U.S. “Jekyll and Hyde Op”
By Erick San Juan
I almost stopped writing about the truth about the U.S. Foreign Policy in the Philippines especially, when the good Ambassador of the U.S. to the Philippines, Kristie Kenney, had shown sincerity in dealing with the Filipinos, but I was wrong! The Jekyll and Hyde Operation of the “power” behind the scene in the U.S. government was unmasked by its own policy.
At the Philippine Daily Inquirer dated May 4, 2009, it reported that the U.S. says its anti-terrorism strategy in the Philippines is working. Cynthia Balana of PDI said that the U.S. counter-terrorism strategy being implemented currently in the Philippines is expected to marginalize the remnants of terrorists groups in Sulu and Central Mindanao. The statements came from the 2008 U.S. State Department,s Report on Terrorism, an annual report which was released last April 30, 2009. It said that “the U.S. dual strategy of politically supporting the peace process between the Philippine government and MILF while providing developmental assistance in areas of risk for terrorist recruitment “continued to marginalize the few remaining Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists in Southern Philippines. This annual report was even posted at the U.S. Department of State website. It added that the U.S. intelligence supported the AFP operations against terrorist elements, while the U.S. Department of Justice trained approximately 5,000 police & other security personnels in anti-terrorism. It even implemented coast watch south program to allegedly improve oversight of “terrorist transit triangle” region that bordered Philippines, Malaysia & Indonesia.
In another newspaper, a different angle was featured, a Philippines that was listed as the lone terrorist front in East Asia and the Pacific Region. In another popular newspaper, the AFP reacted vehemently to the U.S. Department of State assessment that Mindanao is a terrorist haven. The editorial of Malaya (May5,2009) said that “the government weak control of some areas in Mindanao could be true. Hence, it is not the result of a lack of political will by the central government to impose its authority over the place”.
Most of the newspapers correctly analyzed that Southern Mindanao especially Sulu, Basilan and Central Mindanao are fertile grounds for banditry & terrorism. Although some parts of the report are correct. But, it seems it’s not insurgency anymore. It’s plain economics of banditry and the lucrative business of the underworld operation using drug users, tough guys and local government officials who are known “mafia bosses” in these areas.
Methinks, that the government gave its full support for the Balikatan Military Exercises in exchange for neutralizing insurgents and banditry. The problem compounded when foreign governments agenda were integrated into the picture to continue their perpetual war using “state sponsored terrorists” as guinea pigs, to perpetuate their scheme.
What went wrong? Instead of peace, there could be more chaos in Southern Mindanao. I hope that our military officials will not be cowed like Manchurian candidates in following “orders” coming from these power blocs. Or is it the usual colonial mentality of the Filipinos?
We deserve to get the right treatment from the U.S. government. Some of its officials pretend to be goody-goody and generous but provide us with meager “lollipops” like their sophisticated weaponry which our soldiers were trained to use but not to own. We are given military equipments that their military establishment have rejected to use due to defects. We have planes that are known to be widow makers. Some of the military hardwares are given free or at a cheaper price, while the spare parts are more expensive than the unit itself. The worst, most of them are reconditioned or classified as seconds.
When are we going to learn?