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    If all your life you have always aspired and you think the one on top is no good, you must think again. Maybe you are no better. Or maybe you look worse!.. Or, why not think God. You're good but he loves you. You could end up that egotist stooge you hate in the mirror.
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The Joint Aquino – MILF Enterprise called Bangsamoro Basic Law

This is not about right and wrong. This is not about good and bad, either. This is about what is what.

The thing called Bangsamoro Basic Law

This has been heralded by Malacañang as the “long-lasting peace” or “final peace” for Mindanao among others. The Bangsamoro Basic Law or BBL, since its Bangsamoro Legal Entity days, can be said as the brainchild of the President, Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III.


The President seated with the MILF Chief. lifted from Google search: mamasapano massacre images

Malacañang, through its negotiating panel, has entered into formal agreements with the MILF, something which people now know as the BBL or the Bangsamoro Basic Law. The BBL has become an Aquino – MILF partnership, with Malacañang Palace much bound to it. That reminds us of the MOA-AD that although of different contents was of similar circumstances. One  difference in them is that, while this BBL is now a done deal between Malacañang and the MILF, in the MOA-AD the Supreme court intervened just in time to stop everybody from signing. It caused embarrassment to the PGMA administration but otherwise President Arroyo was free to walk away from the deal.


The President’s mirrors and alter egos with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front: [L  to R] Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Marvic Leonen, Teresita Q Deles. Lifted from Google search: presidential adviser on the peace process. Alteration to the images is by rltjs.wordpress

I think the architects of this BBL have their cues from the wreck of what was MOA-AD that ran a-ground.  This time they are more adept and cunning steering almost through without any snag. They have even rendered the Supreme Court helpless to look into the matter as they work it on.


Eager to stamp the Aquino-MILF enterprise into law, the eager beaver and the skeptical of them. Lifted from Yahoo search: feliciano belmonte images

But the agreements without the seal of Philippine congress are useless. So, we have seen congress, both houses almost without any opposition, trying to expedite the thing called Bangsamoro Basic law.

They also talked about amending the constitutions. They saw conflicts that call for a need to rewrite whatever in the constitution to suit the Bangsamoro Basic Law that the President wanted done by congress.

Then came the Mamasapano debacle

It’s been 41 days since Mamasapano. Philippine SAF troopers going after Zulkifli Abdhir aka Marwan and Basit Usman, two internationally tagged terrorists, encountered composite rebels in that place. Marwan and Usman were said to be living in that territory controlled by the MILF. SAF got into a fight with the MILF which later were said to have been reinforced by Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters [BIFF], Abu Sayyafs, and their militias.


A “Misencounter” between enemies. Images lifted from Yahoo search: mamasapano maguindanao images

When the guns of battle ceased firing, forty four [44] members of the Special Action Force [SAF] of the Philippine National Police [PNP] were accounted dead, killed in skirmishes and ambuscades that ended in their total rout. This happened shortly before dawn in January 25, 2015 that went on until the next day, the 26th.

The Mindanao Islamic Liberation Front [MILF] has justified it as a “misencounter” and later as an act of self-defense on their part. That is interesting. Misencounter is a term applicable only between two friendly forces. And that could be true. The President and his men have considered the MILF as friends and partners for peace. In fact this is not the first time that there was a “misencounter” between Government and MILF forces. In such occasion, government never lifted a finger against MILF perpetrators. “For the sake of Peace”, they will say.

Like Filipinos will be in trouble if they insist on respect and justice due them? Are not Filipinos being bugged or held hostage?

I think Filipinos should be reminded. The Mindanao Islamic Liberation Front [MILF] is a secessionist organization. They are fighting for a different, separate national identity and territory. They have Islamic Mindanao independence for their ultimate end. Filipinos cannot allow them that.

The MILF is on ceasefire with Philippine government, something that has been going on since the PGMA administration – peace that is good while they last. That does not change the fact that they are hostile forces, enemies of the Filipino people.

One people, one nation, one country – the Bangsamoro Basic Law does not serve them. It is bringing the Filipinos away from them. It will wreck the country apart.

“For the sake of Peace”? Grant genuine amnesty to those who would want it. There is no shorter way than that.

Opposite that is peace, the long and the hard way, but nevertheless true peace and not mere hope for peace that is devoid of any historical basis to support it…a pure dream, a fantasy.

