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May 08

Electioneering military in Camarines Sur

Amidst claims (whether from active-duty or retired members of the military) and counterclaims regarding military involvement in the elections, there’s news that around 2 battalions, or roughly 1,000 soldiers, have been sent to Camarines Sur to assist the election bid of Dato Arroyo. Information from the area would be very helpful.

This is a far cry from what President Carlos P. Garcia said to the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Loyalty Day, October 30, 1960 (a few months before he lost the November, 1960 presidential election):

I enjoin you all, officers and men of the Armed Forces, to be ever vigilant, to be ever loyal to the principles of democracy that you, even as I, are sworn to uphold. Remember at all times that your loyalty is to God and to our country, to our democratic institutions and certainly not to individuals. In this coming election, you will be doing the country a great service by maintaining strict impartiality. As candidate for president, I should like to make it clear that I would rather go down in defeat than win by means of terrorism or by means of fraud. Exert all your efforts to ensure a clean, honest, and free expression of the people’s will. As your Commander-in-Chief, it is my desire that you do no less. God grant that this land of ours preserve its birthright of freedom, and that you, the vanguards of our bastion of liberty, continue to have the strength, the discipline, the dedication, the self-sacrifice, which alone can guarantee the perpetuation of our well being.

Indeed.

The Inquirer editorial calls all the news of military movements, instructions from top brass to vote a certain way, the suspension of opposition officials, etc., “desperate moves”:

But the administration should be forewarned and remember the lesson of the “snap” election in February 1986. Thirty technicians manning the computers at the Philippine International Convention Center walked out en masse to protest the deliberate changing of election results. The walkout set in motion a chain of events that culminated in the People Power Revolution on the Edsa highway on Feb. 22-25. Massive cheating in the May 14 elections could trigger another such movement.

Billy Esposo quotes Rep. Teodoro Locsin, Jr., reacting to news of the son of Ephraim Genuino, PAGCOR Chairman, campaigning with a truckload of Armalite-wielding members of the Presidential Security Group:

They may be in power but nobody stays in power forever. The day may be long but just the same, the day will definitely end. Just as the Marcoses ended up in Honolulu, those who give them power now may end up in San Francisco -while they will remain here to face the music.

Indeed.

Military “live-in seminars” scare Camarines Sur folks
by Artemio F. Cusi III, Special Reports Contributor

FOLLOWING a strict marathon schedule from 2 P.M. in the first day to 11 A.M. the next day, the 42nd Infantry Battalion under Lieutenant Colonel Dece M. Yabo of the 9th Infantry Division has been conducting the “Information Caravan and Integrated Defense System (ITDS) Orientation Live-In Seminar”.

Aware that this is part of the psychological warfare campaign against the communist guerrillas of the New People’s Army (NPA), the residents of the depressed communities in Camarines Sur’s first district have also noticed the increase in the number of military-sponsored seminars since the start of the year. In another certificate shown by a former participant, the words “and Alsa Masa” came after “(ITDS)”.

Roy Calfoforo, a development officer for the Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PHILDHRRA), said that the manner in which the seminars had been conducted is already public knowledge, at least within the district. He has visited the province recently and received the same complaints.

“Hindi ka mahihirapan kumuha ng magkatugmang detalye kahit sino pa ang makausap mo sa distrito, dahil marami ang iniimbitahan at pareho-pareho ang naranasan sa seminar (You will not have a hard time getting similar details if you talk to anybody in the district, because many were invited and experienced the same things during the seminar),” Calfoforo said.

“Syempre, walang gustong magpabanggit ng pangalan pag kinakausap ang media dahil takot, pero kalat na kalat yung nangyayari. Nakikita sila ng publiko pag nagmamartsa (Obviously, nobody would want to identify themselves when talking to media because they are afraid, but what happened became widespread. They are seen by the public when they are marching),” he added.

Although media has consistently highlighted the “David versus Goliath fight” between San Fernando mayor Sabas “Abang” Mabulo and presidential son Dato Arroyo, the newsmen have missed the curtailment of civil liberties in the election campaign as an angle of the stories.

“If you are absent in that seminar, which is usually held at the municipal gym, then you are presumed an NPA sympathizer by the military.” said the councilor, who requested not to be named. Those who were not able to attend had been told to make up for their absences by participating in the next scheduled activity to be held in another town.

