Blowback, and crying havoc

O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever lived in the tide of times.
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,-
Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips,
To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue-
A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
Blood and destruction shall be so in use
And dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter’d with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.

-Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

Adel Tamano argues that,

In my view, the fatal flaw in the whole process of creating the MOA — even going beyond the constitutional issues and whether or not it was negotiated by the government in bad faith — is that the MOA was crafted in the shadows beyond the pale of public discussion and debate.

Which reflects the consensus, I suppose, on where the administration went wrong; but I am not convinced a hundred years of consultations or any administration expending political capital would get either side to budge. There are times when things just sort of fall into a kind of balance, uneasy at first, but which gradually becomes second nature and hence, while unofficial, semipermanent. This is the problem now; this where things had been for some years now, accounting, in large part, for both the sense of optimism until last year, in Christian Mindanao, and the gradual appearance of Moros in other parts of the country, where they began to engage in trade and even start setting down roots.

The focus of political attention was first, the Supreme Court and then, after several days’ avoiding the limelight, the return of the telltale sign of presidential tension, a bum stomach on Friday (but by Saturday, the President made an appearance in Pampanga to pitch constitutional amendments while the Deputy Spokesman denied what the Presidential Spokesman had confirmed the day before).

Apropos of the Supreme Court, blogging At Midfield, veteran journalist Ding Gagelonia boiled down the high court’s options to three:

First: The High Court will lift the TRO and toss out the petitions as premature given that the agreement has not been signed and that no actually illegal act has been committed, thus allowing the signing of the MoA-AD to proceed but with a caveat that it be immediately renegotiated;

Second: The Supreme Court will replace the TRO with a preliminary injunction stopping the MoA-AD altogether;

Third: The Court will toss the issue back to the Executive Department effectively removing the TRO on the ground that it is a political question, allowing the MoA to be signed after renegotiations.

The Inquirer editorial last Sunday pointed out, however, that it was a mistake to read to much into what some Justices vis a vis other Justices said during oral arguments. I have heard it said that the high court would rule as the President wished; and it may be that even as the President and the Justices wrestled with that dilemma, another presented itself. Which is, that even as the President was summoning her political troops to pursue another constitututional amendments offensive, her military troops were chomping at the bit in fury over the RP-MILF deal (I’ve heard it suggested by a retired senior officer, that the copies of the agreement obtained by media were leaked from Camp Aguinaldo).

Last Friday (August 15), ABC5 reporter Jove Francisco recounted in his blog, how the President made herself scarce, opting to huddle with officials:

The President may have opted to stay mostly inside the palace these past few days, but she’s been quite busy meeting with lawmakers, cabinet officials and LGU officials, too.

Their SUVs parked just outside the New Executive Building betrayed the supposed intent to make the meetings low key and under the media’s radar. (Some see this as a consolidation of forces at a time that there are moves to amend the constitution, especially because congressmen and local leaders have key roles in the whole process.)

I had to instruct my team to stake out in Laurel Street to monitor the President (if ever she’ll go out of the complex) and her visitors who come in and out of the gates. (To the chagrin of PSG members guarding the gates. But what can we do? Limited coverage or access to our subject just makes us more creative in thinking of ways to do our job…

The last time we saw PGMA was last Tuesday.

The day that she convened her cabinet and when the Timor Leste leader went to Malacanang for a state visit.

She was in red and she looked angry, if you ask me.

That was the day the Palace went Great Guns in favor of constitutional amendments, and (on that same day) in her blog, veteran reporter Ellen Tordesillas argued,

Remember four days before the Sona, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front pulled out the talks in Kuala Lumpur when the government bactracked from its earlier commitment of holding the plebiscite in the more than 700 barangays that would be included in the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity aside from the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao?

On the eve of the Sona, former Armed Forces chief Hermogenes Esperon, now presidential adviser on peace process, announced a “breakthrough” that enabled Arroyo to announce in her Sona “Last night, differences on the tough issue of ancestral domain were resolved.”

An source close to the peace talks said the “breakthrough” was nothing more than the government agreeing to the demands of the MILF. Which makes one wonder why did they try to backtrack in the first place?

The source said the government really had no intention to sign the agreement but they want to maintain the hypocrisy in front of the MILF and other countries involved in the peace talks. The “Supreme Court scenario” was part of the plan.

Actually, the source said the government was hoping that the opposition would bring the issue to the Supreme Court. But the opposition was slow in reacting…

With the suspension of the signing of the MOA, the government was expecting the MILF to attack communities to justify Arroyo’s declaration of a state of emergency. But the MILF didn’t.

The source said the MILF occupation of the barangays in Pikit and Midsayap which was reported by Piñol and the military didn’t happen after the MOA signing was aborted in KL on Aug,. 5. As Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno said in the press conference where they issued a 24 hour ultimatum for the MILF to withdraw, the rebels were there some two months before. “The MILF-and the Christians in the area have co-existed peacefully,” the source said.

Apparently, the MILF sense Malacañang’s ploy of making them the excuse for inciting hostilities to justify Arroyo’s emergency rule that could lead to her staying in power beyond 2010. They are not taking the bait. Instead of engaging in an all-out war with government forces, they opted for “repositioning” of the forces under one its most loyal commander, Ombra Kato.

Without a full-blown war in Mindanao and time running out for her, Arroyo has to crank up her Cha-Cha train. But with Cha-Cha, she may yet cause in a bigger scale, turmoil she has wished in Muslim Mndanao.

(The day before, or last Friday, Tony Abaya in his column echoed a similar though not identical line on the government and its Mindanao strategy)

Then last Saturday (August 16), blogging At Midfield, Ding Gagelonia revealed that sources had told him that the result of all the Palace huddles was that the deal’s a goner:

This writer has just confirmed from several highly placed sources that the deal to give the MILF a sovereignty-clothed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity is off, in the present form that It is configured in the initialed, but unsigned,Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MoA-AD).

This writer’s sources said the move “to renegotiate” the MoA-AD was first admitted during yesterday’s in-chamber meeting of the high tribunal justices with lawyers of the oppositors and the government’s representatives.

The Palace let loose a trial balloon to see how the MILF and those emotionally and politically invested in supporting the Palace’s push for the RP-MILF agreement would react: the reaction was lukewarm, to put it positively: MILF silent on ‘NGO-led peace talks’

We have to consider the possibility that at this point, a cleavage might have occurred within the ranks of the MILF, between those still clinging to the hope the Palace would pursue the agreement, and those saying “we told you so, they’ve always been faithless, let us resume hostilities” camp. On that same day, as per Moroland’s Weblog, the theological basis for resistance in case the Supreme Court invalidated the agreement:

With the outbreak of hostilities between the AFP-PNP and MILF forces in Cotabato, its impact on the GRP-MILF MOA is still uncertain.

Lawyer members of the MILF Negotiating Panel told Luwaran:“The situation created by the outbreak of hostilities does not result from a breach invoked by the parties.”

