Lasting solution to rebllions in PH

Privileged Spits

Lasting solution

to rebellions in RP

By Toto Causing

When the Filipinos started to learn to fight back for the first time against the Spanish King’s ministers and guardia civils during the tme of Father Gomez, Father Burgos and Father Zamora, what triggered them?

For sure, the Filipinos did not complain when their skin was far darker than the Spaniards’ or their faces looked like monkeys while the Europeans looked far more handsome.

The Filipinos did not complain when they were governed by the men of King Philip for it was the natives’ nature to be hospitable even until they discovered that the visitors were already hostile.

The Filipinos did not complain when they were taxed by the colonial government.

The Filipinos did not complain whenever some of them were abused by wayward Spaniards.

But what made them harbor the rebellious feeling toward the powers that be during those times?

Our political leaders and think tanks should know pieces of our past to be guided what to do to make the trend progressing for our country instead of retrogressing as it has been.

What made the Filipinos explode against the señores and señoras is the same thing that led the Moro people to explode against the Philippine government and harbor hatred against the Christian Filipinos.

When the Spaniards were gone, the Filipino Christians wittingly or unwittingly took the place of Spanish oppressors.

Pardon this writer, fellow Christians. This author was baptized a Catholic and has not changed his religion. But he is sorry to be brutal about this inconvenient truth.

And this inconvenient truth is this: the racial discrimination by Christians against the Moro people spawned the latter to separate from the Philippines.

This racial divide gave birth to the impassioned fight for the Moro people to separate from the Philippines. The Filipino Muslims firmed up their resolve that it is better to establish their own country because their Filipino Christian brothers do not love them anyway—and discriminate them in any way.

Indeed, the Philippine government must get the blame for perpetuating, or not stopping or not undoing, policies that have turned out to be racial, knowingly or not. The Christian populace also shares the blame for exhibiting racial stereotypes, aware or not, triggered by the bias against the Muslim tribesmen.

The Muslim Filipinos led by Sultan Kudarat of the mainland Mindanao and Sultan Kiram of the archipelagic Sultanate of Sulu should have been given the highest military medals of honor, the medals of valor, for thwarting Spain’s dream of total conquest of the Philippines.

Instead of being given honors, discrimination blinded the Christian populace and the Christian leaders who have ruled the Philippines.

This discrimination has been emboldened by greed for money or power; discrimination unabated by being unwilling to sacrifice.

There was no knowing of the simple foundation of a contract: I give that you may give; I give that you may do; I do that you may give; or I do that you may do. Compliance with a contract prevents dispute among parties. By the law of greed it is different: You give or you do and I will not give or will not do. The rule of thumb is: never concede even an inch of a ground or an inch of a trust.

The Christian individuals may not be aware of the acts of discrimination they commit each day, pronounced or not, big or small. This is because their subliminal bias dictates them to commit unguarded acts or unrefined words.

What made this feeling of bias linger is the general feeling of Christian Filipinos that they are the better kind of Filipinos compared to the minority Muslims. For this, democracy has been given a bad meaning: that it is a tyranny of the majority to the prejudice of the minority Muslims.

This has been inside the mind of any Christian despite the lack of factual or scientific basis.

To the contrary, many Muslims graduating from Mindanao State University have topped the Bar or board examinations. In the 2008 Bar exams, the No. 2 is Atty. Mylene Amerol-Macumbal of Lanao—and a woman at that!

The piling up of discriminatory acts was bound to explode and was waiting only for an event that will light up the fuse. This came after the popular "Jabidah" massacre in Corregidor, Bataan.

On March 18, 1968, Moro men recruited to train for Army’s special force were massacred, batch by batch. It was reported that about 200 of them died.

The reason for the mass murders was the complaint about the food and other provisions—and their refusal to continue the training because they discovered that they were to be deployed to a mission in Sabah to grab it from Malaysia, which was at that time very young for it was founded only in 1963 as the Federated States of Malaise, including Singapore as one of the states. Its founding prime minister is Datu Tunko Abdurahmann.

This sparked massive protests from the Filipino Muslims that Professor Nur Misuari founded Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). This was the moment they were waiting for to start the official war to separate from the Republic.