That’s true. One object of war is peace. Stated from another angle, sometimes peace is attained through war.

ARMM, Peacetalks & Malacañang’s Grant to Rebels

Malacañang Palace, as revealed to the public recently, has granted the Moro-Islamic Liberation Front [MILF] some P5 million peso dole-out. It is creating a stir in public.

People can debate and argue on the correctness of the move by government,  by Malacañang Palace executives actually, but fact is money has already been handed to and been received by the MILF. And never has it stirred much since a dozen and more of government soldiers had died in encounters with the MILF just some days ago. Rebels claimed that government soldiers went a-stray, whatever they meant by that. Government troopers were pursuing a kidnap for ransom group [KFR] operating in rebel controlled or operated territory when they were ambushed.

Government troopers. Lifted from Google search: Mindanao war

Abu Sayyaf fighters. Lifted from Google search: Mindanao war

About the grant, Malacañang has justified the move by saying that it was an agreement of the Arroyo administration in one of its secret meetings with the MILF and the new administration merely implemented it.

Talking about shrouded meetings between Malacañang and the rebels now reminds of the aborted MOA-AD by the past administration of President Arroyo. It appears the present Aquino administration has also been doing their own hushed meetings with the rebels like the ones that transpired in Japan, and in Kuala Lumpur, recently.  They were late-publicized and  known very little-about by the public – if people can call them transparent.

Regular combatants. Lifted from Google search: Mindanao war

And since talking about the controversial MOA-AD, we are reminded also of another thing very critical and controversial – the postponement of election for the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao [ARMM].

The Aquino administration had moved to postpone the ARMM election only to stumble over the Supreme Court on the issue.  It would have allowed Malacañang to appoint ARMM officials, a move that political oppositions have cried foul. Malacañang in fact caused a postponement of ARMM election in the sense that the election was not held on the day as stipulated by law that created ARMM, in the course of all that. [updates on ARMM and ARMM election here]

Former President Gloria M Arroyo. Lifted from Google search Mindanao war

ARMM is an institution beholden to the Republic of the Philippines and Malacañang Palace is there to oversee that. But, an ARMM that is beholden to Malacañang Palace, or whoever seats in there, is something different. The kingpin and some stalwarts of the Ampatuan clan that controlled the ARMM and former President Gloria M Arroyo are right now facing allegations of election fraud viewed on that alleged unholy relation, in fact.

As the Arroyo administration had learned in the MOA-AD, Republic of the Philippines is not a hacienda. And even in a hacienda, the administrators can only do things that the hacienda owners allow or stated. And the owners, Sire/Ma’am, is people of the Philippines and not the Christians, not the Muslims, and absolutely not Malacañang Palace.

“Walang kama-kamaganak, walang kai-kaibigan”“Kayo ang Boss ko. No privileged relatives, no privileged friends; You are my boss, people of the Philippines liked hearing them and they want them real.

Related post here:

On Allan Kruegers “What Makes a Terrorist

Aftermath, One Small Step That Never Was

Eight tourists from Hong Kong lay dead or were fatally shot by the time the police seized control of the bus after a 12-hour standoff on Monday, during which the hostage taker also spoke by mobile phone with local radio stations.

That’s fact or factual.

“The fact that there was essentially live video was mistake number one,” said assistant professor John Harrison, a homeland security analyst at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

That is an opinion.

Maybe professor John Harrison should reiterate further and fully his opinion as he already sounds disgusting viewed from freedom of the press and viewed from rights of people to Information i.e. right of people to know what really is going on in the world. The fact that there was essentially live video was no mistake. It was very unfortunate. It was a misfortune. A case of bad luck to a group of tourist that day, to simplify the matter. Society cannot sacrifice the riding public and the whole world just because of one man holding a dozen or more hostages, denying people of information when they need them in what actually is happening.

Right now media is free to cover, as long as their own safety allows it, and as long they don’t hamper actual ground operations of authorities. Maybe Professor Harrison, especially in his stature, should be careful in what he is saying because he could actually be influencing a return of this country to fascism.

