Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mindanao Massacre - Political Violence in a Weak State (our Homeland)

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.– Frederick Douglass, American AbolitionistLecturerAuthor and Slave1817-1895)

Hi All,

In recent days, domestic and international media have been on the massacre of journalists, children and women, with latter some pregnant, allegedly sexually mutilated, all innocent and harmless, victimized by our warlords and their henchmen.

Warlords who control the local socio-economic and political milieu have existed in our homeland; all seeing each town, village, city, province and region as their personal turf, acting like the Russian gangsters, Italian mafiosos, Afghan kingpins, Latin-American drug kings, etc. I grew up hearing and reading about the Laurels, Crisologos, Singsons, etc. of old, but obviously we have now, since the Marcos dictatorship, gone the way Latin America went. I thought and was thankful then in the 1960s that we were better off than the Latin American banana republics. The latter have somehow improved their lot today, while ours have gone and down the other way.

I say -since the Marcos Dictatorship- because in addition to the massive and lasting thievery that precipitated our national misery which his regime brought forth to our homeland and native people, he has changed our society for the worse, in terms of social values, those universal human values that uplift our humanity. To the thinking Filipino, you know what I am talking about.

We are a weak state because our government has become emasculated. Since Marcos times, governing has gotten much worse, populated by callous liars and thieves; we have lost the human values that are essential in a stable and sane society; we have lost our moorings. Given a vague, if not absence, notion of Filipino nationalism in our minds, we end up continually a lost people, struggling like crabs against each other, collaborating with any foreigner at the expense of our own native people and forever becoming subservient.

With this kind of milieu we, the supposedly educated natives, deserve what we get. Because we do not really give a shit. Foreigners, who usually come to our homeland for personal/business economic reasons try to screw us and we allow them. These foreigners love us for doing these things to ourselves, to self-destruct; which allow them free hand to do their thing, their selfish, profit-motive driven presence in our homeland.

Our so called leaders(more aptly rulers) in government, business, technocrats and foreign-trained military, have continually fooled us, bought us, and stayed off us. They bully us and we allow them. To many among our fellow countrymen living is all about: what's in it for me?

We all can not leave, emigrate and be modern slaves; and the foreign nations can send us all back, if they decide to. It is time, it is really way, way overdue, that we native Filipinos, say NO!! for the sake of the children and future generations. Prayers will not and never do.

Below are two articles addressing the massacre: an interview with Walden Bello and another from KARAPATAN.

- Bert

"Those who profess to favor freedom
and yet deprecate agitation

are men who want crops without
plowing up the ground;
they want rain without thunder and
They want the ocean without the
awful roar of its waters.
This struggle may be a moral one
or it may be a physical one

or it may be both moral and physical
but it must be a struggle.
Power concedes nothing without a
It never did, and never will." – Frederick Douglass
American Abolitionist, Lecturer, Author and Slave, 1817-1895)


Philippines Declares State of Emergency After 57 People Killed in Politically-Linked Massacre
The death toll from the Philippines’ worst politically-linked massacre has risen to fifty-seven. The victims were abducted as they were travelling to nominate an opposition candidate for governor in upcoming elections.The dead include 18 Filipino journalists from regional newspapers. It’s believed to be the highest number of reporters killed in a single attack anywhere in the world. We speak with Walden Bello, an Akbayan Representative in the Filipino Congress.[includes rush transcript]
Walden Bello, Akbayan Filipino Representative of Congress. Senior analyst of Focus on the Global South and professor of sociology at the University of the Philippines. Speaking from Manila.


This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution.Donate - $25, $50, $100, More...
AMY GOODMAN: In the Philippines, the death toll from Monday’s massacre has risen to 57 after police discovered 11 more bodies in a third mass grave. The victims were abducted Monday by gunmen as they were traveling in a convoy to nominate Ismael Mangudadatu as the opposition candidate for governor in elections to be held next year. It is believed to be the Philippines’ worst politically linked massacre. Mangudadatu, the governor candidate was not himself in the convoy because he had received death threats. 

