Posted tagged ‘Mindanao’

INFRASTRUCTURES FOR PEACE: COMMENDING MINDANAO’S LANAO PROJECTS

September 17, 2010

INFRASTRUCTURES FOR PEACE: COMMENDING MINDANAO’S LANAO PROJECTS

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Peace be with you! To all devout sons and daughters of Allah, love and peace!

Permit me, through this note, to commend an ongoing project in Mindanao (Philippines) that showcases the theme of ‘infrastructure for peace’. This is the GEM Project, short for Growth with Equity in Mindanao. Funded by the United States A.I.D., the GEM will ensue till 2012 yet.

A report titled “GEM program continues in Mindanao” (Manila Bulletin, 25 July 2010) gave a brief update about the GEM situation particularly for the province of Lanao del Norte.

To reminisce a bit, Lanao was among the provinces where the insurgent MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) operated most actively, and was among territories that could have seceded from the Philippines. A peace pact was signed between the MNLF and the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) in the 1990s, during the incumbency of Fidel V. Ramos as president, thus ending decades of conflict.

The conflict down south led to casualties of over 100,000, while another 500,000+ Mindanaoans (mostly Muslims) migrated from the island to more peaceful areas across the Philippines and in Sabah (over 250,000 alone ran to Sabah and are still residing there). That conflict explains why there are so many Muslims in Manila today.

The GEM infrastructures, dubbed as BIPs or Barangay Infrastructure Projects, are showcases of development engagements that were able to take off and prosper largely due to the cessation of hostilities between state and rebel armies. As reported in the news, there are 44 BIP projects alone in Lanao del Norte, all of which are proceeding well thanks to the strategic peace in the area.

What the GEM narrative is telling us is that total cessation of hostilities is a pre-requisite for development engagements to prosper in any given area particularly in the hinterlands. There is no chicken-and-egg debate whatsoever when it comes to development work: build and cement peace in the area as sine qua non, and development engagements can take take off to induce growth in the affected area.

Having been a development worker for so long in my life, a work that almost got myself dead after contracting falciparum malaria in the early 80s, I resonate with those stakeholders who opine that development cannot proceed in an area where violence prevails as the norm. Such violence could be due to insurgency, warlordism, clan wars, and/or upscaled criminal activities (e.g. drug cartels and gambling chiefs lording it over in the area).

I have already gotten tired of the psychopathic propaganda of rebel Pied Pipers who peddle the lie that “insurgency has been caused by poverty, by the absence of development projects” verbiage, which is toxic mental junk. Certain insurgent groups are no revolutionaries but criminals cashing on the support of patrimonial interest groups, and role-playing social predators in their areas of operations.

A cursory psychoanalysis of the individual members of those insurgent groups would reveal psychopaths or sociopaths who are acutely sick of personality disorder, or at the minimum possess what Theodore Adorno termed as ‘authoritarian personality’. They are drawn to fanatical movements that cohere with their psyche and warped sense of justice, such as racist, jihadist, and communist groups.

Such persons, to my mind, are no longer humans in the truest sense of the word but are rather demoniacs who prey on helpless folks that suffer the most from their violent operations. Possessing borderline personalities or intelligence levels (sub-human levels), they are likewise those who join mafia groups.

Absent those demoniacs in the area, and you would have the environment for building peace, cooperation, and growth. That experience is what is now happening in Lanao del Norte where the BIPs of GEM are now going on.

To date, 23 BIPs were already accomplished (finished contract) and are now usable, comprising of slab bridges and solar dryers for grains. You could just imagine the glee of the village folks currently utilizing those infrastructures, folks who for so long had no access to simple infrastructures such as slab bridges.

Let me re-echo my commendations to the GEM project and the stakeholders directly involved in their planning, implementation, and utilization. Let the GEM story reach the widest latitudes of Mindanao and the planet to remind warring stakeholders of what zero hostilities can do to build life in their given areas of operations.

[Philippines, 12 September 2010]

[See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,

UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com,

COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com,

BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com,

ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com]

FOOD DELIVERY UPDATES IN LIGHT OF NEW MILF-PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT HOSTILITIES

August 16, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Good morning from Manila!

