Since Iraq, a hard place to be

In theory, a strict no ransom policy makes sense. However, it becomes untenable if the authorities lose the moral ascendancy to insist upon such a policy. That moral ascendancy is dependent upon the authorities:

1. Having a no-exceptions track record with regards to hostage-tacking;

2. Having a credible (though not necessarily perfect) record of rescuing hostages, which puts forward the strong possibility that the authorities have the skills and political will necessary to effect a rescue;

3. Having an acceptable batting average as far as the apprehension, trial, and conviction, of hostage-takers or, barring that, are credible in the cases in which hostage-takers end up liquidated by the authorities.

And all of the above requires, in turn, that the authorities have a certain amount of goodwill and legitimacy as far as the public is concerned, in case things go wrong and the hostages end up killed by the hostage-takers or the rescuers. Contrast the way Japan handled its citizens being held hostage in Iraq with the way our government handled the abduction of de la Cruz.

In the absence of these, the authorities are at a disadvantage in urging the families of hostages not to succumb to the desire to secure the liberty of their loved ones by all means necessary, including the payment of ransom.

Since the government caved in, in the case of Angelo de la Cruz in Iraq, scuttling its closeness to Washington in the process, the government abandoned item 1; it has a mixed record as far as items 2 and 3 are concerned, because its own shortcomings have been magnified by the harsh but understandable lack of enthusiasm on the part of its former close allies, to go that extra mile for a fickle Philippine government.

As its been unfolding, the story seems to be that the kidnapping of Ces Drilon and party was a case of officials running a kidnapping syndicate instead of primarily being another Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom event. The situation’s made murky by the way some of the people involved seem to change affiliations at the drop of the hat and how the credentials and even motives of those identified with the rescue are being challenged.

A lengthy text message in circulation is a case in point, and I put it forward not as an endorsement of any probative value it may have, but as an indication of what’s being talked about (and speculated upon):

I was at a luncheon mtg w Ed Espiritu. He is an unimpeachable source re Ces Drilon kidnap. He is family, brother of mom of ces. He can’t believe d gall of Loren daw. She got into d picture only after family of Ces paid 5M. That’s when first cameraman was released. They had to pay some more for d release of the Ces and Jimmy. Ces felt she had no choice but to go along w Loren’s script. Loren even directed plane to taxi more to change position so they would be facing camera when dey disembark & she told Ces that she has to emerge from plane first and dat Ces should follow only after 10 mins. And now Loren and Ed Angara want Ces to seek an audience w GMA. Ces knows she’s being used but at d time of her release she felt she had no choice. By d way d family also thinks dat d mayor being held now is guilty. He & Loren were also d ones who negotiated w kidnappers of Arlene de la Cruz w same MO.

(update, Saturday: see Of Political Poison Texts and Criminal Aliases for details on this SMS message, the aspersions of which Edgardo Espiritu publicly denies; though Patricio Mangubat thinks Legarda’s not quite off the hook)

What we do know is headlined as follows: Dinampo: Guide betrayed us, as well as TV reporter’s family paid P5M but mayor kept P3M–officials and Puno: Proof indicates Isnaji masterminded kidnapping. Note the assertions of the government, what the text message going around says, and this report in MindaNews: Dinampo: no basis to charge Mayor Isnaji for kidnapping; says Biyaw “should be debriefed, too”. Curiouser and curiouser.

This is still very far from the allegations that Legarda was in cahoots with local officials: and I don’t suppose the government would put the squeeze on those officials if it would imperil Legarda.

But it is interesting that the latest official revelations zero in on the culpability of local officials, when the government started beating the war drums for a military offensive.

My own suspicions was that the kidnapping involved officialdom in one way or another, most especially considering the Hawks in the present administration who would be pleased for tensions to escalate in the South.

The manner in which the government, normally eager to downplay bad news until it can be properly managed, jumped the gun and neutralized the media embargo on the kidnapping, made me wonder if it wasn’t a trap sprung on Drilon to put the fear of the Abu on any journalist inclined to sniff around Moro areas. When it began to leak out that some sort of official participation in the kidnapping was a possibility serious enough to consider (and serious enough to scuttle the warmongering outcome some might have desired), I got even more nervous, and seriously contemplated the possibility that a solution held in reserve might be, to simply liquidate the hostages and blame it on the hostage-takers or as part of “collateral damage,” which would spook journalists even more. But then again, being an army brat, the decent part of the armed forces wouldn’t have knowingly permitted Drilon to be killed.

But then my assumption that there’s a War Party in the government, and my further assumption that the AFP, as an institution, doesn’t think that that way, and if we assume, further, that there remains a reservoir of professionalism within the armed forces, then they were probably aware of this -see Threats from Abu Sayyaf wane: CTC report – ahead of the public. Which means even those tasked with mounting an offensive would have been hard-pressed to pursue a Ghost Army.

