Livecast 8.2.17: Murdered Foreigners, NPA Ambushes and New BB Box Rules, 2 of 2

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)!


  1. Thanks Ned…appreciate the updates of things we never hear about in the US…I am still planning to retire after the first of the year and moving to Duma,,,,are there any other places in the Philippines you would suggest…

  2. So things are the same there as they are here I. Think that its worth the time to
    Look onto.Do you think that $2,500 a month will be enough to live the quiet life

    1. Sammy, I don’t want to give an exact location as to where my wife and I live, but it’s in Laguna. Just to give you an idea about what you could find out here as it relates to accommodations, I’ll say this: A nice, brand new, two-story house in a clean, gated, Western-style neighborhood down the street is currently being rented out for about $195 a month (P10,000). After negotiating a bit, my wife and I were going to rent it for about $146/month (P7,500), but we decided to stay in our current place instead (P5,000/month).

      Food is inexpensive, especially if you buy meat and vegetables at an outdoor market, and transportation is cheap. You can buy a car or scooter if you wish, but if you don’t mind taking Jeepneys, buses, tricycles, and/or air-conditioned vans everywhere you go, you’ll only be spending pocket change. $2,500 a month is more than enough to live comfortably here. Just keep in mind that if you like to have your aircon on all day (as I did when I first got here), the electricity bill adds up.

  3. I spent a number of years in the Philippines from as far north as Vigan, and as far south as the bottom of Leyte driving myself in a 4×4 van. There is good and bad in every country but be aware there are some things and situations that are our of your hands that you may want to consider….uneducated people and poor people can turn violent over matters of money, no matter how small the amount is, my advice is to quickly settle and move on in any situation in the Philippines (taxi fare disputes, illegal Traffic police). Next, please be aware that quality hospitals are few and far between should an emergency arise. Please ahead, take medications and as much emergency gear with you to plan for the worst disaster (I carried 2 life vests, 2 long ropes, multiple flashlights, antibiotics, and a first aid kit on long remote journeys). Next, buses that travel long distances and are not maintained are in more accidents. If the bus you are about to get on it overcrowded, and the weather is bad, please rethink your trip. There are unknown dangers around you at all times in a foreign country whether it is a NPA member, a radical Muslim kidnapper, dengue virus, a Philippine cobra, or a pick pocket. I enjoyed my time in the Philippines when I was not in the E.R. for typhoid, chikungunya virus, and other virus and parasites from drinking water and unsanitary food conditions. I recommend taking 2 or 4 kg or Bentinite clay from USA food grade as well as activated charcoal for food poisoning emergencies. If you want to see asia, you might try Malaysia which is safer, cleaner and more advanced but kinda boring compared to the Philippines. As for a place to retire, try Angeles city because there is good medial care at Clark, foreigners to chat with and lots of great international food.

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