By Danilo P. Padua, PhD

“ I, myself, praise him for his decisiveness on a lot of his administrative decisions. And also for his accomplishments, notably on infrastructure development, peace and order, and even in agriculture. But this present caper is astoundingly out of synch.”

The ball for disunity in the country continue to roll. No thanks to FPRRD.
While the personal attack of former Pres. Duterte on PBBM seem to mercifully subside, his call for the secession of Mindanao from the Republic of the Philippines continues unabated. The call is sowing discord among politicians, bloggers, the population-at-large and maybe among previous and current government officials.
No matter how he describes his intention, it falls short of decency; he, being a previous president of the country that he oftentimes and boldly declared that he loves. That love was not real after all, and it was just a joke?
If his call for the seceding of Mindanao from the country is a joke, it is one of the worst jokes that he ever cracked on a population eagerly awaiting succor from authorities to help them hold their head above water. The government functionaries somehow have to divert some of their energies from helping the citizens pummeled here and there by natural and man-made calamities, to do damage control brought about by an uncouth crusade of a former president still adored by a lot of Filipinos.
I, myself, praise him for his decisiveness on a lot of his administrative decisions. And also for his accomplishments, notably on infrastructure development, peace and order, and even in agriculture. But this present caper is astoundingly out of synch.
The former president is uncharacteristically saying that the Mindanao secession issue is to be done legally! I bet if somebody was bold enough to espouse that issue during his term, he would have immediately clamped down on that person, probably even bringing the poor guy to prison. This is therefore a case of self-preservation, or politics as others say. In the process, it is holding back development in some sectors, particularly national security and economic development.
Oh, what a melodrama that is foisted on us. Who gains from watching this unfolding free-to-air story which is a concept of FPRRD?
I thought former president Duterte is a student of history. Well, we forget some things sometimes.
He was talking of Mindanao independence being done legally as, according to him, done by Timor Leste. It is the same country where a former congressman from Negros, accused of being the mastermind of the killing of a sitting governor last year, is supposed to be hiding. Let us see.
Timor Leste or East Timor is the newest nation in South East Asia having gained their independence in 2002. Before that country became free, it has a revolutionary front working for its independence. It was not engaged in legal matters alone. By the name itself, it was committed to attain its goal of independence by any means.
FRETILIN, that’s the name of the group. It was called Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor. In Portuguese: Frente Revolucionania de East Timor Independente. The acronym was taken from this name. It started as a resistance movement, and began its agitation for independence in 1974 when it was founded, first from Portugal in 1974 and later Indonesia until 1999. The group fought Portuguese and Indonesian forces one after the other, until they got their independence in 2002.
So if Timor Leste is Duterte’s model, let us be wary of tumultuous consequences.
One of Duterte’s supporters, Pantaleon Alvarez-a congressman from Davao and a former Speaker of the Lower House, also made use of Singapore as a model, saying that it became a state legally. That is, without resorting to any military fighting or economic dislocation. Makes me laugh.
In the case of the said city-state, the residents were asked in a plebiscite, if they would like to join the nation of Malaysia which was about to be formed and become independent from the United Kingdom. Their answer was a resounding no. It was not a case of secession. There was no point therefore of comparison. The present Mindanao case is about secession, not joining, which is absolutely unconstitutional.
Clearly, FPRRD being a shrewd politician, is not actually serious on his call for the slicing of Mindanao off the Philippine pie. He and his supporters are using examples that they know do not apply to local conditions. By that, they are unfortunately insinuating that Filipinos are not an intelligent lot.
Duterte has other objectives in mind. Otherwise, he would have prepared the supposed eventuality when he was still a well-loved president. But in fomenting untenable ideas, he is sowing disunity in the country and putting the current national leaders in a not so savory light. For what?
We are all aching to see the Philippines and the Filipinos better respected worldwide. Is it difficult for any of us, especially if we were former or are current officials, to be more circumspect in our utterances in live or TV audiences?
If, in the arena of world opinion, the current Philippine leaders, and even other Filipinos abroad, are gleaned in a sleazy manner, credit FPRRD for that.**


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