This racial mind in the Christians was fortified further during the war by the fact of killings or massacres of Christian individuals and families in Mindanao, forgetting that they, too, are to be blamed because Christian vigilantes called "Ilagas," an Ilonggo literal translation of rats, also massacred several Muslim families and murdered Moro individuals. In fact, the most barbaric acts were committed by the Ilaga fighters if it were true that they even sliced off and ate the ears of their Muslim victims as "crowns."

During those times of the Misuari-led rebellion, the soldiers of Marcos were officially ordered to shoot Ilaga fighters as well as Moro fighters. But the real scenarios showed the military even giving arms and bullets to the Christian mujahideens. This in itself is a manifestation of discrimination on the part of official war representatives of the government.

This author believes that Marcos was honest in his order to treat equally Muslim rebels and civilians as Ilaga vigilantes and Christian civilians. But he did not do enough that these things occurred. He did not prosecute the Ilonggo murderers. Pardon again, this writer is an Ilonggo but he had to speak the inconvenient truth.

While it is not the official policy of the government to discriminate against Filipino Muslims, it simply does not do anything to influence individual Christians who exhibit racial stereotypes or cringe at the sight of a Maguindanaoan, a Maranao, a Tausug, a Yakan, a Samal, a Badjao, or a person coming from any tribe embracing Islam for religion.

Honestly, this writer once had that negative ideas or concepts about Muslims. As an elementary school kid in Koronadal, South Cotabato, his own definition of Muslims was "people who are barbarians."

This author begs understanding for this bad thought from his Muslim countrymen and former classmates at the Mindanao State University – Marawi Campus.

This bad idea sank into this author’s mind at that very young age because he experienced the difficulty of evacuating from one place to another in fear of attacks from what they then called as the "Black Shirts" and "Baracudas." This was at the height of the Nur Misuari-led rebellion during the early 1970s. All this writer knew then was the atrocities done by the "Black Shirts" and "Baracudas." He did not know the reason why there was war—and why the Muslims of Maguindanao fought against the soldiers and "Ilagas."

At that very young age, this author cringed at the sight of any Muslim. So you could just imagine how a Muslim would revolt deep inside his heart if he noticed this stereotype reaction.

Had the government included in the elementary school curriculum subjects about the good cultures of all other tribes, this author could have not been so ignorant about other Filipinos, or could have developed a good basic attitudinal reaction at the sight of other kinds of people. Or perhaps, that war could have never occurred. Or perhaps, the kris swords could have been plows to massively plant crops in the vast plains of Mindanao.

In fact, this author thought at that time that there were no such things as Batangueños, Pangalatoks or Bicolanos and all other tribes. This writer thought that the people in the world were only his self and his neighbors in their local community and a few others scattered out there. He never knew there were such peoples as Russians or Arabs. He only knew of people whose eyes looks like chink and they were the owners of trading stores.

That racial stereotype does not hurt physically. But that is no doubt a very powerful tool to hurt the feelings. This is true as a natural behavior for people who have been situated in a position of those being discriminated against. You physically punch a person and he can forgive you much more than showing to him the discrimination stereotypes.

This stereotype is no different and as painful for a new kid from the Visayas being told: "E Bisaya kasi e."

This author recalls how painful it was to be told of this while he was lining up at an SM counter, when the cashier obviously irritated by her companion giving her a long wait uttered in a normal voice: "E Bisaya kasi e." Just imagine how revolting to conscience it is to blame the whole Visayan race, Cebuanos, Ilonggos, Warays and Boholanos, for being slow in coming.

This provoked the author and he berated the woman in front of those who queued to pay. It pained the author so much to hear that the little inconvenience was being blamed to the whole race of Visayans, including this author who is an Ilonggo.

The author was new in Manila then and that was his first painful experience of a racial slur.

Now, compare it to a situation when a cashier irritated by another person saying, "E Muslim kasi e." Of course, a Muslim who is not even concerned in the cashier’s ranting would be hurt.

Now, what do you think Muslim Filipinos would do if they heard this kind of slur for centuries? Wouldn’t they revolt inside their heart, feeling this kind of rejection as second- or third-class citizens in their own homeland?