“These only happened during the election campaign. They want to instill fear among the barangay officials,” said Mabulo, who relies primarily on the support of civil society organizations and religious leaders against the much vaunted political machinery of Arroyo.

Hilarious and inane

More than 400 officials from 24 barangays were called to join the orientation held last February 16-17, 2007. The people who attended the orientation said the seminar started during the period of the day when participants are most tired and would prefer to idly spend time dozing in the early afternoon.

Since no food was provided by organizers of the activity, the people were told to bring their own. Some municipal officials contributed vegetables and a few sacks of rice for the barangay leaders attending the seminar.

A councilor from another barangay in San Fernando, Camarines Sur said the seminar began with a talk by a representative of the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) on the merits of the programs carried out by the government.

Another module consisted of a lecture by a Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) employee, who lavishly praised the government for its “accomplishments” in land redistribution to the poor farmers. Probably an indication that the topics failed to elicit his interest, the councilor said he could not recall the names of the speakers.

Later, it became evident that boredom has been encouraged to creep in until the mind grows weary. The theory that brainwashing may be more effective when the subject is tired would probably explain why the military officials imposed uninterrupted lectures and sleep deprivation.

Originating from the Chinese term xî nâo, which literally means “to wash the brain”, the brainwashing methods were used by the Chinese communists on captured United Nations soldiers during the war in Korea. This is to stifle the rebellious nature of prisoners in resisting their captors or organizing an escape plan. In modern times, the Chinese government is more inclined to use the less distasteful term sîxiâng gâi zào or “thought reform”.

Perceived by the participants as hilarious and inane, the counter-insurgency campaign served as the last topic of the seminar. “A guy who sounded like a military chaplain bantered fanatically against the evils of communism while quoting the bible,” the same councilor said. “A military officer also warned about the continuing American imperialism and the desire of China to gradually conquer the Philippines.”

Not satisfied with the bombardment of propaganda, the lecturers directed the barangay officials to sing Filipino religious songs such as Lupa and Hiram sa Diyos.

Those caught snoozing during the lectures were admonished and told that their actuations would not be tolerated because these reflect a non-supportive attitude toward government policies. “The soldiers would use charcoals to smear the faces of those who could not prevent their eyelids from drooping,” the councilor said. The responsibility to wake up a seatmate also fell on all the participants.

If the people would want to use the toilets, they were only allowed to leave the gym on each individual turn.

Partisanship?

About 8 A.M. the following day, the people were ordered to march to the streets, and forced to shout anti-communist slogans while carrying placards with similar messages.

“When we came back to the gym, there was a streamer with the message ‘Welcome Dato Arroyo’ printed on it, but he did not arrive,” the councilor said. “We then heard a soldier shout ‘Mabuhay si Dato Arroyo!'”

One of the public demonstrations had also been witnessed in another municipality by Sonny Francisco, an organizer for the Libmanan Producers’ Cooperative, at around 6 o’clock in the morning when a group of marchers passed by in front of him.

“Many of the marchers, who are barangay officials, are my acquaintances, but we could not smile at each other,” Francisco said. When asked if the military accompanied the marchers, he admitted seeing a soldier walking alongside them. He also confirmed hearing them shout anti-communist slogans.

Francisco, however, is reluctant to discuss the subject further because, in his view, it is a “sensitive issue.” “Maselan ‘yan,” he said. “I am just an organizer promoting organic farming.”

But like the other residents, he wondered why the municipalities were chosen as the sites of the seminars during the election campaign.

“Sadly, in this district, the military seems to have continued to allow itself to be used in trampling the people’s economic and political rights. In this scenario, there is not much hope for genuine peace to reign in the district.” said Soc Banzuela, also a Bicolano and leader of Aksiyon para sa Kapayaan at Katarungan (AKKAPKA), a movement committed to active non-violence.

Renne Gumba, executive director of the Ateneo de Naga’s Institute of Politics, does not see anything politically productive as a result of direct intervention of either the military or the NPA. Instead of helping their respective causes, he said that it will be detrimental to the electoral process.

“It will endanger the 2007 election as the remaining legitimate arena for getting the sentiment of the people.” Gumba said. “These sentiments must be neither coerced nor influenced by others, but based on personal conviction and values.”

Recall also that on December 12, 2006, Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro, Armed Forces spokesperson, said in a press release: “The AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) will remain an apolitical organization — it is along this line that we urge individuals and groups to avoid dragging the name of the AFP into any of the ongoing political exercises.”

