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BANGSAMORO YOUTH CORNER
02 November 2011

WHY IS MINDANAO WAR A BOOMING BUSINESS INDUSTRY?

By R. Rayhan R.

Businesswise, the conceptualization of the Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao from the beginning has served profitably well Philippine colonialism. Just like the creation of the Abu Sayyaf group by the Philippine military generals (as revealed by E. San Juan, Jr., 2006) from within Ustaj Abdurajak Janjalani-led Al-Harakatul Al-Islamia),  it was a necessity. Why? Because it is truly a million dollar generating business venture for the rabid Filipino political and military colonisers, who never thought of the historical injustice done against the colonised native inhabitants of Mindanao, if only to serve their colonial interests. Simply put, with the Mindanao war, any immoral Philippine Chief Executive can comfortably make millions, including the corrupt military officials, who can easily be promoted in rank by being subservient to the "presidential looter" in Malacanang.  
    

Why is the Mindanao war a booming business industry for then Dictator Ferdinand Marcos and company? Why is it now still a lucrative business enterprise for a few callous Commanders-in-Chief and the latest Armed Forces of 'Pabaon' (AFP) officialdom?

To date, the Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao has reached almost fifty years since it was introduced glaringly and destructively by President Ferdinand E. Marcos in the 1960s, thus, continuing further the preservation of Philippine colonialism in the region. It is clearly noted that the Mindanao war was orchestrated by the Marcos regime in  conducting a genocidal extermination campaign against the restive Muslims in the Bangsamoro homeland of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan (MINSUPALA), silencing its political critics and CPP-NPA rebels with fear, and enriching himself, families and cronies beyond the wildest imagination of the disgusted peaceful  humanity.  After all, when strongman Marcos was booted out from political power in 1986, he was reportedly next to President Suharto of Indonesia as the "second most corrupt president in the world" and "one of the richest Asians." While the global media reported President Suharto to have amassed more than "12 billions US dollars" being Indonesia's

Pres. Ferdinand Marcos giving instructions to Gen. Fabian Ver. Gen. Ver was the second most powerful man during the regime of Ferdinand Marcos. Two other generals were in the background. Photo credit - Jay de Leon, 2005.


uncontested leader for quite sometime, the Filipino President/Dictator was reported to have stashed away "more than $6 billions" to his presidential credit. The Internet U-Tube is even trumpeting this incredible fate, including the plunder exploits of ex-Presidents Joseph E. Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Aroyo. 

 

Scheming the Mindanao war to last long during his lifetime, President/Dictator Marcos used it a leverage to purchase more war armaments and to secure more billion-budget allocation for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) officials that he wanted totally beholden to him. Although it was during his time the Tripoli Peace Agreement was forged between the Philippine government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) with the active participation of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), it was never meant to solve the raging Filipino-Moro war. The colonial Marcos regime never had the illusion to establish lasting and durable peace in war-torn Mindanao. Because ending the Mindanao war for the sake of peace would mean a big commercial loss to Malacanang and the AFP leadership.

 

Thus, the Mindanao war has become sort of a legacy of Dictator Marcos to his successors  in institutionalising its commercial value, making it a profitable money-making mechanism for Malacanang, especially so for the 3-time transformed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that started as the "Old AFP" under the Marcos regime, "New AFP" under Corazon  C. Aquino and Fidel V. Ramos administration and finally Armed Forces of 'Pabaon' (AFP) under ex-Presidents Joseph E. Estrada and Gloria M. Arroyo.

As a profitable business front for the AFP generals, the Mindanao conflict has been for many years conveniently transformed into an interment no-war no peace scenario by the Philippine military in conspiracy with the money-conscious public media. If there is a need for budget augmentation and immediate cash release, the AFP could just create an atmosphere tension in Mindanao. And as always expected this is followed by drum-beating an "All-Out War" to condition the people's mind, particularly the Christian population in Luzon and Visayas, that any offensive military operation is to safeguard the integrity of the Filipino nation from lawless elements or 'secessionist rebels' that are waging violence to "dismember" the country. In such a way, the real truth is hidden that there is big money in the rebellion war for the "patriotic" Filipino soldiers are only protecting the national interest of the country. On this sinister end, the once collaborators-turned-political opportunists of Marcos Martial Law regime are the noted principal accomplices, calling loudly for revenge and All-Out War. In turn, the high dramatic events are played up to the hilt by both the public and private media bought and paid for by tax-payer's money. 

But can the truth be shelved forever  under the dirty floor rag of the Philippine military?