Below is a news item regarding UN efforts aimed at helping out in the provision of food for those fleeing residents affected by the latest rounds of conflicts between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). Close to 130,000 residents were already displaced by the hostilities that have not even geared up for full battles.

As already reported, the contentious issue centers on the ‘ancestral domain’ for Muslims. There were not much public debates about the matter, though in Mindanao various sectors were invited to participate in the deliberations prior to drafting. The disagreements regarding content and implementation led the MILF forces to withdraw from the peace talks, and proceeded with occupation of villages by their armed force.

Below is a news item regarding UN efforts to assist in the food supply chain for the fleeing residents.

[13 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to yahoo.com database news.]

UN begins airlifting food aid to Mindanao

The United Nations has begun airlifting food to Mindanao to avert a major humanitarian crisis as thousands flee fighting between Muslim rebels and troops, officials said yesterday.

 

Fighting continued as soldiers used artillery and helicopter gun ships to pound rebel positions around towns and villages in North Cotabato, a poor farming province in Mindanao.

The UN’s World Food Program (WFP) has begun airlifting 400 metric tons of rice worth $308,000 to assist 90,000 persons from conflict-affected communities in North Cotabato for at least one month.

The food support is WFP’s response to the request made by the provincial government of the province, with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) still validating the number of the persons affected by the ongoing clashes.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said more than 129,819 people have been displaced from 42 villages in North Cotabato since fighting began last week.

The refugees are to be provided food support in at least 43 government evacuation centers in the province.

“WFP fully understands that the situation remains fluid, and we will continue to work closely with all concerned to further assess the total number of affected persons and adjust our response accordingly. WFP remains concerned over the growing number of persons displaced by the violence between the armed forces and the MILF,” said Stephen Anderson, WFP country director.

“Many of the affected population are women and children, and we are concerned for their well-being and stand ready to support humanitarian needs. We hope for peace, so that these families can return to their communities,” he said.

Anderson said WFP remains committed to providing support and technical expertise during emergencies and natural disasters.

The NDCC said 43 evacuation centers have been set up for the refugees but these are now overcrowded and fast becoming health hazards.

“This is turning into a humanitarian mess,” Rep. Risa Hontiveros said.

“The refugee crisis is an unacceptable cost of the government’s mismanagement of the peace process. A peace process should lead to the protection of life and property, and yet what’s happening is the opposite,” said Hontiveros, who has called for an immediate halt to the fighting.

Fighting began last week after the Supreme Court ordered the government to suspend plans to establish an extended Muslim homeland in Mindanao.

The decision saw around 1,500 heavily armed renegade Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels take control of mainly Christian villages and towns in North Cotabato.

Commission on Human Rights chairwoman Leila de Lima described the situation in North Cotabato as “serious” and called for an immediate ceasefire.

She told local television that evacuation centers needed urgent supplies of food and medicine for the refugees.

The government has said that the fighting will not disrupt the ongoing peace process and that the Supreme Court decision last week was a “temporary setback.”

Future uncertain

In Pikit, North Cotabato, nine-year-old Rakma Kasanuba sings lullabies to her baby sister as the infant tries to sleep in a makeshift hammock under a guava tree as mortars explode without end in the distance.

Her three other younger sisters sit on the muddy ground guarding their meager belongings while military attack helicopters thunder overhead searching for Muslim separatist rebels 400 meters away in a forested area.

At her tender age, Rakma is a veteran of evacuation camps.

“I don’t know why I am here,” she told AFP. “My family was told by the military to leave because they said Moros (Muslims) were advancing.

“We left at dawn, but my father had to stay behind to protect our house,” Rakma said. “My mother took us here, but she is away to look for food and relatives who were also told to evacuate.”

Rakma and her sisters are among 6,000 people forced to flee their homes in Tacepan, a mixed Christian-Muslim farming hamlet that is one of 22 villages being illegally occupied by a renegade group from the MILF.

In a town’s school, families are tightly packed in small classrooms, with no bedding.