Nor is it because of withdrawal from the MOA or any prior agreements between GRP and MILF. The stumbling block is the so-called “politics of law.” They said that Supreme Court is a “nonmajoritarian institution” for its legitimacy rest elsewhere than to implement the will of the people. Asked if people should be worried they said the specter of instability still haunts Mindanao (and) will not go away so long injustices and serious grievances of the Bangsamoro people are not addressed.

Even the moderates will have little reason then to warm up to the mindset of Supreme Court justices. Given that the TRO is set for oral argument before the Supreme Court yesterday August 15, for the MILF and Government negotiators two questions linger. What has sparked the outburst? And what can be done about it?  MILF leaders are in no doubt as to the true reasons for the outburst spawned by the abortion of the signing of the MOA-AD.

Asked to comment, Muslim religious scholars (ulama) have issued this terse admonition: “Power without an attributable source causes unease.”  Solons are making a big mistake to rush in only to preempt the collective prerogatives of the Bangsamoro people.  The ulama described the “angry mood” of Senator Mar Roxas seen on TV footage and so, they said, the motive is suspect.  Taunting the former senate president, Khaled Musa says Frank Drilon has joined the petition to intervene in the TRO losing his statesman bearing to the call, all of a sudden, of his Ilonggo forebears.

The oral argument on MOA-AD before the Supreme Court throws into question powers not yet derived immediately from the principle of “advise and consent” of the Senate, warns lawyer Datu Michael O. Mastura.  Most serious still, according to Mastura, a former congressman, Senators Roxas and Drilon are inclined “to drag the Puno Court whose policy is judicial activism into the politics of law.”

On Saturday, too, the Communist Party of the Philippines, for its part, in a statement, came out foursquare in support of secession, and confirming that indeed, there is an alliance between the MILF and CPP-NPA:

The MILF and the Bangsamoro are left with no other choice but to advance their revolutionary armed struggle to realize their right to national self-determination and the return of their homeland. At the same time, there is a need to heighten political work among the people in the affected areas as well as throughout the country in order to advance the understanding of the just and legitimate cause of the Bangsamoro struggle. Aside from struggling against the same basic problems suffered by the rest of the Filipino people, the Bangsamoro revolutionary forces have to struggle against the added particular burden of national oppression and chauvinism imposed on them by the rotten ruling system in the country. To be able to attain genuine full autonomy, they also need a contiguous restoration of their historic homeland snatched from them by oppressors.

The Communist Party of the Philippines calls on the revolutionary forces under its leadership to give full support to the struggle of the Bangsamoro for national self-determination and the return of their ancestral lands. All the more should the national-democratic revolutionary movement and the Bangsamoro revolutionary movement unite, deepen mutual understanding and heighten cooperation to advance their common and particular struggles against the same enemies–the US-Arroyo regime and the entire rotten, reactionary and oppressive semicolonial and semifeudal system prevailing throughout the country.

The CPP instructs the New People’s Army throughout the country to intensify tactical offensives against the fascist armed forces as a concrete step to support the resumption of the revolutionary armed struggle of the Bangsamoro as well as to take advantage of the present preoccupation of the enemy forces in fending off the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces.

The ” blowback” came soon enough. On Saturday night, Bomb goes off near house of N. Cotabato vice gov’s brod. On Sunday (August 17) the breaking news came thick and fast: ambushes, bombings, maneuverings, hostage-takings. See this Monday (August 18) report: Moro rebels attack Mindanao villages.

Earlier, on August 17, Blogger Tiklaton, a student at Mindanao State University in Iligan City (where, according to the MILF, critics to the deal have mercenary motives), had this to say:

I never realized how serious the situation right now about bomb scares here in my place until I heard a news about the bombing here in our city not so long ago. It was after when me and my sisters came out from the church to go to Gaisano Mall and saw that all people were hurriedly walking away from the mall. We were curious. We want to find answers so we listened to some adults chatting about what happened. We listened and realized that the bomb scare in Iligan was not any more a scare but a reality.

Now it’s serious! There were two bombs exploded in the city. Are there dead? HHmmm..I’m not yet sure. But there were hurt. They were rushed to the hospital for medications and safety. I just can’t tell you how many of them were affected or victimized by that bombing. (What mom?.. … more than 10?), ooohh, my mother just told me now that there were more than ten that was hurt.

Oh no! Now it’s serious. It’s really serious! God help us! Protect us from harm and keep us away from danger! Bless all those bombers and I hope you will continue touching their hearts! Keep us safe! We believe in you God!

On August 18, Tiklaton then blogged,

It was this afternoon when our mayor announced that the classes tomorrow for all levels here in our place is suspended due to the present “unkind” commmotion happening. The said commotion started yesterday when to bombs exploded in two lounging houses here in Iligan. In addition, it was early this dawn when some neighboring municipalities of Iligan City were invaded by some MILF. The dark dawn a while ago has become even darker when some families were killed and some were evacuated away from the danger zone. The main roads connecting some parts of Mindanano passing through Lanao del Norte were temporarily closed because of the unsafe situation. Since Iligan is also included in the threat because of that bomb yesterday and has become one of the evacuating places for a number of people from the affected municipalities, Iligan City was announced to be under the state of calamity. Calamity not by nature but calamity brought by man! So because of that, a curfew starting tonight from 10PM to 5AM was imposed to ensure safety for all.

Right at this very moment, it’s still quiet. I just don’t know what will happen tomorrow. I’ll just hope for the best and safety for everybody through prayers. I think that would be just the simple way I could do now.

See doctor-blogger preMEDitated about text messages (bearing rumors and from officials) in Iligan. The Stylus Master, originally from that city, reported on his family members’ situation:

We immediately contacted our family, friends, and relatives there. And true enough, the city is in a state of calamity. All the family are huddled together in my grandmother’s house, and they’re calling the other relatives to come over to hide there. My brother’s family is also packing their things to evacuate their area.

He then put forward a reaction to the MILF’s arguing hostilities were being undertaken by a “lost command”:

The upper heirachy of the MILF explained that the ones causing the trouble are “lost command” MILF groups, and that they have no control over them.

That’s just terrible, and a cause for fear. And it’s ONE GOOD REASON to scrap their deal in the first place.

Cause if they can’t control their own people, who’s to guarantee that they can control them if the deal is pushed through?

The MILF had tried to establish plausible deniability: MILF: Lanao del Sur ambush may be handiwork of 3rd party. (As for the MILF, for its updates and its opinion on what’s going on, see its official website,Luwaran.com) but in terms of public opinion, this may have backfired. Another blogger,smoke puts it this way, in reaction to the “lost command” argument: “Enough talking already.” Blogger Jherskie puts it in stronger terms. In Notes of Marichu C. Lambino, the lawyer-blogger zeroes in on the MILF’s dilemma: the attacks that took place violated the agreement with the government brokered by the Malaysians in 2001. So it has to say subordinates acted without authorization.