The dead include 18 Filipino journalists from regional newspapers, TV and radio stations who were accompanying his relatives and supporters to file his nomination papers. It’s the highest number of reporters killed in a single attack anywhere in the world. This according to media groups. Police have formally named local mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. as the lead suspect in the killings. He’s head of a southern municipality and the son of the provincial governor, a powerful local political ally of President Gloria Arroyo. On Tuesday, Arroyo placed two southern provinces under emergency rule and vowed an all-out effort to bring those responsible to justice.
GLORIA ARROYO: No effort is being spared to bring justice to the victims and hold the perpetrators accountable to the full limit of the law. The (inaudible) staff has ordered the establishment of checkpoints and tow points and as of last month, the military elements were in place to preserve peace in the area. Additional troops have also been deployed to the area last night to further secure the area.
AMY GOODMAN: We go now to Manila to speak with Walden Bello, he is an Akbayan representative in the Filipino Congress, he’s also a professor of sociology at the University of the Philippines and a senior analyst of the group Focus on the Global South. He is joining us on the telephone. Walden Bello, we welcome you to Democracy Now! Can you explain exactly what happened, what led to this massacre of 57 people, among them 18 journalists and many of them women? The gubernatorial candidate had received death threats and so he sent the female members of his family to file his nomination papers.

WALDEN BELLO: Well, Amy, first, thanks for inviting me on. This is a matter of grave national concern. The convoy was that of an opposition group that they felt that they were protected by the company of journalists. And as you said, women relatives doing the filing. But they were up against what was really a planned dictatorship in this province of Maguindanao where votes had been tightly controlled by this one family of the [inaduble] for over a decade. And what we saw was this situation where instead of respecting the condition of informal groups that women were not to be attacked, nor were journalists to be attacked, the, what had been not expected, in fact, happened. This has been a very gruesome situation.

The situation really is very much like Afghanistan where you have a weak national government presence in the area that’s very much dependent on warlords. These warlord clans are often times in conflict with one another for political power which gives the most valuable commodity in a very poor area. Over the last two decades, because this local offices had received a lot of central government money because of decentralization, these offices had become even more valuable. But not only did they receive a lot of national government money, they also allowed control of illicit activities like drugs and smuggling and they also are able to shake down local commercial and merchant interests. So this was what was at stake here. And of course, the other thing that really has made that situation very complicated is that these people had been allied to the administration of Gloria Arroyo and they can deliver the votes and they can in fact, deliver 100 percent for the administration because of the very coercive vote that they have in this area.

So basically I think you’re in a situation that if you want to understand the relationship between the President and the warlords in the southern Philippines, you–maybe the best analogy is to compare it to the relationship between President Karzai in Afghanistan and the warlords in the provinces of Afghanistan that have a stranglehold over these areas and are engaging in all sorts of activities and control the lifelines, economic lifelines of the local area. So I think that’s the best analogy I can give a this point.

AMY GOODMAN: Walden Bello, so often we’re used to seeing you outside on the streets protesting about corporate globalization. In fact, we’re broadcasting from Seattle, Washington. Monday is the 10th anniversary of the Battle of Seattle when tens of thousands of people took to the streets. You were among them. Now you’re a member of Congress in the Philippines. Can you talk about the different responsibilities you feel, whether we’re talking about corporate globalization or we’re talking about dealing with the massacre of 57 people in the Philippines in the south?

WALDEN BELLO: Well, let me just say that, clearly, being in Congress, and I’ve been in Congress here for the last six months, it allows me a chance to be able to address issues of national concern because I feel that unless we’re able to open up to progressive reform, our local areas and our national areas like the Philippines, a lot of the things that we’re fighting for globally in terms of against corporate-driven globalization and against the oppressive U.S. military presence, it would be very difficult to achieve. So I think this is a case where we have to think global and act both global and locally. And I think there are many people who have been active in both international and local arenas like me because we feel that we have no choice but, in fact, to be engaged in both, because just being engaged in one arena is not—will bring very limited achievements unless we’re really able to bring our concerns to the local level.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, the relationship between the Philippines and the United States and what, well, the U.S. military relationship, the nuclear relationship, we’re going to be actually talking about nuclear power in a few minutes, but that’s back in the United States. This is as President Obama meets with the Indian prime minister here in Washington, D.C., Walden Bello.

WALDEN BELLO: Well, the U.S. presence in East Asia, military presence in East Asia is—continues to be quite strong here. Although, we’re talking about the situation where the political influence of the U.S. really has waned a lot and we now have, in fact, governments in Japan that is no longer willing to play the old role of being totally subservient to the United States.

