The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 16 September 2013

by admin on September 16, 2013

Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.

The Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front

This week’s snapshot focuses on a standoff between the Philippine army and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) near Zamboanga, a city on southern Philippine island of Mindanao. MNLF insurgents attacked the city and took several hostages, provoking a crisis that has caused at least 56 deaths and displaced tens of thousands of civilians. Although there has been talk of a truce, the Philippine military has begun battling its way into villages around Zamboanga in an attempt to end the conflict.

News Summary of events during the week of 09SEP-15SEP

  • On 09SEP, the Philippine army became locked in a standoff with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels, after the insurgents attacked Zamboanga and took hostages. (AFP)
  • On 10SEP, the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) issued a joint statement condemning the MNLF’s Zamboanga siege. (Xinhua)
  • On 11SEP, MNLF rebels closed in on Zamboanga and demanded international mediation. (AP)
  • On 12SEP, the UN said that it is ready to provide assistance to tens of thousands of civilians displaced by clashes between MNLF rebels and the government. (Xinhua)
  • On 12SEP, the Philippine government said that it is open to using force to resolve the Zamboanga crisis. (Xinhua)
  • On 13SEP, 18 people were killed in hostilities between MNLF rebels and the Philippine army. (Xinhua)
  • On 14SEP, Philippine troops began battling their way into coastal villages near Zamboanga in an attempt to end the standoff. (AP)
  • As of 15SEP, nearly 100 MNLF rebels have been killed by the Philippine military. (AP)

Sample of Twitter handles regarding MNLF and the Philippines

  • @Karen_DaviLa – Twitter handle of Karen Davila, a broadcast journalist for ABS-CBN News, a prominent Philippine news source.
  • @USEmbManilaNo2 – Twitter handle of Brian Goldbeck, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy Manila.
  • @sandraguinaldo – Twitter handle of reporter Sandra Aguinaldo for GMA News, a television network in the Philippines that primarily airs news programs.
  • @patevangelista – Twitter handle of reporter Patricia Evangelista for Rappler, a Philippine social news network.
  • @cocoalcuaz – Twitter handle of ABS-CBN reporter Coco Alcuaz.

Sample of Third Party Validators regarding MNLF and the Philippines

Name Position Organization Quote Article and Source Date
Rajiv Biswas Head Asia Economist IHS Global Insight “The impact of the conflict in Zamboanga City is likely to result in investors switching their investment plans away from Mindanao toward other economic regions of the Philippines with a more stable political climate.” Philippine Troops Close In on Militant Group, Wall Street Journal 9/15/2013
Julkipli Wadi Professor University of the Philippines “[Nur Misuari] wants to show he still counts” Philippine Troops Close In on Militant Group, Wall Street Journal 9/15/2013
Ramon C. Casiple Executive Director Institute For Political and Electoral Reform “The power structure of the clans and tribes transcends the power of the political groups,” Mr. Casiple said. “Whatever group they are aligned with, their allegiance is to their clan.” Rebel Rifts on Island Confound Philippines, New York Times 9/15/2013
Richard C. Jacobson Philippines country director Pacific Strategies and Assessments “The current fighting is not likely to derail the peace deal, but it will make it harder to put the power-sharing part of the agreement into effect.” Rebel Rifts on Island Confound Philippines, New York Times 9/15/2013
Rommel Banlaoi Executive Director Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research Prolonged violence in Zamboanga, parts of which were occupied by rebel forces on Sept. 9, would give the MNLF a “strategic advantage” and highlight Aquino’s difficulty in bringing peace to the area. Philippine Death Toll Mounts as Aquino Vows to End Rebel Siege, Bloomberg 9/14/2013
Benito Lim Political Science Professor Ateneo de Manila University “Aquino is employing a military solution to a political problem. He has to reach out and talk to these people because the economy has suffered and many people have died.” Philippine Death Toll Mounts as Aquino Vows to End Rebel Siege, Bloomberg 9/14/2013
Zainudin S. Malang Executive Director Mindanao Human Rights Action Center “The food situation is getting desperate,” says Malang, who added that a humanitarian corridor was now necessary for supplies to be delivered.” Calls for U.N. Mediation After Separatist Rebels Attack Second Philippine Town, TIME Magazine 9/12/2013
Steven Rood Country Representative Asia Foundation According to Rood, MNLF-leader Nur Misuari considers this new peace process illegal. “Misuari feels marginalized,” Rood says, “but what he is striving for, to go back to year zero, is totally unrealistic”. Calls for U.N. Mediation After Separatist Rebels Attack Second Philippine Town, TIME Magazine 9/12/2013
Carl Baker Director of Programs Pacific Forum, Center for Strategic and International Studies “The Moro National Liberation Front sees its economic interests being challenged. It’s a typical reconstruction environment where you have a lot of spoilers.” Is the rebel attack in the Philippines a publicity ploy? Christian Science Monitor 9/12/2013

 

Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to MNLF and the Philippines

 

1. Philippine Moro rebels warn standoff in Zamboanga might escalate

Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 09 September 2013

COTABATO, Philippines, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) — Philippine Moro rebel group on Tuesday warned the violence in Zamboanga City that left six dead while more than 200 people held hostage might escalate in other areas of Mindanao.

