Bombs Away in Davao

The airport in the southern Philippine city of Davao suffered a terrorist bombing overnight. The bombing actually occurred outside the main terminal, in a small covered area frequented by jeepney and taxi drivers. At least 20 are dead and hundreds are injured.

The attack is just the latest in a surge of terror activity in Mindanao and the southern Philippines. The suspected reason is the Philippine government’s renewed campaign against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Abu Sayyaf. With extensive U.S. aid, Philippine military units seized territory from the MILF last month and stepped up efforts to crush both Islamic insurgency groups. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is a staunch ally in the U.S. ‘War on Terror,’ and the presence of U.S. troops in Mindanao is just the latest example of her efforts to quash the Islamic insurgents. While the MILF is accused of the bombings, no one has claimed responsibility for any of these latest bombings.

This bombing in Davao is another one that strikes too close to home. I have been to Davao; I have been through that airport. First Kuta, now Davao; will anyplace be safe in the coming months? Seems like Southeast Asia is becoming highly unstable. Bali was targeted because of the high number of Western Europeans, Americans, and Australians in Kuta, an act of terror designed to frighten Western societies. The work of radical extremists. The violence in Mindanao is more pervasive and of a different nature. U.S. involvement probably escalated the conflict, but the majority of the attacks are against other Filipinos and local infrastructure, airports, gas stations, bus stations, water reservoirs, fuel depots. Sounds like a traditional insurgency campaign against hard targets, designed to impede Arroyo’s government and force peace talks.