I read recently how seven foreigners were caught in a crossfire between AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) troops and NPA (New People’s Army) guerillas near Bukidnon Mindanao. A bird-watching tour group were in the Mount Kitanglad Range National Park when a stray round from a firefight between the two groups struck their Filipino guide. The group, consisting of three Brits, three Danes and an Australian evacuated the area and sought medical treatment for the guide, who was only slightly injured.
The bird watchers were saying at the nearby Del Monte Resort, but cut short their stay and returned to Cagayan De Oro. The army have said no one was killed on any side in the 10 minute firefight and, while no details were released, it is safe to assume the wounding of the guide was caused by a stray bullet and that the group may have been some distance from the actual firefight itself.
Blood Transfusions Can Be Problematic In Philippines
None of which is of much comfort to the wounded guide who now has a large hole in his left arm and is in die need of Type A blood. It would be nice if some of the tour group were Type A and could donate blood as many foreigners do not realize the hassle getting blood can be. First of all it is never free and secondly you often have to buy it from volunteers who hang out near the hospitals and sell their blood as needed. There is a Red Cross Blood Bank service in the Philippines but finding it can be a problem, then finding it open and with stock of the type you need is a further challenge. Nothing is pure and simple in the Pinas.
No Work, No Income Until Wound Heals
Once the guide gets the blood transfusion he needs, he also needs to be treated, rehabilitated and will, I presume find himself without an income for some time until fit and well enough to return to work. How will he support his family in the interim? Getting hurt is often a major problem for Filipinos because they don’t have the benefit of Medicare or Centrelink to help them when times get tough. Spare a thought for this man who was only doing his best to help a tour group get the most out of their trip to Mindanao. Bukidnon is not a problem area for the MNLF or other Muslim separatist groups. The NPA are politically and ideologically very different, but bullets are bullets. They are not picky who they strike.
The probability of getting caught in a crossfire is pretty low, even on Mindanao where most people and most areas are as safe as anywhere else. It can happen, but it can happen anywhere in the country. If in doubt, at the very least don’t add to the problem and stay away from hot spots unless you really must travel there.