There is also this happening where a Muslim applicant for work is rejected in favor of a Christian. The Christian employers’ reason may be varied, but it began to the subliminal bias embedded for hundreds of years.

In Manila, a newcomer Visayan or a Maranao or a Tausug or a Maguindanao stand almost the same chance as each other’s when applying for a job. But if they are pitted with a Tagalog or a native Manilan, they lose out.

Most probably, these newcomers fail in interview portion. The English of Visayans is as rare as the Muslim tribesmen’s.

Unfortunately, the subliminal discrimination in the mind of an interviewer did not like the accent of the Visayans or that of Muslim folk’s as they were immediately adjudged by their tongue--and not by the substance of their lips.

This author cannot forget an incident when he applied for a job at an engineering designing firm in Makati nearly 20 years ago. He topped the series of design examinations only to fail in the last test: interview.

Due to that unforgettable tragedy, this author applied for a job as a sportswriter of the Journal group of newspapers and he was immediately taken in. With the content of his mind shown only by writing and not in speaking, this author easily rose to become a news editor of People’s Journal Tonight.

Luckier are the Visayans for they are also Christians that they would eventually be accepted to the mainstream easier than the Muslim Filipinos do. On the part of the tribesmen embracing Islam, the bias continues but would do so this time against the religion.

Now, how much more if racial acts occur in bigger scales that it is not only the feelings that are hurt but also the body, the property, the life, the dignity, the honor, the culture, the tradition, and the religion?

If a Muslim is murdered by a Christian, the prosecutorial arm of the government is hesitant. If it were otherwise, shoot-to-kill order is immediately issued.

Talking about the communist rebellion is not far from the painful experience of the Muslims in the Philippines. However, the context is in different setting: Rich versus poor.

In the provinces, you can see vast lands being held by the rich families and the poor tilling either as tenants or as sacadas or mere plantation workers. Because the earnings were not enough, these lowly Filipinos cannot break loose. They are tied to the everlasting debts to their landlords.

These landlords control the economy and the politics everywhere.

Whenever these small people would voice out or stage rallies they often get killed by the goons of the rich or politicians. The Escalante massacre in Negros Occidental is not too far to forget when rallying sacadas were sprayed with a machine gun at the town’s plaza.

In other cases, the people who own small lands are driven out by land grabbers. The poor are called "pests" when lining up the house of their lords to loan a ganta of rice and a few cans of sardines.

We have had the land reform program. This somehow alleviated the situation because it has been implemented substantially although most other farms remain in the hands of the elite who succeeded in resisting the "long" arm of the law. To think, the land reform law expired in July of 2009 with still so many areas still to be distributed.

The discrimination by the rich often comes this way: "Mga patay gutom kasi."

This is further shown in a subtle way, by giving dole outs during election campaigns.

The worst of discrimination by the rich and influential is pronounced whenever a scion drenched in illegal drugs killed a poor family’s son. Justice is not only delayed; it is denied.

Thus, so many went up the hills to join the reds without really giving meaning to the ideologue but more to the purpose of revenge against the rich family’s many forms of oppression.

Somehow, the sprouting of several state colleges and institutions helped because it gave chances for the poor sons and daughters to get education.

In Mindanao, MSU was born in 1961. Since then, it has achieved its mission of bringing high-quality education to build a bridge of understanding between the Muslims and Christians. It succeeded in bringing understanding to a substantial part of Christian communities to learn and respect people who do not worship like them; also promoting knowledge among Muslim tribes that Christian Filipinos are also good people.

If only the Philippine government came up with policies attacking discrimination, these rebellions could have not been born.

For instance, the Christian-dominated legislature could have come up with laws punishing as crimes the act of saying, "E Muslim kasi," or "E Bisaya kasi," or act of posting job announcements that require only graduates of elite schools to discriminate the poor whose best is to study in state schools. And these laws must be strictly be implemented to give a hard lesson all can learn.

Thus, you can just imagine that the discrimination against Moro brothers is not far compared to the discrimination endured for two centuries by the Blacks in America.

