mourning marawi

check out the atlantic‘s  A Victory Against ISIS in the Philippines Leaves a City Destroyed.  see the photos and weep for marawi.  one doesnt have to be from there, one doesn’t have to be muslim or maranao, to feel anguish, especially for the sixty percent poor who lost what little they had, and to wonder if there was no other way.  read leandro dd coronel’s Marawi on one’s mind.

Marawi City used to have 200,000 residents. How many of them will or can go back to their former homes? There’s nothing to go back to.

… Did the government win? Did the Maute lose? … What is clear is that the people of Marawi are the losers in the battle of Marawi City. The place is in such total devastation that it will take decades to rebuild it. And it will take a lot longer than that to rebuild the people of Marawi’s lives.

but read too benignO’s Can Marawi City’s reputation as a no-go-zone for Filipino Christians be changed?

Marawi City is one of, if not the most, predominantly Muslim city in the Philippines and has, fairly or unfairly, suffered a reputation as a no-go-zone for Filipino Christians for some time. Across various online forums, assessments of how safe one could feel in Marawi City are varied. Mindanao State University (MSU) — one of the Philippines’ top universities — is located in the outskirts of Marawi. It is often cited as proof that Christians can be counted as inhabitants of Marawi and, indeed, the majority of MSU students and faculty are Christian. However a commentor in the Living in Cebu Forum site noted that most MSU students “go to Iligan [City] for their big city needs”, presumably a preference to the option of venturing into downtown Marawi. Indeed, another went further to describe Marawi as “a scary place”…

Safety, it seems, is conditional and relative in Marawi City. A Yahoo! Answers thread yielded some interesting anecdotes from Netizens responding to the question “Marawi City: Is it safe to go around? I am a christian…?” One remarked that Marawi is safe “if you are from that place or have friends to watch over your back” …

Another said that it is a place where vehicles stolen in Cagayan de Oro City are sent to, never to be recovered again — perhaps a reference to stories about military and police personnel pursuing criminals themselves being disinclined to pursue them into Marawi itself.

As such, it is not surprising that Marawi and cities like it are prime candidates for Islamic terrorists to establish footholds in. Because they are regarded as “Muslim territory” the perception that people in these regions are more tolerant or even accommodation of Islamic extremists is there.

It comes back to the question of how well Filipino Muslims, as has been asked of Muslim minorities living in predominantly Christian or secular societies around the world, can police their own ranksand manage on their own issues that contribute to the radicalisation of members of their community. Lanao del Sur and surrounding provinces are part of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and, as such, enjoy some degree of freedom to self-govern. This granting of latitude to govern as an autonomous entity was on the basis of religious identity as the name given to this collective of provinces implies.

The people of Marawi and the greater community of Filipino Muslims should confront the reality of Islamic extremism and how, by all accounts, much of it flourishes in predominantly Muslim-populated regions in the Philippines. This reality cannot be escaped by simply “praying for peace” or counting on social media “influencers” to liberally issue meaningless calls to “stand together in solidarity” with their “Muslim brothers”.

i’m afraid that in marawi’s case, the major consideration was not the residents’ welfare in the immediate then-and-now but the marawi (and mindanao) territory’s status in the long-term.  hapilon and the maute brothers were not only leaders of extremist terrorist bands but hapilon was also the ISIS caliphate’s official rep in east asia.  the goal was to take over and turn marawi into an ISIS province with hapilon as governor.  in effect dismembering the philippine republic.

dismemberment, losing a territory, is anathema to the republic.  losing control over predominantly muslim parts of mindanao to terrorist groups and islamic fundamentalists scares the bejesus out of us all — including peace-loving moros i would think — in a mindanao that is already predominantly christian.

there has to be a way of granting the bangsamoro self-rule and i believe a BBL, not federalism-for-all, is the way to go.

calling out congress #passBBL #no2revgov

it’s great that the war in marawi is practically done.  we all need breathing space from the killings and destruction, the misery and loss.  we need to stop and take stock, seriously consider how to prevent pre-empt more war in mindanao.

in two speeches, before and after hapilon and maute were taken down, the president was unequivocal: federalism is the only way to keep the peace.