Danton Remoto reported as follows on Sunday, concerning Lanao del Norte:

My campaign team in Lanao del Norte just texted that they are fleeing because the MILF took over their towns this morning. More than 20,000 people have fled. Some are taking their bancas to cross over from Lanao del Norte to Ozamiz City, on the other side of Northern Mindanao. Iligan City is on red alert. Fr. Regie Quijano of Kulambugan town has been killed by the MILF. Fr. Regie is a friend of our cause — human rights for all Filipinos, including LGBTs, and justice and peace for Mindanao. We should mourn his passing and pray for his soul.

Blogger Thoughts Encoded publishes this:

Update as of August 18,2008

9:34am

6 Priests and a couple of civilians were taken hostage by the MILF rebels. Their status is still uknown. Arsons and massacres are happening now in Kauswagan, Lanao Del Norte.

Blogger nydrad, whose family is from Lanao del Norte, hopes peace will be restored:

my trip on lanao del norte, mindanao, our province, would not be pursued anymore on friday, i think, to think that my mom already bought us a ticket…

with the MILF attacking our province, with my so much surprise, that to i think it was far away from north cotabato…

just earlier this morning, Iligan City and Kolambangan, was attacked! bomb explosion there, killing there, what a chaos! i have many relatives there! and my mom is now worried, kept on calling my lola on what was their situation there, and from what i heard now, the way on our home there, was closed already, and my lola and tito badi’s  [my mom’s brother]family, have been evacuated by army’s now…
im restless… especially watching the news now… the army have already declared an war on MILF!

i don’t want to think of the worse, but i kept on thinking the “IF’s”

oh, pls. pray for the peace in mindanao now, this won’t do any good…

And yet, in Katapagan (another town in Lanao del Norte),as recounted by Plan B on Monday morning:

well the milf (moro islamic liberation front) forces are inching towards kapatagan this evening. all the male residents were called to a meeting to discuss the events of the day and to prepare them for the coming violence and troubles ahead. in many ways it is good my family is here in manila instead of there. in other ways it is REAL GOOD we didn’t go there last week to visit, otherwise we would be stuck in the south. all modes of transportation have been cut off and discontinued. the concern right now is with family and friends down there, who are unable to leave. this is an uneasy night, no one will be able to sleep well at all.

despite the troubling events of this evening, my aunt and uncles still got together to chat and spend time together. these events are unfortunately, common, in the town where my family is from (lanao del norte). that is why I haven’t been able to go home in more than 25 years. we had a mini family reunion even though our hearts are heavy with concern and fear.

See also,A Girl’s Notebook and fall for you, for a glimpse of how young people both outside and in the area, are reacting to the news.

As for the President, Arroyo: “Defend every inch of Philippine territory” came the pronunciamiento, letting slip the dogs of war. The MILF beat a tactical retreat: MILF orders pullout of rebels in Lanao Norte towns (as of today, August 18). Those interested in building a peace constituency are now faced with the reality that a military offensive is popular, nationwide, and with public confidence in the President shaken as it is, she will have to out-do Estrada and not rein in the armed forces.

Blogger [email protected], takes to task Bong Montesa’s scenario-building, taking Montesa’s “game tree” which you’ve seen before, and amending it:

And also disagreeing with Montesa’s promotion of the BangsaMoro as a First Nation. Montesa had argued,

If the Bangsamoro people is indeed a First Nation, a people unto themselves who are distinct from the rest of the national communities, then it is logical that the Bangsamoro people possess inherent and unequivocal rights which are demandable from the Philippine State, irrespective of whether these rights are found in the Philippine Constitution or not. In fact, it is imperative that if these rights are not found or protected in the Philippine Constitution that the Philippine State should initiate a process to entrench these rights. If the “rules” of the game do not, at present, allow these rights, then “new rules” must be put in place. This, as I have already stated, is the essence of peace talks – negotiating for “new rules”, to change the present “rules”.

If one accepts the statement that the Bangsamoro people is a “distinct people” and a “First Nation” then it follows that they have the following basic rights:

1. The right to self-determination.
2. The right to freely determine their political status.
3. The right to freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
4. The right to freely dispose their natural wealth and resources.
5. The right not to be deprived of its own means of subsistence.

The MOA is nothing but the explicitation, the articulation, and the enfleshing of the basic rights mentioned above. The MOA is the operationalization of the inherent right to self-determination.

Of course, if one does not agree with this first principle and foundation, then we will have divergent opinion on the MOA on AD and more. We should always respect our differences but we must try to understand where we differ and I think most of our disagreements stem from our disagreement with this first principle and foundation.

While blogger AWBHoldings.com explained why he’s unimpressed (and possibly, resentful):

…how I wish he posted his proofs, not what-ifs. The problem with his First Nation is that many will dispute the notion – some will say the lumads comprise the First Nation, etc.

And lastly – he is being pretentious if he thinks the MILF represents the entire people of Mindanao. The fact that there are Mindanaoans who are opposing the MoA AD belies his illusion. He, together with the Arroyo Administration panel, should have first consulted all stakeholders before shoving the country in a corner.  The fact that he called most reactions are emotional speaks of his short-sightedness and tunnel vision. His ignorance of the total picture of the Mindanao situation has actually EXACERBATED the tension instead of easing it.

I am all for peace, but at what cost? The comparison between the MoA AD and Chamberlain’s capitulation at Munich is somewhat apt – we will not have peace and we will have war. That is the cost of peace that Mr. Montesa and the likes want to impose on us.

This is actually something all-to-familiar, in terms of otherwise sincere proponents of peace and reform, who then get so emotionally engaged in achieving their dream, that they remain blind to the Faustian Bargain that made it possible. Instead, they not only get nothing, but set their own cause back, as they have become identified with the President. Jose Abueva learned this, and bitterly acknowledged it on my show; Bong Montesa and others are experiencing it, now.

Meanwhile, from August 19-21, Mindanao, Palawan Lumads to Gather in Oro to Discuss GRP-MILF Ancestral Land Deal. Blogger bits and pieces says that if anyone can claim First Nation status, it’s the lumads; but the proper context is our evolution as present-day Filipinos:

For me it’s not a matter of being the Christians or Muslims governing Mindanao. Let us think of our history. Let us trace back our heritage. We were not the Muslim or Christian that branded us today. We were the lumads. we were the same indigenous people. We were the same people long way before Islam and Christianity came into our land. Yes, you are a Muslim or a believer in Christ today, but you were the same people who worshiped the moon yesterday.

Mindanao, so to speak, is our ancestral domain whether you are a Christian, a lumad or a Muslim. Christians do not own Mindanao. Muslim too. Even the lumads. It’s all ours.

Meanwhile, some responses to my recent column, and the immediate past entry on this blog, concerning foreign interests in Mindanao. First, from Scriptorium:

I wish to mention the 2 other geopolitical currents that are relevant to the issue: the present pan-Islamic Reformation, and the accelerating retreat of Western power.