Irate

Citing scientific evidence, American psychologist Philip Zimbardo said that brainwashing or mind control “can induce false confessions, create converts who willingly torture or kill ‘invented enemies,’ engage indoctrinated members to work tirelessly, give up their money–and even their lives–for ‘the cause.'”

Based on Zimbardo’s pronouncements, it becomes easier to link the seminars and the recruitment of “volunteers” by the military to the formation of the Alsa Masa or anti-communist militias. This paramilitary group organized to thwart the NPA influence in urban and rural areas became widely known in the late 80s under then Lieutenant Colonel Franco Calida, Metrodiscom chief of Davao City.

But studies also show that when the methods of mental manipulations are not sustained for a long period of time, such that the natural instincts for reality checking are allowed to function normally, the ideologies forced to be inculcated would lose their grip on the behavior of the subjects.

Hence, instead of a successful outcome in the form of additional political allies for Arroyo, the seminars produced a large group of irate individuals. With half of the congressional district’s ten municipalities classified as “4th class”, losing two days of work is not amusing at all. According to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), two municipalities- Cabusao and Pasacao- are considered as “5th” and “3rd” classes, respectively.

“We lost two days of income. It was a waste of time,” the councilor said in describing the activity. He added in jest that the military’s erroneous belief of the efficacy of such seminars may even augur well for Mabulo’s campaign.

No “left” turn

The seminars may have also intimidated the community leaders, making them think twice before openly supporting the party list candidates of the militant cause-oriented groups such as Gabriela, Bayan Muna, or Anakpawis.

“The military warned us once that we would be branded as NPAs if Bayan Muna wins,” a lady councilor said. “If Gabriela wins in our community, the military might think that we are also NPA members, and this is why we are becoming reluctant to vote for them.”

Mabulo said that the military in Camarines Sur is attempting to reverse the current situation that shows the party list candidates as having a significant number of supporters in the rural areas. It is likely that soldiers are adopting the view that stoking the embers of an anti-communist hysteria can create a conflagration of fear, generating an aversion toward candidates perceived as assuming a progressive or left-leaning political stand.

Mabulo is not at all surprised if the military would link him to the activities of the NPA, particularly if he displays a strong performance during the campaign.

“For the military, it is over as far as the election in the first district is concerned,” Mabulo said. Undauntedly, however, the mayor refuses to call it quits amid constant pronouncements by the other camp that he had backed out from the race.

Stronger military presence

Aside from the issue of alleged partisanship of the military being raised by civil society organizations, they doubt the presidential son’s ability and resolve to end the problems of human rights violations and insurgency.

“If he wins, can we really expect Dato to defend his constituents when they become victims of violent conflicts, knowing that his mother signed the Human Security Act?” asked PHILDHRRA’s Calfoforo.

Banzuela predicts a stronger military influence in the province. “If Dato wins in Camarines Sur, we can be sure of an intensified militarization in the district. If he wins through military might and money, he will rule through them. Kawawa naman ang mga kababayan ko,” he said.

What the Bicolanos should be getting instead are the promised social reforms, added Banzuela. “But they won’t have these. There is much to be desired in the track records of Dato’s family and main political supporters when it comes to eradicating poverty in the rural communities,” he said.

Meanwhile, the fear of getting caught in the middle of armed adversaries still lurks. A religious worker in the province recounted of an incident when 15 NPA guerrillas passed by a community. The next day, five soldiers also traveled the same route. “What happens if the two groups collide on the same road and some innocent people were there at the wrong time? I strongly feel that we should make a stand,” he said.

In August 2006, a barangay councilor took his own life because of the psychological pressures from the military and the NPA. Floro Llamade of Barangay Tanag assumed the position of officer-in-charge (OIC) of the community after barangay captain Rodrigo Armenta earlier fled for his life from the strife-torn area.

The military then invited Llamade to identify the local NPA sympathizers in his community. Under duress, he dropped some names. When the communist guerillas learned about this, they sent him a letter. Unable to cope with the mental stress brought about by the harassment from both sides, the councilor hung himself.

“Why could they not just leave us alone?” asked a former activist during the martial law years who now chooses to retire in the province.

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34 comments

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  1. manuelbuencamino

    “In a nation run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: Not necessarily to Win, but mainly to keep from Losing Completely” – Hunter S. Thompson.

