Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s (“Pres. Rody”) exhortation to the officers and men of the Philippine National Police (“PNP”) during his speech on the assumption of duty of newly-promoted 4-star General Ronald “Bato” De la Rosa as PNP Chief held yesterday (July 1, 2016) which announced, thus: “DO YOUR DUTY AND I WILL DIE FOR YOU!”, undoubtedly raised their morale, which morale has sagged for long, to new and unprecedented heights. His exhortation was further capped by the bold reiteration of his campaign promise that he will double the salaries of the police force as well as the military.
This pronouncement is truly another one of those innate streaks of “common sense” sagacity which has become Pres. Rody’s hallmark.
Verily indeed, if the nation’s leader would want to reform the police force and is truly intent at stopping corruption in the police ranks, where money has played some kind of an “evil-incentivizing” role, their daily pay must be hiked, at all costs. And not one among Pres. Rody’s predecessors in Malacañang except perhaps former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, accorded the police and the military, this kind of avuncular, nay paternal caring.
When I was still in my teens, during the 60s, one blustery afternoon; and out of sheer curiosity, I decided and had the chance, to witness the proceedings at the halls of Congress, then located at the Old Congress Building (now a museum) in Manila. I cannot remember anymore as to who among the congressmen were debating a seemingly contentious issue. Though I was sure then that the legislators were discussing the national budget particularly that to be accorded the military; what intrigued me was some kind of an aside or perhaps a jocular statement uttered by one among them, anent a seemingly unusual term —“budgetary huks”.
I learned thereafter that there seems to be some kind of a conspiracy to make it appear that huks which is the appellation given to the rebels of yesteryears, still abound, despite the peace initiatives commenced by Pres. Ramon Magsaysay, which saw the surrender of then topmost rebel-leader Luis Taruc in May 1954.
I doubted then those intimation that there really was some kind of chicanery, nay a conspiracy, to make it appear that rebels were still many. And consequently, the national budget needed to be enhanced to finance those military campaigns against those “budgetary huks”.
However, in the 70s, when my fraternity brother Jamil Lucman, who earned the appellation Jungle Fox, being the top honcho then of the Black Shirts, a group of well-trained Muslim rebels; covertly engineered with other Muslim rebels the 1970 rekindling of the Moro Rebellion which initially sparked in Jolo, he narrated to me a much more intriguing report.
Brod Jamil told me that in one of the bloodiest encounters in the hinterlands of Mindanao, between the military forces and his men, when his rebel group got so heavily pinned down by continuous mortar fire and unrelenting airstrikes; he was all set to pray the DUA, some kind of Muslim invocation in the face of death. However, up to now, he cannot understand why the ceaseless bombing then stopped dead (as though a gust of wind snuffed off the light on the candle’s wick), while they lay dreadfully short of ammo and stripped of their fighting spirit, all the more.
On hindsight, Brod Jamil could only hazard a guess…that it could have been the merciful and soft-hearted side of Pres. Marcos who Brod Jamil believed was monitoring the battle from Malacañang. But having heard of the so-called “budgetary huks”, I was tempted to believe that the military may have been trying to coin another label …”budgetary Muslim rebs”. Thus, the poser that haunted me then was: Could there really be some top personalities in the Philippine government before, perhaps the military, who really did not want peace and that they want the rebellion to continue to justify a bloated budget?
I thought about all of the foregoing when I heard Pres. Rody’s speech before the Armed Forces of the Philippines after the PNP event, that his mission as President is to achieve and bring peace throughout the land. And this I believe, is a street-smart articulation of a mission, a common-sense verbalization, that could compelling do away with future budgetary insertions that would concentrate the focus into PEACE rather than a full-scale WAR.
Let us all support Pres. Rody’s article of faith… to bring PEACE throughout our land.