Aurelio Rakinton
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Mindanao stories: The soldier

Mindanao is a beautiful island in the southern Philippines, yet one of the most violent parts of Asia. In and around the city of Cotabato, there are several rebel groups, extortion and kidnap gangs, and clans with their own private armies. There are also tens of thousands of people trying to live a normal life.

This year the main rebel group signed a roadmap for peace with the government - but what will this mean for those living there?

Aurelio Rakinton is a sergeant in the Philippine Army's 6th Infantry Division. He is in charge of a team guarding the main road to Cotabato's airport.

He has been based in different parts of central Mindanao for the past two decades, and has seen active fighting against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and other rebel groups.

  • 20 Dec 2012
  • From the section Asia