“It’s been 24 hours now and the government is doing nothing but sending more troops. We are on a defensive posture, however if under attack we will respond,” Moro National Liberation Front ( MNLF) spokesman Atty. Emmanuel Fontanilla told a local radio station.

Fontanilla said before the incident on Monday, they have movements in preparation for their caravan in the city of Zamboanga.

To continue reading, please visit:

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-09/10/c_132707161.htm

END

 

2. Thousands flee on third day of Philippine rebel siege

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 11 September 2013

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines, Sept 11, 2013 (AFP) – Thousands of residents fled as fresh fighting broke out Wednesday between Philippine security forces and Muslim rebels, on the third day of a deadly siege in a key southern city, officials said.

At least 13,000 people crammed into Zamboanga city sports stadium seeking safety as soldiers and rebels fought street battles in deserted coastal neighbourhoods nearby, an AFP photographer on the scene said.

To continue reading, please visit:

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/09/11/thousands-flee-philippine-rebel-siege/

END

 

3. Philippine VP to push truce as gunbattles rage

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 14 September 2013

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines, Sept 14, 2013 (AFP) – Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay is to travel to the southern city of Zamboanga on Saturday in a bid to broker a truce with Muslim rebels holding scores of civilian hostages while locked in a deadly stand-off with government forces.

A spokesman for the vice-president said Binay had talked to the leader of the rebels in the port city after five days of heavy fighting that have left 52 people dead and 70 wounded and had proposed a ceasefire that would come into effect at midnight on Saturday.

“He (Binay) talked to (rebel leader Nur) Misuari and he talked to (Defence Secretary Voltaire) Gazmin, and they agreed to discuss a ceasefire,” the vice president’s spokesman Joey Salgado told AFP early Saturday.

To continue reading, please visit:

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/09/13/philippine-vp-to-push-truce-as-gunbattles-rage/

END

 

4. Fighting Intensifies in Philippine Standoff

Media: Wall Street Journal

Byline: Cris Larano And Josephine Cuneta

Date: 14 September 2013

MANILA—Fighting intensified between Philippine security forces and Muslim rebels on Saturday in the southern city of Zamboanga, where a bloody standoff now in its sixth day has left more than 50 dead, nearly 200 people held hostage and tens of thousands forced from their homes.

“We’re still facing over 100 rebels, more or less,” Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, chief spokesman for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said at a news conference. “We’ve recovered a lot of firearms.…But we’re still in a fight.”

The rebels of the Moro National Liberation Front attacked Zamboanga City on Monday with the intent of hoisting their flag at city hall to declare their authority over the area. They were stopped by Philippine security forces.

To continue reading, please visit:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324576304579074890945763678.html?mod=fox_australian

END

 

5. Filipino troops attack to end rebel standoff

Media: Associated Press
Byline: Bullit Marquez
Date: 14 September 2013

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine troops have started to battle their way into coastal villages in the south where Muslim rebels have held scores of residents hostage in a six-day standoff, sparking fierce clashes that have killed 56 people and sent more than 60,000 residents fleeing their homes, officials said Saturday.

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said government forces surrounding about 200 fighters from a Moro National Liberation Front rebel faction have started to advance and slowly retake rebel-held areas and clear roads in villages in the coastal outskirts of Zamboanga, a major port city.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said the offensive was “calibrated” to protect hostages still held by the rebels.

“It’s not an all-out war,” Zagala told The Associated Press by telephone from Zamboanga city.

To continue reading, please visit:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/09/14/filipino-troops-attack-to-end-rebel-standoff/2813227/
END

 

6. Philippine Clashes Continue as Troops Set Sights on Muslim Rebels

Media: New York Times

Byline: Floyd Whaley

Date: 15 September 2013

MANILA — Government troops pushed ahead in an offensive aimed at driving Muslim rebels out of the poor coastal communities outside the southern city of Zamboanga, where they have been holding hostages since Monday. Officials said that nearly 100 rebels had been killed or captured.

Officials also said many of the rebels, members of the Moro National Liberation Front, had cast off their military fatigues in an effort to blend in with the civilian population.

The weeklong standoff with the rebels in Zamboanga, one of the most vibrant trading cities in the southern Philippines, was believed to have killed at least 55 people, most of them rebels. It has also raised fears of a setback in the government’s efforts, backed by the United States, to calm insurgencies and combat terrorism.

To continue reading, please visit:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/16/world/asia/philippine-clashes-continue-as-troops-set-sights-on-muslim-rebels.html?_r=0

END

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