Whenever you start talking about the Philippines, inevitably the talk will turn to “how dangerous it is” to come here. Frankly, I don’t believe it to be very dangerous at all. In fact, I feel it is safer here in Davao City than it is in many major US Cities, so honestly, I don’t get too worried about safety in terms of living here, or traveling around the Philippines. Most parts of the Philippines, especially in developed aread, I would not consider dangerous at all. I have personally traveled in many areas that people consider quite dangerous, and even those did not seem outside the norm for me.
However, there is always talk about extreme danger here. People think that if you travel here you have a good chance of getting kidnapped or worse. This simply is not my experience at all. I’ve lived here for almost 8 1/2 years now, and so far I never have been in a situation that I sensed to be dangerous, never felt that I was in danger of being kidnapped or harmed in any way.
When I moved to the Philippines, my Mom back in the States was in constant fear for my life, and the lives of our children, and Feyma, of course. Any time that the Philippines showed up on the news, we would get a call to see if we were still safe and alive. Frankly, it got kind of old. Of course, I understand that people will worry about those whom they love, but such worry should be reserved for more “reasonable” situations. That’s just my opinion.
Throughout the Philippines, there are groups that could pose you some danger, and this week, I will write a series of articles about each of these groups. Some will call these groups terrorist groups, others will say that they are freedom fighters. Mostly, I find that these people are not out to get foreigners, if they did that it would bring them a lot more trouble compared to what they already have. Of course, if a foreigner is uninformed about where they are traveling and ventures into territory held by these groups, it could lead to some problems for them, and thus it’s best to be educated and to avoid areas that could present a problem.
So, this week, we will look at these groups:
- New People’s Army (NPA). The NPA is the militant wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines. They have been active for decades in the Philippines
- Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The MNLF signed a peace agreement with the Government back in 1996, and is not really a threat these days, although from time to time there will be a flare up.
- Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Until the last few weeks, the MILF and the Government of the Philippines were on the verge of forging peace, but at this time that seems to have slipped through the fingers of those involved.
- Abu Sayyaf Group. This al-Qaeda linked group is very small, yet very dangerous. You don’t want to meet up with these guys!
So, we will look at each of these groups in depth as the week goes by.