Try living in the dark for months at a time on a small amount of rice and chayote gourd staring at four walls and fragments of newspaper classifieds searching for work. You might join an Islamic gang if it offered to feed you and provide a purpose to life. Hunger is hell.
Life in at least eight provinces, most of Mindanao, is like that for many people. This poverty breeds malcontent and is a driver for recruitment by gangs of Islamic fanatic criminals. Recruitment has skyrocketed since Martial Law was implemented.
Some of the best vegetables on earth are grown in the uplands areas of Mindanao Island but lack of sophisticated packaging and shipping limits the ability of farmers and distributors to compete beyond the local market. Poverty sucks.
Rodrigo Duterte is deliberately fanning the flames of homegrown Islamist Extremism to distract from the Mass Murders he has already committed. Duterte has given the Martial LAw troops ‘Carte Blanche’ for human rights abuses. Duterte is a ‘GIFT’ to Islamic State and other affiliate recruiters. He has already told Martial Law troops to rape Muslim women; declared he intends to ignore Congress, and disobey the Supreme Court. He is behaving exactly like the Islamic State does in areas it occupies.
In order to compete, the local Mindanao farmers would need a cooperative infrastructure of pre-cooling centres and refrigerated transportation.
This is another infrastructure project needed for Mindanao without interference from corrupt corporate and government elements that would betray the process.
Broccoli, lettuce, carrot, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, mushroom and potato crops flourish in Mindanao but decades of violence in the region have left farmers disheveled and poor.
Produce is crammed tightly into too few vehicles and shipped to market without the benefit of a cold chain of handling from the farmer’s field to the family or restaurant kitchen. The vegetables perish in some measure or completely.
Rice, corn, peanut, beans, leafy vegetables crops also flourish in parts of Mindanao but again the problem of getting product to market makes the Mindanao farmers less competitive and the transit losses in poor storage, packing and shipping conditions cut deeper to make farming in most cases a subsistence operation.
Gold, copper, silver and chromite are mined in several regions of Mindanao but again national corruption and shipping is an issue.
The solution is central government investment in Mindanao instead of the money going to waste in corruption, plunder, graft and theft. Sadly the Philippines central government is both incompetent and kleptocratic.
Contrastingly the NGOs and many regional humanitarian workers are doing an extraordinary job of work evaluating issues and coming up with solid solutions with massive infusions of cash from donors like The European Union development funds.
This PH218 billion Mindanao proposed rail transportation system is an example.
The iconic 830-kilometer Mindanao Railway System will start building in 2018. This railway network will connect major cities, seaports and economic zones; is long overdue; and is crucial for economic development of the region.
Law and Order Enforcement is Epic Incompetence
The Military Component
On May 23 the President of the Philippines invoked Martial Law in the southern one third of the Philippines known as Mindanao.
Duterte has since told the troops they will be exonerated for rape of women in Mindanao.
Duterte also said that he intends to ignore the Congress and ignore the Supreme Court should these institutions have contrary ideas.
Martial Law is Like Putting The Wolf Into The Hen House
In the Philippines, graft and corruption are a normal way of life. It seems that the ambitions of young Filipinos are driven by the examples in Manila. The imperative is to gain status over your neighbours, then exploit them. The value of human life is relatively insignificant. The criminality of plunder, graft and theft is ignored because the entire justice system is plagued with corruption. It doesn’t function.
One of the worst institutions for such criminality is the military in the Philippines.
When a soldier attends military college and signs up for a tour of duty he or she(rare) likely believes in ideals that would make your heart melt.
The average soldier is a good guy from the start but in a totally corrupt military in a totally corrupt country, that soldier is on his way out or up into the quagmire.
The Philippines Military is a big problem in Mindanao.
Not just because Duterte last Friday told Martial Law troops to rape Muslim women but as an organization, for decades, the AFP is fascist, corrupt, inhumane, incompetent, poorly trained, and a danger to the civilians of the Philippines. Duterte with his Carte Blanche to Martial Law troops has trivialized the concerns of minority groups in the region and removed their human rights.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is known for rape, plunder, murder and insane scams and schemes for filling the pockets of ranking officers. In the higher ranks, the troops traditionally have a high illiteracy rate and overall poorer education than the people they rule over. In the case of Mindanao, the people are among the poorest in the world and have bred many notorious thugs, like Duterte himself who comes from the region. This confrontation will breed endless violence and maybe civil war.
Be suspect of any military that routinely is called upon to shoot and kills its own countrymen. The scourge of raping, torture, killing bribes and plunder of years gone by is the reputation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
For example, in Mindanao, operators tell us that when kidnappings take place, done by Maute and Aby Sayyaf criminals, the military is involved in making deals for ransoms. The government in Manila pays the money out in a sharing between some politicians, military officers and the Maute/Abu Sayyaf which then releases the hostage making the military and politicians seem like heroes. The family doesn’t care how it got done, they just wanted their loved one home. This revelation begs the question: “does the AFP assist in the identification and ‘taking’ of the kidnapping victims”? We are told “yes” but rarely.
Corrupt United States’ Practices to sell Arms?
Allegedly the United States has played a significant role in training Philippines troops which has been an exercise more about selling arms than actual training and discipline.