Latrines are overflowing, while goats, cows and other farm animals taken by the refugees crowd the school lawn in a feeding frenzy on what little grass is left.

Though soldiers have been sent to protect them, they are not safe from indiscriminate mortar fire from the enemy side.

Social welfare officer Imelda Balios said urgent appeals for supplies have been sent to the government to avert a bigger humanitarian crisis. – Pia Lee-Brago (Philstar News Service, www.philstar.com)

MOA BETWEEN GRP & MUSLIM REBELS (MILF)

August 15, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

 

The controversial MOA between the GRP (Philippine government) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which calls for the establishment of a Bangsamoro ancestral dominion or area in Mindanao island, was supposedly signed recently. Detractors were able to delay the signing by petitioning the Supreme Court for a restraining order.

 

Mr. Iqbal, a top official of the rebel group, pronounced thereafter that the MOA is already a done deal, that no Supreme Court order could stop its implementation. Maybe the rebels better prepare statements that would somehow allay the fears of detractors of the MOA, detractors that include Muslim residents of Zamboanga City.

 

Amid the amicable spirit behind the drafting, the non-signing so far had led to new rounds of hostilities in the affected areas. See the MOA highlights for your briefer view.

 

[06 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to yahoo.com database news.]

 

 

Highlights of MOA between government, MILF

 

Philippine Star – Tuesday, August 5

The memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain whose signing today was ordered stopped by the Supreme Court would authorize the so-called Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) to negotiate directly with foreign governments and set up its own police force.

 

Aside from expanded territory, the BJE under the MOA will also be given control over natural resources found within 15 kilometers from the shoreline of BJE territories.

Beyond 15 kilometers, control over key resources like oil and minerals will be shared 75-25 between the BJE and the government.

According to the MOA, the core of the BJE covers the present geographic area of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, including the municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan, and Tangkal in the province of Lanao del Norte that voted for inclusion in the ARMM during the 2001 plebiscite.

The MOA said a plebiscite would be held to decide the possible inclusion of 735 barangays in Isabela City in Basilan, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur, Lanao Norte, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Zamboanga Sibugay and Palawan.

Under the MOA, the BJE will also establish a system of governance suitable and acceptable to the people under its jurisdiction.

“The parties agree that the BJE shall be empowered to build, develop and maintain its own institutions, inclusive of civil service, electoral, financial and banking, education, legislation, legal, economic, and police and internal security force, judicial system and correctional institutions, necessary for developing a progressive Bangsamoro society, the details of which shall be discussed in the negotiation of the Comprehensive Compact,” the MOA said.

The MOA said the BJE is free to enter into any economic cooperation and trade relations with foreign countries, provided that these alliances will not put the Philippines in conflict with other nations.

“Without prejudice to the right of the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity to enter into agreement and environmental cooperation with any friendly country affecting its jurisdiction, it shall include the option to establish and open Bangsamoro trade missions in foreign countries with which it has economic cooperation agreements and the elements bearing in mind the mutual benefits derived from Philippine archipelagic status and security,” the MOA said.

It also stated that the Philippine government shall “take necessary steps to ensure the BJE’s participation in international meetings and events such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other specialized agencies of the United Nations.”

“This shall entitle the BJE’s participation in Philippine official missions and delegations that are engaged in the negotiation of border agreements and protocols for environmental protection, equitable sharing of incomes and revenues, in the areas of sea, seabed, and inland seas or bodies of water adjacent to or between islands forming part of the ancestral domain, in addition to those of fishing rights,” according to the MOA. – James Mananghaya/Philstar

OBSTACLES TO PEACE PACT BETWEEN PHILIPPINE STATE AND MUSLIM REBELS

August 14, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Allahu Akbar!

Here is a news report about the obstacles to peace pact’s signing between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The analysis came from a US-based group called the US Institute of Peace.

The involvement of US-based groups in GRP talks with insurgents does attract curiosity of sorts. While I have nothing against internationalizing Philippine insurgencies so as to involve 3rd parties in the talks, involving US-based groups is another thing altogether as it fuels our thesis of Americans’ involvement in the launching of rebel groups here at the behest of the Anglo-American oligarchy.