(On a note related to the above, David Kaiser, historian and blogger at History Unfolding, proposes that the world is entering a period of instability reminiscent of the 1930’s) And from the nutbox, also responding to my putting forward that Malaysia’s motivated by dreams of a “Greater Malaysia”:

That this “Greater Malaysian Federation” will make for “a large, extremely wealthy, country” is, I think, an understatement. I believe it would be a dominant regional power in this part of the world.

This regional power would control the sea lanes where oil exports from the Middle East to China, Northeast Asia and the United States pass through; as well as the potential oil and gas reserves of Sulu Sea and Liguasan Marsh. Should this regional power assertively claim more lands in Mindanao, the Philippines would be defenseless.

And this regional power, by the way, would be against the United States. Which is why I agree with Quezon when he said that among the priorities of the United States in the Mindanao conflict is containing Malaysia.

Of course, as I have said in my previous post, the Americans have their own designs in Mindanao too. But these designs stand in the way of Kuala Lumpur’s. This is why the Malaysians have consistently rejected the idea of the United States being part of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), which, in turn, is the reason why Washington had to resort to using the United States Institute of Peace to work in Mindanao and Sulu for its interests.

and from Miriam Coronel-Ferrer. And on an earlier piece, from Strengtheners Headquarters Domain.

With regards to the domestic consequences of all this: the Palace declaration of All Systems Go for constitutional amendments; the President putting herself behind a military offensive in Mindanao, and so on, I don’t know if I can be as optimistic as Mon Casiple:

The Malacañang ploy of endorsing the Pimentel resolution on federalism backfired and earned for its pains a resurgent anti-Cha-cha movement. This particular poison called “extension of GMA stay-in-power” has now fatally affected three current major national initiatives, one after the other: political settlement with the MILF through MOA-AD, federalism through the Pimentel resolution, and charter change through a constituent assembly.

Whatever the merits of these initiatives, proponents should admit that these are now politically dead where they stand—the killing bolt shot from the bolt of widespread public resistance. It is now time to go back to the drawing board. However, the one lesson learned is that the people will not support nor tolerate any major national initiative or policy that is perceived to be in aid of GMA’s continued occupation of Malacañang beyond 2010.

It ain’t over until it’s over. As recently as the State of the Nation Address, when I immediately pointed out the President had opened a Pandora’s Box by announcing an Ancestral Domain agreement and giving the go-ahead for constitutional change, foreign and domestic colleagues were dismissive, skeptical, or more focused on other things. Her motto could well be: try, there is no fail.

Update, August 19: Bob Martin gives a report from the ground and hopes things stop inching towards Davao City:

Last week, when Feyma and I went to Digos, as I reported in my post about Pomelo, on our way home to Davao, we saw a LOT of Army vehicles, including armored vehicles moving toward North Cotabato.  The skirmishes there were quite real, believe me.  This past weekend there was more action.  On Sunday, Iligan City experienced three bombings, one of which was in a hotel there.  There were plenty of injuries there due to the bombings.  A lot of people are speculating that MILF people perpetrated these bombings.

Yesterday (Monday) was a big day, though.  Many attacks happened all around Lanao del Norte Province, including in Iligan City.  Seven farmers were killed in cold blood by MILF, six other civilians, and seven Army personnel.  President Arroyo addressed the Nation on TV at mid-day and said the the actions of the MILF were tantamount to a declaration of war in Mindanao.  In addition, MILF rebels attacked Maasim town in Sarangani Province.  I have been to each of these places that came under attack, and have visited each of the places multiple times, so I am quite familiar with not only Maasim, but the areas in Lanao del Norte that were attacked as well.

For their part, the MILF spokesman stated that the attacks were not “sanctioned” by the MILF.  At the same time, though, the MILF leadership ordered their people to stop the attacks.  By making this order, it would seem that the MILF is admitting that it is their people who are behind these horrid actions.  This means that either the MILF sanctioned the attacks, or that they do not have control over their people.  No matter which is the reason, should the GRP be negotiating with the MILF if they can’t even control their own people?  Giving away part of Mindanao to these people?  What is the MILF giving in return.  Supposedly, the MILF is giving peace to the government, but what we are seeing right now is not peace, you can be certain of that.

I have a lot of very good friends in Iligan, and I wish them nothing but the best.  I hope that they and their families remain safe, and that nobody is injured or killed.

So far, I consider Davao to be very safe.  But, some of these things (particularly the problems in North Cotabato) are getting close to the City.  I have a lot of confidence in Mayor Duterte, though, and if anybody can keep the city safe, Mayor Duterte is the one.  Right now, I have no reason to think about leaving the area, and I doubt that it would come to that.  But, things are getting somewhat worrisome for the area, and hopefully things can be calmed before things flare up any further.

Blogger Placeholder asks, if it must be war, are those who led us down the path to war, the same ones who should prosecute it? He makes an apt comparison with how the British dispensed with Neville Chamberlain:

  1. Those responsible for getting us into this predicament cannot be the same ones to lead us out of it. At the very least, no one deserves to die just to further their agenda. In the UK, for example,Neville Chamberlain had to be replaced byWinston Churchill.
  2. Related to this, we need to strengthen the Philippine Military by purging it of officers who acted as hired bodyguards of the present leadership and reinstate those who embody its true ideals and know how to fight.
  3. Instead of relying on private armies, vigilante groups, all those fighting on the government side should be regularized. This is to prevent the problem of having to deal with private warlord armies in the aftermath.
  4. Any conflict would not be isolated to Mindanao, so prepare for a general mobilization. Considerconscription.
  5. My fellow bloggers seem to be confident that the MILF does not represent the Muslim people and are no more than bandits. I’m not so sure but even granting that premise, the conduct of the war should be such that we take care not to make this a generalized Christian vs. Muslim conflict. It will be difficult to do this once bombs start going off in Manila, but the Government, Media and Civil Society groups (Secular, Christian and Muslim) should prepare for this. If necessary, laws against Hate Speech must be promulgated.
I agree.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

114 thoughts on “Blowback, and crying havoc

  1. A devastation indeed. For crying out loud, what happened to the peace? The whole thing unraveled in just two weeks, from almost a done deal on August 5th, now its seems all bets are off on the MOA on ancestral domain.

    There’s obviously bad faith when the MILF leadership says they continue to look for peace while their troops commiting terrorist acts are termed renegade bands. Not that GRP was all forthcoming making promises which could not be delivered. because of the Constituional prohibition. A real big disaster.

    Maybe peace in Southwestern Mindanao is really an elusive dream. Time to give war another chance?

  2. This is all too disturbing to even intake in one go… But I cannot condone that those attempts for invasion by the MILF for the concept of peace. Why deal with one armed group, when you can deal with everyone at one go.

    Part of Mindanao goes to the Muslims, and we get a lot more pesos back into our funding, thus having more funds to spend on social services, just as long as we don’t give them an inch of land from Palawan.

    War isn’t really advisable right now, since our military equipment are barely able to take on a full-scale offensive. Although, nice thought PSI, but then again, it’s not happening, because too many are weary of war. I don’t want to get drafted by the 6-footer into a war, for her own wants…

  3. Philwomenian: stay away from the war, you can’t contribute.

    But do know that there are a few (maybe even more than a few) Filipinos who are getting reminded again that the MILF’s approach to peace is village-burning, kidnap-for-ransom and infantile tantrums (which they demonstrate by invading villages and ethnic cleansing).

