Military rules out Abu Sayyaf
Posted: 10:56 PM (Manila Time) | By Jowel F. Canuday and Jonathan F. Ma

MALITA, Davao del Sur -- The armed men who attacked the Barcelo Pearl Farm Beach Resort Tuesday night are using four residents of Barangay Kidalapong here as guides and "human shields" against pursuing military and police forces.

Supt. Mario Premacio, deputy provincial police chief, announced this yesterday, but said government troops and the gunmen had yet to cross paths.

Gov. Rogelio Llanos also said reports of a clash Wednesday night between government troops and the gunmen were "not correct."

"Up to this time, there has been no engagement," Llanos said.

The gunmen were last reported heading for Barangay Mana. Malita police chief Senior Insp. Noel Saniel said they were planning to escape through the seashore village.

In Manila, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Diomedio Villanueva said "local bandits," and not the notorious Abu Sayyaf, were behind the attack on the high-end resort on Samal Island, Davao del Sur.

He said the "pirates" were "operating on the open sea at the Davao Gulf and Samal areas."

Interior Secretary Jose Lina said
extortion appeared to be the motive for the attack wherein two people were killed and three others were wounded.

"The initial report given me by the regional director of the (Philippine National Police) is that this group of men wanted to extort money from the Floirendos (the resort owners),' Lina said in Malacañang at noon yesterday. "(They) refused to give in to the extortion, so this group of men did what they did in retaliation."

He said the PNP report ruled out the Abu Sayyaf extremists as the attackers.

Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon also said that "bandits" pulled off the attack and that the tourists at Pearl Farm "remain unperturbed."

"Let us be calm about the incident (and) let the authorities do their job," Gordon said.

Premacio said that after the foiled attempt to enter Pearl Farm, the gunmen tried to dock at Barangay San Agustin in Sta. Maria town.

He said they sailed away on learning about the presence of police who had been alerted by the possible entry of armed men into San Agustin.

The gunmen then headed to Barangay Kidapalong in Malita, where they took and later released Eugenio, Dona, Donato Jr., Eleuterio and Reynante, all surnamed Marquez, and their neighbor Lebi Tayong. Four persons -- Hamid Moda, Eden Labane, Okong Labane and Dondon Alimama -- are still being held by the gunmen. 

The freed hostages said the gunmen, numbering about 21, took them to serve as guides. 

In Zamboanga City, Lt. Col. Danilo Servando, spokesperson of the Southern Command, identified the gunmen's leader as a certain Hashim

But Servando would not say to what group Hashim belonged. 

The Navy Task Force 71 has sealed all possible exit points along the Davao Gulf. Two MG-520 attack helicopters and Huey choppers have also been sent to help in the hunt for the gunmen. 

Commander Bernardito Argano, officer in charge of the 8th Coast Guard, said the gunmen's decision to land in Malita could have been an attempt to mislead pursuing troops. 

"So what we did was block all possible exit points in case they return to the sea," Argano said. 

The gunmen had seized a total of 12 hostages. The first two -- Lando Basato and Winnie Duran -- were taken from Talicud Island, where the gunmen's bullet-riddled kumpit was beached. 

Basato and Duran are the skipper and engine operator, respectively, of the 50-passenger M/B Teresita pump boat that the gunmen commandeered and used to go to Malita. 

Regional police chief Senior Supt. Eduardo Matillano said Basato and Duran were freed as soon as they landed in Malita. 

Police immediately interrogated the two men after they arrived on board their pump boat in Samal around 7:23 Wednesday night. 

Matillano declined to give details but said authorities already knew what group the gunmen belonged. 

He also said the earlier theory linking the attack to an extortion attempt by a group of bandits appeared to be gaining credence. 

General Villanueva said the Abu Sayyaf, which gained international notoriety for the kidnapping of tourists from the Malaysian island resort of Sipadan last year, were "too far away for them to be suspected in the Pearl Farm resort incident." 

The Abu Sayyaf is the subject of continuing military operations in Sulu and Basilan. 

Villanueva pointed out that the Navy had yet to lift its blockade of the two island provinces that had been the site of fighting between government troops and the extremists since last year. 

He said that based on initial reports submitted by Brigadier Generals Alfonso Dagudag and Roy Kyamko, commanders of the 4th and 6th Infantry Divisions, respectively, the gunmen had robbery as “the sole motive.”

Lina said combined AFP and PNP units were "trailing" the gunmen. 

"According to the report, they speak the language used by the people of Jolo. At least there are some leads that could eventually result in their identification and arrest," Lina said. "I think we will be able to effect arrests in the next few hours." 

President Macapagal-Arroyo had earlier ordered the immediate arrest of the gunmen, saying the Tuesday attack could again hurt the country's tourism industry. 

Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on tourism, and Davao City Representative-elect Prospero Nograles blamed the attack on poor police intelligence work. 

"As Sun Tzu said, having intelligence is half the battle won. If the police and the military had better intelligence, and if they were able to pinpoint the group (responsible), then the incident could have been prevented," Legarda said. 

Nograles said the government should look into the possibility of auditing the multimillion-peso intelligence funds of both the PNP and the AFP.

But despite the attack, Pearl Farm and hotels in Davao City yesterday continued to enjoy high occupancy. 

Arturo Boncato, president of the Davao Tourism Association, said the high-end Marco Polo Davao had 90-percent occupancy yesterday. 

He said a 120-member delegation to a conference of the Systems Technology Institute was heading to Pearl Farm for an overnight stay there.

Boncato, however, admitted that some guests at Pearl Farm and other hotels had canceled reservations. 

"One thing positive is that there are no major cancellations," he said.

A source at Pearl Farm said the STI delegates had planned to cancel their booking but that the management assured them that things were under control. 

In a press conference at the Department of Tourism in Manila, Gordon said the gunmen had planned to steal a speedboat docked at Samal to use it in piracy. 

He said the boat -- supposedly the fastest in the Davao Gulf -- was owned by magnate Antonio Floirendo. He did not say if the boat was among those burned by the gunmen. 

Gordon said that if the gunmen really wanted to abduct tourists staying at the resort, they should have landed near the guest quarters and not at the berthing area, where security guards were posted. 

He said that despite the attack, the resort was fully booked this weekend, with US Embassy official Stephen Malinowsky and several American tourists heading there, too. 

But observers view the incident as a public relations disaster for the DOT, which has been striving to promote tourism. 

Gordon said tourism declined during the Sulu hostage crisis and after the Metro Manila bombings last year. 

He urged the media to stay “sober” and to avoid “speculative reporting” that could send the “wrong signal” to foreign tourists. 

"Any unconfirmed report linking the incident to a bigger plot or comparing it to the Sipadan raid would inevitably harm the country’s tourism industry," Gordon said. With reports from Carlito Pablo, Juliet L. Javellana and Jerome Aning

May 24, 2001, INQ7, 8:41 AM, Military ops continue vs Pearl Farm bandits,

THE MILITARY is continuing to engage the gunmen who had attacked the Pearl Farm Resort in Samal Island, Davao yesterday, military officials said.

As of last night, the 25th Army Infantry Battalion in Malinta was in pursuit of the bandits, who are widely believed to be members of the Abu Sayyaf. Officials said the military operations are continuing this morning at the fringes of Davao del Sur province.

About 10 armed men were counted although earlier reports said that 30 men armed with machine guns and grenade launchers attempted to enter the world-famous resort but were repelled by Pearl Farm’s security forces, two of whom were killed.

Officials said that the gunmen are apparently bandits and not political enemies of the resort's owner Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo.


May 24, 2001, Philippine Headline News, Abu Sayyaf Attacks 5-Star Davao Resort,

Davao City, May 24, 2001 - Speedboat-riding gunmen, believed to be Abu Sayyaf bandits, attacked at around Tuesday [May 22] midnight the upscale Pearl Farm Beach Resort in barangay Adecor on Samal Island in Davao Gulf just off Davao City, killing two people and wounding three others, according to a military report released yesterday. [May 23]

Four other people were seized from a boat as the gunmen fled, but two of the hostages were left in barangay Kidalapung, Malkita, Davao del Sur, and were found by the police. The two said there were about 20 gunmen in all.

The hostages were seized from the passenger and cargo ship M/V Teresita, which the gang commandeered. They included the boat’s two operators. Their identities were not immediately available.

Those killed were security guard Jimmy Colam and fiberglass technician Rolando Jara. Those injured were not immediately identified. The resort is owned by the wealthy Floirendo family, who are also into banana export and close to the Marcoses.

The attackers fled when they met with return fire from the guards.

The resort’s two motorboats were damaged. The hotel manager believes the attackers were after the speedboats. The raiders boat suffered two big holes and they left it at the Dayang Beach Resort on nearby Talikud Island. The bandits left a .50-caliber machine gun in the kumpit.

Malacañang worried about the new Abu Sayyaf foray because it may drive off foreign tourists.

Presidential spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao said Mrs. Arroyo is monitoring developments and has ordered an alert over all of Mindanao and the Visayas.

The attack came two months after the military uncovered an Abu Sayyaf plan to raid tourist resorts in Mindanao to retaliate for the rescue of an American hostage, Jeffrey Schilling, on April 12. "We will surprise the government within two months," said Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Asmad Salayudi alias Abu Sabaya over a radio station here.

Southern Command spokesman Lt. Col. Danilo Servando said, "The police and military authorities in the area are still determining the identities and investigating the motive for the attack."

Two of the resort speedboats were damaged after being hit by rifle grenades fired by the bandits.

Policemen pursued the bandits but failed to catch any of them. Naval Task Force 71, aided by helicopter gunships, is searching for the gunmen, who escaped in fast boats.

Pearl Farm manager Alex Groizard said 49 Koreans, 4 Americans, 2 Australians, 2 Taiwanese and 44 Filipinos were staying in the resort at the time of the attack. Guests who left yesterday were scheduled to leave but were overtaken by events; others left out of fear, "which is also a normal reaction."

Samal Island information officer Noel Daquioag said the raiders could not have been after hostages, since "if they really wanted to do it, they could have gone directly to the Mandaya houses, or the stilt houses on the open side of the resort and far from the guardhouse and the Parola Bar."

Daquioag said some of the attackers may have been wounded because they left a blood-stained malong, a Moro wrap-around, and a native headwear. Senior Supt. Akmad Mamalinta, deputy police director for Southern Mindanao, corroborated Daquioag’s statement. (Today)



May 29, 2001, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Troops pursuing raiders seal off villages—MNLF, Allan A. Nawal,

MALITA, Davao del Sur--The Moro National Liberation Front decried the alleged hamletting by the military of several shoreline villages here, including those inside Bilal, a major MNLF camp. Randolph Parcasio, an MNLF spokesperson, told the INQUIRER that the military until yesterday was preventing men and women from moving in and out of the villages for still unknown reasons.