And to think, nowhere else on earth than America can it be the hardest to unify the people of one nation. This is because the colors of their skin are far different: Black and White.

But America succeeded. And it is not bad even if the Philippines would be accused once more of "colonial mentality" for copying from its experience.

For instance, America has made it a crime to post a job announcement: "Wanted, secretary, pleasing personality." This is clearly understood as racial attack because it is rare for one to seek the beauty of the Black. Any suggestion of degradation or desecration of the race is thumbed down.

But what are these laws when not implemented?

The Philippines has been notorious for making money out of prohibitive laws. Traffic enforcers used the no-seatbelt violation threat to bilk from motorists. Policemen use the harsher law on gambling to compel jueteng lords to give.

If the USA succeeded in its policies against race discrimination, it is because the laws are implemented.

And why their laws there are assured of implementation when ours in RP cannot be so done?

It is because of their justice system that does not look at the color of the skin and does not look at how much money or power an accused has.

The jury system was prided by Sir Thomas Jefferson as the anchor to which the nation can hold on together.

Jefferson is correct. No argument is needed to show why.

Despite the inherent improbability to join together Black and White people, the jury systems of America has slowly solidified camaraderie and unity that led to the Whites accepting Blacks and Blacks accepting Whites.

This jury system gave meaning to the call of Dr. Martin Luther King, saying: "Judge a negro not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character."

Thus, the excellence of the Black people emerged from the long centuries of dark shadows of greed and bias.

This led to the rise of Michael Jackson, undoubtedly the best American musician of all time.

America has seen the rise to fame of television personality Oprah Winfrey, a Black woman.

America has prided itself having Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Karem Abdul Jabbar, Magic Johnson, the Williams sisters and so many other popular Black stars in sports and entertainment.

More importantly, the level of acceptance went to a historic reach when America elected a Black President in Barack Hussein Obama despite the Black’s voting population of only 15%.

So that if our forefathers only installed jury systems long time ago, there could have been no rebellion, no corruption as big as NBN-ZTE scandal or the infamous Expo Pilipino white elephant in Clark Air Base.

The jury system of America is simple.

The decision of who wins a civil case or who is guilty or not is handed down by the so-called "Trial Jury," composed of ordinary people whose names are randomly selected from the community and who are kept in a secret place to be shielded against the influence of wealthy and powerful accused. In other countries, the members are picked by raffle from the voters’ list.

In the matter of deciding who should be brought to court for trial, America has "Grand Jury," also composed of randomly-picked individuals, usually from the voters’ list and their names and faces are kept secret to secure the safety of their persons and their families.

Thus, even former President Bill Clinton did not escape the might of the Grand Jury when it investigated him for the sex scandal done at the Oval office.

Then President Richard Nixon resigned before the Grand Jury could officially act on the scandal that broke out of the Watergate hotel. Lucky for Nixon, he was pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford.

The Grand Jury is so powerful to end the days of corrupt, abusive, oppressive and discriminate officials and wealthy people. It can start an investigation without any complainant. It can subpoena any witness who stand to be charged with obstruction of justice or jailed if he refuses to testify and will stay in jail until he agrees to testify.

This strong arm of the Grand Jury ensures that all laws are faithfully and strictly executed. It can indict ranking police officers who would accept bribes in exchange for freedom to illegal drug traders, illegal gambling operators or murderers. It can bring to court politicians found to have dipped hands into infrastructure projects and other forms of corruption. It strictly enforces laws against discrimination.

If there are grand juries in all the provinces and cities, and there are laws against all forms of discrimination, there is no fear that rebellion will die a natural death.

Filipinos, stand up to demand the establishment of Grand Juries in every province or city and Trial Jury in courts.

This author launched on October 18, 2009 the campaign for the people’s signature to make Jury Systems as a Constitutional law.

Support the Jury Movement! Sign up at and invite all your friends and relatives to support it.

After a year, the movement’s volunteers will knock on your doors to ask for your signature to sign a petition to make Grand Jury and Trial Jury systems a constitutional law.

This is the most beautiful justice system in the world!

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Next week, the author will tackle more on the jury system.

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