Today,  media can cover police precincts anywhere, any day, anytime. No, you don’t see names like Jake Maderazo, Mike Enriquez, Ted Failon, Erwin Tulfo, and many more of their kind hanging and speculating in there. But if you go in there, the odds are that you’ll find media rookies always hoping for some big break there. That’s how we got to learn  in our homes that a couple was charging their neighbor of molesting their child, or a carpenter stabbed an electrician with a chisel and got stabbed with  a screwdriver in return.

But, you see, police have nothing to hide and ought not to hide because what they always do is right [or they don’t do anything at all]. They have no closets stuffed with unwanted skeletons so to say. At least in principle. Surely there are things that they need to be privy and they have that in some quarters, like the privacy of their conference rooms.  And despite that kind of press freedom, we still saw in You Tube a suspect being tortured inside one police precinct. And I bet the suspect was reported to have died of something else, somewhere else! And if that dead felon did not even have a formal complaint or a warrant of arrest on him I doubt  if we can even call him a “suspect” of anything. Now, let’s imagine a law passed that could easily be invoked by any such criminal in police uniform to furtherance their acts.

He told AFP there should have been a media blackout to deny the hijacker feedback on what was going on around him.

Instead, he was able to follow events — including frenzied speculation by serving and former police chiefs appearing on Philippine networks — via the bus’s internal TV.

Surely Professor Harrison is not instigating a law to gag TV and radio right at or from the broadcasting stations. OK, maybe he means pushing reporters a few miles away from where they ought to cover. I think we should have a law that says media must cover right there where a hijacker and the police are negotiating face to face so we get a close up of their faces, instead.  But are  not they equally crazy?

OK, maybe Professor Harrison is saying No TV on board buses. That also must mean public transport in general, all public places, in fact everywhere, where hostage-taking might happen. Bus commuters – people,  won’t like that though it sounds better than all other implications of his thoughts.

But wait, the Professor means a law that will make it mandatory for bus operators to install bus television in such manner that they can be disabled or rendered useless from the outside. Now that sounds like the professor John Harrison and not any unthinking moron who does not know what he is talking about.

How about that folks?  An invention that will knock out any electronics as they are, inside a bus, or inside a building. I’m sure governments will pay handsomely for that than sacrifice freedom and democracy! You see, a free press and a free society are the pillars, the bastion, of democracy. We cannot talk of democracy without meaning the people, mind you.

A press that is subservient to a state is masked fascism. Maybe they can have that in My nm r but not in the Philippines, please. Because they are the initial points [attributed to] of the professor. And there is no such thing as a good fascist and a bad fascist because fascism is fascism. Democratic governments and states are by the people but power is something passing. They can be administered by the Pope one day and by Satan, chanting papal song while doing satanic deed, the next day.

Hong Kong newspapers bemoaned missed opportunities by police to end the siege much earlier, including a moment when the gunman waved from the bus door. Protestors Tuesday picketed the Chinese territory’s Philippine consulate.

Fostering hair-trigger mentality. Be trigger happy, some people will like that. Yeah, shoot at the first and earliest opportunity. Kill at the first hint of violence, which include hostage taking because the mere act  itself  is an act of violence. And hope it does not involve any foreign national gone nuts in Philippine territory or we will have an international row in our hands. Let’s imagine police did that. Now police is faced up with public out-roar why they did that when there were wide chances of resolving the crisis without any loss of life and property. Worst, the sniper grazed the hostage-taker in the ear and no square hole in between the eyes, so that it made him kill all his hostages before he was taken down! Damn!

You see Ex-police Rolando Mendoza was not a quacking duck like some people are telling themselves. I think he tried to be a respectable warrior – putting the act where the mouth is [or was it putting the mouth where the act is?] Whichever, or don’t open the mouth. They don’t talk peace and friendship while their fingers are in the trigger guards, or their holsters’ fly are open and with their fingers wriggling over their guns.

Ex-Captain Mendoza, by “carelessly” exposing himself, was clearly  and perfectly communicating by his actions. He knew police won’t shoot him that early and he was very well aware and in control of his own situation. He trusts so he should be trusted.  He means no harm so he should not be harmed.  A little back-step by him at that point would have put everything back to where they once belonged; he must have been thinking of that. But later he saw deceit that generated mistrust and distrust, and not even his shadow did he put in the skyline or put on anymore. Because, as some people know, lurking not far behind those tips is the thing called treachery, and yes, as we all saw, atrocity.