"It was very similar to that of the Kempetai Army during the Japanese occupation," Parcasio said quoting a report from Ustadz Muksin, a local MNLF commander in Sitio Talucanga, Barangay Mana. On Sunday evening, the military summoned three of the four residents who were used as guides by the raiders of the Barcelo Pearl Farm Beach Resort in the Island Garden City of Samal on May 22.

The military brought Alim and Eden Labani and Hamid Muda to Sitios Talucanga and Balas in Barangay Mana where they were made to identify members of the armed men from among the local men who were made to line up. Parcasio said Sitios Talucanga and Balas are in its Camp Bilal. He said the military failed to coordinate with the local MNLF command.

"Under the peace agreement, the military could not just enter any MNLF camp without coordination," Parcasio said. Col. Pedrito Magsino, commanding officer of the Army's 601st Brigade, declined to face reporters who were seeking his comment on the MNLF complaint.

But Undersecretary Jesus Dureza, presidential assistant for regional concerns in Southern Mindanao, said he would look into the complaint and would try to address it to at least ease the tension. "We will patch this up. I am going there with Parcasio to see what we can do," Dureza said.

As this developed, some local officials expressed suspicion that the armed men might have already escaped from the military dragnet because of earlier difficulties in deploying troops. The military had to use helicopters in bringing troops to higher areas in Mana and in Talagotong in nearby Don Marcelino town until yesterday. But Malita Mayor Claude Bautista said there was information reaching him that the group is still holed up in the hinterland Barangay Lais here and in Talagotong, where the group earlier killed a farmer.

But despite the heavy deployment of troops, the military failed to locate the raiders. The only encounter recorded so far was on Friday last week, when at least two soldiers died. The military has claimed that the armed men suffered five casualties. Not a single body, however, has been recovered.


May 29, 2001, Arab News, Philippines: MILF offers to help resolve hostage crisis, by Mama Gubal,

ZAMBOANGA CITY, 29 May — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) yesterday said it is open to possible cooperation with the government in resolving the Palawan hostage crisis.

MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu, in an interview with radio DZMM that a possible collaboration would only come upon official request by the government “through proper channel.”

Kabalu noted that it made a similar offer to help resolve the Sulu hostages crisis last year but the administration of then ousted President Joseph Estrada “turned it down on the ground that all mechanism for the launching of the operations were already in place...”

In Davao del Sur, the Moro National Liberation Front decried the alleged hamletting by the military of several shoreline villages, including those inside Bilal, a major MNLF stronghold.

Randolph Parcasio, an MNLF spokesman, said that the military until yesterday was preventing men and women from moving in and out of the villages for still unknown reasons.

"It was very similar to that of the Kempetai Army during the Japanese occupation," Parcasio said quoting a report from Ustadz Muksin, a local MNLF commander in Sitio Talucanga, Barangay Mana.

On Sunday night, the military summoned three of the four residents who were used as guides by the raiders of the Barcelo Pearl Farm Beach Resort in the Island Garden City of Samal on May 22.

The military brought Alim and Eden Labani and Hamid Muda to Sitios Talucanga and Balas in Barangay Mana where they were made to identify members of the armed men from among the local men who were made to line up.

Parcasio said Sitios Talucanga and Balas are in its Camp Bilal. He said the military failed to coordinate with the local MNLF command.

“Under the peace agreement, the military could not just enter any MNLF camp without coordination,” Parcasio said.

Col. Pedrito Magsino, commanding officer of the Philippine Army’s 601st Brigade, declined to face reporters who were seeking his comment on the MNLF complaint.


June 2, 2001, Inquirer, Letter, Palawan security a disgrace, by Marc de Piolenc,
An inept Armed Forces

IN ITS 28 May edition, the INQUIRER published an oblique aerial photo of the tourist complex near Palawan raided by the Abu Sayyaf.

To my deep disgust, it is the most perfectly defensible position that you could possibly ask for, if the threat is from hostage-takers. The entire complex is on piles, about 30 meters offshore of the high tide line. Access is by a long, straight, narrow catwalk to the beach and a single dock on the seaward side.

Two alert guards, plus one in reserve, could make such a complex essentially impregnable. One in an armored booth on the resort end of the catwalk and one on the dock would be all that was required.

It is an easy matter to configure the dock so that help from the resort is required to tie up there, and equally easy to turn on a searchlight at the first sound of an engine, challenge any craft not expected and identified in advance, and riddle it with gunfire if it does not respond or withdraw.

Instead, the bandits were allowed to tie up at the dock at 5 am without challenge or opposition.

This is criminal negligence on the part of the resort - but it gets worse. It took the Armed Forces three hours to initiate their response to the kidnapping! Anywhere but the Philippines, this would point to an inside job.

Since I moved here in 1998 I have tried to counteract the generally negative image of the Philippines as a tourist destination that prevails in both the USA and in Europe, but this is just too much.

Henceforth, and until resort operators and the government get their respective acts together, I can only recommend the Philippines to two categories of people: permanent expatriates and "adventure" travelers using the cheaper, more obscure resorts.

Anybody visiting a resort catering primarily to foreigners had better make lengthy and pointed inquiries about; training of guards, security procedures, particularly unannounced alert drills, liaison with Armed Forces and police, rapid response forces (if any) and their proven response times

---Marc de Piolenc, Master Sergeant, US Army (retired) Iligan


June 14, 2001, Inquirer, Letter, Escape from the Abu Sayyaf, Reghis Romero,

MY abduction by the Abu Sayyaf apparently did not end when I was rescued last June 2. There have been persistent statements and media reports alleging that I paid ransom for my release. To say the least, having to read about these unfair charges make it more difficult for me and my family to go back to our normal lives again.

We vehemently deny that there was any ransom paid for my freedom. It was an act of God, coupled with my will to survive.

That I was able to break away from my captors unscathed seem incredible to some people. I attribute my miraculous rescue to the power of prayers made by so many who stormed the heavens with their pleas for my safety and the other hostages’. Modesty aside, those who know me very well will also attest to my determination to attain anything that I set my mind on.

I was able to break loose from my captors when we were at the Lamitan hospital. I took advantage of the confusion when the military subjected the area to heavy firing at around 8 in the morning of Saturday. I saw one of the patients' striped pajamas lying around so I took off my clothes and wore it. I hid under the bed near the patients who were huddled together in the room.

After an hour, I came out from where I was hiding and saw that the Abu Sayyaf bandits with the other hostages in tow were frantically looking for a way out. I knew it was the right time, so I quietly caught the attention of the other hostages nearby, including the boy, and we ran toward the door. We ran as fast as we could until we reached the area where the military was positioned.

Since I was barefoot and wearing only the borrowed pajamas, the military men thought I was a patient from the hospital and instructed me to proceed where the patients who were able to flee were brought. It was at this point that we identified ourselves as among those abducted in Palawan.

The ordeal we went through has yet to be recounted in full. I believe that there will be an appropriate time for that.

In the meantime, there are some who prefer to claim to know what really happened when they were not there at all. Worse, they insist on their malicious view that ransom was paid and we were freed. Ironically, only someone who has been there and was able to come out alive can truthfully claim that miracles happen.



April 5, 2001, New Straits Times, Surveillance along Sabah coast continues.

BUTTERWORTH, Wed. - The Royal Malaysian Air Force has been maintaining aerial-maritime surveillance off the coast of Sabah since incidents of abductions by the Abu Sayyaf group occurred last year.

Air force chief Jeneral Tan Sri Ahmad Saruji Che Rose said RMAF operations in the eastern coast of Sabah in particular, were being conducted round the clock.

"Random surveillance is also carried out along other coastal areas of Sabah and Sarawak," he said, when asked if the RMAF had beefed up surveillance to check against possible mass exodus of Indonesians from Kalimantan following the ethnic violence between the Dayaks and the Madura there.

"If there is any exodus, it would most probably be by land, although our ground assessment showed there is no real threat," he said.

On the upgrading of the RMAF, Ahmad Saruji said the air force was constantly seeking to modernise and beef up its equipment and aircraft.

"We always have upgrading plans, but everything depends on whether the Government can give us the funds, and how much we can get."

He said this to newsmen after closing Exercise Air Thamal XV - a series of bilateral air defence exercises between Thailand and Malaysia at the Royal Malaysian Air Force base here today.

The closing ceremony was also attended by Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) commander-in-chief Air Chief Marshal Pong Maneesilpa and other senior officers from both air forces.

Among the areas tested during the exercise were air defence, battle- field air interdiction, visual air reconnaissance, maritime operations, communication services, and combat search and rescue.

Ahmad Saruji said although 140 training sorties had been planned for the exercise, only 112 (about 80 per cent) were successfully carried out as the rest had to be aborted or cancelled due to bad weather.

However, he declared the exercise a success, saying it was "evident from the results of the exercise that both air forces can now operate together in selected roles never thought of before.

Both the RMAF and RTAF had each deployed 11 aircraft, 61 officers and 110 men in the 10-day exercise, which began on March 25.

The RMAF deployed three MiG-29Ns, five Hawk fighter jets, two Nuri helicopters and a Cessna C402B aircraft while the RTAF deployed five F5 fighter jets, three OV-10s, a Nomad cargo plane and two S58T helicopters.

At the ceremony, Ahmad Saruji also conferred honorary RMAF wings on Pong and four other RTAF officers - RTAF Chief of Staff Air Chief Marshal Kongsak Vantana, Air Combat Command commander Air Chief Marshal Anubhund Snidwongse, RTAF Deputy Chief of Staff Air Marshal Thares Pinsri and Air Thamal XV exercise deputy director Group Captain Sritpong Komutanont.

The gesture was returned by Pong who conferred honorary RTAF wings on five RMAF officers headed by RMAF Headquarters Chief of Staff (Ops) Mej- Jen Datuk Abdullah Ahmad, Division 4 commander Brig-Jen Shahron Ibrahim, Kuantan base commander Kolonel Samsuri Shaari, 18th Squadron commanding officer Kolonel Jusof Embong, and RMAF headquarters Staff Officer (Exercise & Contingency) Lt-Kol Shafiee Mamat.

Meanwhile, Air Thamal XVI will be hosted by the RTAF at Haadyai, south Thailand in 2004.

