Let’s put it this way. Everybody has grievances to air with the Philippines’ “Central Government”. Whether it be unfair traffic fines, lack of water, parasites squatting on your land, heck, even billions in public funds being spent wantonly via un-auditable channels, everyone has one beef or another to take up with the government. More often than not, these grievances fall on deaf ears or get buried under piles of legal documents and bureaucratic processes. In the vast majority of cases, nothing gets resolved — which is why the Philippines is what it is: a hopelessly backward Third World basket case.
For most of the unresolved big-ticket grievances, there are more than enough ways to justify possibly violent “extra-judicial” action; armed revolt, in other words. Indeed, many have argued that in most normal societies, the sorts of astoundingly audacious criminal activity like pork barrel thievery, top-level corruption, gross negligence and incompetence, and outright lying we observe in the Philippines’ top leaders and representatives should have resulted in a mass call-to-arms by now.
Fortunately for the powers-that-be, Filipinos simply lack the DNA to muster the killer instincts needed to mount such revolts. Whatever was left of it was Yellow-washed in 1986 after the “peaceful” revolution that Filipinos were made to believe would serve as the pre-eminent template for dissent that would keep future Philippine governments honest. And the traditional drumbeaters of revolution — Filipino commies — have all but squandered the brand equity of their tired old hammer-and-sickle flag.
Not Islamic terrorists, however. They remain resolute in their claim to the grievance-to-end-all-grievances in the Philippines — their “right” to self-government. They’ve all but convinced Philippine society that their grievances trump all the rest. Why do they trump all the rest? Simple. Because they are the only organised group outside of criminal mobs that the Philippine “Central Government” sits down to negotiate with as equals.
Kawawa naman tayong mga law-abiding citizens.
We the good citizens of the Philippines are frustrated enough helplessly standing by while our lands are colonised by “informal settlers” coddled by the very government officials on our payroll. Now we also have to watch with horror as terrorists who, we are told, have “legitimate grievances” demanding to be addressed, meanwhile roam the countryside with impunity savagely mowing down and hacking to pieces our police officers.
Where is the justice?
Will I get a seat at a negotiating table with the President if I punch a police officer in the face because I believed he issued me a traffic ticket unfairly? Not likely — not even if I go around stomping my feet in an epic tantrum claiming that this unfair traffic ticket is a legitimate grievance.
Perhaps a bit of road rage here and there feeds the odd viral video frenzy and subsequent occasional media circus it kicks up. But the point is that considering the reality that ALL Filipino citizens have their “grievances” not all of us kill people and justify that by citing the frustration we feel over these personal grievances.
Should the Philippine government take into consideration the “grievances” of a community who, presumably, are represented wholesale by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)? Sure, why not? But does the existence of such grievances presumably worthy of consideration be made out to be license to engage in criminal activity? Absolutely not.
When Pope Francis visited the Philippines in January 2015, Filipinos were euphoric that the pope would grace the shores of the biggest predominantly Catholic country in Asia.
The interests of Filipino Muslims are presumably encompassingly represented by the MILF — which, one would think, is why the Philippines’ “Central Government” extended a seat to their “leadership” in a project that regarded them as a stakeholder — well, no, more like an esteemed partner in a partnership of equals — in a deal that would “benefit” ALL of Filipino Islamdom.
Even overlooking the fact that Muslims represent a small minority of Filipinos (a fact that the nation’s top talking heads and “thought leaders” exuberantly rubbed in at the height of papal mania in January), that would still be quite an unfounded privilege bestowed upon a group of criminal bandits by a “Central Government”.
The conclusion here seems quite evident: make enough noise and kill enough people over a long enough period and you get rewarded with a trip to Japan to meet the Philippine president to carve out peace in Mindanao.
Or should that be “a little piece of Mindanao”?
That’s Philippine-style justice. Then again, most Filipinos already know that.
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