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You may have reached this website searching for tidbits about the Abu Sayaff kidnappings. You may also find it unusual that someone like me is selling properties in a place that has been attacked by the Abu Sayaff. This website will tell you, why the Abu Sayaff chose Palawan as their target for their terrorist kidnappings.
The Abu Sayaff is not from Palawan, they are from the Sulu Area in Mindanao, specifically the Island of Basilan, which is very far from the Island of Palawan (a fact that it took them three days to reach Palawan Territory riding on a high speed boat kumpit)
This Abu Sayaff ("sword bearer") people are Muslim extremists who resort to kidnappings as a form of terroristic acts to announce their cause of Islam extremism and in the long run, to get a hefty ransom- like getting "two birds in one stone".
The Muslim struggle against the central government of the Republic of the Philippines dates back from the first day the Spaniards (1521) set foot on the Philippine Archipelago. The Spaniards came to conquer the inhabitants with the symbol of the Cross and Sword. However, the sultanate kingdoms in the southern part put a very strong resistance against the invaders the reason why until now they remain unconquered. These Muslims, branded as "Moros" conduct slave raids in coastal villages of Spanish- controlled territories in Northern Mindanao and in the Visayas for a hundred year.
However, when Spain surrendered to the Americans, they sold the Philippines, through the Treaty of Paris, which includes the Southern unconquered parts of the Philippines. Then the battle for autonomy shifted from the Spaniards to the Americans--that is how the 45 caliber automatic pistol was invented in 1911, because of the experience of American soldiers with the "Muslim Hurumentados" (bolo wielding suicide attackers) in which their standard issue 38 caliber revolver has no much to stop the determined and ritualistic fanatics who is out to defend their land from foreign culture.
The burden of long secessionist movement in Mindanao, which resorted to many bloody battles was transferred by the Americans to the Republic of the Philippines right after the Filipino independence was granted. Various military campaigns was conducted by the Republic to end the rebellion until it was resolved to end the fruitless Moro wars by giving Autonomy (Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao) to this areas wherein the Muslims can now fully practice their culture and religion. But there are some Muslims leaders that are not contented with the Autonomy, they want an Independent State (Bansang Moro Republic) so the struggle for Moro liberation continues...
The Abu Sayaff terrorist group was believed to be a special force group trained to become the Philippine Muslim contingent to Afghanistan battle against the Soviets Invaders. However, the Iron Curtain Fell down and the plans was aborted. With these special operation force, soldiers went back to their war stricken homeland with foreign military and religious extremist training and hi-tech armaments but, without a descent source of living.
The recent developments in the war against the Abu Sayaff took a sharp turn with the American Military Aid. Listed as one of the Terrorist Network of Osama Bin Laden, the US Armed Forces sent a contingency of military observers to see the effort exerted by the Philippine Government against these terrorists. It was observed that the Philippine Armed Forces lack proper weapons and equipments to deal with a sustained jungle warfare unlike their terrorist foes who can afford to buy satellite phones and wielded Rocket Propelled Grenades.
Fortunately, the remnants of this terrorist group are now being surrounded by thousands of Philippine Marines and Army. The small islands of Sulu and Basilan are now being oversaturated with soldiers. Local militia are being activated plus the Christian vigilantes who conduct covert operations against the terrorist. It is going to be a short war from this moment on. The capability and probability of Mindanao based rebels to wreck havoc in other parts of the country is now being reduced by constant military pressure and pursuit.
In the case of Palawan, being the base of the Naval Forces of the Republic, security consciousness is the name of the game. The Island Province cannot afford to be attacked again. The single act of terrorist kidnapping plunged the local and national tourist industry into the abyss. All efforts are being exerted to secure the province. Almost all national and local public and private resources in Palawan are being utilized to gather first hand intelligence on all suspicious movements of sea transports within the territory.
Palawan, being an umbrella shaped province, is susceptible to water borne attacks, thus security are strengthened in this area. In case of rebels in the mountains, it is unlikely because rebels cannot easily hide since a military cordon from north and south can easily sandwich them. Plus, Palawan is a melting pot of almost all cultures of the Philippines from North to South. These people went there to escape chaos from their provinces and they are very cooperative in informing the military of any rebel presence in their villages.
Being world famous as the Philippine's Last Frontier, top tourist destination and the most peaceful province of the Philippines. Palawan's world prominence makes it an easy choice for the Abu sayaff to conduct their terrorist acts. The entire province and its people becomes the victim of terrorism and it is a pity and injustice when tourists and visitors shy away from Palawan, because of the terrorism that happened there. Take the case of New York City, it was devastated by the September 11 attacks, this means that people will stop going there because they are afraid of terrorist?
The main goal of terrorism is "publicity" and its principle is "kill one and shock a thousand." If you are now afraid of being a victim of terrorism; you are now a victim because, you are terrorized and because of fear, you let the terrorist (Abu Sayaff) win.
Postponing a long planned dream trip to Palawan is adding insult to injury. What we can do now, as what the Mayor of New York pleaded: "come to New York, visit us, buy something here and do business" and as the people of Palawan plead: Come to Palawan, visit us, enjoy your vacation, savor natures wonder and do business here".
Own a piece of the Paradise... invest in the Philippine's Last Frontier... buy properties in Palawan.
copyright 2001. Elysian Fields Realty Service.