June 5, 2001, Philippine Headline News, Govt Upbeat on Davao Tourism,

Davao City, June 5, 2001 - Tourism Secretary Richard J. Gordon is optimistic that Davao will son be back on its feet, as business and tourism-related developments are taking shape in Davao just two weeks after an attempted assault on Pearl Farm Beach Resort.

Speaking before members of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP), Manila-based and local media in Pearl Farm Resort, Gordon highlighted the entry of business investments in Davao.

"Businesses are coming in, barely two weeks after a surprise attack by a small group of bandits here in Samal Island," Gordon said. "In fact, two days after the incident, hotels and resorts here enjoyed a 70 percent occupancy rate," Gordon said.

Despite the dismissal of the incident as an "isolated case," Gordon emphasized the augmentation of security in the area provided by Samal Mayor Rogert Antalan with the Davao police headed by Police Superintendent Edward Matillan. "The additional security is not really necessary but (the deployment of police is) only to assure tourists that their safety is highly prioritized," Gordon said.

He downplayed recent events including an all-out offensive by the - military against the Muslim bandit group Abu Sayyaf. "The Abu Sayyaf group has been reduced to a pariah after the President declared a no-ransom, no-media coverage, all-out offensive against them," he said.

Gordon said tourism is volative in any part of the world but what he counts important is the fact that "tourism is able to adjust and come back after any adversary."

"This is where tourism promotion comes in," Gordon said stressing his call for a more aggressive international promotional campaign to counter negative impressions brought about by selective news reporting by media.

Gordon is requesting for a higher budget - US$15 million from US$660,000 last year - to keep up with huge promotional budgets spent by neighboring countries such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

Once the budget is approved, Gordon "promised more businesses, livelihood opportunities, and higher income for the government."

He echoed President Macapagal-Arroyo's remark that "tourism will get us back (to recovery)," adding that more promotions abroad would translate to more arrival of tourists and "more economic opportunities for Filipinos."

By yearend, given full financial support by the government, Gordon expects more than three million tourists, almost double last year's 1.8 million.

Gordon cited the ongoing improvements in Davao such as road networks, airport buildings and facilities, water supply, and leisure areas. Particular developments highlighted by Gordon are the re-opening of Davao's landmark Insular Hotel, now being operated by the Waterfront group; the takeover of Barcelo Empresas in Pearl Farm; and the proposed Sta. Ana Wharf that promises commercial leisure establishments like restaurants, banks, shops and cinemas.

He also stressed the importance of the completion of improvements in the Davao International Airport. Once completed, the plan to increase international direct routes to Davao will be "easily implemented," Gordon said. Currently, there are direct flights to Davao from Singapore and Manado, Indonesia. The Davao tourism council plans to accommodate flights from Bangkok, Australia and Malaysia soon as well.

Also present in the familiarization tour of Samal Island were Presidential Aide on Special Projects Jesus Dureza, DOT Region XI head Sonia Garcia, Pearl Farm Beach Resort General Manager Alex Groizard, and Barcelo Group Director of Communications Steven Tan.


June 8, 2001, The Philippine Star, Trouble in paradise, SKETCHES by Ana Marie Pamintuan,

At the Barcelo Pearl Farm on the "island garden city of Samal" in Davao, I asked for directions so I could visit an adjacent fishing village. There were no tours to the village, I was told. But I could go there through the resort's side exit, accompanied by a guide.

The guide turned out to be one of the resort's security guards. He held a two-way radio as we walked on the narrow road roughly hewn out of hard coral. Under his loose shirt with gay tropical print I suspected there was a gun. He was familiar with the village, where most of the resort's employees lived, but Pearl Farm wasn't taking any chances with its guests.

At around 11 p.m. on May 22, as you probably know, armed men on a motorized banca tried to dock at a wharf next to the resort and were accosted by security officer Jimmy Kulam. There was an exchange of gunfire; Kulam and mechanic Rolando Jara were fatally shot. The dock and two speedboats of the resort were damaged. Nope, my security escort wasn't taking any chances.

What happened to the raiders? A government official told me that the bandits were pursued by cops and soldiers. Some were "neutralized" while others escaped. The official version is that the marauders, believed to be members of a "lost command" of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, were gunrunners who simply lost their way and did not intend to attack Pearl Farm.

"This is an island paradise," Samal Mayor Roger Antalan said last week. "But once in a while a snake comes in---this is a very peaceful place."

* * *

Pearl Farm is a tropical paradise, with accommodations good enough to land in a coffee table book on tropical design. Like other exclusive resorts, it promotes ecotourism. By the light of the moon you can see fish resting close to shore. The real pearl farm was shut down a few years back, but the resort has enough coral beds and other underwater attractions to delight visitors.

It is also possibly the most expensive resort facility in this country, with room rates starting at $130 and exquisite four-bedroom "villas" on neighboring Malipano island costing $660 a night. People who can afford to pay those prices to get away from it all obviously demand utmost privacy and security.

How to contain the fallout from the May 22 "misencounter"?

That's the difficult task now facing Barcelo Empresas, which formally took over management of Pearl Farm from the Floirendo family only on April 21. The Barcelo Group, based in Majorca, Spain, operates 113 mid-market to high-end international hotels and resorts in 19 countries worldwide.

Barcelo Empresas is moving the bulk of its regional operations from Shanghai to Manila, and I laud the company for wanting to stick it out here despite the attacks at Pearl Farm and Dos Palmas in Palawan.

Police boats now patrol the waters around the Samal group of islands. You hear the occasional whir of an Air Force helicopter overhead. More soldiers and policemen have also been deployed around the resorts.

Officials of Samal and Davao like to say that "the safest places in the Philippines today are Davao and Palawan." Barcelo's manager at Pearl Farm, Alex Groizard, seems to believe this.

Groizard, a native of the Basque region in Spain, points out that his homeland has its share of terrorist attacks, and so do industrialized countries such as Britain, Germany and, why not, the United States. He notes that terrorist attacks against foreign visitors have not deterred tourists from going to the pyramids of Egypt or the holy places of Israel.

In Spain, however, the press does not play up such terrorist attacks "because we love our country," Groizard told me. So why do we sensationalize such attacks in the Philippines, he asked, when this is "such a beautiful country?"
* * *
That's a line that Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon is promoting amid the ongoing crisis. He can be pugnacious (Why don't you just drop dead, he tells his detractors), but you have to admire Gordon's rah-rah spirit these days when the tourism industry seems to be falling apart.

Pearl Farm has not been hit hard by the attacks on resorts. There were a few cancellations shortly after the May 22 "misencounter" but some are rebooking, Groizard said.

Art Boncato Jr., president of the Davao Tourism Association and director of sales and marketing at the five-star Marco Polo hotel, also told me that the fallout on Davao tourism from the Pearl Farm raid has been minimal, unlike last year when cancellations were "awful" because of the Abu Sayyaf hostage crisis.

The bigger fallout this time appears to have hit Palawan, where 200 Japanese tourists cancelled their booking in the upscale El Nido resort following a travel advisory from the Japanese Embassy.

Gordon tried to contain the damage by seeking out Japanese media and addressing the Japanese. He reminded them of the fatal sarin gas attack in Tokyo. If they allowed themselves to be scared by terrorists in the Philippines, then terrorism would have won, he reminded the Japanese. "Why should you reward these terrorists?" he asked.

I don't know if Gordon's pitch will work -- I heard that the tourism industry in Palawan is devastated -- but I give him an A for trying. Any Filipino who has ever been to Palawan will feel bad that one sneak attack can scare away tourists from that beautiful province. Palawan is one place I always try to sell to foreigners whenever I'm abroad.
* * *
The attacks on Pearl Farm and Dos Palmas are just among the hurdles that Gordon must overcome in his new job. He has lost 17 pounds since assuming his post, he said, and for a while he seemed ready to give it up. But now the crisis appears to have energized him.

"I'm a fighter," he said. "Like Pearl Harbor, we're gonna come back."

He has prepared a program to increase Filipinos' awareness of the income-generating potentials of the tourism industry. One slogan declares: Pag may turista, may kita. Loose translation: If there are tourists, there's money to be earned.

"The problem with tourism in this country is that we haven't realized it creates money. I want to make the common man on the street consider tourism as an opportunity," Gordon said. "Tourism is the most possible industry in the Philippines. Tourism is pump-priming."

Gordon mouths these lines like a mantra, as if saying them over and over will cast a spell to make them come true.

His biggest problem, as in other government agencies, is funding. Gordon believes the country has all the tourist attractions it needs, and all that's needed is aggressive marketing.

"We have a good movie showing in the Philippines. The problem is we don't advertise that it's now showing," he said.
* * *
Marketing, naturally, does not come cheap. The Philippines has to contend with other countries that have invested heavily in tourism promotion. Thailand's marketing budget for this year is $49.5 million; Malaysia, $70 million; Hong Kong, $66 million. The entire budget of the Department of Tourism for this year is P500 million, of which P40 million is earmarked for marketing, and 45 percent is allocated for personnel. The budget of Puerto Princesa alone is bigger at P900 million.

Last year, Vietnam overtook us in terms of tourist arrivals, getting 2.02 million visitors against our 1.8 million. For next year, Gordon is seeking a $15-million budget for his department, or about P1.2 billion. I wish him luck.

Budget problems also hobble our military and police, limiting their capability to protect not just tourists but the citizenry. The Abu Sayyaf bandits who raided Dos Palmas, for example, fled on a kumpit with three 200-horsepower engines costing $18,000 each. The kumpit, which costs about P7 million, could travel at 35 knots; Coast Guard patrol craft, on the other hand, can go no faster than 25 knots. Is that why the Abu Sayyaf managed to give its pursuers from Dos Palmas the slip?

Senior Superintendent Eduardo Matillano of the Southern Mindanao Command told me the government is acquiring some of those powerful boat engines. I asked him where they intended to get the money and he couldn't give me an answer.

Gordon refuses to be deterred. "Perhaps we could have fewer bandits," he said, "if we have more tourism."


August 24, 2000, Harakah Daily, Malaysian general "connived in Jolo kidnap',

24 Aug 2000 19:57:24 -0700 (PDT)
From: RANA KLEON <kleon66@...>

Malaysian radar covering Sipadan and surrounding areas was deactivated on the retired general's orders, says Philippine news report

MANILA -- A Malaysian retired general is said to be behind the kidnap-for-ransom plot by the Abu Sayyaf in Sipadan last April, according to Philippine military intelligence.