This may explain these two interesting responses from two services that would be at the forefront of any offensive: see Marine chief uneasy with AFP’s all-out-war vs bandits and No need to boost air power in Mindanao, says PAF.

In the first place, our officers know that if the mission is to identify, and neutralize, bandit groups, that calls for different tactics than would be required for a traditional land, sea, and air offensive over something larger like a pseudo army of rebels. The martial traditions of the region’s inhabitants would dictate even those unaffiliated with the bandits to mobilize against the government out of an instinctive religious and tribal solidarity. This would only increase the logistical and other problems of the military.

notes of marichu c. lambino also points to another kind of infighting that may be taking place, tied to a long-standing debate (and confusion) on the Ramos-era (I believe) policy that the Philippine National Police should be in charge of counter-insurgency and the skepticism of the armed forces over the practicality of such a division of labor:

What has escaped unnoticed up to now was: this was the debut, on the national stage, of the Philippine National Police as busters of the Abu Sayyaf and jungle bandits (if those were the real perpetrators). Of course, they haven’t busted the kidnapping band but the leads gathered are a good start. If memory serves right, for more than a decade and up until the kidnapping of Fr. Giancarlo Bossi, it was the Marines (and other AFP units) under those brigadier generals, that’ve tried to catch the Abu Sayyaf, rescue hostages and engage the kidnappers and bandits, at great, great cost: in terms of fatalities, beheadings, indiscriminate bombings, wars, military operations, refugees, resources, money hundreds of millions, escaped bandits laughing, aggravation, wasted time, etc. We suffered the AFP military generals for decades.

090407_01jr_640.jpg

(Saturday update: see Uniffors on why the PNP hasn’t fully taken over counter-insurgency operations)

But there are good reasons to believe that a faction within the administration thinks letting loose the dogs of war would be convenient and satisfying, politically. Which is why I don’t think it would be wrong to consider that the recent revelations concerning who actually abducted Drilon, ought to be viewed from the perspective of competing factions within the administration. One thing that never changes in government (any government) is that there will always be turf wars and factional divisions within any administration.

Consider the possibility of the following taking place behind the scenes.

One faction would love to use the incident to drum up support for military action; another, would prefer not to rock the boat at this time, as it will have repercussions not just domestically, but regionally: a Malaysian government on the verge of losing power, will not put time or energy into helping keep the MILF in check, for example, and Indonesia has its own problems and the USA is in the closing months of a lame duck administration. Just consider the financial drain combined military operations represents, and who on earth could finance it. Our government? But it’s busy fending off the effects of the oil and rice price increases.

The President, like any president, derives a great deal of her political effectiveness from playing off one faction against the other, and seeing which turf to protect and which to permit others to encroach upon. This applies to domestic politics as it does to international relations.

The President could, conceivably, be gearing up to go to Washington to try to mend fences by offering to launch an offensive in Mindanao, so long as Uncle Sam foots the bill: Republicans eager to open up a new front to keep the War on Terror on center stage might consider it. If the President could then be assured of a credit line from Washington to finance operations in Mindanao, then the Hawks could get what they want. But if not, she cannot afford to fritter away resources pursuing an offensive that would then make her already tenuous budgetary situation even worse. Australia (see Aust pledges support for offensive against Abu Sayyaf) for example, could serve as a conduit for covert American financing or even chip in, but until the President can iron things out in Washington, it would be better to de-escalate things, for now, at least.

There is also a cultural dimension here independent of ideology, which is, the culture of banditry in the hinterlands (a geographical thing, wherever there are mountain ranges to shelter bandit groups), and a more specific one among some Moro societies, that harks back to the centuries of slave-raiding expeditions by Moro pirates. As the Inquirer editorial (which basically said that Abu link may be better described as “Abu Sayyaf, Teen Edition”) pointed out today,

Flashback to last week: When the news of the Drilon kidnapping spread, it was reported that many young people in parts of Sulu were lining up to join the Abu Sayyaf. The common reason: They wanted to share in the bounty of the expected ransom.

As it stands, the questions arising from the immediate aftermath of the kidnapping -the apprehension of of the mayor-intermediary and his son and their being whisked off to Manila, as reported by Ding G. Gagelonia (his coverage of the whole thing deserves an award)- raised by observers like The Write Stuff, the suspicions expressed by Patricio Mangubat, the criticisms made by Nick in FilipinoVoices.com, and even the conspiracy theories summed up by whatsikat.com, are all coming to a confusing head. This is not being helped by media throwing caution to the winds the moment the hostage taking drama seemed about to end. As khanterbury tales puts it, it’s a media feast now, much breathless reportage but little along the lines of figuring out if government’s lying (or not, and why, in either case), though she does point to this commentary in the Philippine Human Rights Reporting Project.

