Tag Archives: Philippines

Mail Order Bride Dead Letter

Over five million are dead in the Congo, 300,000 dead in Darfur, 1,300 died in Gaza, 7,000 just died in Sri Lanka, 60,000 have died in Uganda, but if you really want to arouse fury in the world, crack a joke about mail order brides. Alec Baldwin is in deep trouble for making a flippant remark on the David Letterman show that he was thinking of “getting a Filipina mail-order bride.” The Philippine government expressed deep concern “over the derogatory remark.” I’m glad they are finally angry at something. Funny, but when George Bush cracked those jokes about WMD in Iraq, the Philippine government didn’t see anything funny.

We inhabit a selective anger world in which some remarks are “offensive” while others never arouse a raised eye brow. As Baldwin said, “this was a joke,” nothing more, nothing less. We sometimes think humor is among the victims of the politically correct war which arouses concern among so many liberals. Now that George Carlin and Lenny Bruce are dead, who is left to insult on an equal opportunity basis the correct forms of thinking?

Forgotten War In Philippines

In the mind of George Bush he invented the war against fundamentalist Muslims, but the reality is such wars have been going on for years before he ever became president. The southern province of the Philippines is heavily Muslim and for decades the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MLF) has been fighting the government in an effort to create a separate Muslim state in the southern region of the nation. The Filipino government finally reached an agreement to carve out such a state but the Supreme Court suspended the agreement. The result was war and conflict which caused over a half million people to flee for their lives.

It has now been found that many of the refugees were placed in evacuation centers that lacked basic necessities and adequate facilities causing the death of about 123 people. The lack of water has been terrible and it has led to cases of diarrheoa which caused many children to die. As always in these cases, ignoring prejudice and bigotry causes people to take up arms and then it is very difficult controlling the war that was spawned.

Drug Testing Of Students

Future generations may well look back on the past hundred years in which drugs were a major center of conflict on planet Earth. Humans see no harm in using drugs sold in pharmacies which make them feel better, but if a human uses a drug not sold in a pharmacy that makes them feel better, it becomes a crime. The Philippine government is conducting random drug tests of children in school. The most interesting aspect of this drug program is asking teachers and administrators to select which students are to be tested. Imagine a teacher pointing out student “X” as the one to be tested and discovering that individual tested for drugs? Imagine if other students discovered their teacher was pointing out potential criminals to the police?

One is also left wondering what would happen if several thousand students tested positive for drugs. Would schools then organize programs dealing with drug abuse? Would the students be placed in the criminal court system and subject to drug rehabilitation programs? It is all well and good to test people, but does anyone have a program in mind to assist the students who test positive?

Ripple Impact Of Financial Crisis On Migrant Workers

The financial crisis which is impacting banks and economies in most industralized nations is having an even more profound impact on nations which export workers to the rest of the world. At any given time, an estimated ten percent of the population of the Philippines is hard at work in another country. Last year the Filipino workers sent home about $14 billion which represent about ten percent of the gross domestic product of the Philippines. Overseas employment has been an escape valve for the nation which needs to export workers or face the prospect of an enormous unemployment factor in the country.

A world wide recession could impact, not just Filipino workers, but those from societies such as Bangladesh or India which also export workers. More than two million Filipinos work in the United States and are sending home billions. If a recession requires cut backs in work and that impacts migrant workers, the results will be economic, social, and political disaster for many countries. For example, hospitals in many nations employ of Filipino doctors and nurses. How could they function without these workers?

Government Forces In Philippines Attack Islamic Militants

It is now thirty years since Islamic groups in the southern Philippines launched a rebellion against the government. During these past thee decades there have been truces, promises and one agreement after another that was broken by either side. A cease fire once again has broken down and government forces are fighting elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front(MILF). At least 55 government or rebel troops died in the latest fighting. Eid Kabalu, a rebel leader, claims “Government soldiers are torching houses owned by Muslims” while government spokesmen insist the Muslims violated the truce by entering a Christian village and killing people. The Philippine army says it killed more than 100 Muslim fighters over the past week of fighting.