The United States has also been involved training the Iraqi military in Mosul Iraq, a pay list of over 30,000 troops. They ran like thousands of chickens when ten truckloads of Islamic State (‘lions’–more like filthy jobless dregs of the world’s jails and prisons) fighters entered the city June 6-10 in 2014.
We were there and watched these troops abandon their tanks and armaments to ISIS and flee, clutching money and documents purloined in their plundering activities in that city.
American trained soldiers armed to the teeth with the most modern military vehicles and weapons: thousands of APC,s Humvees, Tanks, towed/tracked/wheeled artillery pieces, rocket launchers, and more, all left behind to arm the Islamic State in Mosul.
The USA has 5 military bases that are expanding in the Philippines at a cost of around 1.2 billion.
American special forces troops are in Mindanao operating remote surveillance systems. We asked one such person what he thought about he AFP in the region and he laughed.
Local Law Marawi Enforcement Is Not Equipped to Provide Inmate Housing for Military Prisoners
Last year on August 22nd, an AFP checkpoint stumbled upon eight Maute gang members who had a couple of pistols and some ingredients for improvised explosive devices. They were thrown into the Marawi jail where they awaited the investigations and assignment of their cases.
Before a week went by, on August 27, Maute women approached the guards and bribed them with food and money. They said they wanted to supply food for the 8 Maute inmates, causing a significant distraction as the underpaid and hungry jailers in this terribly impoverished city shared in the feast. You cannot blame the local law enforcement people. A meal is a lifesaver to the starving.
A small force of armed Maute moved in and freed their 8 comrades plus 16 randomly jailed criminals some of whom were held for very serious offences. They are all still at large. The guards and local police quickly handed over the prisoners and put up no resistance.
The incompetence level was evidenced all the way up the line by the various statements of how many felons were released from the jail. Some say 23, some say 24, some say 30. “Authorities” have no accurate knowledge of who and how many were in that jail except to say that some were held on very serious offences.
Is Maute ISIS
According to our sources in Iraq, people connected to the Islamic state who should know one way or the other say only one group in the Philippines, the Abu Sayaff, are acknowledged by the “State” but they appreciate any vote of confidence and support they can get. That would be Maute which has said it wants to adopt a likeness to ISIS.
In order to be Islamic State-supported a group must be Muslim. The brand of Islam must favour the extremist Shariah variant of adherence chosen by the Cabinet of the Islamic State.
Maute is a fraud. It is no more than a gang of kids led by jobless adult losers who are malcontents looking for a livelihood from crime. We are told that in one case when ISIS was thought to have ignored the pleadings of the group for support, a Maute member urinated on an ISIS flag in front of most of his crew. These people are as much Islamists as the Pope is Islamist. Not at all.
The Abu Sayyaf is a group of believers who are willing to live a life devoted to Shariah rule and live with their families completely Halal. They are an extension of the Islamic State in the Philippines. The Maute group are nobodies.
Abu Sayyaf is notable for its creation being attributed to the United States in the 1980s. The first group of Abu Sayyaf was trained in Pakistan by The Unted States.
The current incarnation of Abu Sayyaf pitched ISIS for years but the small breakaway Maute group which splintered away from the peaceful Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is unknown to the Islamic State Cabinet.
Philippines soldiers have been antagonizing the small local Abu Sayyaf and Maute Islamic extremist groups for months. At the urging of the United States, something that in 2015 left Filipinos massacred in the Mamasapano Clash*, Philippines soldiers loyal to Duterte attempted to arrest a person wanted by the USA, one of Abu Sayyaf’s leaders, Isnilon Hapilon, plus some leaders of the Maute Group. This effort exploded and the Maute group gave the military an embarrassing trouncing.
*Mamasapano clash was an incident that occurred during a police operation, codenamed Oplan Exodus, which took place on Sunday, January 25, 2015, at Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao, by Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) (allegedly joined by United States Army Special Forces) against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The operation was intended to capture or kill wanted Malaysian terrorist and bomb-maker Zulkifli Abdhir and other Malaysian terrorists or high-ranking members of the BIFF. Forty-Four or more Filipinos were slaughtered.
The uprising in Midanao Is a National Law Enforcement Issue But The Corruption in Manila has ended the Effectiveness of the National Police Force
The RINJ Foundation adduces that feeble attacks by the Philippines Army against Islamists in the south of the Philippines for the past six months and declaring Martial Law has exponentially driven up recruitment for the 150-member aggregate of Abu Sayyaf/Maute to several hundred fighters, still not enough to warrant declaring Martial Law.
The Islamic State Caliphate will now pay attention to the Philippines thanks to Duterte’s sensationalism.
Dae’esh will exploit and welcome the diversion Duterte has offered as a distraction to the pummeling ISIS is taking in Syria and Iraq. It will use the ill-advised diversion to help it regroup.
Not only is Martial Law an inappropriate response that bolsters ISIS, it is also illegal.
There has been no invasion nor rebellion against the government of the Philippines, in this affair. Thousands of troops attacked an armed group of a few dozen members in Mindanao that claims legitimacy on the basis of acting to protect Muslims in the region. Their response was to kidnap Christians and seek their free passage in exchange of prisoner release. In other words, the attackers are the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the defenders are a gang of thugs, that should have been arrested long ago ago, who claim legitimacy and the right to defend themselves. They should be in prison by now. Why is this whole charade being extended? Not for good not legitimate purpose.