The Moro view is put forward by Julkipwi Wadi, of the UP Institute of Islamic Studies, and written shortly before the release of the hostages. It raises several issues (which I’ve placed in bold) to consider:

It’s sad

by JULKIPLI WADI, UP institute of Islamic Studies

The kidnapping of Ces Drilon and other crew of ABS-CBN including Prof. Octavio Dinampo of Mindanao State University-Sulu underscores the worsening uncertainty Muslim Mindanao particularly the Sulu Province has become these past few years. Despite government’s pontification to bring peace and development into the area while brandishing America’s aid and military assistance notwithstanding the U.S. military presence in the Sulu Archipelago, all these prove inadequate if not useless to eradicate social disenchantment and restlessness of the people as shown in the continuing presence of armed resistance including the persistence of radical group like Abu Sayyaf how unconventional they may have become.

With the kidnapping of Ces et al, it is clear what the government has simply addressed these past years were simply the surface and other peripheral issues of the Mindanao conflict — not core, the root cause of the problem, which is primarily the desire of the people to have their freedom, peace and justice. It proves once more that economic assistance including physical development poured into the area including availability of cellular phones to anyone, while they help some people including the entrenchment of political dynasties in Moro areas, can also be utilized by radical groups like the ASG to facilitate their mobility and movement including their communication in negotiating the fate of their kidnapped victims like Ces and her companions. By employing divide-and-rule tactics among Moro movements, the government has reaped what it sowed: it is severely constrained now whom to reach out in Sulu to serve as its partner of peace and development in the face of amoeba-like mushrooming of various radical groups in the area. Hence, the kidnapping of Ces and company raises the question whether it shows the continuing tenacity and resilience of the Abu Sayyaf or whether there is a policy blunder by the government or strategic failure in terms of tactics and intelligence by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in addressing the Mindanao conflict recently. Such uncertainty should have been properly understood by Philippine media.

Ironically, Ces Drilon should have been the last person to be victimized by alleged new group of Abu Sayyaf. As a friend, she has interviewed me of this subject several times in the past making her, in my view, one of the most informed and culturally sensitive TV journalists of the ABS-CBN as far as the Mindanao conflict including the Abu Sayyaf issue is concerned. While she might have the right judgment in trying to interview some people in the Abu Sayyaf in Maimbung in Sulu, despite the presence of local guide, having such judgment and guide how proper and reliable they may have been are not enough. They can hardly be relied upon since it is uncertainty that dominates the whole political and cultural make up the Sulu Province and other areas have become today. Even a native like me who was born and raised in Indanan does not just tread to unfamiliar territory of Sulu without proper coordination. The worsening uncertainty has long shocked me. Sulu today has never been like our days in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

Sadly however, the media has been short in understanding the Mindanao issue including the failure to treat objectively the unconventional politics, events and movements in southern Philippines . Their treatment of Muslim issue is generally devoid of proper context and cultural sensitivity. Regrettably, some media have fallen prey into one-sided rhetoric of the government and foreign interest. It’s sad news but true. It is time for the media to check themselves. –julkipli wadi

 

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

119 thoughts on “Since Iraq, a hard place to be

  1. “Lots of small business to start and maybe teach those young kidnappers on raising livestocks while providing a decent classroom. ” – Leytenian

    I must say ‘easier said than done.’

    Do you have you an idea of the mentality/psychology of those who live at the fringes? I know you live in the U.S. But try to imagine the feelings of the people who are denied what you and me take for granted.

    Please do not assume that they will have the same mindset as you. Remember: people will react differently to the same stimulus depending on their background and conditioning.

  2. PSimeon,

    agree with you with the mindset. that’s why i said:
    “Lots of small business to start and maybe teach those young kidnappers on raising livestocks while providing a decent classroom. ”

    of course, people have different mind set but what is common for people is the need for education. i still believe something must be done. remove the adults , put them to jail and provide hope to the innocence.
    since both you and me have the mindset superior to those children. what do you think will work in a peaceful way…
    even a barangay capitan can influence these children. there are lots of ways on how to educate. it’s a matter of implementation and planning. the result is long term.

  3. PSImeon,
    I used to live in the fringes. I am from the provinces. I have dealth with the poorest children that lives in the mountains. They drink tuba and smoke cigarette at a young age. With the expansion of small elementary school catering the children and providing scholarhips, the teachers have made a big difference. Although we don’t have lots of Muslims in Leyte and the majority of our people remains to be catholic.

    Muslims are small in numbers. if you will talk about the other muslim countries, then the mindset matters. in our case… i know… something got to give. i don’t believe in if, why, at mahirap ang implementation. that’s not us filipinos. we know better.
    the numbers is small and yet we cannot find the right solution. what’s wrong with us then…. the smat filipinos. like our government system … or we will go back discussing history to solve conspiracies. this is old school.

