Warning: Some of the images included in this article are graphic.
OK, so the rest of this article has to do with some very real hazards of living in the Philippines: The dangers posed by a number of active insurgency groups and the possibility of being murdered. In some cases – especially among the Islamic extremists on Mindanao – there is even the more unfortunate possibility of being kidnapped and murdered by an armed insurgency group. The next two articles are just the most recent examples of these day-to-day hazards.
And if you didn’t see part one, just click HERE to check it out.
Yet Another Foreigner Murdered in Naval
More disturbing news of another foreigner being viciously gunned down in the Philippines.
Simon Rawlinson of New Zealand, aged 63, was shot dead in the sleepy town of Naval, Biliran in the early morning hours of July 26, 2017. The resident of Barangay Bato was ambushed returning from the morning market and shot multiple times by two Filipinos riding tandem on a motorbike.
Luckily, two nearby CCTV camera systems were able to capture the images of the murder. Footage was used in the investigation and the police were able to ID and arrest two of the three men (one was a look out) involved in the homicide. The murder weapon and a sachet of shabu (methamphetamine) were seized during the arrest.
From all accounts, it appears that Mr. Rawlinson was involved in a legal matter having to do with a right of way to his home in Naval. Reportedly involved in the dispute were the Barangay Captain and members of the city council. A friend of Rawlinson’s had suggested that he leave the country, but the New Zealander refused to leave.
More disturbing than the murder alone is the fact that this is the third homicide of a foreigner in Biliran (population 170,000) in the last two years. Also killed by armed assailants was the Dutch business, 74-year-old Henk Nuits in 2016 and Harvey Abrams earlier this year, a retired US Marine who was also 74 years old.
Six Police Murdered in NPA Ambush on Negros Oriental July 22, 2017
Bad news for Filipinos and (us) foreigners residing on Negros Oriental. Six Philippines National Police were ambushed and murdered a little over a week ago in the city of Guihulngan, located just 85 miles north of Dumaguete City. The New Peoples Army has claimed credit for the attack which consisted of an initial ambush of one vehicle followed up by another on police responding to the incident. The attack started at around 10 AM, and killed in the two ambushes were six police officers, including the police chief of Guihulngan. Two other police officers were wounded in the ambush.
Recovery of the bodies was delayed due to NPA snipers staying behind and shooting at police and army personnel from the jungle and cliffs surrounding the ambush site.
The New Peoples Army was formed in 1969. Based on communist ideology, they are fighting for economic equality through the forced redistribution of wealth between the super-rich Filipino elite and the millions of poor Filipinos. In 1989 they claimed they had assassinated US Army Colonel James “Nick” Rowe, who was the founder of the US Army SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) program. Colonel Rowe was assisting the Armed Forces of the Philippines with military training and was therefore considered a viable target by the communist insurgents.
Before ambushing and killing the six police officers on Negros, the NPA had most recently launched an 80-man raid on the Lapandy Foods Corporation in the city of Davao, Mindanao. The April 29, 2017 attack only wounded one person but resulted in the firing and destruction of a large packing plant located just a few kilometers from downtown Davao City.
Effect on Tourism
Most would think that the extrajudicial killings of over 7,000 “drug pusher” Philippine citizens, the murder of foreign nationals and the escalating fallout of multiple insurgency groups in the Philippines (NPA, MILF and ISIS/ISIL) would undoubtedly have a negative effect on tourism. According to the Bureau of Immigration, however, the opposite is true – tourism is actually up as of May 2017, with over 500,000 foreigners processing into the country through its various ports of entry. The vast majority of the entries were from other Asian nations and the United States.
So, that’s it for this week’s Livecast. Thanks again to all who took part!
Amping (take care)!