Dennis Wong Sing Wing, an associate professor of applied social studies at City University in Hong Kong, said the police operation was “really shocking” to watch as it unfolded live on TV.

“I am very angry about their unprofessional performance,” he said.

What we saw is what it was. I mean, the world saw reality. Focus seems to be in how police handled the operation. Some saw it as “ill-coordinated”. But it could also be ill-executed, ill-prepared and what might ills. I think SWAT, especially its assault teams, should be composed of field combat, battle tested, experienced personnel. I must be imagining too much of scenes in movies like Band of Brothers and comparing them to what we saw.

Looking back at them, just one small step  that never happened could have changed it all. And I think there was not one but more of them one small step, not any was realized, that converged to one sorry sad destiny mark in history that day.

A Boring Drama That Swerved Bloody Exciting

Eight foreign tourists just got slaughtered in a 12-hour hostage drama that unfolded and ended at Quirino Grandstand in Metro Manila, Philippines.

It was any ordinary day for me and I was doing some construction work around the house. I’ve been constructing a hundred square-foot annex to my house that I intend to make into a small, neighborhood internet café. I’ve been on it for a month now, working solo for the fun and, of course, for the economics of it.

Like I said somewhere, my TV is always open people are watching or not. This time there was wife and daughter glued in there as I went inside the house. It was around lunch time and I was feeling hungry to make me peek what’s cooking. The housewife was done cooking alright, but the table was not set. Damn those Korean tele-novelas with Pilipino dubbing that many women have been addicted to!

But, no, it was not any soap opera.  It was Erwin Tulfo in TV 5 who was unusually out from his Tutok program that instantly caught my attention. He was covering live at the Quirino Grandstand with a tourist bus for his background.

So, it’s all about some tourists being held hostage by one boryong ex-police Captain who wanted some attention… Oh, he’ll get what he wants, he’ll be releasing everybody, and everything will be fine in the end. It could not be real hot stuff  like shown in  the face and tone of Mr. Tulfo. It must be another of those sensational TV reportings, and…I am hungry and I have many better things to do.

I carried my lunch to the TV set, eating alone.  The housewife was in her occasional mood of ‘my time is done, whoever is hungry just go get it’… Getting real and more insights of the drama are worth the while, but…I have many other better things to do.

Mid afternoon came and there was rain. In fact it was raining intermittently all day. I guess I was feeling spent for the day that made me notice the rain from a leaking structure whose roof was not done with flashing yet… Maybe I should be playing games in my computer… Oh, it’s still Mr. Tulfo and the tourist bus out there when I went inside the house.  Are not they done and over yet?

Command & Conquer [Tm] Generals by Electronic Arts is an old game that I’ve installed recently. I’m new to the game actually. I remember when beating Easy opponent was hard. Today, beating a brutal opponent has become equally boring as with the easy ones. Defeating two or more brutes has kept my interest in the game alive.

EA is the company that created Red Alert and Yuri’s Revenge. They are purely statistical-logistical economics and warfare, contests of strength and wit, unlike Battle Realms and Stronghold Crusader that are with social components, if you have not tried them all. EA is also creator of Speed.

What are old like me doing with computer games? Well, for me its one good way of unwinding. Games can be relaxing.

My PC and my TV are still located exactly where I have described them, somewhere here, before. I have learned to live with both just fine, focusing at any or both at any time. Like, there are times when I have to pause at the PC to see what is in the TV. Maybe it is the tones, some words or phrases in TV that automatically shift my focus of attention.

They’re firing! They’re firing! [Or, was it They’re shooting! They’re shooting! I don’t exactly remember.]… So, this hostage drama is serious than I thought…I decided to pause the game. And later it looked to me like I would be watching  for long so I decided to  exit and shut down. I noticed it was already way in the evening.