“The MI pati MN has been hanging on to the range of their forces. They are cooperating with government, fighting alongside with government forces, but they are hoping that what they have been asking for centuries will be given.

“If we fail to come up with a reasonable counter proposal, then I assure you that there will be fighting everywhere in Mindanao. For then, the mainstream rebel groups would now be joining with the extremist groups.  …their common determination, their dream is … magkaisa itong lahat against the Republic of the Philippines.  And I have it in good authority that they will declare an independence. They would declare an independent Mindanao.” [oct 12]

“… it would be easy if we agree na mag-federal tayo.  kapag hindi, talagang sasabog ito, because then i would predict that the MI (and) MN would now join with everybody in, and there are aplenty…. armas. mahirap talaga tayo magsurvive as a nation, the republic, intact.  hindi ko kayo tinatakot….  sinsasabi ko yan noon pa sa kampanya. bec i know that it would create division and eventually maybe a breakage. ang mahirap nyan kung papasok na naman yang mga UN at … makialam … then if they recognize a belligerent state now, then you would have to treat it as an independent entity. yan ang delikado diyan. once makialam itong mga united nations … we would be reduced from the … yugoslavia, before, then you have serbia, you have so many city states, the balkan states, watak watak na sila, kanya kanyang state …”

Because then if there is a status of belligerence given to them, then it becomes very, very, very serious for all of us. …  And the Americans will realize to their sorrow that they have been too myopic in this thing. [oct 16]

the president has not mentioned the draft BBL (version 2017) transmitted by the palace to congress in mid-august and which the senate prez and house speaker promised will be passed by yearend, na tila di gumagalaw; anyway walang balita except a tidbit from ANC‘s  Bangsamoro and Beyond: A National Conversation taped oct 5 and aired oct 19, na meron na daw itong more than a hundred signatures sa lower house.  totoo?

tila walang sense of urgency sa legislature, and this might explain why the president is antsy, seeing destab plots, and threatening  revolutionary government, by hook or by crook?  revgov na lang, kung walang BBL by yearend, para makapag-chacha para makapag-shift to federalism para maibigay sa MI at MN ang matagal nang inaasam na regional autonomy for muslim filipinos?

naguguluhan ako, at siguro ang lehislatura rin, dahil back in july 2016, his first month as president, this is what the president said:

If majority of Filipinos vote against federalism in a plebiscite, President Rodrigo Duterte will throw his support behind the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), he said.

“If the Filipino nation in a plebiscite would not want it, I am ready to concede whatever is there in the BBL law. We will see to it that it will pass,” said the Philippine president on Friday, July 8 during a gathering of Muslim leaders in Davao City.

Duterte said he is eyeing a “framework” on federalism to be ready by the end of 2016.

“Towards the end of the year, we can come up with the framework,” he said. The framework could entail a “reconfiguration” of territories of ethnic groups like the Tausug, something desired by Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari.

okay lang naman kung BBL muna, i can’t imagine why not. calling out speaker alvarez and senate prez koko, paki-explain why you guys aren’t bothered by the president’s fearless forecast of war in mindanao if BBL does not happen.  (i know, i know, they’re all on vacation.)

of course, puwede ring plebiscite muna to vote on a new charter that provides for federalism and a truly autonomous bangsamoro region, why not.  balita pa nga ng rappler, meron nang draft constitution na naisumite ang PDP-Laban Federalism Institute sa lower house.

… a draft Constitution that would govern the Philippines under a federal system of government. The draft is the result of research and consultations done by a group of experts gathered by PDP-Laban president Aquilino Pimentel III through the institute. 

i always figured that it’s the president’s call, as he’s so astig.  but, yes, he needs the cooperation of congress, whether for the BBL or the new charter, and congress is proving to be uncooperative, even recalcitrant.

come on, guys!  kaysa naman mag-revgov?  or is that the goal.  argh.  these trapos.

#passBBL #no2revgov

revolutionary government, by hook or by crook?