  4. @ leytenian

    Please don’t get me wrong. I meant well. Just wanted to point out that sometimes, what we want to see, we don’t always get.

    The Philippine government, in many administrations, have tried the some solutions you have been advocating for Muslim Mindanao. Its not as if GOP did not do its best.

    Believe me, there are still patriots in government.

  5. i understand … so now it confirms me even more that the government is not good enough to implement a positive result. it always fail… so who can implement a solution that will not fail… it seems to me that what the GOP is doing is more like a trial and error. well…if they don’t do good next time, more crimes will never be solved and another 50 years of sufferings. the GOP is expected to perform for people to experience positive gains.
    it’s not because of the game ” what we want to see, we don’t always get” this is only for lazy people.

  6. PSimeon,
    but trust me also there are no patriots but Idiots in our country. i understand why ” what we want to see, we don’t always get.”

  7. leytenian: what about the possibility of “idiots AND patriots”? And of course, there are the “very bright”, who have strong allegiances to themselves, their spouses and children and maybe their parents but it is a mystery to who else (China? USA? Brussels? Nestle? Procter and Gamble?) they are patriots for. Think again of those Senators who recently appeared in ads, and you know what I mean. To be more specific (and mlq3 himself said this) the ads were really Procter and Gamble (and other companies) in a round-about way influencing these Pinas political leaders.

  8. Up N student:

    “Think again of those Senators who recently appeared in ads, and you know what I mean. To be more specific (and mlq3 himself said this) the ads were really Procter and Gamble (and other companies) in a round-about way influencing these Pinas political leaders.”

    this is considered conflict of interest. Public officials at every level of state and local government must disclose their personal financial interests. Elected officials, judges, and high-ranking appointed officials generally have the most comprehensive disclosure requirements. These include disclosure of:
    1.Investments in business entities (e.g., stock holdings, owning a business, a partnership)
    2.Interests in real estate (real property)
    3.Sources of personal income, including gifts, loans and travel payments
    4.Positions of management or employment with business entities
    5. family or relative

    Do our politicians file a yearly Disclosure “statement of economic interests”. Filed forms are public documents that must be made available to anyone who requests them.

    I think… our constitution, commission on election must do a better job on screening. Check this link …http://www.fppc.ca.gov/index.html?id=6

  9. leytenian: I have not done any survey, but I suspect that in Pinas government service, the “very-bright and patriotic-to-Pinas” form the smallest minority. I guess that the most number will be “… not idiots-but-not-extremely-bright”, and for this majority group, this “desire-to-work-for-the-greater-good” is less important than the civil servant being honest and productive. [Corruption really sucks the life out of government service!!!]

    The very-bright 😐 do have the power. Elitism (be they the “very-bright IQ-wise” or “very-bright EQ-wise” or “very bright Macchiavelli-wise” 👿 or the “very-bright-because-they-work-very-hard” ) is the rule in the Philippines as it is in all other governments and power-organizations in the world. What is unfortunate is that there are many very-bright-EQ-wise or even IQ-wise who, because they get discouraged 🙁 , are not and will NOT ever be in seats of power in Pinas.

  10. Do you not get the impression that there is a lot of IQ-very-bright kibitzers in the Philippines? [And if you believe the news (and sometimes you should not — ‘in-the-news’ and ‘the truth’ are not always coincidental) there is a lot of IQ-very-bright kibitzers in China, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Russia… who are in jail.]

  11. “Kayo naman, naniwala ka-agad na mayroon “child combatants” na miembro ang abbus, na di pa natin alam kung abbus talaga yong nagkidnap kay ces at company O’ manga negosyante lang dyan sa tabi-tabi. at si ms drillon hilo pa ata at hindi pa fully awake sa nangyayari.. kahit na terrorista yong Abu Sayyaf, hanggang ngayon walang pang BALITA na may manga kasama manga Bata ang Grupo nila sa ilang beses na enkuwentro nila nang tropa nang AFP at Pulisya. Kaya hunos dili ung mga bata sabay nirat rat ng armalite. imagine that
    muna…pati si General Yano, dahil kong alam nya na Bata ang Kalaban, libag pa rin yan sa rules of combat engagement na patulan nila..”

    True you should not read everything you read,but my gosh kung ayaw mo manilwala di huwag ;as UPNS mentioned that it is well documented na they start em young at tinuturuan na kung sino ang mga infidel at tinuturuan na silang humawak ng baril.

    bakit sa tingin mo ba mag kiko, mga baog ang mga abus at milf walang mga anak? we must look beyond ces here nagkataon lang sya ang focus of attention ngayon.

    http://www.asiaobserver.com/Phillippines-story3.htm

  12. True you should not read everything you read,but my gosh kung ayaw mo manilwala di huwag ;as UPNS mentioned that it is well documented na they start em young at tinuturuan na kung sino ang mga infidel at tinuturuan na silang humawak ng baril.

