A Philippine Marine checks the identification papers of a policeman at a checkpoint in Isabella City, Basilan. The Marines received intelligence reports that armed men allied to various local politicians may try to penetrate the provincial capital before mid-term elections on May 14. Parts of Basilan, which was once known as an Abu Sayyaf stronghold, are considered to be election hot-spots and could experience violent clashes between various political candidates.
Philippine Marines search the bags of Muslim on the streets of Isabella City, Basilan.
Muslim men from the Yakan ethnic group walk toward a mosque in Isabella City, Basilan for evening prayers. Although most of Basilan's residents are Muslim, Catholics make up about 40 percent of the city's population. The island was once considered a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist organization. A fragile environment of peace has returned to Basilan, though both Governor Wahab Akbar and the Philippine Marines say that the island is awash with weapons and supporters of Abu Sayyaf.
A US Marine rides in the back of a pick-up truck through Isabella City, Basilan. 50 men from the Camp Pendleton-based Marine Special Operations Command (Marsoc) are training Filipino troops in weapons, markmanship, tactics and counter-terrorism strategies in Basilan, a former Abu Sayyaf stronghold.
Philippine law prevents them from engaging in combat, but they are allowed to carry weapons for self-defense while moving through civilian areas.
Steve Schneider demonstrates ideal firing positions to a Filipino Marine in Isbella City, Basilan.
US soldiers work out using a 200 lb. coconut log after a long day of training Filipino Marines at the 6th Marine Base Landing Team Brigade in Isabella City, Basilan.
Philippine Army integrees visit a lobster fishery near the island of Jolo which is managed by ex-Moro National Liberation Front members. The Army integrees also fought with the MNLF until 1996 when the secessionist organization signed a peace deal with the Philippine government. More than 7000 former rebels joined the national police and army, some of whom are now fighting current MNLF guerillas in the jungles of Jolo.