(NorDis Editorial) The officers and Cruella De Vil

On the national front pages this passed week was a high ranking military officer stopped from departing at a Russian international airport in possession of P6.9 million in cold cash. Did that money come from the Philippines?

An ordinary Filipino is not allowed to bring more than P3,000 out of the country. Even if the inspector for humanitarian reasons would allow P4,000, but not P6.9 million, in the present Philippine economic situation. That is gross, obscene and inhuman, especially that one is a government official – unexplained wealth, or on a world tour? Is it not everyone equal in the face of the law?

Also on the national papers, the government has urged companies in critical mining areas to put up “civilian auxiliary groups” to further strengthen security forces and “take legitimate steps to protect their claims.

Equally in the application and implementation of the law, are indigenous peoples communities in their own traditional form of a company also equally entitled to put up their own “civilian auxiliary groups” and “take legitimate steps to protect their ancestral domain claims?”

“On top of such initiative, the Armed Forces of the Philippines is likewise studying the creation of an investment defense force (IDF) to address security concerns on a wider scope, where mining activities are conducted,” said defense Secretary Gilbert C. Teodoro, Jr. Among the initial areas identified for IDF is Cordillera, especially the Abra area.

In the prospective mine areas in the Cordillera, communities feel and talk of the growing presence and violence of government military forces. In Abra, some two weeks ago, it is the second time this year the military bombed Tubtuba and Beew. People from the area have not complained or told of harrassment or gross infringement on rights to their farms, forest, their village, private properties and their lives perpetuated by anyone or even by what the government call ‘rebel forces.’

Complaints and community outrage was only expressed when mining and logging companies and government military troops came to their home. During martial law and then again now their villages are bombed, restricted and occupied by military troops.

Most people ordinarily know and respect the uniform – police or armed forces – as created to protect them and to maintain the peace. With that news in the national papers are widespread experience of real people like the Burgos, Cadapan, Empeño, the Manalo brothers and Balao families and people of Tubo, Abra.

Piling up are documentations on officers getting away with peoples’ taxes, murder, rape, enforced disappearance, bombing, torture, land grabbing, even extra-judicial killings.

The uniform can very well be the face of Cruela deVil or the Demon himself. Beautiful or handsome with pit dark intentions.#


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