    KG, totoo yan tinuturuan nang manga muslim yong manga anak nila humawak nang baril bago sila mag Grade 1, ganon din ang manga Chirstiano, at ang turo nang manga Radicals at Extremists ay iyon and dapat ituwid na ang hindi Muslim ay Infidel at dapat patayin. and alam ko sa maraming experiensya sa travel ko maraming liblig ng mundo maraming bansa na may minority manga Muslim na hindi naniwala sa manga Exremists na leader nila at namumuhay nang Tahimik katabi nang kanilang ibang ibang relihon na kapitbahay. Ma-ari rin mangyari sa Filipinas yan, kailangan tama lang pagdadala, Pareho pangmamahala nang Gobyerno..

  13. KG,

    i have heard Villar is not a good candidate. oh well… let me know kung sino..

  14. UP N student,

    IQ will help a political candidate to win. But as one become more senior, EQ (emotional intelligence) becomes increasingly important to his/her success. That is why feedback from people ( cry of people) is so important. Without feedback, it is much harder to develop one’s emotional intelligence or interpersonal skills.
    Our politicians don’t have both IQ and EQ… they don’t understand what life is all about. they are emotionally weak to lose money and to lose power. They have not seen and experience the world. Their IQ is only good according to its location, the people that influence their EQ… these people who influence their EQ are the same people who challenge their EQ. Oftentimes… it’s their colleague.. thus forgetting the people. the real EQ application.

  15. leytenian,

    if you think stupidity and laziness are the reasons why until now the govt fails in resolving the problems in mindanao maybe you better think again. I wouldn’t really say the solution is just as simple as you mentioned.

    think about the reasons behind this conflict. ideology, disputed land, religion, and as mentioned by julkipli wadi above, the root cause of the problem being primarily the desire of the people to have their freedom, peace and justice. is there a quick fix to these decades old problems? not even the intervention of other countries like the OIC and with an observer team deployed in the area can help resolve the conflict that brought lawlessness and poverty in the area.

    those muslims you mentioned in leyte (you can find them also in manila, palawan and other christian cities through-out the country) they are those people who wanted peace that’s why they fled muslim mindanao mainly to avoid the war and violence.

    but you know, I find it stupid too why the Israelis and the arabs, specifically the Palestineans, for almost a century now continue killing each other rather than choosing the path of peace. this happened in spite decades of intervention and middling of the UN and brilliant world leaders lead by the US but even almost brought the world on the verge of a nuclear war w/ the two super powers taking sides of the conflict. imagine these brilliant world leaders can’t find a solution for a lasting peace in the middle-east! stupid isn’t it?

  16. Mang kiko,
    buti naintindihan mo kahit malabo, what I meant was we should not believe everything we read.

    totoo rin na kaya ng pilipinas yan sa ” tamang pagdadala, Pareho pangmamahala nang Gobyerno.

    http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/storypage.aspx?StoryId=122307

    “Fleeing the authorities and short of funds, the Abu Sayyaf is a diminished threat,” said the CTC report, written by counter terrorism expert Zachary Abuza..”

    kung totoo yan e di di na nating kailangan pang tumagal sila dito dahil sa magandang balita na yan.

    pero may dahilan sila na sa kahit san tingnan ay mukhang tama din naman:

    “The CTC report said part of the problem is the failings of the local military due to corruption, low morale and weak law enforcement and prosecution of arrested jihadists.

    It also offered a cynical answer on the Philippine army’s little intention of finishing the job because it “would end the pipeline of U.S. training and military assistance”.

  17. Leytenian,

    lahat ng kandidato me kanya kanyang sabit.

    lahat ng pambato me commercial na ata si viillar anti illegal recruiter ang commercial nya.i .

    si villar ang angal ng mga tao nung nakaraan na eleksyon
    sa lugar nya sa las pinas punong puno ng billboard at bannerss nya.

    at tuwing nagpapagawa sya ng mga access road para madaling puntahan ang mga subdivion nya isang malaking billboard ang makikita mo.

    ang mga iba pang me commercial that makes me to just say draw your own conclusion.

    Noli de castro: Pag-Ibig
    Dick Gordon: Red- Cross
    Mar Roxas: Tide commercials(procter and gamble)
    Loren:kidnap negotiations

    yung iba di ko na alam

    last elction ang commercial ni Panfilo “ping”lacson ay strong government ala lee Kwan Yu.

    I suggest you just google them for news about them. others have websites and blogs.