  2. tagabukid

    Believe me, this corrupt, evil Arroyo administration will go down very soon.

  3. ricelander

    General Esperon and company are daring everyone to file electioneering complaint against the military. And it looks like everyone is indeed scared because up to now, even as evidence are everywhere hardly hidden, wala pa yatang naipa-file?

  4. MARIA SOLEDAD T TUBAY

    I really get furious reading things like this. How can the military allow themselves to be used by th epowers that be in this manner. I grew up during Marshall law but I have never seen a leader as callous as PGMA. If Marcos destroyed the institutions, PGMA definitely rapes the nation and prostitutes the instiotutions.

  5. janie

    Believe me, this corrupt, evil Arroyo administration will go down very soon. – tagabukid.

    i hope it’ll be very soon.

  6. The Ca t

    Believe me, this corrupt, evil Arroyo administration will go down very soon.

    Are you a psychic?

  7. vic

    Teddyboy disclosed: “Even Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos was surprised to hear about the news that the son of Genuino was going around accompanied by a truckload of Armalite-wielding regulars of the Presidential Security Group (PSG).”

    Now that The Chairman heard the news, let’s see what his next step will be. This time, I will be a psychic.

    Abalos well tell the Media that the son of The Pagcor Boss was hitch hiking and was picked up by the PSG, that was why he was seen with the truck load of Armalite-wielding Guards. (he would not dare say that Teddy Boy Locsin was lying, would he?)

  8. Schumey

    The AFP long ceased to exist as vanguards of the constitution. Now, they’ve been reduced to gloria-fied security guards with Esperon as their inspector.

    Cheating and terrorism may give Camarines their very own “Datu”, with his own “army” at that. They will realize that they are no longer constituents but serfs of the enchanted kingdom. They should double, even triple their vigilance if they want Mabulo to win and their true sentiments heard.

  9. UPn student

    And as we are thinking of military, M-16’s fully loaded, intimidating civilians in violation of the Constitution, remember Trillanes!!!

  10. supremo

    I second that tagabukid.

    I’m also a psychic like you.

  11. Mike

    Manolo, what’s your perspective:

    We know the generals are pretty much having their way under GMA. What about the rest of the Armed Forces? Are they OK with what is happening, OK with being used for these political ends, or are they just going along with it because orders are orders?

  12. Bencard

    buencamino, in a nation run by swines, the citizens are pigs.

  13. Diego K. Guerrero

    The Hello Garci Generals are disgraced to the Filipino nation. Defense chief Ebdane and AFP chief Esperon are at helm in the military. The repeat of the 2004 massive electoral fraud is imminent. This madness must be stopped.

  14. inodoro ni emilie

    bencard:

    “buencamino, in a nation run by swines, the citizens are pigs.”

    bencard, in that case we are forever trapped in an orwellian animal farm.

    babuyan na nga ang nangyayari. and like i always hold: it all started with edsa2.

  15. manuelbuencamino

    bencard,

    read the quote again. you’re conclusion is wrong.

    It says the “pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together”.

    That means in a nation run by swine, there are pigs, there are those who are fucked, and those who will fight back.

    You decide which group you belong to.

  16. rego

    kala ko ba walang control si Gloria over military kaya daw nawawala yung anak ni Burgos… eh tapos ngayon pinapalabas na hawak ni Gloria ang military at sunudsunuran ang huli sa gustong mangyari ni Gloria tungkol sa eleksyon….

  17. toniong pagod

    unbelievable. simply unbelievable.

  18. tagabukid

    “Are you a psychic?”

    No. Im a farmer.

  19. UPn student

    Thompson also said :
    Politics is the art of controlling your environment. That is one of the key things I learned in these years, and I learned it the hard way. Anybody who thinks that ‘it doesn’t matter who’s President’ has never been Drafted and sent off to fight and die in a vicious, stupid War on the other side of the World — or been beaten and gassed by Police for trespassing on public property …or locked up in the Cook County Jail with a broken nose and no phone access and twelve perverts wanting to stomp your ass in the shower. That is when it matters who is President or Governor or Police Chief. That is when you will wish you had voted.

    Thompson, before he blew his brains out, wrote:
    “No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won’t hurt.”