Fighting apparently broke out when Muslim soldiers violated the agreement and attacked dozens of Christian villages. The Muslims want their own nation which, most probably, will not be granted by any Philippine government. Undoubtedly, some sort of local autonomy is the best road to peace. A basic issue is which areas actually fall into the category of being “Muslim” or “Christian.”

Philippine Troops Battle Islamic Militants

The Philippines have been the scene of a thirty year war initiated by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which seeks autonomy in the southern portion of the nation where Muslims constitute a high percentage of the population. The Philippine government recently negotiated a cease fire which would provide greater local autonomy to the Muslim insurgents, but violence emerged when Muslim fighters took possession of land owned by Christian farmers. A Filipino military officer said: “The government had given about 800 Muslim guerrillas until Friday to vacate several villages they had occupied” in violation of the truce agreement. Both sides now claim the other is initiating violence and has broken the truce.

The episode is merely another reminder of how 21st century religious violence continues to escalate in violence. Centuries ago, most Christian sects finally agreed they had to end killing one another. Hopefully, this spirit may capture the mood of 21st century religious leaders who engage in violence in the name of god.

Protests Greet US Soldiers In Philippines

Demonstrators calling for U.S. troops to withdraw from the Philippines protested th start of joint militay operations in which thousands of Ameican troops work with Filipino soldiers in the southern region of the country in order to deal with Muslim insurgent groups. The two week drills — shoulder to shoulder” bring together 6,000 American and 2,000 Filipino troops who are battling militants from the Abu Sayyaf and its allies. Rallies against the Americans were held all over the Philippines but they constituted only a few hundred people engaged in protests. It is against Philippine law for troops from foreign nations to participate in military action on their soil. The American troops are restricted to humanitarian efforts such as medical activities or working on construction of schools. Some villagers claim they witnessed Americans engaged in military action, but this is strongly denied by both US and Filipino sources.

America most probably employs a “soft approach” in the Philippines in dealing with militants but there mere presence is used to stir up anger. One can only wonder why the United States does not have civilians engage in these peaceful acitivities and remove the entire issue of military engagement.

Philippine Coup Fails-Corruption Continues!

Philippine troops and SWAT teams stormed a five-star hotel that dissident military officers had commandeered after walking out of a coup trial. The military officers have insisted their aim is to end the blatant corruption of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s government. They want her to resign in order to create a government that is both legitimate and honest. Their coup was supported by several political leaders including former Vice President Teofisto Guingona. Arroyo in a defiant response said the coup members would be held “accountable” and there would be swift justice. The coup members had literally walked out of their trial accompanied by dozens of military sympathizers including General Danio Lim and went to the hotel. They claim Arroyo stole an election and has been manipulating the political process since taking office.

Unfortunately, the Philippines has been the scene of continual fights over the honesty of its government. This has led members of the military to become involved in political affairs. The nation confronts a Muslim led insurgency in southern regions which has gone on for years. In the midst of this problem is the ongoing belief that President Arroyo is doling out money to politicians and has allowed corruption to become a hallmark of her administration.

Study Claims Filipinos 2nd Happiest Asian Population

A report issued on Wednesday asserts the people of the Philippines are the 2nd happiest group in Asia while people from India ranked number one. the study tries to measure how satisfied people are at present and how optimistic they are about the future. The Philippines domestic product grew by 7.3% and inflation was about 2%. Of course, only middle class people were polled which means 30% of the population is speaking for the remaining 65%. For some reason, people in this poll were optimistic about health care although Filipinos have among the lowest levels of self purchased medical insurance. Those polled are looking forward to a healthy retirement even though their nation does not provide good retirement pay. Is there something wrong with this picture?

This type of poll may well make the headlines, but it means little to the majority of Filipinos who live in a society that does little for those at the bottom and is wracked with constant corruption at the political level. If one measured political effectiveness and honesty, it is doubtful the Philippines would rank anywhere near the top. Of course, the poll completely ignored the rebellion currently being waged in the southern part of the nation by Muslim dissidents.