Austin Bay points out that in the Philippines, President Duterte's tough anti-drug, anti-crime rhetoric is being matched by equally tough anti-terrorism measures.
The war on Islamic terrorism in the south continues with growing intensity. The government wants to end the years of Islamic terrorists sustaining themselves through kidnapping and piracy. The president told the military to shut down Abu Sayyaf by mid-year and do whatever was needed to get it done. The president discussed the major problems the security forces have encountered. First there is the ransoms. Military intelligence estimates that Abu Sayyaf took in over a million dollars a month from ransoms during the first six months of 2016 and that the Abu Sayyaf move into piracy off the south coast was based on the need to keep that money coming. Now the military has been ordered to ignore the presence of hostages when attacking or bombing Abu Sayyaf camps. He urged foreign nations to not pay the large ransoms, which have long been illegal in the Philippines. In the meantime foreigners are urged to avoid the southeastern areas of the Philippines, especially Sulu and Basilan, where the kidnappers (mainly Abu Sayyaf) are most active. Without those large and continued infusions of cash the Islamic terrorist activity sharply declines because all that ransom money makes it possible to outlaws like Abu Sayyaf to survive even though local political and religious leaders condemn them.
Martial law is also available as an option to ensure that Abu Sayyaf is done by Filipino Independence Day (June 12th). For most of 2016 the government has had 10,000 troops and police carrying out more aggressive operations against Abu Sayyaf and that has caused the Islamic terror group a lot of losses. Since July this has cost the Islamic terrorists nearly 200 men, most of them killed but about a third of them lost to capture, desertion and illness. These non-combat losses are a direct result of the constant pressure. The government has offered to hold peace talks with Abu Sayyaf, but on condition that the Islamic terrorist group cease all kidnapping activity. Abu Sayyaf has made it clear it would never do that because they need the cash to exist. Abu Sayyaf is feeling the pressure and captured members and documents, as well as intercepted messages indicate that the group is burning through their cash faster than expected because of the growing pressure from security forces and pro-government locals.
This last group has been growing as local civilians complain about the disruptions in their lives because of the increased efforts to shut down Abu Sayyaf. Some of the locals have been urging Abu Sayyaf to move or do something to give their traditional supporters some relief. Meanwhile a lot of locals are just quietly, often via some discreet (often anonymous) texting to the local military base (local police are less trustworthy) with useful information of Abu Sayyaf activities. This has forced Abu Sayyaf to release some hostages alive, without ransom, when the security forces get too close. This is especially true if the hostages are Moslems, It’s one thing to execute a foreign kaffir (non-Moslem) but casually slaughtering Moslem captives is not good for the image (of being protectors of Islam). Families of some foreign Moslems held hostage report getting phone calls from the kidnappers (who put their kin on the line to encourage cooperation) offering freedom for much less ransom if they can pay real soon.
There's more at the link.
I can't say I'm in favor of President Duterte's flagrant disregard of even the most basic of civil and human rights. However, I have to admit that he's getting results in his war on drugs and crime - and those results have the resounding support of a good two-thirds of Philippines citizens. I'd hate to live there under such a government, but if the people approve, he's probably going to go right on doing as he's done for some time now. If he can produce similar results in the war against home-brewed Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, he'll doubtless become more popular than ever.