(At least in the area of peace and order that is...)
The Philippines is now officially more dangerous to journalists than Iraq. Yes that's true. No thanks to those murderous clans in the south where they kill anyone who goes up against them, even if they are still going to file their certificate of candidacy.
One thing led to another until the president declared martial law in the province where the massacre of 57 men and women, one is 4-months pregnant, happened. Most of the victims are journalists covering the supposed-to-be filing of candidacy. For more details, click here.
As expected, politically smart-aleck bishops, gave their unsolicited comments on the declaration of martial law.
Martial law still leaves a bad taste in the mouth as the country has not gotten over what Marcos and his goons did to the country. So it is understandable to get such frantic reactions.
But quite frankly, from someone who lived and worked in that province for more than 6 years, declaring Martial law is the next best thing!
Political clans live off the blood of their nemesis. It's like going back to the pre-Spanish times in the country where the word of the Datu is the rule of law.
State of emergency not enough to solve Maguindanao crisis, says prelate
[pictured at right] also said that even a “state of emergency” did not seem adequate to solve the complex problem in Maguindanao.
Martial law critics said that the imposition of military rule in Maguindanao is part and parcel of the great plan of the Arroyo administration to impose martial law in the country. They said, “state of emergency” would have been enough. [Unfortunately, these loud mouths did not even live in Maguindanao nor have they stayed long enough to know what the real situation in Maguindanao is, peace time or not.]
But, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo said that when the government imposed the state of emergency it did not really help solve the problem.
“The state of emergency did not seem adequate to cope with the situation. The situation of injustice and unpeace in Maguindanao is very complex and it needs a very extraordinary measure to solve it,” said Quevedo. [I totally agree!]
He also reminded the opponents of Martial law especially in Manila to understand the “complex situation” in Maguindanao.
“Media and politicians from far away Manila do not seem to be familiar with these social, political, and cultural situation in Maguindanao,” said Archbishop Quevedo, adding:
“They seem to think that the police and the military can easily go into an area and just arrest the suspected culprits.” [Just like what I said. What if we bring these know-it-all chin waggers to Maguindanao and let us see if they'll talk about peace and justice the same way again?]
Quevedo said that Martial law as a last resort in Maguindanao is being prayed to help solve the already abnormal situation.
“One has to consider the incredible proliferation of firearms, legal and illegal, throughout the province—and these not only in the hands of so-called warlords, civilian volunteers and police. Liquidations by motorcycle-riding men, kidnapping by armed groups, despite deterrence provided by the army’s Operation Tugis, still occasionally take place,” he said. [Which was very common when I was there.]
He added that guns seem to be everywhere in Maguindanao [like politicians banners here in Manila, they are everywhere!] and that the functioning of courts of justice and of election bodies have been highly suspected for a long time partly due to the political allegiances of court officers.
“Competence, transparency, and accountability in political governance in many places have to be significantly improved. In Maguindanao, family name and relationships is most important,” said Quevedo.
Meanwhile, Cotabateños on the feast of the Immaculate Conception also offered prayer for the victims of Maguindanao massacre and their families. [The archdiocese's patroness is the Immaculate Conception.]
Quevedo reiterated their call for the quick apprehension and fair trial of all suspects including the disbanding of all armed groups, the confiscation of all illegal arms, the reform and restructuring of electoral, peace and security agencies.
“We pray for the arrest and prosecution of kidnapping and liquidating bandits groups. We pray for the return of functioning governing municipal and regional agencies not beholden to any political name. We pray for all the people of Maguindanao, Christian, Muslims, Lumads, Buddhists, Confucianists, etc that all may live in peace together as brothers and sisters, with leaders that are, in a very true sense, public servants,” said Quevedo. [With Muslims? Nah.]
If there is one bishop who knows what is really going on in that part of the Philippines, Quevedo is the one. He is the Archbishop of Cotabato and Maguindanao is in his archdiocese. And he KNOWS what it is to be there.
So I hope that those who are against the declaration of Martial Law think before they talk. Archbishop Cruzz, please enjoy your early retirement and just ..... up! You don't know what goes on in Maguindanao.
Don't get me wrong. I am no fan of Gloria Arroyo. I even hope to see her and her family behind bars after she steps down. With the vast amount of money that Gloria, her husband and sons stole from the country's coffers, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos' would look like petty pick pockets of the streets of Quiapo, Manila!
But if there's one thing that she did that I totally support her, this is it!