An Editorial Response to American Rudeness, Arrogance in Zamboanga

January 31, 2008

A mild response to previous South China Morning Post article by Raissa:

This is pure fiction, isn’t it?

Apparently, these Gringos think they are all George Bush replicas, or mini-me’s. Their arrogance, the way they talk down to the hospital staff, for instance, gives us an example of where things are headed. Also, since they are the people who insist that we speak English to them. Wait a minute, is that not what they demand would-be
immigrants to do in the United States?  So it applies to American guests, but when they come to the Philippines, if there is a “misunderstanding, as in the local cannot understand the American who is barking orders, it is a justifies shooting if they shoot the Filipino. But if they cannot speak Tagalog or Visayan, it is again the Filipino’s fault?

This is Bush mentality through and through. The development of GenSan is such an example. The ports and roads are built for military standards, not just your typical USAID job. Obviously, deals may have been made  long before these projects were started on.  The Filipino soldiers seldom even get the proper foot attire.  Somewhere along the line, their shoe budget was hijacked in order to build a biggger, nicer home for their Commanding officers. These are soldiers who when ordered, will not think twice about firing on the enemy. However, as illustrated a few weeks ago, after several marines were ruthlessly beheaded and chopped up by their Moslem enemies.  The reason the Moslems b=carry so much anger against the Marines is that the best soldiers of the Philippine Armed Forces are the best, most professional, and loyal soldiers in the Armed Forces.  However, even they are not spared by the higher-ups’s who have chosen to make the Armed Forces their business models. And, if unfortunately, sometimes the corruption of the Generals catch up with them, it will be hardly possible for them to undergo cases file against them for corruption, etc.
Immediately their machinery goes to work, and though Philippine media prides itself in it’s independence, things have changed. Today’s challenge to the newsperson is whether their stories are worth dying for. You see, next only to war-torn Iraq, the Philippines has the highest number of dead journalists than any other place in the world.   So the stories, especially those that have to do with people with guns are hardly read about.  Who can blame them?  Journalists here are not necessarily paid well enough to afford bodyguards, much less personal trasnportation. So they make easy targets.  And as for mainly Governors, municipal Mayors, ex-mayors, baranggay (village) officials and their ilk are the favorite target of assassins.   And yet, although these figures of dead journalists as well as politicians, radio announcers, etc., obviously and clearly are not at all within the Philippine president’s  scope of priorities.  Amazing, because even ex-dictator Ferdinand Marcos  knew better than to attract the world’s (and the Democratic party’s) attention by allowing this sort of slaughter to take place.  Yet where is the world’s media in all this? Where are the human rights groups? Have they chosen to ignore what Gloria Arroyo has failed to address?  Others have mentioned that we are no longer on the world’s map.  Could this be because we have done ourselves in?  Are we being made to suffer this  because the world thinks it is time for us to stop waiting for other countries to come to the rescue and save us? We usually resort to gathering at big rallies to
“fix” the problem of our government.   But we expect that in a week or two, all our nproblems will be resolved.  We have never put anyone in jail that deserved to be. Well, we did one, but Gloria Arroyo released him as soon as she could.  Then she released a killer who had eaten the brains of an Italian priest he chopped up.  Not being happy with that, Gloria is trying to release the prosinoers who were sentenced to life for having killed the husband-hero of Corazon C Aquino, former president and wife to Hero “Ninoy Aquino”.  Also, she deemed it about time to release the Congressman who, much to the then Congress’ dismay was jailed for raping at least one 11 year old.  The imagination of  Gloria leaves almost nothing else for us to be impressed by. She has released or will soon release a pedophile, assassins of a Presidents husband, a real life cannibal(!) and who knows who else ??
In a normal democracy, there are checks and balances. In the Arroyo government, the Cabinet members and other Executive Branch members are free from being questioned by the Senate, who regularly form Committees to look into matters that may affect the National good, Senators are about as influential and powerful as your neighbors canary in it’s cage.  Also, military officers are allowed to run the Army and Armed Forces the way they see how they want. The all-important assignment of posts, which is dictated to by the law of succession and age, is ignored and those who deem themselves close to the President are allowed to extend their length of stay in the positions they occupy.
The length f stay that Arroyo still has is long enough to plunge this country into chaos and force the poor to do things they would never before even considered doing. Malacanang (Presidential Palace)  reacts to these such situations by adding more security to the presidential family and close friends.  So many laws are being broken by so many people that it is now uncommon to meet someone who follows the law in lieu of  people who  are still law-abiding. So much stealing is going on that it is not impossible toi think tha, like Marcos, this government is takigng to have the Central Bank simply print more bills (not necessarily backed up by gold bars, as they should be) and distribute these among the banks.  Yet, in a miracle of events, Gloria was able to find  five people who happily on TV announced that they were actually doing better. of course, what was not mentioned, but implied, was the fact that the income these “Happy Five” came from relatives who are working abroad. HAR HAR HAR.  So it will be come to be known, that Gloria, after all these years, found five people whose income from overseas makes them Happy.  Good for them. Now to worry about the nearly 90 Million who are close to starving to death, those who eat but once a day, and when there is no viand, eat salt with their rice.  This is the type of economics that Gloria has imposed on us. I am not sure what economic model or country she based her programs on, but, somehow, a lot of Filipinos don’t think it works.  Let’s see now who will last longer: Gloria and her kind until 2010, or something else, like the poor dying before 2010.

Americans, can we not make it al least worth our while? In Israel, the Americans reportedly pay up to ONE BILLION dollars a years just for landing rights! And we get treated like dogs, insulted, browbeaten, and made fools of by our balikbayan Big white brothers. They treated us like shit before, and it  looks like nothing is changing. And if we leave it to the hands of politicians like
Celso Lobregat, who was quoted as saying to two American Senators ” You can have your bases here”; we know what GMA policy is. Why the hell not? besides, who is going to stop them. GMA volunteered us as a country that is part of the laughable list of nations who joined the US in the was against Middle Eastern countries.

And for the part regarding the “Observer Status” only for the US troops in Basilan,  we were not born yesterday. We learned from the Marcos deals with the Yankees. And obviously, the Marcos art of negotiation is being adopted by the present disposition. After all, it was the CIA who supervised the torture of prisoners of Martial Law.  That and their undying support for another dictator who just passed away, Indonesian dictator Suharto, ensured their control over as much of the ASEAN countries as was widespread as possible. Makes one wonder what China will say/do once the Spratley Islands decide to spout oil.  The book on the mercenary group Blackwater cites the Philippines as it’s first country mentioned when they are dicussing training areas, source of mercenaries for Blackwater, and other topics.  One can easily tell that at the level of the average soldier up to possible captain level, the Americans are or allies closer to Uncle am than any other country. Sadly, after chatting with several of these types of men: well-trained, underpaid, easily swayed, the Filipino soldier easily gets along with his American soldiers friends and neighbors.  This will not change in a short time. This will require a generation of thinking men.  Thinking men who love the Philippines more than they do America. Again, I am afraid that will be hard to find. Just seeing how the American Government treats their soldiers, sending them turkeys durig Thanksgiving and making sure that they have the most modeern weapon


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