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday advised his critics to unite and form one group … his latest call to dissenters as allies and supporters accused them anew of destabilization efforts.

“I would be happy, really, if they will start to merge into one command. Itong mga Komunista at itong Liberal (Party), at itong mga iba na gustong paalisin ako, mag-isa isa na lang kayo,” he said in a speech in Malacañang.

… “Isang grupo. I think you share the same ideological whatever. Para hindi na masyadong magkalat ang ano… we can focus on all of you,” Duterte said.

the next day, this.

Pag ang destabilization ninyo patagilid na and medyo magulo na (If your destabilization is worsening and it is becoming chaotic), I will not hesitate to declare a revolutionary government until the end of my term, and I will arrest all of you and we can go to a full scale war against the Reds,” [Duterte] said in an interview with Erwin Tulfo aired over PTV Friday night.

Mag-declare ako ng revolutionary government, period. And I will declare — I will clear the streets and I will declare all government positions vacant.
Mas matuloy, wala na akong problema kasi habulin ko na ngayon ‘yung mga corrupt para matanggal ko. Sige, mag-demonstrate kayo, bring it to a point na talagang tatagilid ‘yung gobyerno.”

am i so out of the loop that i haven’t heard of, or feel, moves to destablize the duterte government in aid of ousting him?  meron ba talagang gumagana na destabilization plots ang mga dilawan at / o ang mga pula?

ang pakiramdam ko nga, parang ang presidente mismo at ang kanyang sobrang matitinik na social media forces ang nangde-destabilize, nanggagalit, nanguudyok, nananadya, practically, literally, goading us into rising up in anger at all the lying and killing.

parang they would like nothing better than to provoke us into what he tagged “EDSA terrorism” (correct me if i heard wrong) which would give him reason, excuse, pretext to declare a revolutionary government.  parang si marcos noong 1972 — kinailangan munang ma-ambush si enrile before marcos dared sign proclamation 1081.

but the similarity ends there.  for what he wants to do 60 days of martial law would not suffice, so duterte’s being creative.  if you’re on facebook, read jose alejandrino’s primer on rev powers that is making the rounds.

once duterte finds an excuse to abrogate the constitution, he will next do a cory instead, declare a revolutionary government, rule by executive decree, change the constitution to provide for federalism atbp., hold a plebiscite in may 2018, the people vote yes, and the shift to federalism happens, i can’t imagine how, though i can imagine da who.

i also imagine that the duterte constitution has already been crafted, naghihintay na lang ng tamang panahon.  so bakit ba sobrang nagmamadali?  i think it has to do with mindanao.  i think nangako siya sa MI at sa MN and he’s being held to that promise or else there will be more war.  kung ma-approve nga ang bagong constitution in may 2018, then by may 2019 we would be voting in “new” officials to regional governments and to some kind of parliament.  and that would be the end of the revo government daw.

rep edcel lagman insists that there are no destabilization plots or serious threats from the left and political opposition. 

He also said that establishing a revolutionary government has no constitutional basis.

“A revolutionary government is the result of a successful people’s uprising or revolt overthrowing an incumbent President and his subalterns like the EDSA People Power revolution,” he said.

He added: “It is not a product of a self-serving declaration of a sitting President ostensibly to retain and prolong the exercise of powers and “crush” perceived enemies of the state.”

but there are ways and ways of spinning the cory “precedent” to make it seem like this is a similar moment for duterte given how radical his federalism agenda, and how great, allegedly, it would be for country.  at matagal na niya itong sinasabi.  read chit pedrosa’s Federalism is the answer.

In his speech after being proclaimed the standard-bearer of PDP-Laban political party, Duterte said he has no ambition to run for president, but decided to do so when his political party’s leaders urged him to run and push for federalism.