  18. KG, Ayon sa CTC (link) magandang negosyo sa magkabilang Panig itong gulo sa Mindanao, kaya parang malabo makita natin ang buntot nito. Sa manga Muslims, nawala na iyong principyo na ipinaglaban nila, naging Sakim na ang manga Leaderes nila at iyon ay nakita rin nang manga tauhan nila, kaya sama sama na lang sila. Sa Militar naman tagal na nakita nang manga Sundalo ang Karatanduhan nang manga Opisyales nila, kaya sa Kanila, kahit na Mali-it lang, pareho nang pagbinta nang “bala” at kaunting bagay para kikita rin, bakit hindi?..yan ay nasabi nang manga Kaibigan kong Marines na manga (dati) Veterano sa Basilan at Sulu..

  19. @ Mang Kiko

    Yes, sa halip na war is their business, ginawang negosyo yung giyera.

    The CTC report said Abu Sayyaf has been weakened, not eliminated. And there’s threat of renewed MNLF insurgency. Hundreds of Misuari supporters marching in Sulu and Davao. What is the guy up to?

  20. @ grd

    They were in Davao supposedly for a “peace caravan.”

    Here’s part of the report from http://durianpost.wordpress.com/category/basilan/

    “The MNLF forces from all over Mindanao started to arrive here Thursday night. Dabawenyos, used to seeing heavily-armed elements of Task Force Davao on street patrol, were mildy amused at the sight of unarmed elements of the MNLF Bangsamoro Armed Forces in fatigues roaming the streets yesterday.”

  21. Hundreds trapped as Philippines ferry sinks
    http://www.thestar.com/News/World/article/447382

    Ferries are the main form of inter-island transportation in the sprawling Philippine archipelago, site of the world’s worst peacetime maritime disaster when the ferry MV Dona Paz sank in 1987, killing more than 4,341 people.

    President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who left for the United States late Saturday, talked to officials in a teleconference aired live on nationwide radio Sunday, scolding coast guard officials for allowing the ferry to leave Manila late Friday despite the bad weather

  22. let us pause for a while and pray for the victims of Typhoon Frank.
    Very saddening. As always, even the the wrath of nature reserved ist worst on the poor.
    Most of the victims, i am sure, belong to the lower income sector of the society.
    Even those missing in the ferry sinking. Unwilling vicitms who cannot afford to postpone their trip for various reasons. Ask poor people from the visayas whose mode of transport is by sea. They will risk sailing on the rough seas than postponing thier trip as it will entail extra expenditures on their part. Economics again.
    But then, i really symphatize with the victims. Let us pray for them.

  23. KG,

    Noli de castro: Pag-Ibig
    Dick Gordon: Red- Cross
    Mar Roxas: Tide commercials(procter and gamble)
    Loren:kidnap negotiations

    Reading your comment: Dick Gordon is OK for Red Cross and Manny Villar for illegal recruiter. Both are advertising with their funds? ??? Noli is OK.
    Loren and Mar ….there was a potential conflict of interest for Loren, Mar has an actual conflict of interest.

    GRD,
    Solution to Mindanao at least in my opinion:

    AS KG mention:”The CTC report said part of the problem is the failings of the local military due to corruption, low morale and weak law enforcement and prosecution of arrested jihadists.”

    1.government should provide strong support to military to prosecute.

    On KG’s article: http://www.asiaobserver.com/Phillippines-story3.htm

    The dropout rate in the elementary level in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, containing provinces with majority Muslim population, is more than 25 per cent – three times the national average, according to the Philippine Department of Education.
    “They were born and have lived in poverty,” he said. “The government has shown little desire to alleviate their situation, so they fight because it is essential for their existence.
    “In short, fighting is a necessity for survival, for justice, for freedom and for a homeland.”

    2. the drop out is a hint to military for location. schools have records of children’s address. a military office branch or undercover. hire more police and law enforcement.
    3. alleviate poverty. provide support for small business in the area and all throughout the islands.

    These problems are the same since I left. This is not new except for the children’s drop-out.

  24. Julkipli Wadi’s article points to propaganda as well as the truth. The suggestion is that a root cause of the Mindanao conflict are Muslims wanting independence from the rest of the Philippines. Yeah, right….. because if you read on, he writes

    Even a native like me who was born and raised in Indanan does not just tread to unfamiliar territory of Sulu without proper coordination. He is afraid of his own people!!!!

    Then witness the many Midanawans now living in Leyte, Cebu, metro-Manila and other cities. The Mindanawans do not want independence from the rest of the Philippines, the Mindanawans want freedom from thuggery. A few — repeat, few — Muslims want power that independence from the rest of the Philippines brings and do not mind unleashing thuggery as long as this small minority gets what they want.