A local newspaper, Today, reported that Philippine intelligence agents had identified the former general after trying to piece together for the past four months how the bandits were able to kidnap 21 people, mainly foreign tourists, from the resort island and transport them swiftly across the waters to the Philippines.

A reliable source told the newspaper that intelligence agents discovered that the kidnapping was carried out ""with the connivance of a retired general of the Malaysian intelligence service''.

This disclosure came in the wake of newspaper reports in Kuala Lumpur that the Malaysian police had also identified several Malaysians with links to the Abu Sayyaf and that Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has offered to help Manila solve the fourth-month-old hostage crisis.

According to Philippine intelligence agents, Malaysia maintained a fairly reliable radar system along its east coast facing the Tawi-Tawi and Sulu regions of the Philippines, with each radar scanning more than 2,500 sq km.

The system was primarily to monitor movements of ships in the waters between southern Philippines and the Malaysian state of Sabah, over which Manila and Kuala Lumpur have an unsettled dispute.

Intelligence sources said, however, that the radar covering Sipadan and surrounding areas was deactivated on orders of the Malaysian general to let the kidnapping succeed without detection.

This latest discovery is said to be ""the missing jigsaw in the puzzle''.

In late June, Today reported that intelligence agents had found that a highly-placed Sulu public official and his relatives hatched the kidnap-for-ransom plot in connivance with a Malaysian businessman.

It was said that the businessman provided the boat for taking the hostages from Sipadan to Patikul in Sulu, and the retired general arranged to turn off the radar system.

The general is reportedly related by marriage to a high-ranking southern Philippine public official. He also has close ties with Sulu politicians in on the plot.

""There is a lot of blood relations among these plotters as well as some of the Abu Sayyaf leaders,'' said the intelligence source.

On Monday, Malaysian police said that they believed some Sabah residents helped the Abu Sayyaf rebels in the April kidnapping.

Malaysia's Internal Security and Public Order Director, Datuk Abdul Hamid Mustapha, said police were confident of arresting the culprits soon.

He said those who had helped the rebels were believed to have family ties with them.

""Some members of the public are involved in the kidnap drama and they are locals living in the village,'' he told reporters in Ipoh, Perak.


May 11, 2001, Bernama, "Safe Passage" in Sabah Waters From Mid-Year,

SANDAKAN, May 10 (Bernama) -- The "safe passage" rule for vessels passing through the Sabah waters will be implemented middle this year to enable a more efficient monitoring on sea traffic off the state.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said with enforcement of the regulation, all ships and vessels would be required to move along the designated route failing which they would be detained and investigated.

The ruling covers sea routes to the six major ports in Sabah -- Tawau, Semporna, Lahad Datu, Sandakan, Kudat and Kota Kinabalu.

"Introduction of the safe passage regulation is to reduce the monitoring burden in the said waters. Our focus is four ports on the (Sabah) east coast which are Sandakan, Tawau, Semporna and Lahad Datu," he said after opening the Royal Malaysia Navy (RMN) housing complex in Jalan Samudera near here.

The proposal to create the special route is among the measures to tighten security in the Sabah waters following the kidnapping incidents on Sipadan and Pandanan islands last year.

"We have discussed this proposal with the National Security Division in Sabah which has given their consent," he said.

On "Ops Pasir" launched to boost security in the waters off the Sabah east coast, Najib said the operation had so far showed encouraging result.

Since the operation was launched on Sept 16 last year, 743 boats had been screened and 1,634 people including 1,070 Filipinos, 494 Indonesians and 40 Malaysians were detained.

Meanwhile at a separate function, Najib received on behalf of the RMN, four Swedish-made CB-90H assault boats lent by Sweden pending the completion of 12 similar boats ordered from the country.

Most of the 12 assault craft, which can achieve a maximum of 50 knots in speed and cost almost RM60 million, are expected to be deployed in Sabah.

The boats are expected to arrive in stages from next month.

Najib said the assault boats were needed to boost RMN's capability in cutting off vessels which intruded into Malaysian waters.

"Despite being equipped with sophisticated radar and weaponry, it is found not to be suitable to counter small vessel intrusion...the design of the existing gear and equipment is more inclined for assigments in the open sea.

"Hence we need the assault craft which is capable of matching the enemy's tactics and strategies," he said.
May 23, 2001, Bernama, Areas for Safe Sea Passage Lanes Identified Says Chong,
The Malaysian National News Agency  700+ words



October 2001


On 26 May 2001, Abu Sayyaf bandits kidnapped 20 persons from Dos Palmas, an up-scale resort in Palawan. The next day, a joint task force was formed to conduct pursuit operations (PDI, 27 May 2001). On 28 May, a reconnaissance plane spotted the kidnappers' group aboard three boats approaching the Mapun Island Group (MIG)(PDI, 28 May 2001). Immediately, four navy patrol crafts were dispatched to conduct a naval blockade on the island. Then finally on 31 May, Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Sabaya claims that they have slipped through the naval blockade and are now in Sulu and Basilan (PDI, 31 May 2001). Presidential Spokesperson Rigoberto Tiglao quickly forgave the Navy for its ineffectiveness when he said: "the gunmen's boats had top speeds of 40 knots, way beyond the capability of the Philippine Navy. Using that type of craft they would have eaten up the wide expanse of Sulu Sea between Palawan and Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi (Mapun) in five hours" (PDI, 28 May 2001). Tiglao further stressed that "the biggest problem really is the Philippine Navy has few patrol boats. There are plans to increase the number of these patrol boats" (PDI, 28 May 2001). These statements coming from the presidential spokesperson clearly signified three things:

First, is the cluelessness of the PGMA Administration as regards the true situation on the area because of its total reliance on non-incriminating information given by the AFP leadership; Second, is its ignorance on the capabilities of its navy; Last, is the PGMA Administration's penchant for tolerating grossly incompetent acts of the AFP, in this case the Navy, due to her political indebtedness for being primarily responsible for installing her as President of the Republic.

The kidnappers actually used three motor launches (lancha) that run a measly 12 knots as seen by the Air Force reconnaissance plane and reported to the Western Command. This probably explains why the kidnappers took two days (and not 5 hours as Tiglao said) to travel from Dos Palmas to MIG. Besides, the kumpit (fast motor boats used by smugglers in the South), while it is true that it can run up to 40 knots (without load), it is never used for prolonged sorties as it easily runs out of fuel. Its reported fuel consumption is approx 500 liters/hr at speed of 40 knots. For it to traverse Dos Palmas to Mapun, they would need space for at least 10 drums of fuel aside from the space that the kidnappers and hostages would occupy. For a sleek boat, which measures no more than 60 feet, this is impossible unless they had a convoy of at least 5 kumpits, which is totally unheard of and costs around P125,000,000.00.

The four navy patrol crafts would have successfully blockaded MIG (area approx 30 sq n.mi) had they been deployed correctly. Each craft has a navigational/surface search radar that has an effective scanning radius of 6 nautical miles (n.mi.). This means that if properly positioned, the four patrol crafts' radar sweeps should have overlapped at least at the middle, thus covering the whole MIG upto 3 n.mi. off the coastlines. However, as it happened the Task Group Commander in charge of the blockade, relying heavily on intelligence reports, positioned all four crafts 1n.mi off Tandatao Pt of Mapun mainland at 500-yard intervals thus minimizing their surface search capabilities. The Naval Special Warfare Group team that landed in the area supposedly to rescue the hostages found out that indeed one of the boats used was anchored near Tandatao Pt, but the kidnappers' group were either in Pamelikan Is or Binlut Is, the northern islands of MIG and both were way beyond radar range from where the crafts were positioned. Thus, enabling the group to slip off to Basilan.

The escape of the Abu Sayyaf through the naval blockade was one tactical blunder that caused great humiliation and enormous cost to the country. To be simply ignored and forgiven by the President (through Tiglao's statement) was a display of weakness as a Commander-In-Chief of the AFP. But I am inclined to believe that the President was not as stupid and weak as this gesture had showed. Thus, it is rather safe to conclude that it was her political indebtedness and fear of the AFP that prevented her from imposing sanctions that could have antagonized it. Otherwise, she would also suffer the same fate as former President Estrada through another "withdrawal of support" by the AFP. These unfortunate political concessions, first demonstrated in the case of RAdm Guillermo G Wong AFP during the PN leadership crisis that occurred in February 2001 (to be discussed later in this paper), while it would favor certain officers, could further deteriorate the Navy, and the AFP.

While it would seem that the incident cited above has dwelt more on incompetence and ineffectiveness, this paper would show that this is just one manifestation of the ill effects of corruption in the Navy. More specifically, how corruption made this incident even possible to happen.

Through the years, the Navy top brass have always raised the issues of obsolescence and shortage of operating assets of the fleet to cover for the Navy's ineffectiveness. But is this really the case? Or, is it simply caused by an institutionalized corruption that exists in all levels and in all areas of the organization? If so, then what is the cost? How could this problem be solved? These are the questions that this paper intends to answer.

In going about the discussion, a brief look at the history of the Navy will be necessary to appreciate its importance and relevance to the country. Other basic facts about the organization would also have to be laid down to provide the necessary backdrop to the main subject of the paper.



The Insurgent Navy

The Philippine Navy traces its roots way back to the Philippine Revolution against Spain with the hand-over by the Americans of a captured Spanish steam pinnace to Gen Emilio Aguinaldo on 20 May 1898. The vessel was named "Magdalo" and emerged as the first watercraft of the navy. Soon, several other merchant ships donated by patriots were added to form a nascent fleet. The Insurgent Navy was instrumental to the revolutionary cause through its conduct of basic naval operations such as troop deployments and arms shipments. The first successful amphibious assault against a Spanish garrison was even spearheaded by the Magdalo on Bacoor Bay on 26 May 1898. Its effectiveness went on throughout the Fil-Am War. However, after the capture of Pres. Aguinaldo on 23 March 1901, the insurgent navy disintegrated. (Zulueta 1998, 20)

The Off-Shore Patrol

The Navy was reborn with the creation of the Off-Shore Patrol (OSP) on 14 April 1938. A few patrol crafts and three high-speed torpedo boats, also known as Q-boats, were the pioneers of this force. They were intended to form part of a nucleus of 55 Q-boats that would repel enemy amphibious landings as Gen Douglas McArthur had envisioned. But before the acquisition of more Q-boats, war had broken out. As a consequence, the OSP was relegated to other roles such as; troop insertions, intelligence operations and ferry missions. Though they had a few skirmishes with Japanese Navy ships and warplanes, after the fall of Bataan on 08 April 1942, all ships of the OSP had to be scuttled. (Giagonia 1997, 147)

The Post-War Navy

After World War II, the country had a surplus of war materiel given by the US. Among which were 83 ships of various types. Thus the OSP was reorganized and upgraded into the Philippine Naval Patrol, to become a major command of the AFP. On 23 December 1950, through E.O. 389, the Philippine Naval Patrol was renamed as the Philippine Navy. (Giagonia 1997, 245)

For the next four decades, the Navy experienced a confluence of events and performed various roles in furtherance of national security interests and national development. The first role was to conduct counter insurgency operations against the Hukbalahap then the ferry missions during the Korean War both in the early 1950's. Followed by the anti-smuggling and anti piracy operations in Sulu where the Navy was credited for destroying the network of illegal operations of the most notorious band of pirates and outlaws, including the dreaded Kamlon.