Here is the 12-hour action as they registered in me:

o Mr. Erwin Tulfo in clean white polo shirt reporting things as they get to him, with the hijacked tourist bus behind him, most of the time  I made a look at the TV.

o Mr. Tulfo announcing that two persons were approaching the bus and when I turned to look the camera was focused at him, or was it at the bus, but no two persons that he was talking about. [One of them turned out to be a brother of the hostage-taker.]

o One unmindful mongrel walking leisurely in the foreground, between the TV camera and the hijacked bus.  I guess in a seemingly still scene it was the only thing that moved. Or maybe it is that picture speaks more than all words put to [them] why I was focused at what I was seeing and lesser at what I was hearing. I was actually wondering whether or not it was any of those SWAT dogs that might have been set loose or wandering alone.

o SWAT’s many unsuccessful attempts to bash open the rear and front shields of the tourist bus with a sledge hammer. [Which made me think that maybe construction workers could have hacked better. Or, maybe next time it came to that, they should bring in a forklift to turn a bus on its side that will expose all, hostage-taker and hostages alike, to view. It will also be easy bashing  of front and rear wind shields for forcible assault. I got that from a bus accident I had experienced as a teen.]

o SWAT tying a rope to the bus door in an apparent move to forcibly open it. [I had bet it won’t work because bus doors are designed to swing in and not throw everyone out…But wait, good, it might topple the bus on its side… tossed and broken survivors are better than dead hostages. ] The door did not open and the bus did not topple. But, maybe they should include tying Knots and Hitches, like those taught to seamen and some construction workers, in SWAT courses.

o Before or after all that, a man in white was running as he was yelling, away from the bus, and on to safety. [He turned out to be the bus driver who has escaped through the windows in the left side of the bus.]

o When everybody seemed discouraged at bashing away the glass shields, some SWAT swung open the emergency exit door of the bus like it was no sweat!  After about an hour of frustrating attempts, why has not anybody thought of it before? I have not, either. I remembered seating next to that door many times as a commuter, have memorized and figured out the printed instructions, in fact, just in case.

o As the bus was gassed to flush out gunman [and hostages alike], people in their homes were focused at the open emergency exit door where anybody is expected to jump out anytime. Next thing viewers saw at the front end of the bus, was the hostage-taker already lumped dead, halfway through the glass door-window that SWAT had broken earlier.

o I think the biggest climax to all viewers is when two tourists, what appeared to me a female then a male, managed to pop out of the emergency exit by their own capacity. Before all that was a feeling of total carnage inside the bus. May buhay! There are survivors! It really brought some chorus of Ohs, Ahs and Ay, salamat from viewers. I noticed some neighbors in my company.  They just come and go without hi and without any good bye; no need for them to knock, too, since my front door is usually open most of the time. We are like that since I can remember. Yes, my sala is sort of a public area to some regular neighbors or their kids.

o But Shits! There was this mass, a throng, out of nowhere, and the bus at the Grandstand cannot be seen anymore! I feel like I was watching people at the end of a ball game or at the end of a boxing fight. Iba talaga ang mga Filipino.

o Last scene I remember is a lonely bus seating under a heavy downpour, I don’t remember seeing anybody moving in or around it… maybe it was the rain, or maybe it was time for bed. But, no, I did not readily sleep that night.

I tried to imagine myself as the hostage taker. It was impossible. I could not. I cant imagine any situation like that.

Next, I tried to imagine myself as the brother of the hostage-taker [who is also reported as a cop]. I saw myself approaching the bus like it was a pure family affair. Somebody tried to stop me. I insisted to be let in the police line. Maybe a media reporter got a quick interview of me “Sir, are you here to save the hostages?” “Hell, no. I’m here to save my brother from sure death! Because if I don’t talk him out of this, soon SWAT will be storming the bus, he is armed and dangerous and he is finished!”

And then I put myself in the shoes of the theater commander. “Who is that fool that tried to cross the police line?” “He is a brother of the hostage taker, Sir, a fellow cop.” “Just my lucky day. Bring that arrogant nicely in here. I think we have someone who can talk sense, talk point-blank, and talk best to Captain Mendoza out of all these. This must be my lucky day! ”

I guess imagining things is easy. Reality showed everything and everybody wasted.

On Allan Krueger’s “What Makes a Terrorist”

By Tony Azios at the Christian Science Monitor

Theories abound as to what drives people to commit acts of terrorism. They range from the simplistic (”They hate our freedom”) to the more complex (modern terrorism is a continuation of longstanding religious and cultural conflicts). The most pervasive rationale on the matter, however, is that terrorism is nurtured by widespread poverty and a lack of education.

This explanation is popularly accepted across religious and party lines and in many academic circles. It is a theory as likely to be espoused by laymen as by global leaders and so-called experts. It’s an idea people can easily comprehend and embrace because it means that such abhorrent acts are born from social inequality, a preventable injustice.