  25. Wadi writes :

    Even a native like me who was born and raised in Indanan does not just tread to unfamiliar territory of Sulu without proper coordination.

    He is afraid of his own people.

    Then witness the many Midanawans now living in Leyte, Cebu, metro-Manila and other cities. The Mindanawans do not want independence from the rest of the Philippines, the Mindanawans want freedom from thuggery.

  26. The merchants among the Muslim population in Manila, Cebu and even Baguio City, seem to be well-adjusted. Of course, there will still be some involved in thuggery and crimes among the migrant populace.

  27. The Muslims that are in business and are employed tend to be ashamed of their own people when involve with thuggery and crimes.

  28. Off-topic but very relevant: Its saddening that again, a tragedy of the sinking M.V. Princess of Sulpicio Lines has to happen. With 700 or more possibe casulaties, the full force of the law should be applied to prosecute/bring to justice the people who might have been remiss or responsible for the tragedy.

    ‘Hindi na ba mag-iiba and nangyayari sa bayan natin?” There’s always an accident waiting to happen. There’s a classic line/song? “When will we ever learn?”

  29. We need to have meteorology degree. A weather reporting, weather channel with high capababilities on aired on TV.

    In terms of risk management: Gloria needs to revisit the law of air transportation: sea, air and land.

    “GMA:(shrieking) Why was that ship allowed to sail when there was a typhoon? It should not have been allowed to sail.

    Marina official : Madame President, Under the law,once typhoon signal no. 3 is up, ships not more than 1,000 tons are not allowed to sail. But Princess of Stars is 4,000 tons.It’s supposed to withstand even typhoon signal 4.

    GMA: Even then. it should not have been allowed to sail.

    Marina official: Madame President, there’s no law that prevents that ship with that capacity from sailing.

    GMA: Basta, that ship should not have been allowed to sail.”

    The Coast Guard and Sulpicio Lines are also both liable. Sulpicio must pay the victims.

  30. PSimeon (at 10:58 pm), same goes with the Muslim jewelry shopkeepers in Greenhills. I get the impression that they’re entrpreneurial similar to the Tsinoys.

  31. “I get the impression that they’re entrpreneurial similar to the Tsinoys.” – cvj

    Yes, I believe so too. Correct me if I’m wrong, but in erlier times, didn’t China trade with the Muslims before Manila (Maynilad) was founded?

  32. Adjunct to the my post above:

    But then again, most of the people inhabiting the islands (of what would later be called Filipinas in 1521) were Muslims.

  33. kg, leytenean. how can “fighting be a necessity for survival? if they win, can they survive on their own? if they lose, the question is moot. they’d be dead, wouldn’t they? why do they have to be coddled to exist in a land of plenty? they have to stop blaming others for their own miseries and own up to their lack of self-reliance and self-respect.

  34. PSimeon, then again, i read that the inhabitants of these islands were renowned traders even before they became Muslim. This blog by Paul Kekai Manansala tells of the Nusantao, a seafering people (which include the Badjau and Samal) who have set up a maritime trading network as far back as 7000 years ago.

    http://www.sambali.blogspot.com/2004/12/nusantao.html

    BTW, from the same blog, here’s an interesting entry on pre-Hispanic trade by the Ming Chinese with the inhabitants of Luzon (Lusung).

    http://www.sambali.blogspot.com/2005_12_03_sambali_archive.html

  35. bencard,
    agree but the study of the article said that: “In short, fighting is a necessity for survival, for justice, for freedom and for a homeland.”
    Kg and I.. did not say that. if they’d be dead, that would be something I cannot discuss.

  36. PSimeon: not true re Muslim as early religion of Pinas. Much earlier in 13th and 14th centuries, trading between Pinas and thailand and India and China was trading between Buddhists and Hindus. And the Laguna Copperplate Inscription (LCI) pushes back the history of Philippines to 900 AD and the copperplate inscription indicates Hinduism presence in the Philippines.

    Only in 1380 did the first Islam missionary arrive, and the spread of Islam was slow given that Hinduism and Buddhism (and Animism) were already established.

  37. i’m not asking you to discuss anything, much less the dead. whether or not that was your idea, i thought you were agreeing with it by quoting it. it’s still a no-brainer, as far as i’m concerned.

  38. bencard,
    “it’s still a no-brainer, as far as i’m concerned.”
    very nice, coming from a lawyer.

  39. @ cvj, UP n Student

    Thanks for the info.

    Gee whiz, if our early ancestors were quite entrepreneurial then the Spaniards must really set us back.:)

  40. So did you folks read Randy David’s editorial with title “Is Sulu A Philippine Province?” and how David eventually portrays the Ces Drilon kidnap-for-money thugs?

