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Jun 02nd
Home Columns Reinventing the Philippines Now that the Land Is Calamity-stricken, Many OFWs May Not Oppose a Military Coup
Now that the Land Is Calamity-stricken, Many OFWs May Not Oppose a Military Coup PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Reinventing the Philippines
Written by Bobby M. Reyes   
Thursday, 15 October 2009 12:58

Part Seven of a Series on “Reinventing the Philippine Military”


Like a soap opera that has no ending, coup rumors are again spreading in the Philippines. As stated in Part 5 of this series, ‘According to sources in the Philippine military, it is only a question of “when” (not “what” or “why” or “how”) a coup would finally succeed.’ – Lead paragraph of Part Six of this series.


To make myself clear, never have I encouraged – and will never promote – a military coup in the Philippines in my entire life. In the first place, I am merely a reserve buck private in the Philippine Army, having taken up just the basic ROTC course in college. While I am one of the proponents of establishing a “Southern Naval Academy” in my home Province of Sorsogon, the project is more of a maritime academy that is intended to train Filipinos who want to join the merchant-marine corps, aside of course from training naval officers and gentlemen.


But once again, one of my contacts in the Philippine military posed a hypothetical question, “Will Overseas Filipinos, especially Overseas-Filipino workers (OFWs) and Filipino Americans, oppose a military coup and a brief but orderly rule of a military junta – while the homeland is being prepared for clean-and-honest national-and-local civilian elections?”


I replied of course again with a hypothetical answer: “From the looks of it, Overseas Filipinos, especially OFWs and Filipino Americans, are really fed up with the corrupt civilian bureaucracy. Especially now when the homeland is suffering from natural calamities, they abhor the continued corruption and the misuse of scarce government resources to line up the pockets of some civilian leaders and their favorite generals – instead of using them wisely as disaster-relief funds. If a short-term well-meaning military junta – as run by junior officers – comes to power, very few of the Overseas Filipinos will oppose it provided in a year or two, the soldiers return to the barracks and turn over the authority to civilians, who will be elected in clean elections.”


This writer wrote also in Part Six of this series, “The Young Turks, the rank-and-file and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) – of both the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) – are all unhappy with the leadership and track record of President Gloria M. Arroyo and her equally-corrupt generals. Philippine Marines are killed in Mindanao by Islamic militants and some of them were even beheaded. There communist rebels inflict also numerous casualties on Filipino soldiers and police in the Visayan islands and in Luzon. But reports say that the soldiers’ and policemen’s widows and/or surviving kin are not given much death benefits or even a pension. Their military-issued boots wear out in less-than a month, as the bulk of their acquisition cost is actually pocketed by officers.”


The professional soldiers and the police know that instead of using scarce government resources for building flood-control infrastructures in Metro Manila, many Filipino legislators use the nearly 30-billion pesos per year of congressional pork in lining up their pockets. President Arroyo, instead of using her Calamity Fund to prepare for disasters, spend more-than 800-million pesos to add to her duly-appropriated travel budget.


In short, the Philippine military and police are fed-up with the civilian corruption that has become standard-operating procedure in the homeland, as abetted by the Filipino generals. And Overseas Filipinos, especially OFWs, now resent being made “suckers” by Filipino politicians, as explained in this article,

Many Overseas-Filipino Disaster Donors Must Stop Being Suckers

Some Filipino-American political observers even believe that a military junta that is run by nationalistic and honest junior officers can run the country more-efficiently. For instance, the 30-billion pesos or more in congressional pork barrel can be used for socioeconomic development, as the Philippine Congress may be disbanded.


As I have said earlier in this series of articles, a coup d’etat is usually launched by junior officers. The generals, especially the corrupt ones, are either jailed or executed by firing squad, along with the crooked civilian leaders – if the coup becomes bloody.


Since I am not a scion of Michel de Nostredame (1503–1566), as usually Latinized to Nostradamus, I cannot foretell the future. But then according to that Hollywood-movie theme song, “Que sera, sera.” Yes, what will be, will be.


To read the other parts of this series, please click on the following links:


Reinventing the Philippine Military to Prevent the Coming of a Junta


Reinventing the Philippine Military (Part Two)


The Military Background of Philippine Presidents (Part 3)


A Call to Arms? (Part4 of Reinventing the RP Military)


Anatomy of a Filipino Coup (Part 5 of "Reinventing the Military" Series)


An Old Story: New Coup Planned to Oust President Arroyo (Part VI)


Happy reading.


(To be continued . . .)

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 October 2009 13:06
Comments (1)
1 Saturday, 17 October 2009 06:09

A military junta, in my feeling, is probably just like outright dictatorship ala Marcos. With the general Filipino mindset of "kami naman" the probability of military people - young or old - succumbing to "kami naman" mentality might be high.

PGMA's father was highly touted as an honest politician. For the benefit of a doubt let's say he was. Well, the reality now is that his daughter is currently negatively perceived. Her husband and their politician sons are viewed similarly. What went wrong that ran against the image of her father?

Then, of course, there are other episodes in history to support doubts of change. Why did a defense secretary and an armed forces chief defect from their dictator boss? Did they sense the coming doom of the dictatorship in which they were willing participants for so many years? Was it their opportunity for "kami naman?" The defectors continued to be visible leaders. One became a senator and the other became president. Then what happened? Nothing. Status quo remained.

When a widow became popular and became president chiefly because her politician husband was assassinated there was euphoria around the world. She even made the cover of Time Magazine. Then what happened? Again, domestically, nothing.

Why did the country elect a college drop out actor to the presidency? Was it the hope for "kami naman" possibilities? But behold! Business as usual!

When a young military officer rebelled it was ostensibly for better government. Well, he survived punishment. He even became a senator. Still the status quo continued.

What can we really do? Who knows? No one, it appears. Otherwise this country is not in the bad shape it is in.

Maybe, to release their frustrations chiefly to maintain their sanity, permanent expatriates, OFW's and domestic affluent do-gooders might just quietly help their relatives DIRECTLY, especially in times of disasters to by-pass the pockets of crooked politicians. Hopefully, with the quiet influence of well intentioned community leaders people will devote less of their energies from frustratingly useless diatribes against deaf people in government.

Maybe do-gooders might unobtrusively re-educate their grass roots countrymen by example with a production minded mindset and be as apolitical as possible. Maybe do-gooders can use their energies in showing people how to reduce the number of babies they produce annually. Etcetera, etcetera...

Suppose, for instance, all - I mean ALL - jeepney drivers refuse to bribe cops? There can be initial dislocations like a sudden exponential jump into the number of traffic "violation" tickets. But that, hopefully, may be temporary when crookedness of crooked cops will become not just resignedly taken for granted quietly but become publicly embarrassing for conniving traffic judges.

I love this topic of jeepney drivers and crooked cops because my father, after retiring as a bus driver in a government-owned bus company, took to jeepney driving as a "second career." :)

Every little improvement, social and economic, in the grass roots level, might add up towards general improvement and less dependency on crooks in government. With an enlightened population from which to choose leaders maybe leaders may emerge not just because they are actors, TV personalities, basketball players, boxers, or the widow of a martyred politician, but because in addition they have more valid credentials for leadership.

Fred Natividad
Livonia, Michigan

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