The 1960's were highlighted by activities such as the ferry missions during the Vietnam War and by the bilateral and multi-lateral naval exercises that further strengthened the Navy's maritime defense posture in the region. The anti-smuggling and anti-piracy operations in the south were sustained during this era (Giagonia 1997, 247-272). Throughout the 1970's up to the early 1980's, the Navy reverted to its counterinsurgency mode this time against two fronts, the Muslim secessionists and the communists (Zulueta 1998, 44). During the 1986 EDSA Revolt, eighty five percent of the Navy joined the rebels led by then Minister of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile and then AFP Vice Chief of Staff and PC Chief Fidel V Ramos. ( Giagonia 1997, 310)

"By the time things were simmering down to a semblance of peace quiet in the early 1990's, the American naval and air forces, stung by the Philippine Senate's rejection of a treaty that would have prolonged their stay in the Philippines, were leaving in a huff. Suddenly, the Philippines saw its "surrogate" navy and air force heading for the gates of Subic and Clark, leaving the resident highly anxious about its national defense." (Zulueta 1998, 46)

Commo Jose Francisco, former FOIC, on commenting about the American withdrawal, aptly stated "All throughout the years the Americans were here, we had the military assistance agreement with them and logistical support from them, and all that the government had to do was pay our salaries. What happened was that we had an indigestion. We knew it would not last, but when it did end, we were at a loss" (Zulueta 1998, 46). Rightly so, among the benefits the Navy had when the US bases were still around were: the US Military Assistance Program (USMAP), the hand-me-down program of the US; Foreign Military Sales (FMS), part of the bases rental fees are channeled back to the AFP for the purchase of surplus US military hardware or ship repair packages; use of floating drydock and other facilities; foreign training programs and technical consultations; and the security blanket for external threats. (The latter could arguably be considered a benefit since it could also be that because of this dependence, the Philippine Navy never got to prepare to become an independent and credible navy by the time the Americans left.)



The Navy today has for its mission "to conduct prompt and sustained naval operations in support of the AFP's mission".


1. Provide naval defense to ensure the sovereignty of the Philippines and to protect the people from external threats.
2. Conduct naval operations in support of air and ground operations.
3. Conduct maritime law enforcement within the territorial waters and EEZ.
4. Promote safety of life at sea and environment protection.
5. Assist in national development efforts.

Organization (see Annex A)


Personnel - 1,687 Officers (see Annex B)
10,561 EP

Marines - 387 Officers
7,142 EP

Budget - P 6,014,191,000.00 (see Annex C)

(Source : GAA 2000)

Assets -

Total Operating
Patrol Ships - 14 3
Patrol Boats - 35 10
Transport Ships - 9 4
Auxiliary Ships - 8 2
Patrol Craft - 32 17
Service Craft - 19 9

Fixed wing - 9 4
Rotary - 5 2

Operational Readiness:
Ships - 38.5%
Aircraft - 42.8%

1. Limited Surface Warfare
2. Naval Gunfire Support
3. Amphibious Warfare
4. Sealift Operations
5. Domestic sea control
6. Search and Rescue

Present Role in Society

The traditional role of any navy is to obtain "sea control" when necessary. Sea control is the ability of a fleet to control certain maritime areas (Mahan 1885) for whatever purpose it may serve. It involves deployment of naval forces to engage, destroy or repel enemy naval forces and carries with it the right to forbid passage through capture or destruction (Agudelo 1994, 25). While the Navy can obtain sea control within our territorial waters, it cannot do so beyond it. This is due to the fact that our antiquated and technology-deficient fleet could not matchup to any of our neighbors' navies (de los Reyes 1996). Thus, the Navy today could not perform its primary mandated task to provide naval defense to ensure the sovereignty of the Philippines and protect the people from all external threats. With this, the role of the Navy has been relegated to conducting internal security operations and maritime law enforcement. But the Philippines, with its recognition as an archipelagic state, where all "the islands, waters and other natural features form an intrinsic geographical, economic and political entity", these roles seemed as paramount to the survival of the state as naval defense. (Zulueta 1998, 14)

Internal Security Operations (ISO) involve naval gunfire support, amphibious and sealift operations. These are defined in an operations plan and are conducted often in conjunction with air and ground forces. For the past decades, the Navy had been very active in this role in support of the counter-insurgency operations. On the other hand, Maritime Law Enforcement (MARLEN) is actually the primary role of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), which was separated from the Navy and transferred to the DOTC in 1998. However, due to the PCG's lack of surface assets and also due to the wide expanse of the Philippine waters that include the EEZ, the Navy was deputized by various government agencies to enforce their specific laws. MARLEN involves the conduct of active and passive patrols to achieve naval presence in areas were illegal activities are perceived to be rampant.

While it is a known fact that several Navy ships are of World War II vintage, most of the boats/crafts that conduct MARLEN operations are new and acquired only in the mid-90's. They are highly effective in coastal waters. Most are armed with 25 mm cannons and have maximum speeds of 30 knots.



Corruption is "defined as a dysfunctional and pathological act that negates the accomplishment of its constitutional mandate of promoting public interest" (Sosmena 1999, 6). "It is the misuse of a public office for personal gain". (Klitgaard 1995)

Corruption may be categorized in two ways: individualized or systemic (Carino 1985, 15). Individual corruption is where a person performs a secret moneymaking act in relation to his duties as public official or government employee. While systemic corruption is committed in an agency where "corruption has become so regularized and institutionalized that organizational supports back wrong-doing and actually penalizes those who live up to the old norms" (Caiden 1977, 306). It is "demonstrated when bureaucrats and clients can describe the same illegal process, including such details as bribery rates per service and the way these are shared among the members of the syndicate throughout the agency. Those with 'initiative' and 'daring' share the largesse with their colleagues with less opportunities, thus engulfing everyone in an administrative culture that tolerates, even idolizes, the fruits of corruption". (Carino 1985, 15)


The loci of corruption in the Navy are found in two distinct areas: in operational activities, which are ship-based and in administrative and support activities, which are shore-based. Ship-based activities include individual Navy ship activities and Naval Task Forces (NTF) directly involved in ship operations. Shore-based activities, meanwhile, include operations or functions of the various staff/support units such as personnel, intelligence, logistics, finance, training, etc.. Under these are the various forms of corruption, which are not necessarily peculiar to each.

Ship-based Corruption

Direct bribery - "Any public officer who shall agree to perform an act constituting a crime, in connection with the performance of his duties, in consideration of any offer, promise, gift or present received by such officer, personally or through mediation of another..." (Art 210 of the Revised Penal Code 1987)

Case illustration # 1

On or about 1600H of 07 June 1995, while patrol ship PS1 was anchored off Sacol Island, Zamboanga and conducting a naval blockade against Abu Sayyaf Group reportedly hiding on the said island, a medium-sized lancha was sighted suspiciously steaming near their ship. Upon sensing its possible hostile intentions, the crew of PS1 signaled it to come alongside. The lancha was inspected and it yielded P11 million worth of smuggled goods. At the same time, 2 Navy patrol crafts were also sighted approaching the lancha but were observed to have reversed their course when it unintentionally went near PS1.

During interrogation aboard PS1, the master patron confessed that they were hired to transport the goods from Sandakan, Malaysia to a designated place near the coast of Zamboanga City. They were further instructed to rendezvous with Navy patrol crafts that will escort them to the drop-off point.

The lancha and its crew were then apprehended and its goods were confiscated.

* This special "escort" arrangement is common to the small patrol crafts assigned in Naval Forces South. The personnel assigned in these crafts are particularly vulnerable to bribes since they are the workhorses of the fleet that conduct MARLEN patrols. The bribe package includes a monthly rice and cash incentives for the crew plus repair expenses for the craft. A utility boy is also provided who also doubles as courier in behalf of the smuggler.

Case illustration # 2

On Aug 1999, a patrol gunboat (PG1) along with three other patrol crafts received a directive from NTF61 to conduct naval blockade/MARLEN patrols at designated areas in Sulu Sea, several n.miles off Jolo Is. Also contained in the directive was an intelligence report stating that there will be an attempt that evening to smuggle in assorted firearms and explosives to the island. PG1 and the other crafts then proceeded as ordered and vigilantly kept watch over their designated areas where the Muslim extremists were supposed to pass as stated in the directive. The following morning, the PN boats returned to port empty handed. A few days later, the NTF61 operations officer invited fellow officers to a drinking spree. There he openly bragged that he just got a payoff amounting to P100,000.00 from a known big-time smuggler.

The payoff was for letting the smugglers pass through a few nights ago without being apprehended by ensuring that their sea lanes were cleared of Navy patrol boats. This he did by directing all patrol boats to proceed to their designated areas far away from these sea lanes.

*It is common knowledge for intelligence operatives that only small-time smugglers would dare to dash their way through the waters of the South. Their merchandise are often blue seal cigarettes, ukay-ukay or small quantities of lumber. However, most of them are armed with machine guns and sometimes have armed escorts. On the other hand, big-time smugglers, pirates and bandits (including the Abu Sayyaf) will never venture out into the Philippine waters unless they are given "clearance" by the Navy, Customs and PNP personnel (the Navy mole in these transactions is usually the operations officer of the NTF). They would not risk losing their valuable merchandise, which include arms, explosives, drugs and other contrabands, to a crusading Navy captain patrolling the high seas. Another given fact is that the bulk of the arms supply of the MILF are sea-borne. MILF Commanders use big-time smugglers as fronts to conduct their transshipment operations. This form is also common in Quezon province where illegal logging is rampant


May 28, 2001, AFP, Growing evidence Abu Sayyaf behind kidnappings: Tiglao

THERE is growing evidence that Abu Sayyaf Muslim guerrillas are behind the abduction of three Americans and 17 Filipinos from an upmarket island resort in the western Philippines, Presidential Spokesperson Rigoberto Tiglao today said.