    David correctly writes :

    This dark scenario is bolstered by reports that as soon as they released their captives, this amateur band of armed criminals more than doubled their ranks. It is clear to me that the problem they pose will not end here. They will merely melt back into the communities that produced them, waiting for the next opportunity to strike…

    but somehow, David ended his article where he concludes that it is the kidnappers who are the victims.

  41. Bencard,

    as i have we don’t have to believe everything we read, that was just an article to show mang kiko that child combatants are well documented.

    the whole quote ,I mean longer quote is this:

    It is not surprising,” said Datu Hadji Alonto, convenor of the Mindanao War Victims group, explaining that Muslim children who fight in Mindanao have no other option.

    “They were born and have lived in poverty,” he said. “The government has shown little desire to alleviate their situation, so they fight because it is essential for their existence.

    “In short, fighting is a necessity for survival, for justice, for freedom and for a homeland.””

    =============================================
    I have no argument with Self reliance.

    but again I even asked,are livelihood programs enough, is teaching them to fish enough?

    No on our self reliance on the afp and police side:
    that is why I have been lamenting that tour reliance to US in terms of aid can be addressed if we have enough means to implement the afp modernization law and the pnp law and i am talking beyond budgets

    we even have housing problems for our whole afp and pnp, how can you ask them to give their lives..

    I know this having lived and left the military base after my dad retired from service ;so the problem is not only with the enlisted some of the senior officers have no place to go as well..

    but if we can escape this”just another victim trap”, everything would be fine eventually.

    Again. I never under estimated the premium the blog/comment threads offer.

    who knows one among us may be future congressmen and senators and maybe president.

  42. Speaking of mistakenly thinking that we were muslim prior to the spaniards.

    richard gordon once asked that lapu lapu and rizal ‘s monument must be side by side to show one muslim hero and one christian hero.

    i don’t know if lapu lapu is muslim,but i guess neither does gordon.

  43. “as i have we don’t have to believe everything we read”

    to: as i have mentioned ,we don’t have to believe everything we read”

  44. more on prehispanic muslim

    http://www.islamawareness.net/Asia/Philippines/philippines.html

    Islam in the Philippines
    By: Wadja K. Esmula

    Writen by: Muhiddin Batara Mutia

    The periods following the demise of the Prophet Muhammad – led to the expansion of Islam to Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia. In Southeast Asia, Islam was promulgated by three methods: by Muslim traders in the course of peaceful trade; by preachers and holy men who set out from India and Arabia specifically to convert idolaters and animist and increase the knowledge of the faithful; and by war waged against heathen states.

    Trading served as a strong factors in spreading Islam in Southeast Asia, with Muslim merchants interested not only in the commercial aspects of life, but in the spiritual as well, providing Islamic knowledge to the uniformed through religious missions.

    It was in North Sumatra that the trade route from India and the west reached the archipelago, and Islam first obtained a firm footing in Southeast Asia. Malacca , the main trading center of the area in the 15th century, became the great stronghold of the faith, from where it spread out. In the 10th century, Islam’s influence intensified and reached as far as ancient Malaysia. This in turn would affect its growth in what would become The Philippines.

    The strength of the Sulu sultanate in the early 14th was enhanced by Malay leaders who helped the natives in political, economic, and religious developments. Among others, Rajah Baguinda, a Sumatrans prince, came to the Philippines in 1390 with a group of men, all learned in Islam. They settled in Buwansa, which became the first capital of the sultanate of Sulu, and Abubakhar his son-in-law became the first sultan.

  45. Buddhism in the pinas:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_in_the_Philippines

    History

    Pre-Colonial Period

    In the 9th century, Butuan (in Mindanao, southern Philippines) and Ma-i (Mindoro, central Philippines) began extensive trading with the Buddhist Kingdom of Champa (South Vietnam).

    In 1001 AD, the Buddhist ruler of Butuan (P’u-tuan in the Sung Dynasty records), Sari Bata Shaja, made the first tributary mission to China and this was followed by the rulers of Basilan (in southern Philippines) and the Luzon Empire more than two hundred years later, and by Mindoro, Sulu and Pangasinan (northern Philippines) four hundred hundred years later. However, according to the Sung Shih (宋史), the official History of the Sung Dynasty, Butuan made regular tributary missions to China since 1001 AD, and that it rulers usually arrived at the same time as the rulers of Tibet, Champa (Southern Vietnam), and the Mongols.

    In 1279 AD, some Chinese historians now speculate that the last Song Emperor, Bing Di, may managed to escape across the sea with Grand Admiral Zhang Shijie to Taiwan or to Luzon (traditional Chinese: 呂宋國; pinyin: Lǚsòng Guó)[2] because of the similarity of a few Chinese and Tagalog place names. However, official Chinese sources state that Emperor Bing died during the Mongol Conquest of southern China and most Chinese-sounding place names can be traced to Malaysia and Indonesia.

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