Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Disarmament in Maguindanao

Insiders say that a state of martial law virtually existed in Maguindanao even before the formal declaration of Martial Law by Malacanang. Here is an interesting report by journalist Glenda Gloria:

"As the cameras rolled, a young Army lieutenant flagged down a vehicle carrying a known Ampatuan supporter. Are you carrying firearms, he yelled, as his troops searched the car. We have no guns, said one of the passengers, who introduced himself as a vice mayor of a town in Maguindanao. By the time he had uttered those words, the search had reached the handbag of a woman, probably his wife, which yielded a small gun.

Peeved that a lowly local executive could lie to him under the circumstances, the young lieutenant ordered all passengers out of the car and, as the cameras rolled again, gave the vice mayor a dressing down. In crude Filipino, the young officer blustered: “You’re supposed to be an honorable man, but you lied. We have made clear that no guns are allowed. Did you expect us to respect you now with that you’ve done?”

This was Maguindanao days before the government imposed martial law in the province.

I can guess where this young lieutenant’s coming from. He was probably plucked from a neighboring war-torn province in Mindanao, where local executives flirt with rebels, insurgents, and criminals, giving the Army a hard time. I can bet that at such a tender age in the military, he’s already been exposed to the wanton corruption and inefficiency of civilians in government.

I can also bet that 5 years down the road, this lieutenant will continue protesting the crooked ways of local politicians and at some point will have to make a choice for himself: to either join them or rebel against them." (read more here)

What Maguindanao needs is massive disarmament. And government should try to seize not only the guns of the CVOs identified with the Ampatuans but of everyone in Maguindanao. That way, if they really want to kill each other there they can do so using only knives or kris, the favored weapon of Muslims in the olden days.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

David was Afraid of Goliath

I was extremely disappointed to learn that my favorite Inquirer columnist Professor Randy David has backed out of the congressional race in Pampanga's second district leaving the field wide open to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Professor David explained that he was withdrawing because he was “heeding the counsel of family, friends and colleagues from academe who are concerned that my taking on a political role as a candidate would undermine the authority I have carefully cultivated as a social analyst and public intellectual.”

Well all I can say is Randy David, in my book, just lost whatever credibility and "authority" he claims to have as a "social analyst and public intellectual." He of all people should know Edmund Burke's famous adage "all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." With his sudden withdrawal, GMA will now run virtually unopposed and her continued reign in the House of Representatives is practically assured.

I have mentioned before in this blog that it is easy for civil society types to criticize politicians and to complain about almost everything in government but they themselves are unwilling to put themselves on the line. They complain about rampant graft and corruption, sneer at our semi-literate, mal-educated congressmen and pretend that they know all the solutions to our country's problems but the sad fact is that they themselves don't have the stomach for politics.

As I have been saying here for so long, the tragedy of the Filipino middle class is that they know what and how to solve our country's ills but they refuse to put their names on a ballot and instead hide behind their comfortable homes. Or worse, they migrate to milder shores.