While reiterating the government's stance that it will not pay any ransoms, Tiglao said the government was prepared to negotiate "to try to talk to them to release the hostages."

"The evidence is stronger that the group is a splinter group of the Abu Sayyaf," Tiglao told a news conference.

Abu Sayyaf guerillas abducted more than a dozen mostly foreign hostages from a Malaysian resort in April last year and took them to the southern Philippine island of Jolo.

Most were freed after large ransoms were reportedly paid. The rest were rescued in a military offensive launched in September, but the gunmen still hold one Filipino captive from that raid.

Tiglao said the raiders of the Dos Palmas resort off Palawan island on Sunday were apparently adopting the classic Abu Sayyaf tactic.

This was to "bring their hostages to areas where they have a mass base of support to prevent the military to conduct their rescue operation and open up possibilities for negotiations."

"There are indications they are moving in these areas," he said.

A military spokesman said the suspected kidnappers were seen landing in the remote island town of Mapun in the Tawi-Tawi group near Malaysian Borneo on Monday.

Military spokesmen in Manila said the kidnappers and their captives were aboard three boats when last seen by reconnaissance aircraft near the Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi island group on Sunday afternoon.

Tiglao said the gunmen's boats had top speeds of 40 knots, way beyond the capability of Philippine navy vessels.

Using that type of craft they would have eaten up the wide expanse of Sulu Sea between Palawan and Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi in five hours, Tiglao said.

Tiglao also said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was setting up a special task force "to ensure the security of all the country's resort areas" following the Dos Palmas raid.

Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon is likely to head the body, which would also include senior police and military officials as well as several departments and representatives of resort operators, he added.

"The biggest problem really is the Philippine navy has very few patrol boats. There are plans to increase the number of these patrol boats," he said.

"The president wants the private sector to help secure fast patrol boats."


July 13, 2002, The Korea Herald, Jakarta's military unable to cope with threats,

(From The Korea Herald)
By Derwin Pereira The Straits Times Asia News Network JAKARTA - Six years ago, the Indonesian military conducted a daring land, air and sea exercise.
In a show of force, paratroopers from the 305 Airborne Battalion descended on the natural gas-rich Natuna islands as a pointed message to regional powers against adventurism in the area.
The joint maneuvers by the army, navy, air force and police involved some 19,000 soldiers, 54 fighter aircraft and 27 warships. In military terms, Indonesian planners said that they wanted to develop the capability of projecting amphibious assault battalions and support ships into potential trouble spots in both eastern and western Indonesia.
The drill was a proud moment for a military at the pinnacle of its power during former president Suharto's heyday. What a difference six years make. That dream of military force projection is just that - a dream - after revelations by the top brass about aging equipment and obsolete weapons.
The reality faced by the generals suggests that ASEAN's largest member state has zero-power projection now and would be hard-pressed to defend large sections of the sprawling archipelago in the event of a conventional attack.
The military is toothless even in the face of non-conventional threats from pirates, smugglers and potential terrorists who can easily penetrate Indonesia's porous borders.
Jusuf Wanandi of the Jakarta-based think-tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, noted: "Indonesia is so badly exposed to all kinds of threats now because the military does not have the basic capability to overcome them." The navy and air force statistics are particularly glaring.
At a time when naval capabilities are being expanded across the region with six countries having already acquired submarines and advanced surface ships to carry out blue-water operations and sea- control strategies, the Indonesian navy is on a downward spiral.
Navy chief Bernard Kent Sondakh disclosed last week that the navy's 113 ships were only fit to sail but not fight.
Much of the problem lies in the age of the ships. A third of them are over 30 years old. Only eight of the vessels are less than 10 years old. The country's two German-built submarines have battery and engine problems, while the weapon systems on five of its frigates are obsolete.
The navy did try to address some of these problems a decade ago by purchasing 30 ships from East Germany. But the decision backfired when it was discovered that most of the 16 Porchim-class corvettes together with 14 Frosch-class LST troop carriers and nine minesweepers required a massive overhaul.
The situation is equally dire in the air force owing to lack of funding made worse by a prevailing U.S. military embargo on Indonesia.
Air Force Marshal Chappy Hakim told a parliamentary hearing that only 93 of the 222 aircraft in the service's inventory were operational. Eleven of its 18 C-130 Hercules transport planes were currently not fit to fly, while five of the country's 16 radar stations were closed.
A senior naval officer told The Straits Times: "If we were to go to war with any of our neighbors today, we will lose. We need to do some serious rethinking about our defense policy." Defense plans had been predicated for the last 30 years on handling internal threats. But analysts said these were now outdated in the light of "new threats" to the archipelago that were "non- conventional." To be sure, Indonesia does not face an imminent attack from any of its Asian neighbors today. Some hawkish generals desperate for funds might be quick to highlight the rapid military modernization of its principal adversary China.
True, Beijing has increased the capabilities of its submarine fleet and has developed new submarine-launched and intercontinental ballistic missiles over the last year.
But China's force restructuring and development has more to do with the strengthening of the U.S.-Japan alliance, American weapon sales to Taiwan and concerns about U.S. defense plans in the region.
For Jakarta, the geo-strategic environment appears much more benign, especially in light of the growing rapprochement with Beijing.
With several trade agreements in the offing - including barter deals for military equipment - China is now seen by Indonesia as less of a political threat and more as a major economic Asian power.
Going to war with China over the Natuna islands is too remote a possibility in the short to medium term. And it is equally inconceivable that force will be used to settle another glaring dispute, this time with Malaysia over the Sipadan and Ligitan islands.
What is sparking concern and debate in Jakarta is whether a weak navy and air force will leave the country's border unprotected from the scourge of piracy, smuggling and terrorism that cumulatively pose a significant threat to national security.
The Straits of Malacca, which separate the Malaysian peninsula and the Indonesian archipelago, has always been a favorite haunt of modern-day buccaneers, accounting for nearly three-quarters of the world's pirate activity.
The Kuala Lumpur-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB) recently described Indonesian waters as the most pirate-infested in the world.
The IMB recorded 22 separate pirate attacks, many of which took place in the Malacca Strait - one of the busiest sea-lanes in the world with more than 600 ships traveling through it each day - during the first three months of this year. Indonesian navy officers said that anti-piracy efforts had actually been stepped up this year but the navy "cannot do more than required because our ships are not up to mark." There are international implications in failing to crack down on piracy. Indonesia's sea-lanes are one of the busiest in the world with commercial vessels from Japan, the United States and other countries plying through.
Failure to ensure the security of maritime waters will only further damage Indonesia's already tarnished reputation.
The effectiveness of the air force is also being called into question.
Senior air force officers complain privately that there are numerous airspace violations, especially in eastern Indonesian where the military's radar capability is almost non-existent.
In the face of these problems, there are two wild cards that could revive the military's fortunes, especially that of the air force and navy.
The first is if the U.S. Congress takes it upon itself to lift aid restrictions and weapons sales to Indonesia. But that looks unlikely to happen until next year because of congressional inertia.
But a second and related wild card could put relations on the fast track if a terrorist attack again took a toll on U.S. interests abroad. Normalization of military ties between Washington and Jakarta would be placed back on the front burner.
But until that happens, Indonesia will remain remarkably vulnerable and exposed.
The writer is the Straits Times' Indonesia correspondent. - Ed.


August 27, 2000, Harakah Daily, Sandiwara! Oh, Sandiwara! -- Or How A Kettle Calls The Pot Black,
by M.G.G. Pillai

The Prime Minister tells Mr Lee Kuan Yew he did not know his just sacked
deputy prime minister, Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim, was detained under the
Internal Security Act after his arrest on 20 September 1998. Never mind
that he, as home minister, had to sign the order. He is, after all, a man
in his seventies, and one could forgive him his occasional lapse of
memory. Yet, no government would dare go against any senior official
without his express clearance. He was annoyed with the Anti-Corruption
Agency chief for investigating one of his senior civil servants without
his approval. His Sandiwara visits to international conferences is well
known: his speeches and comments, if you read or listen to what passes
for the "national" media in Malaysia, dominated the conference, the other
leaders present restricting their role to agree to what the Great Man had
to say. The latest is the South African International Dialogue in Maputo.
A posse of Malaysian journalists were on hand to be told what took place
behind closed doors, and they were regurgitated for the edification of the
Malaysian official media readers and listeners. The Prime Minister, lest
we forget, is an international statesman on whose words reduces other
statesmen to slithering jelly before his presence.

Closer home, there is the Sipadan kidnap, and the Grik arms heist.
Both are sandiwaras. No doubt about that. There is more than meets the
eye. When the Philippines stood firm about conducting the negotiations
for the release of those kidnapped -- as they must for the Malaysian writ
does not run in Mindanao, nor even Manila's as fully as it wishes -- the
Prime Minister allowed it to be turned into a sandiwara: now a
Philippines newspaper reveals a retired general shut off the radar just
before the kidnap. One does not know if this specific allegation is true
or false, but the Malaysian armed forces' active involvement in southern
Mindanao affairs is an ill-kept secret. The only retired general I know
who married a Filipina is Lieut.-General Raja Rashid bin Raja Badiozaman,
the younger brother of Raja Tun Mohar and grandson of the Sultan Abdullah
of Perak who signed the Pangkor Treaty in 1874, which brought the British
colonial presence in the Malay states and who two years later was
implicated in the murder of the first British Resident of Perak, Mr J.W.W.
Birch, at Pasar Salak two years later; he was also director-general of
military intelligence until his retirement earlier this decade. He is now
a business man. He was at Sandhurst with the Myanmar finance minister,
Brig. Gen. Abel, in the 1960s.

The sandiwara involved in the release, with no attempt made to get
the kidnapped victims out of the Abu Sayyaf rebels, short of direct
negotiations, which Manila refused, and the presence of high ranking
Malaysian officials in Jolo, underscored the Malaysian concern not for the
safety of the Malaysians and foreigners detained for ransom, but more to
preserve their existing links. Malaysia's links with the Mindanao rebels
is a long standing irritant in Malaysia-Indonesian relations. The former
Sabah chief minister, the late Tun Mustapha Datu Harun, helped the
Mindanao Muslims to secede from the Philippines, providing the present
government of Mindanoa with a Malaysian passport, and with largesse from
Libya, which broke the impasse over ransom by providing it.