At any rate, do read for yourself the news below. The same group wasn’t actually allowed to co-facilitate the signing of the peace pact in Malaysia.

Peace be with you!

[05 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to yahoo.com database news.]

US Institute of Peace says it had warned government about obstacles to peace pact

 

A group calling itself the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) had been tasked by the US State Department to undertake a project to help expedite a peace agreement between the government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) from 2003 to 2007 and which supports the establishment of an ancestral domain for the Bangsamoro people.

 

However, after undertaking its Philippine Facilitation Project (PFP), the USIP has warned of the obstacles to the inking of a peace agreement between the two parties – the need for constitutional amendments, a case at the Supreme Court, Congress’ disapproval of the agreement and the political weakness and unpopularity of President Arroyo.

USIP is an independent, nonpartisan institution established and funded by the US Congress.

Its goals are to help prevent and resolve violent international conflicts, promote post-conflict stability and development, and increase conflict management capacity, tools, and intellectual capital worldwide.

The US’s special interest in the GRP-MILF peace agreement is meant to prevent international terrorist groups from exploiting the conflict in the Philippines after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on the US.

The late MILF chairman Salamat Hashim also personally wrote US President George Bush in 2003 to help resolve the conflict between the government and the Moro people.

The US support for the peace talks with the MILF came during the same period that the MILF, through Salamat, declared that they had renounced terrorism to attain its political ends.

At that time, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said that while the “United States absolutely supports the territorial integrity of the Philippines,…we also recognize that the people of Mindanao have legitimate aspirations and some grievances.”

The US government was unwilling to commit financial and economic assistance to MILF areas until an agreement had been signed. The State Department asked USIP to inform it of significant developments, advise on appropriate government responses and if negotiations were not leading to a satisfactory settlement, recommend an end to US engagement.

In a special report published in February of this year and written by G. Eugene Martin and Astrid Tuminez, a copy of which was obtained by The STAR, USIP said Mrs. Arroyo expended only minimal political capital to move the peace process forward and that the three branches of government “also lack consensus on the outlines of a deal that may be offered to the Moros.”

Martin was the executive director of the PFP while Ramirez served as the project’s senior research associate. Their special report highlighted the USIP activities in the Philippines from 2003 to 2007. The USIP clarified, however, that the views expressed in the report “do not necessarily reflect the views of USIP, which does not advocate specific policy positions.”

USIP tried but failed to be part of the peace negotiations between GRP and MILF as Malaysia, the host of the talks, had not agreed, but the group had produced and disseminated to educators, journalists and politicians a short video on ancestral domain, tracing the history of Moro grievances and articulating how and why an agreement on ancestral domain could effectively address the roots of conflict.

The video was shown during discussions of Moro ancestral domain in Manila universities, at forums in Mindanao and in a briefing with three Philippine senators.

“Efforts to help the parties think creatively of ways to overcome long-standing obstacles on ancestral domain and to initiate dialogue among disparate Moro ethnic groups made USIP a valuable contributor to the peace talks,” the report said.

There are many hindrances, however, and the USIP said resolving conflict in Mindanao is likely to be an extended undertaking even with the best of intentions from all parties.

“As with past agreements, a serious risk exists that the national legislature could scuttle any agreement signed by the government in the implementation phase. The Supreme Court might also declare unconstitutional any deal on ancestral domain that grants Moro significant political authority and control over natural resources,” the report said.

The report also noted that the ability and intent of Mrs. Arroyo, whose term would expire in 2010, to press the peace process to settlement were also uncertain.

If Mrs. Arroyo makes serious compromises with the MILF or forces significant change in the political and economic dominance of Christian migrants over land, resources and political power in Mindanao, the USIP report said “she could rouse a wave of opposition that might endanger her presidency.”

“Nonetheless, if such an agreement were signed and fully implemented, it would unequivocally augment the president’s historical legacy after nearly 10 years at the helm of Philippine politics,” it said.

The USIP report also said the multiple changes in the composition of the GRP negotiating panel had been a challenge and although GRP negotiators were “well-informed, creative and well-intentioned, they are in many ways unable to influence those at the center of political power and public opinion.”