Here in the Philippines, we have an election coming up and we were—there are strong possibilities at this point that we will be having a new administration that would be much less subservient to U.S. interests than the previous one. So, things are changing at this point throughout Asia. We have, in many ways, the U.S. prestige has declined, although in military–in terms of its military positioning, in terms of a vast array of bases in the area, that is still the case. But I really think that the kind of unilateral power that the U.S. was able to wield in areas like East Asia is a thing of the past.

AMY GOODMAN: The flooding in the Philippines, Walden Bello, the issue of global warming as we move in on the climate change conference that will be happening in Copenhagen, this global summit that will be taking place?

WALDEN BELLO: Yes, well, the Philippines is definitely one of the victims of climate change. I think this recent series of typhoons this year which had been becoming very fierce. Climatic changes, I think, a number of studies have confirmed that the Philippines is one of those that will be greatly affected, which is why we do have a stake in a successful outcome to the negotiations in Copenhagen. At the same time, personally, I am quite—not very hopeful that there will be a new face of the Kyoto agreement that will be successfully negotiated because the United States is the biggest block at this point. It is not really willing to name a cut that they would propose for greenhouse gas emissions because the Obama administration is basically saying, we have to wait for the Senate to be able to approve a greenhouse gas emissions law and the U.S.

So I think that I will be going to Copenhagen and I think it would be this global deal on two things. One is mandatory cuts in global gas—greenhouse gas emissions on the part of the rich countries. And second, real firm commitments to provide financial assistance to developing countries for them to be able to adapt to climate change. My worry is that Copenhagen is not, in fact, going to reduce agreements here. If it doesn’t produce agreements here, I think we all are in a very difficult situation because climate change has been accelerating. So we in the Philippines can only really hope that the industrialized countries will come to their senses, and having been the principal really responsible for the accumulation of greenhouse gases, to really take the bold steps of agreeing to cuts in mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and the U.S. really, under the Obama administration, has a historic responsibility to put itself on the line on this one.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Walden Bello, I want to thank you very much for joining us. Walden Bello is a representative in the Philippines Congress. He is also an analyst with a focus on the Global South and a professor at the University of the Philippines, speaking to us from Manila.

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Inaction on and tolerating human rights violations abet crimes such as the Maguindanao massacre.-KARAPATAN, Nov 27, 2009

KARAPATAN condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the massacre of 57 civilians which included media persons and two women lawyers in Maguindanao, on November 23, 2009. Early this year, the human rights alliance has warned of escalating violence as extrajudicial killings have continued despite declarations from the Arroyo government that it is adhering to the recommendations of the UNSR on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Prof. Philip Alston; and as the government-pronounced deadline of ending the insurgency comes to a close in 2010, which is also an election year..

The Maguindanao massacre was an event waiting to happen with the continued implementation of this criminal government’s anti-insurgency program, Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL). Under OBL, the recruitment of para-military groups such as the /Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (/CAFGU), CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA) and Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO’s) as well as the arming of these individuals have persisted and in fact have been resorted to by the government in its mad design of purportedly “ending the insurgency by 2010.” Such groups, which have been placed under the supervision and effective control of the military, have been tagged, together with the latter and the police, as responsible for various human rights violations happening around the country.

With this counter-insurgency program, so many victims, easily labeled as “fronts” of “communist organizations” and “enemies of the state” have turned up dead, killed in a brutal manner and some disappeared; with the Arroyo government doing nothing to stop the killings, disappearances and other human rights violations. In fact, it even heaped praises for known perpetrators identified with these crimes. Under this counter-insurgency scheme, the Arroyo government has become the biggest warlord in the land.

Now the country is jolted by a brutal crime ostensibly committed by a private army of a warlord in one of the so- called election hotspots in the country. The public is now witness to the barbaric impunity by which the perpetrators can kill and even try to hide the crime as if no law can be applied to prevent them from committing such a brutal act in broad daylight, hiding even such evidences as vehicles with the use of government properties!

For far too long has this regime considered itself a law above the citizens, contravening the laws laid out in the legal instruments of the land so much so that its coddled political allies have imbibed the mindset that they, too, can commit such transgressions with impunity. Thus, on Monday, these perpetrators have been emboldened to commit the carnage that shocked the world. Such is the result of condoning and tolerating human rights violations.

The public must not allow this government to just relegate such a heinous crime as this massacre of civilians into a mere election-related offense. We must not allow a whitewash of the investigation on this dastardly act especially in the face of the declarations of this regime to get the perpetrators of the crime. We demand for a thorough, diligent investigation, arresting and initiating prosecution proceedings against the known perpetrators of this crime.