Then there is the arms heist. What the government did not want
discussed in Parliament -- the Speaker rejected attempts to because it was
not of importance -- is now, or so we are told, nothing short of an
attempt at a fundamentalist Muslim attempt to take over the
government. How does the cabinet and the defence minister react to
this? By proving that the Islamic group could stack a hundred weapons in
three Pajeros! It made no attempt to inquire the massive security breach
which led to this, or put those involved on courts martial. Dato' Seri
Najib Tun Razak, the minister, is blase about this security breach, but is
proud, as he told Mr Lee Kuan Yew, to report that it was wrong for
peopleto believe the raid did not take place or if the weapons could be
stacked in three Pajeros! We are told we must accept this sandiwara or
face the consequences. But the heist itself, as information trickle down,
could well be the result of an internal UMNO political infighting.

Now, the Prime Minister returns from Maputo, and accuses the
opposition of sandiwara politics. Its refusal to accept the government's
confusing, convolution, official diktats is proof of sandiwara, he says.
The government does not lie. Never mind, the government insists Dato'
Seri Anwar was safe when he, in fact, had already beaten up to a pulp by
the Inspector-General of Police himself; who denied it until an official
inquiry found otherwise. It has the people's welfare at heart. That is
why it would not discuss these weighty matters with the opposition. The
opposition are a bunch of fools, who should not be allowed on the
political spectrum. You see, we are a democracy, and we have to suffer
these fools. Their bad habit of challenging government policies and,
horrors of horrors, defeating National Front candidates, and even take
over states. The worst sandiwara, the Prime Minister implies, is what the
opposition can inflict upon the people. And he rounds it off with the
greatest sandiwara of all: if the opposition, which has benefitted from
government policies, which it extends to these rascals but are now
ungrateful, it should return the benefits to the government. The Prime
Minister's biggest problem is that the people are fed up with sandiwara,
the government's, not the opposition's. The government's affect each and
every Malaysian; the opposition's only some. The problem, Prime
Minister, is not sandiwara, but credibility; little of that clings around
him and his administration, at the centre and the states his National
Front control.

M.G.G. Pillai

in · san · wa · ra 1 show play or story (well-played by a man); drama; theater; tonil: general - do not wear modern screen Set as decoration; 2 grouping drama (theater, tonil): a lot of teenage self to be a member -: ki events (political, etc.) who just demonstrated to trick the eye, not in extremis: THD arrest such person only - pure; aristocratic traditional farce in North Sumatra yg play kings story according to improvise and without script ; - puppet show the culprit actor puppet form; - radio broadcast by radio actor; air · in · san · wa · ra 1 on the stage: a lot of teenage smooth -; ki pretend: in front of his mother it - seemed to go learn, when in fact it is go to the movies; nyan · me · at · · ra · wa state 1 play play: they're trained - Kasarung Lutung story; 2 dr acted compose a story: the author is - folklore; 3 trifle; boo: they just - and-feels unfair ; nyan · pe · in · ra · wa · an n processes, means, acts dramatize

Indonesian: Jam Main Sandiwara
English: curtain time

Ejekan Dalam Bentuk Sandiwara

- a theatrical entertainment of broad and earthy humor; consists of comic skits and short turns (and sometimes striptease)
parody, lampoon, spoof, sendup, mockery, takeoff, burlesque, travesty, charade, pasquinade, put-on
- a composition that imitates or misrepresents somebody's style, usually in a humorous way


September 27, 2000, AFP, Manila committing genocide in Jolo - ABIM,

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 (AFP) - A leading Malaysian Muslim movement accused the Philippine government today of carrying out a genocide against its Muslim minority in the south.

"We are gravely concerned with the indiscriminate use of force by the armed forces of the Philippines in their efforts to punish the Abu Sayyaf rebels for the latter's kidnapping spree," said the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM).

In a statement on the 11-day military assault in Jolo island, ABIM said a news blackout was obscuring the real picture and that reports filtering out "showed that it is the civilians who are facing the brunt of this operation."

It cited a report of a bomb dropped on a wedding reception in which at least 10 people were killed, according to one account.

The army says only two civilians have been killed and four wounded while more than 36,000 civilians have had to flee their homes.

The Philippine government launched the operation to rescue 17 hostages including three Malaysians and destroy the Abu Sayyaf, which seized hostages from two Malaysian resorts within five months.

ABIM condemned the hostage-taking but said it appeared that Manila "is using the Abu Sayyaf menace only as cover for a more diabolical agenda."

As well as the current campaign, ABIM recalled previous battles with the Moro National Liberation Front, now at peace with the government, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

It added that "the pattern of war in Mindanao and Jolo is more of a genocide than anything else."

Citing the lack of development aid for poor Muslim-populated areas, ABIM said Moros (Filipino Muslims) are being punished for refusing to accept total integration "into the national body politic, which also means embracing Christianity."

The current drive against the Abu Sayyaf, it said, "should not be used as a pretext by the government to decimate innocent people, much less children, women and the infirm."

The influential ABIM has 100,000 members. The government of Malaysia has said it is Manila's right to launch the offensive.

September 12, 2000, [MGG] As You Sow, So Shall You Reap The Sipadan kidnap stand-off could not be resolved until millions of US
dollars were paid in ransom. Despite the denials, the four-month long
tortuous negotiations involved money, lots of it. The European countries
wanted their citizens out unharmed, and that they would be prepared to pay
to get them out was clear: their diplomat representatives in Kuala Lumpur
were in no doubt they would be. Malaysia had an assistant minister and a
former Sabah chief minister on hand along with sundry others, their role
widely believed to involve paying ransom. Officially, of course, they
would not pay, but when Libya came in at the tail end, when negotiations
were at an impasse, and offered to put up the sums demanded to get them
out, it left the countries off the hook. Barely a day after the last
victim was released, when the pirates struck again, this time seizing
three Malaysians from Pulau Pandanan, off the coast of Semporna; eleven
others fled into the jungle. The wide open seas in the area is barely
patrolled, and pirates can strike at random, unbeknownst to the
authorities. The officials have no clue where the men were.

The Abu Sayyaf kidnappers played their cards well, raising the ante
until the first European country cracked and agreed to pay. But it was a
dangerous precedent. Both Manila and Kuala Lumpur now admit that the
kidnaps were finally motivated. The Philippines spokesman Ronaldo Zamora
said "the more you pay in ransom the more you pay in kidnapping". The
Malaysian deputy prime minister, Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi,
believes it could be "financially motivated". The waters around Sabah,
especially in the area off Semporna, is breeding ground for pirates, who
can hit-and-run with remarkable agility, with little threat from police or
military reaction. The presence of a half-million Filipinos in Sabah,
mostly from the southern Mindanao area and its environs, mostly Moslems,
adds a security element which if all but officially ignored. The Sipadan
kidnap is widely believed to have been a political show of force in which,
Sabah sources say, involved the Mindanao governor, Mr Nur Misuari, and
Malaysian politicians. It backfired.

The latest kidnapping therefore is more serious and dangerous. The
security element is not addressed. Could this have been a tit-for-tat for
something the Sabah government which restricted these pirates and their
relatives to land or otherwise reside in Sabah? It was alleged at one
time the Sipadan kidnap was a Mindanao show of force for Malaysians
expelling illegals residents in the state. The Philippines allege there
is more to the Sipadan kidnap than is revealed, that there was some
official collusion in that a retired lieutenant general had a key role in
the Sipadan kidnap. A few more high profile kidnaps like this, and one
can write off the area as a tourist destination. Security in the area can
be ensured only if the three governments involved -- Malaysia, Indonesia,
Philippines -- jointly patrol the seas. That is not possible, since
Indonesia and Malaysia are locked in a dispute now before the World Court
over who owns Sipadan and Litigan islands; Philippines-Malaysia ties are
strained by the continued Manila claim for Sabah. Since Manila believes
the three kidnapped Malaysians are now in an island off Jolo, with a
cordon now in place, Kuala Lumpur is embroiled in yet another kidnap in
which it can do little but to pay off whatever ransom is
demanded. Especially, when bilateral ties are so frosty.

M.G.G. Pillai

August 3, 2000
Insurgencies (fwd)
...spent decades fighting Islamic groups based in the south of the country the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Abu Sayyaf groups being the most prominent. Fighting has concentrated in the southern islands, and bombing campaigns have reached north...

June 20, 2001, Harakah Daily, Philippine military seeks to redeem itself against Abu Sayyafby Mynardo Macaraig, 
LAMITAN, Philippines, June 20 - For thousands of troops stalking Muslim guerrillas in the southern Philippines, they see victory as crucial to removing a blot on their record, as much as obeying a presidential order to wipe out the rebels.

June 5, 2005
...killed or wounded in heavy fighting triggered by the death of a Muslim child in a crossfire after troops clashed with Abu Sayyaf terrorists. Clashes erupted in Jolo on Monday following attacks by suspected Misuari followers against troops in several...

May 30, 2006
Malaysian Police arrest 12 Muslim militants: report
...Police are investigating if Darul Islam - which is seeking to turn Indonesia into an Islamic state - has links with the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group based in the southern Philippines, or with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda, The Star said. Sabah's east coast...

Jul 22, 2000
[sangkancil] Philippine rebels free four Malaysian hostages (fwd)
...Masangkin and Balakrishnan Nair. There was no word on three remaining Malaysian hostages from the 21 people abducted by the AbuSayyaf rebels from Sipadan on Easter Sunday, April 23, and brought to guerrilla hideouts on Jolo. The 21 comprised nine Malaysians...

Jul 10, 2000
...hostage crisis in the Philippines. Twenty people including eight Malaysians have been held for more than two months by Abu SayyafMuslim rebels. Diplomats and analysts say Malaysia's army, apart from the weapons theft fiasco, is fairly well regarded...

Jun 28, 2000
[MGG] The Sipadan Kidnap: Did Malaysia Train The Abu Sayyaf Group?
...Razak, dismissed rumours of Malaysians training the Abu Sayyafrebels. The foreign minister, Dato' Seri Syed Hamid Albar...the convoluted relationship between Malaysia and the Abu Sayyaf revels, the governor of the autonomous Mindanao region...

Jun 22, 2000
Philippines - Regional Isolation (fwd)
...governments not to give in to ransom demands of the Abu Sayyaf, which has held 21 international hostages in the southern...the rebels. A similar stance has been taken toward the Abu Sayyaf, with the military launching attacks on members of the group...

Jun 5, 2000
Fwd: PH: Manila's military offensive after humiliation by Moro mujahideen [Crescent] (fwd)
...population. Then came a hostage-taking drama involving a Christian priest and several schoolchildren on March 20 by the Abu Sayyaf, a group linked to several former members of the Moro National Liberation Front. The MILF has denied any links with Abu...