    Stupid the Mindanawans who believe that the region will attain peace when the world gives the MILF the sole authority to provide peace-keeping-kuno and police operations.

  4. And by the way, that technique —– letting loose a few
    “rebel commands” that can commit more atrocities without supposedly a direct link to the political leadership — is a classic technique.

    And has anyone ever seen an instance when the banigsamoro political leadership made a plea for these “rebel commands” to stop?

  5. The CPP-NPA’s support for the MOA would explain Satur’s presence in the aborted signing, along with the Americans. Strange bedfellows. Anyway, it’s all too easy for those with no skin in the game to say “time to give war another chance”. Depending on how much the MILF values the support of the Americans and Malaysians, the war will eventually reach Metro Manila, maybe even your neighborhood Starbucks.

  6. cvj,

    I don’t know what you’re trying to prove but people notice. From being an OA pro-poor advocate, to such a liberal in giving away private property, and now a peacenik in Singapore while people (also very poor) are being killed and brutalized.

    A Benign0 would have it, GET REAL!!!

  7. PSI, i’m just saying that war is not going to be pretty so hold the popcorn. I’m continuously amazed at how middle class folks like you advocate things that are not in your interest. Besides, if it has to be war, then we should go about it the right way.

  8. cvj,

    War dirty? Oh common, didn’t the whole of mankind know this?

    And please, do not disparage the middle class. Those who stayed behind are keeping the sanity in this country, for the moment at least.

  9. CVJ,

    It never ceases to “amaze” me that a middle class like you advocate for things not in your interest.

    I know that is an oxymoron but you started it.

  10. PSI, yeah you know it but despite that, you still say ‘bring it on’. Isn’t that foolish? As for not disparaging the middle class, sure you can appeal but i don’t have to comply. I’m free to disparage your foolishness, for the moment at least.

  11. HERE IS MY AUG. 11 POST AT PCIJ DAILY

    As I always say, I like Prof. Perfecto Fernandez when it comes to analyzing constitutional realities.

    What are the realities here?

    The issue is political and therefore beyond the province of the court. The right of the executive department to enter into a “peace negotiation” with anybody is not the business of the court.

    But if the “peace negotiation” touches on giving up “territorial sovereignty” it becomes justiciable.

    Here is the catch: the MOA is only a working guideline on how the two parties will agree on the finer points of “parceling out” the Philippine Archipelago, no parceling out has been done yet.

    So the issue is ripeness. Are the petitioners entitled to a relief for an “expected injury?” Or will they be injured if the country is parceled out?

    Any lawyer will tell you No. You are not entitled to a relief for a “future injury” nor are you a foreseeable plaintiff in the eyes of the law.

    But what are the constitutional realities?

    If the government position is that it should have never agreed in the “peace process” in the first place, expect the Court to rule on the issue as a justiciable issue and rule that the intended “peace plan” is unconstitutional.

    But if the government desires to have a “lasting peace” with the MNLF/MILF/ARMM, expect the court to throw the petition as “non-justificiable” or even on issue of ripeness.

    So it boils down to the issue of what the government really wants ! ! !

    So here is what the government or GMA wants. If enough politicians will back her up in the “peace process”, the government will go for it, but if not, she will go against it. The SC will always take GMA’s side because whatever side it is, the SC can always argue both sides with same pedantic flair anyway.

    Public opinion really does not matter in Philippine politics. It is always political convenience that matters.

    But where did anyone get the idea that MILF desires peace? It wants power and the subjugation of people who do not think like them. The moment it has its own territory in its clutch and declares a State of Mindanao in the future, expect it to drive away the Christians from their so-called “ancestral lands”. This is political reality pure and simple.

  12. cvj,

    Foolishness? Hvrds called some commenters here as just functionally literate.

    A little information is dangeorus. Be circumspect.

  13. It is my way of saying that you cannot be an advocate of something that does not concern you.

    to be an advocate you must be an active supporer and you must walk your talk.

    I just hate it when you say “middle class like you”, you are already pointing fingers and since you are also a middle class; the saying that when you point at someone ,three fingers are pointing back at you ,very well applies.

    I think you are already being a bigot against the middle class.

    i have nothing against your dreams for a better philippines but to keep on pointing to the middle class,the elite and whatnot as if all the blame is always on them is just nuts.

    on the topic at hand, i know many people don’t like the MOA . Included are the rich muslim and christian politcians dahil mababawasan ang power nila somehow,among other reasons.

    ok I am sorry,kung medyo nainis ako.

  14. PSI,

    “Maybe peace in Southwestern Mindanao is really an elusive dream. Time to give war another chance?”

    probably. the MILF won’t drop their arms. its really a wonder how come the military could not eradicate the MILF, MNLF, JI, ASG with their much superior firepower.

    war truly is big business

  15. to PSI: … the MILF…. isn’t it doing it already — geographic cleansing???? Even cvj will not mistake the burning of villages as an anti-dengue/anti-malaria action by the MILF yo send away the mosquitoes.

  16. Kevin Garnett,

    “i have nothing against your dreams for a better philippines but to keep on pointing to the middle class,the elite and whatnot as if all the blame is always on them is just nuts.”

    the tragedy of it all is that they don’t see it as nuts. the bigger tragedy is that that is the attitude of a good number of Pinoys, blaming anyone but themselves. unfortunately, Pinoys with such attitudes get to be featured always in media, giving the impression that their nutsy attitude is the way to go

    i’ve been hearing manifestations of that attitude for over 20 years:

    ibagsak rehimeng US-Marcos
    ibagsak rehimeng US-Aquino
    ibagsak rehimeng US-Ramos
    ibagsak rehimeng US-Erap
    ibagsak rehimeng US-Arroyo

  17. Salamat naman at natauhan si Musharaff at nag-resign.

    Si Gloria kaya? I wonder what her letter to the new Pakistani leader will be like….

  18. if adel tamano could cite any “peace agreement” in all of history that had been first subjected to “public discussion” before being even proposed, then he would be of much help. otherwise, he would be just another follower of drilon’s and roxas’ obviously political word play, i.e. appeal to the gullible and unsophisticated. all three of them, i’m sure, are aware that the moa is an incomplete document that requires for its effectiveness and enforceability the fulfillment of the conditions specified . foremeost of these requirements are public discussions, education and consultations, eventually leading to its submission to a plebiscite where every qualified electorate can vote for or against it.

    at the risk of being simplistic, i would say the peace agreement must be viewed in the context of an agreement between the police and a large group of heavily-armed criminals, to try to stop the latter from inflicting more harm to the community. as to what the police could give in exchange for peace, that would depend on, or subject to, the will and consent of the majority of the people.

    meanwhile, let not the communists and leftist “anti-war” extremists, including so-called “human rights” activists, tie the hands of the government in prosecuting a decisive, resolute punitive action in defense of the law and the constitution. whatever is the excuse, all unlawful armed aggression must be crushed without compromise.