Supporters of that diagnosis will want to read economist Alan B. Krueger’s What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism, in which he posits that this assumption couldn’t be more wrong. Within the parameters of Krueger’s analysis, it turns out to be the “economic – deprivation – and – no – education – breeds – terrorism” theory that fails to hold water.

Krueger’s book is based on a set of three lectures he gave at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2006. In it, he argues that the notion that poverty and ignorance breed terrorism is no more than an assumption lacking empirical evidence to back it up.

A review of hard data collected from various regions and continents shows that terrorists are more likely to have come from the well-educated elite of their respective countries.

“What Makes a Terrorist” brings together disparate data, such as academic studies and government reports, arraying them into a concise, accessible argument against the notion that we can defeat terrorism through aid and education. While Krueger is careful to affirm that these are useful in combating many social ills, he is adamant that terrorism is not one of them.

But Krueger, the Bendenheim professor of economics and public policy at Princeton University and an adviser to the National Counter terrorism Center, doesn’t just present the data. He offers skilled analysis to show that an aggressive foreign policy based on this fallacious assumption has cost several nations dearly and also warns that continuing along this course may provoke further terrorist acts.

Using public opinion polls from the Pew Global Attitudes Project and from the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Krueger argues that residents of nations with higher rates of terrorist activity who possess comparatively higher incomes and education levels are more likely to view the use of terrorism as justifiable.

According to Krueger, the polls indicate that those with at least moderate wealth and education, relative to their nations’ standards, are more likely to be confident enough in their beliefs to attempt to enact political change, even through illegitimate and violent avenues.

The poor and uneducated, meanwhile, are less likely to even voice a neutral political view when asked. Simply expanding access to education without reforming content, warns Krueger, may actually have the unintended effect of promoting terrorism.

Rather than poverty and a lack of education, Krueger’s research indicates that living in a society lacking in civil liberties and political rights is actually the biggest indicator of what may lie at the root of terrorism. The lack of legal and civil recourse to political woes is more likely to lead someone to terrorism than any other single factor, according to Krueger.

While Krueger’s first two lectures use statistical analysis to determine which factors do or do not play a part in leading people to become terrorists, his third lecture serves as a critique of the media and politicians who exacerbate the psychological, economic, and political effects caused by terrorist acts, rather than putting them into perspective.

Krueger asserts that sensationalizing distant or comparatively minor acts of terrorism serves to promote societal anxiety, thereby assisting terrorists in accomplishing their goals of spreading fear and disrupting the economy.

After evaluating available evidence on the economic effects of terrorism and other destructive events such as hurricanes, Krueger reaches the conclusion that economies are only significantly affected by terrorism “if the public lets them, that is, if people and their leaders overreact.” This is because “terrorism – as awful and reprehensible as it is … leaves the bulk of the human and physical capital stock intact” in economies that are diverse and elastic enough to withstand disturbance.

Krueger advises that governments focus less on combating small-scale, isolated acts of terrorism and dedicate more resources toward preventing devastating nuclear and biological attacks.

One of the book’s strengths is that Krueger is not concerned solely with Islamic fundamentalist and anti-Western terrorism. Spain and Colombia are also addressed in some detail, while Northern Ireland is referred to as the notable exception in that terrorists there are somewhat more likely to come from less affluent backgrounds.

Remaining true to the original lecture format, Krueger includes many insightful and critical questions from the audience.

The semantics of defining terrorism are also well addressed, as the line between “terrorist” and “freedom fighter” can be a thin one. Students of American history may recall, writes Krueger, that the British labeled George Washington a terrorist.

It’s a question particularly relevant at the moment, given current debates as to whether certain states are engaged in civil war or terrorism, or both. /• Tony Azios is an intern at the Monitor

What makes a Terrorist?

United States of America has classified Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its arm, the New Peoples Army (NPA), as terrorist organizations. It made former U.P. Professor Jose Maria Sison, CPP-NPA’s founding leader, a terrorist. It also made others like Vladimir I. Lenin, Mao Ze Dong, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel F. Castro and the rest of the class, as no different.

