Gun battles in Calintaan

Friday, February 25, 2005

Well Wednesday’s entry got cut short by my falling asleep so we’ll see how things go tonight.

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Well, things have been getting a little tense here in Calintaan because of the NPA. The NPA stands for New People’s Army. Basically they are a rebel militant group that hides here on Mindoro as well as down on Mindanao. I believe that they are Muslims and are probably connected to Al Qaida somehow. Anyway, they have been having gun fights with the Philippine Army and lots of people have died. They have taken control of some of Poy-Poy which is about 2 miles to the NNE of Calintaan proper. The army brings the dead NPA down to the plaza and displays them for all the people to see before they bury them. The war is way too close for comfort. There are always helicopters of all sorts flying back and forth, transports, scouts, and gun-boats. Also we have seen a lot of soldiers here in the city. We try to keep the faith and not be afraid but sometimes it is really hard. We went this afternoon down to Saligsig and on the way we were stopped by a squad of the Philippine Army. They were stopping everybody and checking all the men to see if they were NPA. They all had M16s and carried grenades. We got stopped both times but neither time did they say anything to us even though we had bags and they had no idea who we were. Either they were scared stiff about us or they had orders to not bother us. It didn’t help them any that they didn’t know we know how to speak Tagalog. I never thought I’d have to deal with this on my mission. I just hope and pray that we will be save because we are on the Lord’s errand.

 

Eating buko at the Villoria's house

Eating buko at the Villoria’s house

Elder Cox splitting wood for the Villoria's

Elder Cox splitting wood for the Villoria’s

For work today we had service this morning. We took my itak[1] and helped Bro. Viloria to cut fire wood. It was a good work out. I found out how to keep the blade of my itak sharp and so I’m going to have it treated someday soon. This afternoon we had a good time. We found out that Bro Delfino came back, finally, and so we taught/reviewed with him a first and committed him to come to church. Hopefully his progress won’t be hindered by the harvest. Also yesterday the Pulidos all came back from Oriental. Maybe we’ll do some more cooking there.

[1] Itak = machete

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