June 5, 2000
Fwd: PH: Hostage Crisis: New hut; Malaria; Estrada offers autonomy (fwd)
...getting weak. We continuously talk to each other to calm each other down." A team of 10 carpenters, mostly members of the Abu Sayyaffundamentalists holding the hostages, built a large hut on Friday to give them better protection and more comfort. Philippine...

Jun 5, 2000
Fwd: PH: Hostage Crisis: Manila riled by KL's direct talks with rebels (fwd)
...riled by KL's direct talks with rebels Malaysia says the Abu Sayyaf wants its participation, while Philippine officials believe...hostages. "If you do this, you will be overwhelmed by the Abu Sayyaf, they will be dividing the negotiations. In fact, we discourage...

Jun 5, 2000
Fwd:PH: Hostage Crisis: Abu Sayyaf a govt-created Frankenstein (fwd)
...List To: SEASIA-L@... Subject: Fwd:PH: Hostage Crisis: Abu Sayyafa govt-created Frankenstein PHILIPPINES Abu Sayyaf a govt...Previous kidnap-for-ransom incidents also involving the AbuSayyaf saw the government bending to the rebel group's demands...

May 24, 2000
[MGG] The Sipadan Kidnap: Roiled In A Tragi-Comedy
...the Sipadan tourists and Malaysians kidnapped by the AbuSayyaf Muslim separatists a month ago and held in Jolo island...want those kidnapped from Sipadan to be part of another Abu Sayyaf kidnapped hostages of Filipinos, but a view which gains...

May 24, 2000
[MGG] The Achilles' Heel of Malaysian Foreign Policy
...complicates Malaysia's problems with the Philippines to get the kidnapped Sipadan foreign tourists and Malaysians off the Abu Sayyaf irredentist group which holds them hostage. When in Kuala Lumpur for the APEC summit shortly after Dato' Seri Anwar's detention...


Irredentism (from Italian irredento, "unredeemed") is any position advocating annexation of territories administered by another state on the grounds of common ethnicity or prior historical possession, actual or alleged. It is often advocated by pan-nationalist movements and is a feature of identity politicscultural and political geography. Because most borders have been moved and redrawn over time, a great many countries could theoretically present irredentist claims to their neighbors. Germany's Anschluss of Austria and annexation of German-speaking Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia in 1938 and a return of territory from Czechoslovakia to Hungary as a result of the First Vienna Awardare perhaps historical examples of this idea in practice.

May 17, 2000, Harakah Daily, The Sipadan Kidnap: Running Around In Circles, by M.G.G. Pillai, 

The Malaysian foreign minister, Dato' Seri Syed Hamid Albar, irrevocably sidelined in this saga of kidnapped tourists from Sipadan islet, off the Sabah town of Semporna, believes the Philippines Muslim separatist group, Abu Sayyaf, must uphold Islam and show compassion to them. He, with Malaysian ministers, run around in circles, caught in an inflexible bind, unable to do anything. Now, he does not even understand the Abu Sayyaf breakaway faction of the Mindanao separatists, is no more than a spoiler amongst Muslim irredentist movements in the region. Its leaders gained their experience in Afghanistan, returned to create havoc in their own country, but without a political goal, one which makes them
dangerous especially when cornered as they now appear to be. Indeed, several breakaway factions of the Abu Sayyaf group all operating under the same name, that there is doubt if the two separate groups holding Filipino and the Malaysian hostages work are the same group or even work in tandem. That aside, what worries is Malaysia's petulantly irrelevant and irreverent comments that suggest a distaste at how the Philippines manages the crisis. And Malaysia suddenly loses interest in the affair. Malaysia is sidelined because the islet from which the foreign tourists and Malaysian staff were kidnapped is contested, the matter before the International Court of Justice at the Hague.

Malaysia loses interest in this kidnapping. The mainstream media relegates it into its inside pages, the fate of the kidnappers no more in the official worldview. The foreign minister, therefore, make offhand statements that redound on Malaysia, as if he and it could dictate the course of the negotiations with the kidnappers by rising above their station. But surely calling on the Abu Sayyaf faction, one of several, to uphold Islam gives the Philippines authorities, if nothing else, a doubt about Malaysia's intention in an already contentious confrontation. The European community and other governments with citizens amongst the hostages stomach their well-grizzled refusal to pay ransom hostages not their citizens, have no qualms when they are. Malaysia is ambivalent about paying ransom to rescue the hostages. I expect Malaysian disinterest if the foreign tourists are released but the Malaysians remain in custody. The Malaysians detained have rated little official support or interest, the official Malaysian and Sabah state worry more about foreign tourists deserting these islands and safety of the tourist trade than of the fate of the kidnapped tourists.

This disinterest, and the hidden incidents, unreported, point to a disturbing callousness and taunting which upped the ante, with suggestions of a self-interest that led to, for instance, the removal of Nur Misuari, the Mindanao governor, as negotiator. On 3 April, Malaysian troops shot dead four pirates, which led to other pirates to raid one offshort tourist spot a week later. The government upped the
ante by expelling about 2,000 illegal immigrants from the Philippines which included, I am told, relatives of Nur Misuari. So, when the pirates struck Sipadan islet on 23 April, there was more to the kidnap than met the eye. Since the Abu Sayyaf groups hire local gangsters and guns-for-hire to rob banks and kidnap people, the probability that the Sipadan kidnap was the work of one such cannot be ruled out. The
reporting of the kidnap, with foreign and local reporters allowed into the kidnappers' lair, with the variety of viewpoints that often contradict one another, confuses. The monolithic unanimity presumed in
the Abu Sayyaf group could well be fiction. Which is why confusion abounds and frightens.

Whatever the compulsions, the Abu Sayyaf group behaves as a rogue army, more interested in violence, blood and gore than in any interest in an Islamic state. This is what make them so dangerous. Death holds
no terror. One could argue this publicity ensure the ransom they clearly want before releasing the hostages. Having the hostages talk into their television stations back home in Europe and elsewhere raises
local concern; the kidnappers' Islamic inorientation raises the temperature, the ransom more likely payable than have their citizens' throats cut. The accompanying stories of how they behead their victims
are calculated to pressure than to show how bloodthirsty they are. Into this scene the Malaysian foreign minister steps into, with idiosyncratic idiotic statements as he professes from time to time. But these ad hoc statements are not enough. Malaysia must move with diplomatic finesse, that a crisis committee should already plan its contingencies, and the foreign minister despatched to Jakarta and Manila to help Manila rescue the kidnapped Sipadan tourists or have them return safe and sound. The complicating public hostility in the Philippines, mainly by deliberately, but falsely, equating the MNLF's breakaway Moro Islamic Liberation Front of a Nur Misuari enemy, Hashim Salamat, with the Abu Sayyaf's faction, accentuates the military confrontation for the Philippines government. That cannot be reversed by a clueless foreign minister in Kuala Lumpur who daydreams of Islamic compassion releasing hostages.

May 3, 2000
Indonesia Reiterates Claim To Disputed Islands,

...kidnapped the 21 hostages, including 10 foreign tourists, from Sipadan. The abductions have been blamed on members of the AbuSayyaf, a Muslim extremist group based in the southern Philippines. Both Malaysia and Indonesia claim the two islands, which are...

August 24, 2000, Harakah Daily, Malaysian general "connived in Jolo kidnap',
August 27, 2000, Harakah Daily, Sandiwara! Oh, Sandiwara!--Or How A Kettle Calls The Pot Black,
by M.G.G. Pillai

September 27, 2000, AFP, Manila committing genocide in Jolo - ABIM,

April 5, 2001, New Straits Times, Surveillance along Sabah coast continues,
May 11, 2001, Bernama, "Safe Passage" in Sabah Waters From Mid-Year,

May 24, 2001, Inquirer News Service, 2 Killed; Six Hostages Taken, Pearl Farm attacked, Jowel F. Canuday,
May 24, 2001, Philippine Headline News, Abu Sayyaf Attacks 5-Star Davao Resort,
May 24, 2001, INQ7, 8:41 AM, Military ops continue vs Pearl Farm bandits,
May 25, 2001, Inquirer News Service, Pearl Farm raiders on the run; Military rules out Abu Sayyaf
May 25, 2001, The Philippine Star,  'Guns-for-hire behind attack on Pearl Farm’ by Edith Regalado
May 25, 2001, The Philippine Star, Pearl Farm raiders slip out of police-military dragnets by Edith Regalado

May 29, 2001, ABC News, Philippine Guerrillas Threaten Hostages,
May 29, 2001, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Troops pursuing raiders seal off villages—MNLF, Allan A. Nawal,
May 31, 2001, Inquirer News Service, US naval force arrives in RP, 11:51 PM
June 1, 2001, Inquirer News Service, Dos Palmas hostages reported in Basilan,
June 1, 2001, The Manila Times, Hostages in Basilan, by Johnna Villaviray, Jeannette Andrade and Marian Trinidad,
June 2, 2001, Inquirer News Service, 11:12 PM, GMA sees victory over Abu Sayyaf, by Juliet L. Javellana, Dave Veridiano, Julie Alipala-Inot and Jonathan F. Ma,
June 2, 2001, Inquirer, Letter, Palawan security a disgrace, by Marc de Piolenc,
June 5, 2001, Philippine Headline News, Govt Upbeat on Davao Tourism,
June 8, 2001, The Philippine Star, Trouble in paradise, SKETCHES by Ana Marie Pamintuan,
June 14, 2001, Inquirer, Letter, Escape from the Abu Sayyaf, Reghis Romero,
October 2001, A Study of Corruption in the Philippine Navy, by LTJG Antonio F. Trillanes IV

Mangahas, Malou C.
2001 Kickbacks and Negotiated Deals Mar AFP Procurement
System (Corruption-free modernization?). A PCIJ Report downloaded
from PCIJ website at www. PCIJ. org

2001 As quoted by Pazzibugan, Dona. 2001. Golez: Military row
inevitable given Wong's 'crusading mode'. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Feb

1996 Capt Ariston de los Reyes PN, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff
for Plans and Programs as quoted in Manila Standard Aug 20 during a
hearing of the Senate Committee on Finance.

2001 Joint Army, Navy, Air Force task force tracking kidnappers.
Philippine Daily Inquirer. May 27

2001 Growing Evidence Abu Sayyaf behind Kidnappings: Tiglao.
Philippine Daily Inquirer. May 28

2001 No proof of hostages in Sulu, Basilan: military spokesperson.
Philippine Daily Inquirer. May 31

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