Philippines bishop welcomes US troops
Zamboanga, on the southern island of Mindanao, has become a base for around 600 US troops taking part in joint operations with the Filipino military against the Islamic guerrilla group, Abu Sayyaf.
The arrival of the troops follows a decision by Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference and head of a southern archdiocese, to welcome non-combat support from US forces against Abu Sayyaf, provided that they respect Filipino sovereignty.
The Church has since allowed soldiers to use the site of a former convent of St Clare nuns on Basilan.
Archbishop Quevedo's decision was supported on 12 February by all 14 priests of the Isabela prelature, writes Ellen Teague. The prelature serves Basilan island, where Abu Sayyaf is still holding hostage an American missionary couple the rebels kidnapped nine months ago.
Discomforting Questions (Bishop Orlando Quevedo, 7/5/00)
Abu Sayyaf (International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism)
12 Mar 2002