USIP’s PFP ceased in June of 2007 but the group said the peace process in Mindanao was far from concluded.

The USIP implemented its role as facilitator of the peace process through USIP president Richard Solomon, a former ambassador to the Philippines, who assembled a group of other former ambassadors to the Philippines, the chairman of the USIP Board and a retired general.

The term facilitation signified that the US was not assuming a direct, hands-on mediating role in the negotiations. – Aurea Calica/Philstar

DO JIHADIST ABDUCTORS HAVE FUNDS TO BUY PHILIPPINE ARMY’S GUNS?

June 17, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Good afternoon from Manila!

The headlines and front pages of the major dailies here are focused (scoop) on the Ces Drilon abduction by the Abu Sayyaf, the CIA-created jihadist group operating in Mindanao (southern Philippines; Ces Drilon is a rated journalist of the oligarchic ABS-CBN). Reports say the P15 Million rock-bottom ransom is out, and that the jihadists have signaled an ultimatum.

As this is happening, the national army is massing up troops and intelligence assets in the area, supposedly as part of the ‘stick tactic’ that could glue the terrorists to the bargaining table. This is old-hat psych-op that belabors on the obvious, which even kindergarten minds are aware about.

The real score in the current ‘abduction game’ as well as in previous ones is that it is an opportunity for rouge military officers to sell armaments to the terrorists. I have already tackled the matter of rouge arms sellers, and factored the USA’s Pentagon neo-cons as the current force behind such abominations within the Philippines’ armed forces or national army.

As discussed in a previous article, terrorist abduction is an amusingly ‘win/win’ situation in an affected area. I also tacked the matter of pricing strategy for ransom and the network of peacekeepers involved in the process. The one bannered on headlines, worth P15 Million, is the rock-bottom price, while the maximum ransom, per estimates leaking to media and experts, shoots up to $5 Million.

The question that comes into mind now is, with the massing up of army operations in the affected area (Indanan, Sulu island province), how would the abduction be handled as a whole from both sides? Aware that rouge elements are inside the army who are up to sell arms to the jihadists, do the terrorists possess the funds for paying the rouge soldiers?

The problem, which finance experts may better reflect on, is that the cash to pay rebels hasn’t been fully forwarded yet. The only cash paid so far was for the release of the camera crewman of Drilon, who is a low-bankable player and in the latest abduction game. Though seemingly a nuisance, the value of the crew is that, while negotiations were in process for his release, the jihadists were able to spy on the connecting threads and linkages of operators and peacekeepers on the “other side” of the table.  

Such a situation is precisely what hedge funds are for. Portfolio capital can serve precisely as cash forward to the party involved (jihadists), while the same portfolio operator can likewise hedge the scheduled cash flow inputs of the paying group (Lopez group). As I was saying in a previous article, insurance companies and hedge funds operators have a ‘window of opportunity’ in the context of a ‘force majeure’ event such as terror abduction.

The final question is, in case that no cash forwards will get through to the jihadists, and no guarantees for luscious purchases by the army and designated bagmen operators, will the ‘stick operations’ pursue? Will Drilon finally be released by the jihadists in case that they feel the pressure from the army assault on their lairs?

These types of operations are already routine in Mindanao’s life and hardly make a dent on public attention that is focused on other hard issues like oil price hikes and inflation. What makes the case unique is the person of Drilon who is an asset of the ABS-CBN, a Lopez family firm. The jihadists know the great sins of the Lopez utilities notably the Meralco on the public, which could factor in the dynamics of the abduction.

Needless to say, the Lopez sinners can pay the price of the latest game. Government can also exact a bit of revenge for the beating it got when its board representatives in the MERALCO lose in bidding for chairmanship and juicy posts. Or, perhaps a turn-around that could see the release of Drilon and heavy beating (with high casualties) of the jihadists would happen, thus increasing the palatability of the government control of the MERALCO firm.

The scenario is no determinate one as the situation is fluid. You can make your own guesses about the compass of the abduction. In case you’re following up on the news, better do your own scenario building now while the “soup is hot.”

