I imagine the news about what happened in Basilan over the past few days [attacks by rebel groups on the Philippine marines that left at least 14 dead, including at least 9 beheaded] may be trickling in to the Western media.
In case my last post wasn't clear enough, I'm back in Manila, and fine. I did not, in fact, even know about what happened until today. Which is actually pretty bizarre. I was at the Philippine military base yesterday, speaking with a public affairs officer from the US Joint Task Force, including a fair amount of discussion about Basilan, and didn't know what had happened until it came out in the press.
I still don't really understand. I can only assume that the person I was talking to was also unaware at the time, because he said a few things that, in retrospect, look pretty foolish. i.e.:
"And this is where a big part of our involvement with the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines], and our work with the AFP really began was in Basilan where they had significant successes against the Abu Sayyaf and JI [Jemaah Islamiyah] to the point where the US no longer maintains any sort of presence there. They have for most practical purposes...I won’t say that they have eliminated the threat, but they have certainly taken great strides to counter the threat in Basilan."
So, yeah. I didn't watch the news last night, but usually the grapevine is all you need here, and I was out and about until after 8 last night. Didn't here a murmur. I'm still trying to figure that one out. Basilan is just a few miles from where I was, visible over the water.
But in any case, just wanted to reassure that any pondering I'm doing is being done from a nice long distance.
On a much lighter note, my computer is, as usual having some difficulties with the weather, and thus I've lost the use of certain keys. Most irritatingly the zero, the hyphen and the close parenthesis. Thereby depriving me of some of my favorite punctuation.