  20. cvj

    Rego, in mlq3’s interview with Trillanes, he explained that because of Gloria’s weak position (i.e. her lack of legitimacy), she has no choice but to follow the whims of the military generals. The top brass, in turn, will help ensure that Gloria’s candidates win so that they continue to get their way. Sa madaling salita, gingagamit nila ang isa’t-isa.

  21. Schumey

    UPn,

    I am keeping in mind Trillanes, that is why I’m voting for him. A soldier’s loyalty is to the country, the constitution and the people. It never mentioned to cheat, intimidate, harass and murder to keep Gloria in power.

  22. Lawstude

    I am not surprised at all, just look at the numbers of retired military officers holding various top posts in the Arroyo Administartion. It’s an evil trade of protection for power. God help our country!!!

  23. rego

    CVJ,

    Really? Sinabi ni Trillanes yun? At naniwala ka rin naman?

    Its a good thing then that I decided not to vote for him (he was in my original list of 3 remember?)

    If I were the the interviewer, I would have followed with a question ” dont you think puschist like you and the fascination to people power also contributed to the situatation.

    And I believe that is the main reason why the presidency or even the become a hostage to the military. One reason why I dont want to support any peopel power again.

    Think backwards and you will realized, that militarization of the Phil government or ang pakiki paggamitan did not start with Gloria. It started with Marcos. Cory did it to. FVR was a military man himself, And even yung idol nyong si Erap ay nakipaggamitan din sa military.

  24. cvj

    Rego, that’s a fair question, why don’t you arrange for an appointment to interview him? Mlq3 asked something similar, but not quite in the way you phrased it. As far as the trend towards greater militarization is concerned, everything you say about Marcos, EDSA People Power, Cory, FVR and EDSA Dos may be true. However, these in themselves, do not invalidate the immediate reason why the influence of the top brass is so strong, i.e., the cheating that Gloria and her generals carried out in the May 2004 elections.

  25. UPn student

    schumey and cvj: the both of you think “Garci” when thinking Trillanes, other voters think “mutiny”.

    I wonder if anyone associates Trillanes with “jobs, economy”, “schools, education”, “public health”, roads, OFW, law… or is really just Trillanes/Armalite be you say “Garci”… no law.

  26. cvj

    UPn Student, it is hard to progress on “jobs, economy”, “schools, education”, “public health”, roads, OFW, law in an environment where you have a corrupt military and politicians that use soldiers as pawns for mindless violence. Neither can it prosper if genocide is being committed in Mindanao against the Muslims. Trillanes has stood up against a corrupt military establishment and has tried to call attention to the indiscrimate killings that is occuring in Mindanao. To the extent that he succeeds in stopping military corruption and the cycle of violence and retribution, we will see the benefit in your (and my) areas of concern.

  27. UPn student

    cvj: Trillanes is a politician running for office. Is there anything you think he will not say as part of his desire to gather votes? [What he did not say : senators have immunity.
    Also unsaid : that he could have called attention to the issues he says he cares about by sending a letter to the Inquirer editor. That he could have requested an audience with the CBCP and make an expose. That he could have gone to the UP-Diliman campus and make an expose. That he could have blogged on Q3’s or Abe Margallo’s blogsites. I suppose many of the possibilities I wrote are not allowed because he is military officer, right?
    Trillanes and Ducat share many similarities. Firstly, both Ducat and Trillanes are a long ways away from being senatoriables, in my opinion. Both Ducat and Trillanes lack imagination and polish in terms of their communications skills; both Ducat and Trillanes have this streak of violating standing laws AND, in their desire for media attention, see not a thing wrong {Ducat with a live grenade, Trillanes with his M16 and C4) with putting innocents at risk. You may see a romantic knight; I see a dangerous incompetent at best with a demonstrated streak of the Machiavellian saboteur.]

  28. Jeg

    Neither can it prosper if genocide is being committed in Mindanao against the Muslims.

    This is a pretty strong accusation, cvj. I even think it’s insulting to the man in uniform. How much more insult can they take? First having to serve under enablers of cheating and now this?

  29. cvj

    This is a pretty strong accusation, cvj. I even think it’s insulting to the man in uniform. How much more insult can they take? – Jeg

    Yeah, it’s insulting the way the soldiers are used in that way. The way Trillanes describes it in the interview with mlq3, there is wholesale bombing of the Muslim barrios. He believes this is Gloria’s highest crime (more than the cheating).