  19. KG, what doesn’t concern me? What goes on in my country concerns me just as it concerns you. The reason why i am aggressive at criticizing the Middle Class is precisely because i belong to it and i know that it could have done better had it not been so self-serving and shortsighted.

    If you look at the slow but sure descent into our present situation, who could’ve stopped it? Hindi ba ang Middle Class, way back in 2005? Instead, they chose to ‘move on’…with “We are prepared to lose our freedoms and our rights just to move this country forward.” and all that crap. That’s why we are where we are.

  20. “It is my way of saying that you cannot be an advocate of something that does not concern you”. — KG..

    Not true. Every Filipino has the inherent right to participate in any debate that involves the Filipino people. It is his civic-duty to to do so.

    Patriotism is not class specific. It is not the monopoly of the working poor, neither of the middle class or of the profligate rich.

    Bin Laden is an heir to a fortune of a rich Saudi contractor, but has decided to go to the mountains to spew his terrorists views against the very system that made his clan rich.

  21. brianb, you can’t put anyone , including a president, to jail just like that even in the u.s.. your sarcasm aint makin’ it.

  22. Gloria hates Filipinos. Why? Because they hate her. She is no martyr or patriot. Pride is paramount to her personality. A Filipino president should have sympathy and empathy. She’s acting like a tyrannical CEO expecting only professional behavior from her underling. And she must think we are all her employees. Just look at how she has manipulated the MILF and the people of Mindanao to serve her ends. She knows no boundaries. Even Erap has his limits. If she thinks she can get away with it, she’ll do it.

  23. Hi MLQ3,

    I am both amused and embarassed when you linked to my blog post with the phrase “a military offensive is popular”.

    Amused because I’m not sure I offered a statistically significant sample of the public opinion in Mindanao, notwithstanding the fact that I now work abroad.

    Embarassed because I let my emotions take over when I posted on my blog. But I hope that you and other readers understand my anguish and frustration.

    I was in Iligan the last time the “renegade” MILF hacked and burned towns in Lanao del Norte. We could hear the explosions just across the river from my parents’ house. We waited with fear and silent anger at night with no electricity when the bastards blew up power lines. Many people died. But many years hence, no justice has been served.

    When I wrote the blog post, on the night after MILF units attacked towns in Lanao del Norte, I’ve just received a text message from my wife that electricity is down again.

    I can see that these events are very interesting for a student of politics and history (reminds me of Ollivander’s fascination with Lord Voldemort and his wand). I just want to remind everyone: please be sensitive when you post your theories and what-nots because we are suffering in Mindanao.

    I wasn’t critical of the BJE when it first came out — obviously because I haven’t digested the implications yet. I still haven’t fully understood the MOA-AD now. But we can all agree that it’s now dead. Gone with the lives of people killed by “renegade” MILF units.

    Giving the benefit of doubt, if they were indeed renegades, then how can we expect MILF to handle the BJE when it cannot even handle its own troops? I am more inclined, however, to believe that the MILF heads actually ordered the assault in Lanao del Norte to ease the pressure that they’re getting in North Cotabato. This is exactly what happened the last time. However you look at it, these events just demonstrate the lack of moral ascendancy of the MILF. And the people of Mindanao don’t need to exchange a corrupt leadership in Manila for a more brutal murderous leadership just a few kilometers away.

  24. Kaya nga buwisit talaga? Do you think they will jail a Muslim killed a Christian? These are not Muslims per se or a political organization just bandits. How can you bargain with people that does not want to give up anything. What did they offer for the proposed peace agreement?

    Lokohan lang lahat. I think government and some officials in the military are being paid to leave the MILF in tact. They can’t do anything about the incursions because they have no military plan in the territory. The only possible peace here is through overwhelming miltary force.

  25. On Jove Francisco’s:
    “The hot issue? The President’s revival of Charter Change.
    (sabi ng isang reporter: bumuhay si Pangulo ng bangkay)
    It was a morning that is quite nightmarish for the administration especially if they listened to the morning AM radio shows where a lot of criticisms about the revival of CHA-CHA were heard. ”

    I cannot believe some reporters until now do not understand the benefits of Federalism except just attack Gloria as the evil bitch. This type of one sided opinion is not professional or ethical…

    here’s the other side of the story….

    “Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr on Tuesday assured that Joint Resolution No. 10, which proposed a shift to a federal form of government, will not be used by President Arroyo to prolong her stay in power beyond 2010.”

    http://www.gmanews.tv/story/113266/Pimentel-Federalism-will-not-allow-term-extension-for-Arroyo

    “With the two chambers voting separately, the opposition-led Senate can block attempts to extend the term of Mrs. Arroyo and other elected national and local officials.”

    http://www.bworldonline.com/BW081908/content.php?id=077

    “Federalism not linked to GMA term”

    As I look at the debate reflected in media reports, it seems that some people are out to confuse the public. Or they may just be grandstanding. I have this feeling that this advocacy of Pimentel to shift to federal form is being destroyed by linking it to the term of office of the incumbent president. Does it really have to be linked?”

    http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2008/aug/14/yehey/opinion/20080814opi2.html

    Does one really think that Gloria will extend her term? Give me one good reason why she would want to? She’s not as powerful as you think. I think the Senate who are mainly from manila are very insecure that their jobs will never be there because Federalism recruits local polictians.. In my opinion.. the senator of region viii is not needed in my province…. I’d rather elect my own senator who can speak my dialect and understand our industry strength and weaknesses. Secondly, I’;d rather have my province be managed by someone who lives in my province. I can directly attack him if he screws up….

    Nothing has changed in this country because our educators cannot educate…. the educators in our country is actually the media…. it confuses the poor.

  26. a blog-poster writes, and I agree :

    And the people of Mindanao don’t need to exchange a corrupt leadership in Manila for a more brutal murderous leadership just a few kilometers away.

    Exchange “corrupt” for “incompetent”… still same conclusion — .and it is obvious that the current separatist leadership is incompetent. Exhibit : can’t control their “lost commands” who burn and pillage and do cleansing exercises.

  27. “Very Negative media coverage on the peace process scares many people and even investors. Instead of reporting some balance of positive reporting, everything is negative… ” and the people do the same and blame Gloria… OMG.

    “Like other concerned sectors of society, mass media practitioners play a crucial role in forging peace in a world that seems to be preoccupied with violence. Mass media practitioners can either make or break Mindanao with what and how they report events and activities, especially in something complicated like a peace process.”

    http://www.socyberty.com/Issues/Media-Ethics-and-the-Mindanao-Crisis-in-the-Philippines.113173

    “people are silent victims of the media. ”

    http://www.filipinovoices.com/media-confidential

    “a content analysis of 11 Manila-based newspapers to determine their coverage of religious and ethnic minority groups. The findings of the content analysis – showing that minority cultural, religious and ethnic groups still remain underreported in the national press and that the media coverage is very capital-centred – were published in the inaugural issue of the PJR Report. ”

    http://www.unesco-ci.org/cgi-bin/ipdcprojects/page.cgi?g=Detailed%2F772.html;d=1

  28. Funny the question asked was “…peace at what price?”

    it’s not that there is a price for peace, it is just at this point, war is cheaper.