My perception of Terrorism is that it is an act of violence in demand for something, like kidnapping and hijacking for ransom or (exchange of) prisoners, or pure destruction of property as a form of blackmail. Its most terrible and biggest act is of course 9-11. There must be some demand attached to it, like Al Qaeda trying to tell Uncle Sam to back off from whatever.

CPP-NPA is a Leninist-Maoist organization. It is not demanding anything. It is intent on capturing political power by armed overthrow of State to establish a “proletariat dictatorship,” and no less. That is what Leninism and Maoism is all about. It revolves around (armed) social class struggle.

That “economic-deprivation-and-no-education-breeds-terrorism”, or that “poverty and ignorance breed terrorism” may be ways of putting things:

Firstly, no miserable peasants sent their children abroad to be educated. Mao Tse Tong (Ze dong), for example, was no economically deprived and ignorant person. A roster of modern revolutionary leaders, indeed, will show them having one thing in common – they are all educated. Most of them came from the (upper echelon of) ‘Middle class’.

[In the world of Marxism there are only two social classes in a Capitalist society: the Bourgeoisie – owner of means of production, and the Proletariat – wage earner.] “Middle class” in relation to them is actually section of the Bourgeoisie that is intermediate the Proletariat class.

But, economic-deprivation and poverty that are among the causes of more social ills are harsh realities noted in the early days of the industrial revolution until today especially in third world countries. Out of the multitudes will always be educated minds that will be drawn to those realities. Without misery all around them, there is no Karl Marx or Friedrich Engels that people knows of, to mention a few of those minds.

Secondly, rebellion is armed politics. Social-economic deprivation and poverty in such situation are like rich composts that sprout fighters, volunteer-manpower who will fight without pay, or that serve as mass base and safe haven for a guerrilla movement. Fighting for their own cause is the reality of those in it. It is the problem of the masses synthesized to them by their leaders.

In the Philippines we do have a negative cycle of poverty and no-education. Children of poor farmers for example, aside from incapacity of their parents to send them through school, have to help in farm-work so there will be less food deprivation in the family. Children labor for neighbors or in bigger farms as low as $ 0.50 cents a day to augment family income. They are stuck to hand-to-mouth existence. Lacking education, their chances of getting free from poverty someday is indeed slim.

The idea that (armed political dissension) can be defeated through aid and education is not without material basis.  Leninist and Maoist forms of struggle are noted to have become unnecessary in advanced countries. They have become obsolete. However, application of the theory that insurgency can be defeated by social advancements in third world countries where insurgency is usually a problem, has been rendered mere idealism.

One reason why some countries hardly develop is because of high degree of corruptions. After much of economic aid under that condition, such countries have failed to change the miserable lives of their people especially at the grassroots.

Why States do not grab initiative at eradicating causes of rebellion is itself one big political question in the third world. And, I think, this is the answer why there are people who hate Uncle Sam. While he sees himself as helpful to his neighbor-states, he is viewed as a defender if not the root of corruptions.

There is no single reason that makes a dissident. Any social problem, whatever they may be, may cause an individual to enter dissent. Once in there he progresses into an ideologue through a process of (self or induced) indoctrination.

“Simply expanding access to education without reforming content…..may actually have the unintended effect of promoting terrorism”, whatever they mean, are simply incomprehensible. They are incomprehensible as Chiang Ch’ing’s (Madame Mao) idea of Cultural Revolution, which is more of a whim to control the masses, or a way by which the ruling side hopes to maintain status quo – their status.

While education contributes to rate of ideological development of individuals, it has no relevance to the problem of terrorism and insurgency in general. Education, as in the public school system, is about promoting literacy and imparting knowledge that can not be departed from truths or facts and norms. It is a tool towards the good of the whole and no way should they be twisted.

Education – failure of the State to eradicate illiteracy is in fact a political issue in the third world that is feeding insurgency. In the Philippines for example, many Filipinos do not understand it why the 42 Billion Php ZTE-NBN/Cyber Ed deals when State cannot even provide enough classrooms, teachers and basic school facilities first. History of Philippine public school system shows perennial backlog of them.

The splits and makes of political movements: Communists and Social democrats are, basically, one and the same except for some fraternal disagreements. The differences are in the means of achieving end. Meanwhile, there are certain conditions today where the differences between social democrats and liberal democrats have become too narrow that the terms social and liberal might as well be dropped. That will leave the word democrats with right and left wings. Marxism in fact, is a direct descendant of Bourgeois Liberalism and of Hegelian idealism. What happens when a communist and a democrat meet in the other side of the world has not been explained. I guess, cousins can clash or they can unite depending on actual situations.

