“It matters not how straight the gate, How charged with punishment the scroll. I am the master of my faith, I am the captain of my soul.”
–From Invictus by William Ernest Henley
I was scheduled to write a memorandum on a very interesting case but I have to put it aside because of the Kidapawan Massacre. This is no longer a joke. The military of PNoy in Mindanao has been killing lumads in Mindanao with regularity. It continues up to this day because the local authorities allow it, if not instigate it.
Now the police of PNoy in Mindanao follow the footsteps of PNoy’s military. They killed several farmer demonstrators in Kidapawan, North Cotabato. Why do you use bullets to silence demonstrators who are only exercising their constitutional rights and demanding help from government because they need food due to the drought in that part of the country? Only the lawless, cowards and incompetents do that. Are the police in Kidapawan cowards, lawless and incompetents? The answer to this question cannot be done through police investigation. It should be done by an independent group which must be amply protected to get at the truth. Then, let the chips fall where they may.
The local officials
The local officials, where were they when the incident happened? Were they asleep or were they the instigators of the killings? Either of the two possibilities shall be seriously entertained considering the quality of our local elected officials in the country today. They should also be held answerable in addition to the policemen in the area should the evidence warrant. They should be administratively, if not criminally, charged, and suspended while the investigation is going on. These are the right things to do. But does PNoy know what is right? Judging from events that happened in this country in the past five years, I am afraid the guy does not know, because, as some people say, he cannot even tell the difference between a man and a woman in the body of one person. As the Tagalogs call such a creature – silahis – his by day and sila by night, who PNoy cannot accurately identify. If he cannot even make that distinction, how can he determine what is right from wrong. That is the case with BBL and Mamasapano where PNoy got totally confused.
A historical flashback
What kind of a Provincial Governor is the woman from North Cotabato? Probably, like most traditional politicians in this country, she also does not read books. If she does, this Kidapawan massacre would never have happened.
A drought of this kind that brought the farmers into the streets of Kidapawan, happened several years back during the time of President Marcos. Here is the story of how an Opposition Governor forced the hand of Marcos to immediately help the starving farmers which avoided any demonstration for help, from the pages of my book, Leaders from Marcos to Arroyo:
“At times, Marcos was confrontational. In a conference of Mindanao governors on what the national government should do in the light of the drought in Mindanao, Marcos directed his ire at me. The Marcos anger was provoked by my statements quoted in the front pages in international newspapers like the Los Angeles Times, Straights Times, Washington Post on the drought. The center of disagreement was whether a drought or dry spell existed in Mindanao and the Visayas. I maintained there was a punishing drought which needed immediate help from the national government. Marcos insisted it was only a dry spell.”
Before the conference, the KBL governors talked with me insisting I should be the spokesman since they did not have the courage to contravene the position of the President. It was Governor Carlos Cajelo of North Cotabato who was telling me I was the best spokesman because being in the Opposition Marcos would surely listen to me.
Marcos opened the conference in Malacanang with a statement that there was only a dry spell, not a drought. Then he started directing his attention on me.
“You know Governor Adaza, the problem with you is you are always playing partisan politics. You do not even credit the national government for help in your province. You always behave like a king in your province,” Marcos thundered.
“That is not true, Mr. President. I came here to ask for help for our farmers because there is a killing drought in Mindanao and possibly contribute an idea to help in solving the problem. If I wanted to play partisan politics, I will not be here. And about not crediting the national government for help in my province, that is not true. If you send any representative to my province, they will find the markers in the projects stating, ‘This is a project of the province of Misamis Oriental with the help of the national government and USAID on the initiative of Governor Homobono Adaza,’” I courteously answered.
“But there is no drought in Mindanao, there is only a dry spell. What do you say, Governor Cajelo,” Marcos continued to insist on his position. I thought Cajelo who was the one who urged me to speak for the governors on the existence of the drought would support me.
“You are right, Mr President, there is no drought in Mindanao. It is already raining in my province and in the neighboring provinces,” Cajelo peevishly answered.
This is an indication of how Marcos cowed and disciplined his band of followers. Cajelo who was a retired colonel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) noted for his record in battle was putty like the rest of them in the hands of Marcos. But there were followers of Marcos who equally did not contradict Marcos in public but in one and one confrontation with the President told the truth. One of them, of the very few that I knew, was Minister of Agriculture Arturo “Bong” Tanco.
Tanco was present during the conference. He did not say a word but on the way out, he talked with me.
“Don’t worry Governor Adaza. Your request for a sack of rice for every farmer will be granted. I already sent a team to Mindanao to videotape the drought in your Island. You are right, there is a drought there. I will present the videotape and other supporting data to the President and I’m sure he’ll change his mind,” Tanco concluded.
The Minister of Agriculture was right, Marcos granted my request for the farmers. As expected, the KBL governors got their sacks of rice first. The farmers in my province were the last to receive theirs. However, payback time came. When the national government demanded payment for the sacks of rice since they were treated as a loan, I told the farmers of my province not to pay a single centavo to the government considering the grafters in Manila robbed the people in terms of tens, if not hundreds, of millions. I told the farmers: “Don’t pay a single centavo. Tell the government agents to collect from me.” Nobody came to collect from me.
The principle must always be — the leader should fight for his people. I just held unto my principle and fight I did for my people.”
The only solution – revolution
The leaders of the lumads and the farmers committed a serious mistake. The demos should have been in Metro Manila which is the head of the snake that is the Philippines. You do not kill a snake by cutting the tail; you kill it by cutting the head. Those who are averse to a revolution will say that it not the correct solution because it would be violent. That assertion is absolutely wrong. The procedural revolution can be very peaceful. To do that, only you need to have are three elements – the leader with brains and balls, the needed logistics, and the appropriate apparatus. Two months preparation is enough. The procedural revolution can be finished in twenty-four hours peacefully. It is the aftermath when the new government installs a new system that could have potential for violence. But this is the only way out of the current system.