“Kinausap ako to carry the torch of federalism,” Duterte said. “I will build a nationwide consensus for federalism.”

a nationwide consensus would be good.  i’m against federalism but i’m open to being overruled by the majority — an informed majority, of course.  kung ibig talaga ng presidente na ituloy ang may 2018 plebiscite, may panahon pang pag-usapan ito nang masinsinan.  sana may information campaign on what that new constitution would be like, and what federalism coupled with economic liberalization would mean for the impoverished masses and the oppressed middle class, in aid of public discussions in the run-up to a plebiscite.  ‘wag naman tayo masyadong biglain.

meanwhile the political oppositions can only warn against a dictatorship, not about what the president thinks he needs dictatorial powers for.  in denial ba sila about the president’s agenda?  o baka naman okay sa kanila ang charter change at federalism?  it’s time to have this conversation, folks.

 

andy’s endgame

wednesday morning he said he was resigning as comelec chief, effective end of the year.  medyo nagulat ako, sabay mabuti naman, he should have done it (as advised) two months ago, faced tish’s charges squarely, or better yet, settled with her, never mind defending the “integrity” of the 2016 elections.

wednesday afternoon he was impeached by congress anyway.  the plenary overturned the justice committee’s dismissal (insufficient form) of the complaint against him; many more reps signed it instead, along with the original 3, finding the charges serious and deserving of a senate trial.

nagulat uli ako, sabay salamat naman, let it be on record that he was impeached, never mind that he had promised to resign.  because that’s all it is, a promise to step down come dec 31.  but what if he doesn’t, say ni rep gwen garcia, what if he waffles and changes his mind about resigning?  indeed.  despite his sweeping denials of any wrongdoing, the comelec chief has lost some / a lot of, if not all, credibility.

Bautista said that he wanted to give the President time to choose a new Comelec chairman and effect a smooth transition.

At the same time, Bautista said that he has still a commitment to fulfill as chairperson of the Association of Asean Electoral Authorities in a scheduled meeting with his counterparts to be held in Cebu in December.

umm.  seeing as he is resigning under a cloud of shocking allegations, among them serious questions re the conduct of the 2016 elections, and seeing as he has been impeached by congress to boot, why would he still deserve to chair, and host, that ASEAN electoral authorities affair?

“Kung makahanap sila o kung gusto nila mas agahan yung aking pagbibitiw, walang problema basta lang maayos ang transition,” he said.

clearly andy would rather not step down until duterte has appointed a new comelec chief.  i suspect that there’s stuff he needs to formally turn over, such as contracts maybe that he has signed, maybe with the likes of smartmatic?  sabay dasal, or demand? that these be honored by the new chief?  or else, what?  this may have been the topic of conversation when andy met with executive sec medialdea oct 10.

interesting endgame.  the next move is the president’s.  the palace has already distanced  from the impeachment.  but not from the resignation.

KIT TATAD: In Bautista’s case, since he had already decided to resign, DU30 could simply supply the immediate effectivity of his resignation. This would render Bautista immediately vulnerable to criminal prosecution, in relation to various questionable transactions during the last presidential elections, and, in particular, his estranged wife Patricia’s allegation that he had amassed over P1 billion in unexplained and undisclosed wealth during said elections, which he hid in 35 separate bank accounts in a rural (thrift) bank.

But the more important point is that it would give DU30 a chance to name a new Comelec chair through whom he could either reform the electoral system or control it for his own ends. Given his autocratic bent and tendency to exploit every opportunity to extend his power, he could indeed use Bautista’s replacement for his own political ends; but given the huge outcry against our thoroughly corrupted automated electoral system, which has given us so many illegitimately elected officials in 2010, 2013 and 2016, he just might allow the reformist groups to put in their desired reforms for the 2019 and 2022 national elections.

who knows, duterte might still surprise us.  though it would be surprising as well if he allowed the impeachment to proceed.  say ni harvey keh in a public status sa fb:

To Comelec Chair Andy Bautista, some unsolicited advice: Now that our disgusting members of Congress decided to impeach you, I suggest you now withdraw your resignation letter. Tang Ina, ilaban na natin ito.

We only need 7 votes in the Senate to win this, lets push back and push hard to show this administration that it can’t mess with the Filipino people. #LabanAndy

a full-length impeachment trial, yung hindi mapuputol, yung wala nang resignation come dec 31, yes, please.  otherwise mabibitin masyado ang taong-bayan, and who knows where we might end up.