We call on the Arroyo government to immediately disband the paramilitary units of the AFP and private armies of warlords and politicians and stop the Oplan Bantay Laya counter-insurgency program as its method to eradicate the festering insurgency in the land. This strategy is only engendering crimes against humanity.



KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign. It was established in 1995.

The first priority for any underdeveloped country, before it can begin the economic and social development most appropriate to the needs of its people, is the seizure of power by the masses and the total destruction of the control and influence of the foreign power and local exploiting elite. Without this, nothing is possible.” – Felix Green, British Author, 1970

"What luck for rulers that men do not think" - Adolf Hitler

"If the people are not completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own." - George Washington, shortly after the end of the American Revolution

Hi All,

PLEASE DONATE CORE/FUNDAMENTAL SUBJECT BOOKS TO OUR HOMELAND (i.e. your hometown public schools, Alma Mater, etc.). Those books that you and/or your children do not need or want; or buy books from your local library during its cheap Book Sales. Also, cargo/door-to-door shipment is best.  It is a small sacrifice.  [clean up your closets or garage - donate books.THANKS!]

I consider these earleir posts and the RECTO READER as essential in knowing and understanding our homeland and ourselves, native, Malay Filipinos; and are therefore always presented in each new post. Click each to open/read.
  2. WHAT IS NATIONALISM [Filipino Nationalism]?
  3. Our Colonial Mentality and Its Roots 
  4. The Miseducation of the Filipino (Formation of our Americanized Mind)
  5. Jose Rizal - Reformist or Revolutionary?
  6. The Purpose of Our Past, Why Study (Our) History?
  7. Studying and Rethinking Our Philippine History
  8. Globalization (Neoliberalism) – The Road to Perdition in Our Homeland
  9. Resisting Globalization (WTO Agreements)
  10. Virtues of De-Globalization
  11. Our Filipino Kind of Religion
  12. Our Filipino Christianity and Our God-concept
  13. When Our Religion Becomes Evil
THE RECTO READER is presented in several postings. Click each to open/read:

NOTE: Recto's cited cases, examples or issues were of his time, of course; but realities in our homeland in the present and the foreseeable future are/expectedly much, much worse. Though I am tempted to update them with current issues, it's best to leave them as they are since Recto's paradigms about our much deepened national predicament still ring relevant, valid and true. In short, Recto saw the forest and never got lost in the trees.- Bert

  1. THE FILIPINO MIND blog contains 532 published postings you can view, as of December 12, 2012. 
  2. The postings are oftentimes long and a few readers have claimed being "burnt out."  My apologies. The selected topics are not for entertainment but to stimulate deep, serious thoughts per my MISSION Statement and hopefully to rock our boat of  ignorance, apathy, complacency and hopefully lead to active citizenship.
  3. All comments are welcomed for posting at the bottom window. Comments sent by email will also be posted verbatim. However, ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL BE IGNORED.
  4. Visit my other website, click --> SCRIBD/TheFilipinoMind, or the SCRIB FEED at the sidebar, or type it on GOOGLE Search to read or download ebooks and PDFs of essays I have uploaded.  Statistics for my associated website:SCRIBD/theFilipinoMind : ALL FREE AND DOWNLOADABLE: 123 documents, 207,458 reads
  5. Some postings and other relevant events are now featured in Google+BMD_FacebookBMD_Twitter and BMD_Google Buzz and Google+.
  6. Translate to your own language. Go to the sidebar and Click on GOOGLE TRANSLATOR (56 languages - copy and paste sentences, paragraphs and whole articles, Google translates a whole posting in seconds, including to Filipino!!).
  7. Forwarding the posts to relatives and friends, ESPECIALLY in the homeland, is greatly appreciated. Use emails, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc. THANK YOU !!!
  8. Songs on Filipino nationalism: please reflect on the lyrics (messages) as well as the beautiful renditions. Other Filipino Music links at blog sidebar.  Click each to play.:

"Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual; the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country." - Karl Kraus, 1874-1936.

"We shall be better and braver and less helpless if we think that we ought to enquire, than we should have been if we indulged in the idle fancy that there was no knowing and no use in seeking to know what we do not know..." – SOCRATES

“In the long-run every Government is the exact symbol of its People, with their WISDOM and UNWISDOM; we have to say, Like People like Government. “ - Thomas Carlyle, 1795-1881, Scottish Philosopher, Author

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