The Philippines have been torn by violence in the last year, and in September, President Marcos declared martial law.
The Philippines have been torn by violence in the last year, and in September, President Marcos declared martial law. This failed to and the violence, and the Defence Secretary warned the military would take over if civilians failed to cope.
The military clashed with armed Muslims in the Southern parts of the Philippines where, the Government claims, Communists trained by an unnamed foreign power are helping the rebels.
On 29th November, the day on which President Marcos saw his sweeping constitutional reforms voted in by 271 votes against 14, his broadcast to the nation contained the news that on the island of Basilan, some 550 miles South of Manila, a military detachment had been wiped out. Nor were the leftist groups the only ones to plot against the government. On 7th December, Mrs. Marcos was stabbed in what was called "a Rightist plot". The President himself escaped at least four attempts on his life. While getting ready for the complete overthrow of the rebels by force of arms if necessary, President Marcos declared a period of amnesty till the end of February in the hope that a peaceful solution might be found.
One source of the trouble appears to be sectarian. The Muslims claim they are unfairly treated by the Roman Catholic majority in the Philippines, while Roman Catholics in their turn claim they are persecuted in areas where Muslims predominate. Refugees from both sides have to be housed in specially built camps.
SYNOPSIS: Martial law was declared in the Philippines on 22 September last year.
But there has been continued violence in the country since, and the Defence Secretary has warned that the military will take over if civilians can't cops. Warnings were backed by action, and clashes occurred, especially in the Sulu Province which is predominantly Muslim. Here, the Government claims, its forces are facing rebels supported by Communists trained in an unnamed foreign country.
Government losses included two military aircraft. On 29th November, President Marcos personally appeared on television to announce that a whole military detachment had been wiped out by rebels on the island of Basilan, over 500 miles south of Manila. Ironically this was the day when the President saw his sweeping constitutional reforms voted in with a huge majority....217 votes to 14. The president is seeking a way to peace, not necessarily by force. He announced an amnesty till the end of February.
The search for peace in the Philippine Islands, has to include more tolerance between Filipinos of different faiths. Roman Catholics are the majority in the country as a whole and the Muslims complain of persecution. But in parts where Muslims predominate, it is the Christians who complain. So Muslims seek shelter from Christians in refuges camps, and likewise Catholics flee Muslims.
This is a refugee camp for Catholics on the Island of Basilan, where Muslims carry arms in defiance of Government orders. They claim an inalienable right to bear arms.
Meanwhile, their fellow Muslim refugees find shelter in another camp nearby. They too are victims of the insurgents.