[Writ 17 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

KICKBACKS & PEACEKEEPING, TV JOURNALIST’S ABU SAYYAF ABDUCTION

June 15, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza

Good afternoon from Manila!

As of this moment, Manila is in the heat of coffee shop speculations about the fate of the recently abducted Ces Drilon & crew, personnel of the oligarchic network ABS-CBN, by the Abu Sayyaf. The ‘cara y cruz’ debate is whether the Lopez group will pay for the ransom of Drilon & crew, amounting to $5 Million more or less.

Having observed peacekeeping for some time now, and having had the privilege of being close to peace negotiators on both camps (state and rebel counsels), I know very well about the perks that go with peacekeeping. A favorite popular idiom today, when one is uncertain whether to push through with a work engagement, is “i-career mo na” (make a career out of it). This goes through for peacekeeping.

Let me ping straight to the point: there’s a lot of kickbacks in peacekeeping, that is why it is a great project engagement for any state official to role-play peacekeeper. On the terrorist side, mujahideen work becomes adventure, fun and good life as sweet money would come around every time that abductions and raids would be mounted. Abduction, specifically, is a ‘win/win’ situation (Fidel Ramos favorite idiom).

Here is the value chain of abduction: A group of young terrorists are tasked to abduct any bankable personage or group. Most probably a preliminary assessment had been done about the ‘book value’ of the proposed victims. With all parameters and actions observed (on the backward and forward linkages, inputs and outputs), the group then proceeds to abduct the bankable victim and team members.

The ever ready peacekeepers, actual (those with mandates) and potential (those local and other personages who can do go-between or back-channel tasks), will then quickly respond to the situation. The terrorists are aware of the chain of peacekeepers, and knowing the “10% goes to Boss” S.O.P., they already padded the price of the ransom. A lot of contingency expenses are entailed in the negotiations, a lot of risks too, so all operating expenditures must be covered in the ransom estimate.

The bargaining then begins as soon as the peacekeepers rendezvous with the terrorists or their authorized agents. To show semblance of civility and concern, the peacekeepers would try to strike a bargain, but not rock-bottom please. Nobody wants to come home empty-handed, please understand.

Upon doing the preliminary rendezvous, the terrorist group or T-Group would then re-assess the estimate. They have already done their own counter-espionage about the ‘chain of peacekeepers’, so this dovetails in the decision whether it is sound to scale down or move up the ransom. Factoring along the number of new T-Group recruits who may need immediate ‘glad tidings’ support is also an important decision input here.

The family or firm that is set to pay ransom will make the pronouncement that “there will be no ransom” and the rationale that “we will not and never will negotiate with criminals and terrorists.” This is a mere cover-up by-line, remember, I know this for a fact. Non-payment is too remote from reality, I’m very certain about this.

What is factual is that the family or firm would have to decide quickly to pay more as soon as a bargain had been done via back-channel. Often than not, the paying group must also offer gifts (payola incentives) to the back-channel negotiators. Payment must really be quick and sweeping. Because failure to do so would make the T-Group raise the ransom, and the negotiations after that would be more difficult, hazardous, and  the chain of peacekeepers would rise, perhaps following 2-3 chain tracks.

So, what happens upon the conclusion of the deal is that everybody will be happy. Jihadists are awash with funds for operations and payments of assets, locality’s banks are awash with fresh cash that will then circulate back into the local economy, and happiest of all will be the peacekeepers whose purses and secret vaults will bulge with fresh funds. Everybody gets a lot of news exposures, the media personnel abducted will have tons of materials for new write ups and reportage, the paying group will project an angelic mien as philanthropic moguls worth your emulation.

Perhaps the insurance companies should cash in on terror abductions and attacks, and open up ‘terror insurance’ or maybe peg them as ‘force majeure’ with specifications applicable to terror-operated abductions. And, maybe they can even partner with wealthy peacekeepers to study the viability of hedge funds operations for abductions. Isn’t this a fantastic proposal?

[Writ 15 June 2008, Manila, Quezon City]