  29. What the people of Mindanao needs is normalcy. Red again today’s Inquirer news report about when these MILF terrorists invaded Kauswagan, Kolambugan and several other Lanao villages Shooting randomly into civilians” homes; shooting at buses filled with civilians. Then running away in traditional MILF-fashion — using civilians as human shields.

    I can not understand how the likes of cvj can ask for anything else other than strong police action against these thugs bearing rifles and bolos!!!!. And ransom-notes.

  30. JCC,

    I looked at the dictionary, and you are correct. to advocate for something does not need all out active support;just an opinion or argument in its favor, is enough to be called an advocacy.

    CVJ and I go wayback here ,that is why sometimes OA na ang tingin ko.
    and btw,thanks for the correction.

    CVJ back in2005 sa tingin ng tao pwede pa madaan sa impeachment because of the erap impeachment na bumaligtad ang majority ;pero hindi ganun ang nagyari.
    I remmember saying in this blog na I will accept what ever happens to be honest akala ko talaga maimpeach sya.
    that maybe naive of me pero hindi ako nag iisa.

    the composition of the majority lower house is really in favor of gMA no matter what the middle class did not do.
    after 2005 of course 2007 came and still the middle class(together with the others) opted for a composition of the lower house that is pro gloria.
    ok I know you will say that comelec can not be trusted and or binili ng mga politiko ang mga boto.
    with your recent comments on automation you don’t trust the comelec as much as an atty JCC does not trust our judiciary

    maybe that is why you advocate for a direct democracy through people power.

    I am sorry but even oakwood failed because it was backed by erap; I know this because before my dad knew,.Kit Tatad and Peter Wallace already knew aboout it and ayaw pa nga maniwala ni erpat that time.and that was one day before Oakwood. it has a civilian component na di na lumabas.Gringo has nothing to do with it,but he was idolized by the magdalos.

    as for the pen.who ever was handling Montayre et al .was responsible for it.

    sorry, even people power is controlled by the elite.

    easy ka lang sa middle class dumadami na sila dahil nababawasan na ang mga milyonaryo.

  31. MILF and why?
    1. it has become their WAY OF LIFE.

    2. feel they have been humiliated and treated as “second class” by government authorities and others.

    3. the young, uneducated become the foot soldiers and manage by educated operatives.

    The absence of (1.) accountable government and (2) dispute over contested territory are common factors to the rise of religious extremism. The twisted-educated extremist is responsible for fundraising to provide financial incentives for new recruits and access to weapons…

    “I would rather have a Philippines run like hell by Filipinos than a Philippines run like heaven by the Americans”

    OR

    “.the filipinos are run like hell by extremists…”

  32. The initiatives were with Kato and Bravo. They are exercising their mettle in their federal reserves. True vanguards for their people. They painted another page of military strategy book for reference of military students and those at GHQ.

  33. Objective criterion of reality.

    Soft power/hard power but what happens when there is limited power to either utilize both.

    The fact that there are thousands of men with arms is the effect of years of festering problems unresolved.

    Yup, defend every inch of territory…. In reality the AFP would be hard pressed to use the steel glove it does not possess. Battling an insurgency would require more assets (men and logistics) that the country does not have.

    The lines of battle are unclear. After Erap destroyed the fixed bases of the MILF (they were still in pre-world war 1 fixed positions) they reverted to breaking up their forces over large areas.

    Hence men with guns who have to live off the land will tend to also live off the people. The thin line between maintaining insurgencies and banditry is crossed.

    Add the potent mix of Al Qaeda into the brew and you have a witches cocktail.

    What is worse is both sides of the equation (MILF and the state) are not cohesive entities that can sit across a table representing their sides.

    It really is a witches brew……..

    Mar Roxas had better take it easy as he seems to be trying to use this as his jumping off platform for his run to the top.

  34. “I cannot believe some reporters until now do not understand the benefits of Federalism except just attack Gloria as the evil bitch. This type of one sided opinion is not professional or ethical…”

    Do you really want a Philippine version of a Mississippi state?

  35. “Do you really want a Philippine version of a Mississippi state?”

    brainb, try reading the link.. take your time to think about it…

    Q: What type of federalism is suited for the Philippines?
    A: The type of federalism suited for the Philippines can be determined only through discussion, consultation and debate among our people. The Philippines can develop its own unique model of federalism based on the various models that have been adopted by other countries.

    Q: Will federalism solve all our problems?
    A: No, federalism will not solve all our problems. However, in the face of all our problems, it will allow people to take greater control over their own lives and satisfy their preferences – WHAT THEY REALLY WANT

    http://www.kas.de/proj/home/pub/69/2/year-2002/dokument_id-3228/index.html

  36. Happy Quezon Day! Was trying to spot you during the telecast, but I don’t know if you would be there given the current, um, dispensation… Hehehe!

    Regarding your column today, there was an item on Pedro Molina who was expelled from PMA for hazing. His name rung a bell in my dad’s history books, so I dug around a bit. Turns out he became a war hero and eventually became Chief of the Philippine Air Force from 1957-1962, at a time when we had more planes than pilots… *sigh* (He then became the Vice Chief of Staff from 1962-1963, when he retired as a Major General).

    Here’s the link for your reference (which I’m sure you already have): http://www.paf.mil.ph/CGPAF/molina.html

  37. leytenian, careful in giving examples of media personalities here. it only shows that you don’t watch them at all. mali ang impression mo. the specific reporter you quoted actually gives the president ample space in his blog or in his reports. di lang yan puro tira. basahin mo muna o panuorin. i’ve been reading his work and watching his reports on tv. malayo sa katotohanan ang sinasabi mo. maraming katulad niya sa media. wag ka lang puro push ng sarili mo agenda okay? manuod ka kaya? o magbasa? baka missed out mo ang context ng reports.

  38. “I cannot believe some reporters until now do not understand the benefits of Federalism except just attack Gloria as the evil bitch. This type of one sided opinion is not professional or ethical…”

    O siya, siya. Pagbigyan.

    Can SOMEONE then please give as an example a country/government/state that has achieved an economic turnaround by a simple change in the form of government?

  39. I can not understand how the likes of cvj can ask for anything else other than strong police action against these thugs bearing rifles and bolos!!!!. And ransom-notes. – UPn Student

    What makes you say that i’m against strong police action? By all means, the military has to do what they have to do. As i mentioned above (at August 18th, 2008 at 11:40 pm) and elaborated in my blog, we have to go about it the right way. BTW, it would be foolish to underestimate the MILF’s arsenal.