    UPn Student, just like other former rebels, Trillanes has now chosen the democratic route. As for the alternatives that you mention, i was not in Trillanes’ shoes at that time so i cannot second guess him. Of course i would be on your side if i thought that Gloria had some credibility left, but how can you believe a liar and cheat?

  30. Jeg

    We need a new law prohibiting the military from being used against fellow citizens. It’s just wrong. We need to drastically reduce the size of our active military.

  31. Tinnah dela Rosa

    There are several issues that bother me as I reflect further on the situation of Dato Arroyo’s candidacy in Camarines Sur District 1 and the so-called involvement of the military in his campaign. Let me itemize them briefly:

    1. The issue of true representation:
    Why is a non-Bicolano running for Congress in District 1? How can he claim to represent the sentiments of the Bicolanos if he does not truly understand their needs? Why can’t he run in his parents’ hometowns or in Quezon City where he grew up? Doesn’t that make more sense in terms of giving back to the districts that you are truly from? Simply owning a house in the district does not make one truly knowledgeable of the idiosyncrasies of the land and its people.

    2. The issue of qualification and legislative agenda:
    What qualifies Dato Arroyo to run for Congress? His campaign slogans talk about his being a simple man. I’ve heard from others that he’s also a nice guy. He is also touted to be the province’s direct connection to the President. But are these enough? If we truly want this country to progress, we must cease simply depending on “connections” to develop our people and provinces. Real honest to goodness economic and political agendas are what we need. What is Dato to offer his constituents concretely?

    3. The issue of the incumbent’s extension of power and control:
    Considering point #1, is going all the way to Bicol to win a congressional seat a scheme to extend the reach of the President’s political influence and power, particularly where impeachment and other pro-GMA issues are concerned?

    4. The use of taxpayers’ money for partisan involvement:
    I really do not understand why soldiers who ought to remain neutral throughout this whole electoral process are allowing themselves to be used in this whole scheme. It is interesting that our hard-earned Philippine taxes are being used for partisan politics, particularly to perpetuate traditional politics and the political dynasty of the incumbent.

    5. The lack of fair play:
    PNP soldiers were apparently caught posting banners for Dato Arroyo while tearing down the posters of opponent Abang Mabulo. I have friends who went to Bicol last May 5-6 and they reported that the ratio of Dato to Abang posters were probably 20:1. I know politics can get dirty and I am not naïve to think they will spare Abang. But must they even bother to tear down the posters of someone who has very little poster visibility to begin with? Is this a desperate move or simply a mindless act of obedience by a subordinate? This is truly disconcerting.

    I am offering these ideas for people in Camarines Sur and all concerned citizens to think about further as we have only 3 days before election. I am hoping and praying that the votes cast on May 14 will be counted correctly and honestly, particularly in District 1.

    I also wish to make an appeal to the COMELEC and the soldiers who have sworn to protect our gravely imperiled democracy and who ought to remain non-partisan: please support the honest counting of votes for both Dato and Abang. You are our gatekeeper to democracy. Please allow the truth to surface in Camarines Sur District 1!

    Tinnah dela Rosa

  32. Aldwin

    I believe the election to represent the 1st District of Camarines Sur between Dato and Abang WILL HAVE an impact at the national level.

    If Abang does win, Filipinos may start to believe that honest politics can indeed happen in our country, and rightful, patriotic, God-centered men as Abang in fact do have a chance to make it through our current [TraPo] political system. From this win, more capable yet honest people nationwide may be encouraged to step up as leaders for their barangays, towns, cities, regions, and even for their country. Slowly, this HOPE will spread and people will be more resilient for their nation’s wellbeing beginning with good politics. Warn you, this is a slow process, but we have to start somewhere, don’t you agree?

    If Dato makes it, through ummm… whatever means… hmmm… then we’ll simply have to wait longer for another miracle (man/woman) to be courageous enough to step-up and risk everything he/she holds dear, for the sake of the country. Not being entirely biased, but to some extent whether Dato is indeed an honest politician or not does not really matter at this point since he DOES (admit it) embody the current ugly political system we are almost ready to drown in.

