[SOUTHEAST ASIAN TIMES] – Black Day in the Philippines: as military starts to deploy to General Santos City, a car bomb explodes in front of a major hotel

Just as a massive deployment of troops was being observed in the southern Filipino city of General Santos (GSC), two South Korean officials (who travelled there for an IT conference) as well as several Australian, Chinese and American tourists are dead after a car bomb attack at the Paraiso Verde Hotel in that same city. After the other violent acts in other parts of GSC today, the main lead in our investigation into these events lies in terrorist motivations. Indeed, the Southeast Asian Times has heard multiple sources alleging that these deaths might indicate a political agenda.

According to our sources, two political organizations that might be involved are the communist New People’s Army (NPA) and the Islamist grouping Abu-Sayyaf. The NPA put a halt to peace talks with Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte after a terrorist attack in February of this year. Abu-Sayyaf is a Jihadist militant group that claims to uphold Islamic values and goals, but they are more commonly perceived as a criminal gang. Another known political block is The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and their militant branch, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). These parties are ruling a relatively independent majority-Muslim region of in the Southern region of the Philippines. It is however unlikely that they would be involved in these attacks, given promising autonomy negotiations with President Duterte.

As for the military reaction to these attacks, the recently deployed troops have been seen to respond to this last attack quickly and efficiently. In fact, sources report that a planned attack on the GSC’s Rajah Buayan Air Force Base was foiled thanks to this hasty military deployment.