Currently, thanks to some conscious Filipino media practitioners or investigative journalists, the latest events unmasking the money-hungry and money-making AFP hierarchy have but only surfaced after the Congress/Senate public hearings on the shenanigans and other money-generating scheme committed by the AFP officials in enriching themselves and their families. Apparently, the anomalous transactions are encouraged by the Commander-in-Chief, like the case of ex-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the former AFP Chief of Staff, Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and finally Department of Energy (DE) Secretary, ex-General Angelo Reyes, who committed suicide to save himself and family from further legal scrutiny and public shame. Indeed, the case of the 'Pabaon' generals is one dramatic revelation on the shady dealings practiced shamelessly by the Philippine military in justifying why the Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao should not give way to comprehensive peaceful settlement. Clearly, it would only mean that total peace in war-torn Mindanao is the natural end of the lucrative business of some Philippine political and military leaders.

How do the unscrupulous AFP officials make money out of the Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao? 

Ghost soldiers! US/UN military aid! Selling of firearms and bullets! Kidnap-for-ransom money! These are some of the sources from where both the AFP officers in Quezon City central office and Mindanao ground camps can pocket to the fullest their 'loot', ''pabaon' (take away home gift) and monetary share. Strangely though, according to PDI August 17 issue, "AFP: Number of ghost army is top secret", this could only mean that the number of 'ghost' soldiers in the Philippine military will remain always a secret because the AFP has refused to reveal to the Commission On Audit (COA) the number of officers and soldiers under its wing and payroll for national security reasons.

From among the members of Philippine Congress, Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares expressed shock to learn from COA officials that even state auditors were barred from prying into the AFP personnel strength, saying "the PHCOA cannot even check if the supposed number hired by the AFP exists." During the Senate hearing on military corruption, retired Colonel George Rabusa has exposed that the AFP has been padding its actual troop strength by 20% through the years. He clearly explained the whole anomalous practice that if the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) would release a fund, for say, 120,000 troops when the AFP actually had only 100,000. He has revealed that the salary for the 20,000 troops became the source of additional funds for military officials, emphasizing that the "salaries of the ghost soldiers was the major source of the military slush fund, from which sendoff gifts amounting to hundreds of millions of pesos for retiring military officials are taken." On top of the stolen money from the Philippine treasury, it was also revealed that the Philippine military also pocketed foreign military aid and donations from the United Nations (UN) and the U.S. government, which may have been conscious now of the gruesome anomalies perpetrated by the Philippine military because they want the Filipino-Moro war in war-ravaged Mindanao to peacefully end.

On the AFP officials in the ground, particularly in the Mindanao war zone, it is already a common knowledge that selling of military high-powered guns and corresponding bullets as well as diesel oil and gasoline to the local politicians, Bangsamoro freedom fighters and rich businessmen has secretly made some AFP officials richer. It is also a public knowledge that since the Abu Sayyaf group was created by AFP generals, like Army ex-General Alexander Aguirre and Navy ex-Commander Guilermo Ruiz, (E. San Juan, Jr., 2006) to neutralise and divide the MNLF leadership, the AFP-patronised group had been used for series of kidnapping activities of local people and foreign tourists accruing millions of US dollars for some AFP officials. Conspiring with the Philippine media, the AFP propaganda arm had succeeded to link the Abu Sayyaf group with the known "terrorist" groups in Asia to transform it into an awesome fearful entity that could easily bomb big ferry boats, MRT transport in Manila and huge shopping malls in MetroManila. The AFP modus operandi include declaring new local faces as "most wanted" Abu Sayyaf kidnappers complete with pasting photos in almost all Mindanao airports and seaports with US$million-reward money for the taking by masked AFP assets and agents because the identified ASG kidnappers are always mysteriously caught and killed. The key target of this diabolical money-making scheme was the American intelligence service that for sometime played along with the whole ugly scene because of the presence of the US troops in some parts in Mindanao.  

Now, is there no end for the Mindanao war to be used as a business escapade by some Philippine military chieftains? Is there hope for "just and lasting peace" in Mindanao to end the business activities of the notorious Armed Forces of 'Pabaon' (AFP) generals? How can Philippine colonialism today under President Benigno V. Aquino III, son of the great national hero Senator Benigno 'Ninoy' Aquino, Jr., who is committed to the self-determination of the colonised Bangsamoro people, stop the Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao being a profitable business enterprise as introduced by Dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos?

Next: The Legacy of Mindanao Peace Envisioned by Senator Benigno 'Ninoy' Aquino 

   

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