    You be the judge. For me (and I’m not even from Bicol; QC ako), Abang Mabulo really does stand for hope… for the country. His win may even make the headlines! hehe…

    God bless you all. God bless our nation! c”,)

  33. John R.

    My Grandmother lives in the district where Dato is campaigning. When I asked her about it and whether she would vote for Dato, she replied “Bicol is for Bicolanos.” I hope that others share the same sentiment. Bicol Region is one of the poorest in the country and is also one of the proudest. The people have a propensity to go against the Administration and the NPA is a daily fact of life. Bicolanos do not run around tearing out their hair at the so-called “Communist threat”. I think that these underhanded tactics used by the Administration is simply a ploy to shield its inadequate commitment to the betterment of Camarines Sur.

  34. Roy C.

    Hello to everybody! Share ko lang experience ko, baka abot pa bukas……

    I went to Donsol, Sorsogon before the celebration of Butanding Festival that starts last April 19, 2007. On my way, we travel across the Quirino Hi-way from Quezon to Bicol Province. We experienced body pains in the devastated road. Reconstruction is in every corner. I remember three years ago the good condition of this hi-way. Right now, you can see the old thick cement road scattered side by side. This could build houses and daycare centers for our poor countrymen. What is heartening, when I saw children as little as four years old and some senior citizens acts as traffic enforcer and begging for a small pennies. Supposed to be these children should be in their home playing or studying. Another amazing attraction are posters of politicians nailed in the trees, especially former DENR Secretary Mike Defensor and Rep. Migz Zubiri, whose TV ads promotes that they are pro-environment. Why nailed propaganda materials in the trees if you’re a pro- environment? I suggest that we should think twice before voting for the two politicians.

    As passing through Camarines Sur, we are invited by my friends to drop by in Libmanan to help in the campaign sortie of Sabas “Abang” Mabulo, a three term mayor of San Fernando, Camarines Sur. What is interesting, he is fighting with no other than presidential son Dato Arroyo for a congressional seat in District 1. Everybody knew hat Dato came from Pampanga and always stays in La Vista Subdivision along Katipunan Road in Quezon City.

    We joined Abang Mabulo in the house to house campaign under the heat of the sun. I observed that this man is very simple. He talked and explained his program to the farmers, fisherfolk, youth and women. We ate simple lunch offered by one of the supporters in the area. We took a break after lunch and walked under the heat of the sun and rough road just to reach out to his Oragon kababayan.

    I learned also that Dato campaigned in their municipality with an advance team of two trucks of soldiers in a full battle gear aside from his close-in security. Some people also told me that Dato’s house in Camarines Sur have a two caliber 50 machine gun with a dog sniffing for visitors to come. But this is the advantage of Abang, since he don’t need this kind of VIP security treatment in the campaign. But we have to remember that this luxurious security expenses came from the taxpayers money. Abang visits everywhere he wants and talked to every person he encountered.

    Anyway, Abang Mabulo is a post graduate of Masters in Economic and re-elected three terms as municipal mayor of San Fernando and one of the Ten Most Outstanding Mayors in the Philippines in 2002. He is also an awardee of “Parangal sa Marangal” by the Krusadang Bayan Laban sa Jueteng. Also a Board of Trustees Member in the Ateneo de Naga University.

    It’s not surprising when I saw student volunteers from Ateneo. They told me that they believed in the principle and program of action of Mayor Abang.

    Ironically, we saw billboard projects of the government with the name of H.E. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Rep Andaya and Dato Arroyo. How come that Dato has already a project when he is not a congressman yet? Do Dato has already a pork barrel?

    This is a battle of Goliath and David, Abang has a limited resources and a limited propaganda materials while Dato has a vast resources. Posters of GMA smiling and hugging Dato scattered everywhere. But volunteers of Abang also scattered everywhere sharing their own counterpart in the campaign to represent them in congress by a real Bicolano representative not the fake one (simpleng tawo, pusong Bicolano kuno!).

    Well, the people of Camarines Sur will decide for their future, Bicol is rich in natural resources and a home of wonderful place, Mt. Mayon, Butanding, Manta Rays and thousands of fireflies in the evening but on the other side you can see poverty, the aftermath of the devastating typhoon and the destructive Mining operations in Rapu-Rapu, Albay.

    ROY A. CALFOFORO sgd.

  1. Reflections on Militarization in Camarines Sur « Lib’s House

    […] support the son of the pseudo-President in his campaign against the local candidate Abang Mabulo (http://www.quezon.ph/?p=1320).  This is obviously a gross abuse of the role of the military, especially in a government that […]

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