All about character PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 31 March 2016 13:15

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — As the country goes to the polls on May 9, will the terrorists step up their campaign of terror? Can they be stopped? So far, no disruption to the campaign sorties of candidates, both national and local, have occurred. It could be that the police and military are closely guarding the candidates and monitoring the activities of terrorists and for its symbolic value. Because if candidates can’t be safe as they criss-cross the country shaking voters’ hands and giving vibrant speeches, who is?

In Zamboanga, all I can see is ROJO. No Amarillo, so far, doing the rounds with their leaders. As always, the LOBREGAT Empire strikes effusively and flatter excessively about its contract of unity, continuity and change.

So far, no untoward incident has happened. It never does, not in Zamboanga. But the mood has drastically changed as our leaders pushed our limits into denying what the Filipino-Muslims want — a separate state. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is angry, although its leaders try to appear composed. Had the Bangsamoro basic law been passed, they would by now have their own separate entity and their own democratic elections to choose their Chiefs. The leaders of the MILF, not their armed followers, have promised to remain calm until the next administration to get what they want. In the south, however, soldiers have been battling sparse forces of the Abu Sayyaf and probably the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) for months now, although casualties on either side have been minimal. The uptick in violence is a foreshadowing of things to come.

What happens to the election in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) bears watching. In the past, guns and gold, not ballots, were the candidates’ ticket to power. Perhaps, not anymore? The people in the ARMM have been there before. They know how violent elections in their province turn out to be. They also know, at least their leaders, that once their separate state is in place, the radical implementation and interpretation of Islam will be imposed. Violations of Shari’a will be harshly punished; movies and music will be banned, as in the case of the Taliban; women will be confined to their homes. Hopefully not.

The Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have conducted brutal attacks on civilians, especially in Central Mindanao where they are particularly strong. So far, they have not disrupted the political campaigns.

Whoever becomes president must WANT peace so bad that he/she must be willing - not only in words - to wipe out all forms of terrorism, get all the firearms illegally in the hands of criminals and private armies, jail known drug dealers and peddlers, rehabilitate drug dependents and scuttle the terrorists. That’s the only way for Mindanao and the rest of the country to be free and peaceful. And this job, Digong, can’t be done in six months. IMPOSIBLE.

God has been trying to that the last 2,000 years.

Columnists are batting for different candidates, the pronounced one being Rodrigo Duterte. In spite the escalation of campaign propaganda, a palpable determination has been increasing in the run-up to the vote. Survey numbers keep changing by weeks. Duterte, Poe today, Roxas, Binay tomorrow. Many say that they’d pick a candidate based on their qualities and programs. The Mindanaoans say that they’ve always been neglected by Imperial Manila. For this reason, they might solidly go for Digong. “This is an opportunity to show Manila that we can be in a position of power,” said a Zamboangueno living in La Vegas.

The presidential candidates have been in full campaign mode, spending millions of pesos for political ads, counter-propaganda and on their PR drones and trolls and mouthpieces. They don’t come cheap, you know. They’ve been spurting around the country from rally to rally to shore up votes. As always, the   United States of America has been avoiding taking sides, publicly, to avoid a claim by the Reds that the election is a foreign-influenced farce. The vice presidential candidates will play a vital role in voters’ decisions. The front-runners are hard to decipher considering their similar promises — more security, better governance, less or no more corruption (which is impossible). And there’s always the probability of vote rigging that could lead to a bloody revolution. Duterte and Binay see that happening from north to south.

This presidential election is all about character and power. Many parts of the country have grown used to worse. Nothing good comes out of elections because we always elect the wrong people into office. Zamboanga is going for Roxas, at least the leaders are. What happens if the other fellow or lady wins? Nothing new to Zamboanga is standing alone — since the Marcos regime.