The Filipino Muslim insurgency

Filipino Muslim insurgency, in the other hand, revolves around Regionalism, Culture and Religion, all in one. Their struggle dates back since Spanish colonization of the Philippine archipelago. Their modern movements are the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) by former U.P. Professor Nur Misuari, which later split up to form the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). And then there is the dreaded Abu Sayyaf that many Filipino Muslims seem to be distancing from.

The Filipino Muslims attribute their misery to regionalism and culture (Tagalog, Ilocano, Ilonggo, Visayan and others versus minority tribes that are incidentally Muslims) and cultural-religious sectarianism (Christians versus Muslims). Territories that they consider traditional Muslim domains have been systematically settled in and dominated by Christians. They think they are neglected by a dominant Christian government. They believe they will do better as an independent State. They want to secede from the Philippines.

President Gloria M. Arroyo has announced the end of Muslim terrorism and NPA’s three and a half decade-insurgency by year 2010. This is viewed as mere (wishful thinking). Presidents Joseph E Estrada, Corazon C Aquino, Fidel V Ramos and Ferdinand E Marcos had been through the problems before. By brute force as the big solution, the best that one can probably achieve in one’s time is to eliminate some known Abu Sayaff leaders and fighters which are winning battles nowhere from winning a war. Personalities and names are incidental. They are naturally replaced as soon as a vacuum is created. It is the cause that must be eradicated or defeated to put an end to it.

Armed insurgency ends only when people see no logic why they are doing it. What made Muslim Filipinos want to secede must be addressed and this has not been accomplished since President Ferdinand E Marcos, or in a span of 40 years.

The idea for an autonomous region for Muslim Mindanao (today’s ARMM) was created in the Marcos era to defeat the idea of Muslim secession. But free elections have or will always result to Filipino Muslims being the political underdogs. Fact is they are minority in most part of the Autonomous region. The area that they had demanded is too wide, if religion is the issue, and which President Marcos was only too willing to concede. Government has always worked to place ARMM governorship at least, in the hands of Filipino Muslims or else Christians would be seating in there.

Sometimes open issues are not what they are like when political movements simply grab pre-existing issues and ride on them. For example, while Al Qaeda is based on Islamic fundamentalism; it appears Bin Laden, same as Nur Misuari, is no ignorant of Marxism.

Meanwhile, terrorism- scaring people to go away as in the southern Philippine experience, appears to be beyond terrorists. Bellow is an excerpt that I have imported from Inquirer.net. I found it interesting because I think it provides a deeper glimpse why Philippine government has hard time ending Abu Sayyaf terrorism:

/Akbar has rightly called on the Philippine military to use local resources to go after the four alleged killers of the Marines, whom he named, instead of sending in a big contingent of troops that could cause havoc and put innocent civilian lives at risk.

I agree in principle with Akbar, but the problem is that too many Muslim politicians in Mindanao claim that they support the central government, but also wink at the MILF and the Abu Sayyaf, in an attempt at having it both ways.

I understand why the military must be wary and suspicious of these local politicians and of the MILF when they claim to be helping the government. So many times when some MILF soldiers have killed government troops in irregular situations or beheaded victims, then the MILF conveniently disowns them by claiming that they are rogue elements or even Abu Sayyaf members.

Muslim politicians should realize that they cannot have it both ways, i.e. claim to support Manila and then be in bed with the militants at the same time. That is a dangerous game to play, and one that is already being exposed by military officials fed up with the never-ending cat-and-mouse games in Mindanao. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Sides have to be taken and sometimes that can be the hardest thing to do in the world.

/ Comments or questions? E-mail me at rasheed@arabnews.com. Visitmy blog at http:// rasheedsworld.blogspot.com.

So, we have terrorism and counter terrorism. But there is always a third party to every controversy. There is the part of society that stares to its left as well as to its right. Very little noticed, the world has always been an interaction not only of two but of all the three. I talk of ordinary Filipinos. In legal political struggle they simply throw weights for or against candidates. In illegal politics they can act in similar manner. /RLTJ

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