    Karl (at at 8:37 am), what you mentioned are rationalizations on why the Middle Class did not (or could not) act. It does not change the fact that we are where we are because of middle class inaction, and i’m not even talking about Oakwood or the Pen. My point is, why did we even have to wait for the political class to orchestrate such actions?

  40. The trouble is, all governments engaged in difficult and intricate peace negotiations involving internal insurgencies or civil wars are going to have to take major political risks. It is simply untrue historically that peace agreements are always thoroughly discussed by the publics concerned before they are initially concluded. The whole enterprise often depends on whether a government can rally a country once a draft — or an outline — has been agreed upon (presumably the other side — or sides —- will have to do the same with its/their followers).

    In addition, the comparison with the capitulation of Chamberlain to Hitler in the infamous Munich compromise is not a very apt analogy to what is happening in Mindanao. In the first place, it would not be clear to the proverbial objective third party from Mars who the actual aggressor in Mindanao is, given the fact that the Philippines is many times larger than any possible BJE “homeland,” and that the MILF has very deftly exploited the imagery of an oppressed minority to the absolute hilt (as, indeed, did the MNLF before it and as, I am sure, other groups will continue to do in the future).

    Perhaps the long and tortured process that led to Irish independence and to the Good Friday Agreement for Northern Ireland is a better and more instructive comparison.

    We also need to reflect carefully, in order not to commit tactical political errors, on this adroit exploitation of “victimhood” that is so closely associated with the Bangsamoro self-image among our Filipino Muslim intellectuals. Our Islamic intelligentsia has the capacity to spin this tale very very well. This kind of thing has tremendous resonance in some circles (“stolen” Moro land equals broken treaties for Native Americans and exploitation among other First Nations around the world, not to mention other Muslim nations, who, in turn, can have the ear of governments and world public opinion).

    Unfortunately, every time it looks as if the government has reneged on a peace deal, and some idiot says something to the effect that the only good Moro is a dead one, the sense of victimized Bangsamoro identity becomes stronger. If you follow history, this is the kind of cause that can call forth martyrs by the thousands.

  41. .”..exploitation of “victimhood” that is so closely associated with the Bangsamoro self-image among our Filipino Muslim intellectuals. Our Islamic intelligentsia has the capacity to spin this tale very very well.”

    Yes this is SO TRUE!!!!! I finally found someone with the same sentiment.

    As my corrupt Mindanao acquaintance once said to me “sa amin naman dapat talaga yang perang iyan kaya ok lang na ibulsa namin” to justify the rampant corruption on those parts…

    victimhood na victimhood ang drama talaga.

  42. Rationalizations,CVJ?
    Am I the middle class’s spokesperson?how would we really know why the middle class would not act.

    I heard a word in the explainer just a few minutes ago called demagoguery.

    we even go against each other without even understanding why.

    call it rationalization, I don’t care if they were rational or inane anyways, you can even calll it vacuousity.

    a lot has to change, I agree.That includes attitude; to addresss your concern about apathy and inaction.

    Don’t despair:,we live for the future and we learn from the past.

  43. to nash : [on the effect of style-of-government on economic progress….]

    First the bad news — original hawaiian-bloodline did worse when Hawaii was absorbed as a state into the federalized USA. Pinas economically did worse (just compare it to Puerto Rico or Guam or Mississippi or California) when it became a non-member of the United States of America. [Though Pinas may have done better, if some folks are to be believed, had Pinas become a source of workers for Japan co-prosperity sphere.]

    Poland did better wrenching itself away from the federal USSR. And on an individual basis, you’ll have vic, Constantino, supremo, and Cat Cath …. plus the lawyers Bencard and Abe Margallo did better by becoming citizens of a federal country — Canada or USA — even though one of these names I mention want to be a citizen of Venezuela.

    ———-
    while Kurdistan,,,, Kurdistan flourished when it was able to obtain more autonomy from Baghdad.

    Hongkong flourished when it was able to obtain much more autonomy from Beijing. In less than a hundred years, too!!!!

    And Spain had done better (Portugal, too) after they joined the federally-structured EU. [I think it is because EU-membership allowed faster OCW-mobility for the Spanish labor-force (without needing the “contract” part. Also because of subsidies from the northern countries (which Mindanao already gets 🙂 from Malacanang).]

    —————-
    I don’t know any Filipino who did better after becoming a citizen of Saudi Arabia.

  44. Sidenote: Excerpt below illustrates why McCain is getting closer to winning the White House this November.

    Rick Warren (evangelical TV star and Amazon-dot-com popular author) interviews Obama and McCain:

    (1) Question: What does the Russian invasion of Georgia mean to the United States?

    McCain: Florida will be defended, whatever the cost.

    Obama: When I take office in January, I shall immediately consult with our NATO allies to see if it possible to form a consensus, and then, depending on the outcome of those meetings, it will be time to consider whether there are steps that can be taken to stop Europe buying natural gas and oil from Russia by developing alternate energy sources, which will, in turn, increase our leverage with Russia. We should also think about Cuba.

    ———–

    2 (Question asked by Rick Warren): “So, although God already knows the answer (as do I, because I’m in such close daily contact with the Almighty), the rest of the world is dying to to know: boxers or briefs?”

    A (Obama): “Rick, I reject the premise of the question, namely that we can neatly classify American males into two rigid categories based on their underwear choices. It’s time to move past the partisan politics of the Bush years and resist the urge to divide America into camps of ‘us’ and ‘them.’ We must always remember that the Founding Fathers–going back to Madison’s stern warnings in Federalist Papers Number Ten–warned us to protect the rights of minorities in America. That means we must do our best for our ethnic minorities and our religious minorities, but also for the minority of American men who don’t fit into the two underwear categories you described. There are many good, hardworking, honest men in America today who exercise their God-given right to wear frilly, lacy women’s panties or ball-crushing thongs. There are others who enjoy experiencing the freedom that comes with wearing no underwear at all. And when I am President of the United States, I will do everything in my power to ensure that we are a united country, not one that divides its citizens by their underwear choices, or on any other basis.”

    A (McCain): “Depends.”

  45. UP n,

    Can’t blame Obama if he gives long responses as what you ascribed. After all, the guy is a candidate for president of the US of A. Unlike commenters who take themselves too seriously.

  46. KG,

    “with your recent comments on automation you don’t trust the comelec as much as an atty JCC does not trust our judiciary – KG” (August 19th, 2008 at 9:33 am).

    I don’t know of the extent of CVJ’s bias against the Comelec, but I know mine about the Judiciary/Supreme Court. My bias is not entirely across the board. I wrote in my book:

    “It was farthest from my mind to indict the judicial system of which on few occasions has provided me with the opportunity to meet decent practitioners, judges and prosecutors”.

    ” The Supreme Court had virtually motivated me to exercise this civic duty and make this narrative possible. For almost 19 years as a trial attorney, and three years as a corporate lawyer of a government-owned and controlled corporation, I have met honorable people who took pride in theideals that they had been parts of a complex that dispenses justice to everyone. I had agonized over the thought that my contrary perception about this complex could hurt these few good and upright people”.

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