CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/24 October) — Lifestyle checks are useful to keep the bureaucracy clean, the officials on their toes, and the citizenry reassured. But with treason and betrayal rife as insurgency spreads, we need loyalty checks too!
Corruption and impunity is so widespread now that it has devalued public morality to the extent that practically no one recognizes, let alone denounces, the ultimate offense against our society and way of life: treason.
Treason is the crime of betrayal. It sacrifices our people’s well-being. It compromises our country’s security in favor of its enemies.
Treason undermines our social values and weakens the commitment to democracy of our vulnerable and less-privileged sectors. Treason spawns disloyalty. It tears families and communities apart. And it threatens the integrity and stability of our Republic.
It is treason to destroy our way of life, to bring down our society’s institutions—notably the government, to sabotage it, or to seek to superimpose an alien system or ideology over it.
More to the point: It is treason to support or give comfort to such insurgents. They are enemies of our Republic. They are on a war footing with us. They are waging war against us!
The Communist New People’s Army, the Abu Sayyaf, and the so-called Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters are the headline-grabbing enemies of our Republic today. Traitorous Filipinos!
In their unremitting attempts to wreck our way of life, to sabotage our social order, and scuttle our democratic system, they have declared war against us and our community. And it is becoming very worrisome that there is no indication they will be contained or subdued anytime soon.
That these traitors are able to thrive, to move about, and to create havoc seemingly at will, indicate that they enjoy local support from elements sympathetic to their objectives.
A question arises: Who are their treasonous sympathizers and supporters—citizens that make it possible for them to exist, to move about, and to make war against everyone?
It is the duty and obligation of our government, local or national, to know who these treasonous citizens are and certainly to stop them from further traumatizing and destabilizing our communities.
No doubt there are civilians and officials among these sympathizers. Where does their loyalty lie? Why do they tolerate danger and threats against fellow citizens and constituents?
The civilians need to be neutralized or shown the error of their ways so they will stop abetting the enemies of the State.
The officials need to be held accountable; their oath of office obligates them to assure the wellbeing and safety of the community.
If they sympathize with insurgency, they have no business staying on, enjoying the privileges of public office. They should be removed for disloyalty and betrayal of the public trust. Loyalty is essential to the welfare, development, and solidarity of the community.
If they invoke fear of reprisals as a reason for not defying insurgency, all the more reason to remove them as unworthy of leadership.
Leadership requires courage and heroic service to people and community. At the least, local leaders should take the initiative to monitor local threats and report betrayal activities to higher authorities.
But they shouldn’t rely on upper level initiatives entirely. It is their duty to know their jurisdiction—who the bandits are, what they’re up to, who the supporters are—and to take appropriate measures to neutralize these.
Tolerance of insurgent and criminal activities is an invitation to discord and destruction. Why the AFP indulges in an endless cat-and-mouse game without conclusion with these groups is a puzzlement.
It’s been half a century already with the NPA, with rising costs in lives and property and morale. And it’s been decades with the murderous Abu Sayyaf, which the military now admits to have neglected during the past eight years (when no units were deployed to deal with them in their jungle redoubt).
Is it right that our mighty—and expensive—Armed Forces move only if two German hostages are in imminent danger of being decapitated?
Apart from them, there are over half a million officers and employees of the bureaucracy throughout Mindanao—national, regional, provincial, municipal, barangay officials. There are congressmen, judges, educators, and assorted workers, military, police, etc., among them.
Are they aware of the depredations that go on around them at any given time? How loyal and devoted are they to duty, country, and society? Let them demonstrate their loyalty by doing something at their level!
(Manny is former UNESCO regional director for Asia-Pacific; secretary-general, Southeast Asia Publishers Association; director, development academy of Philippines; member, Philippine Mission to the UN; vice chair, Local Government Academy; member, Cory Govt’s Peace Panel; awardee, PPI-UNICEF outstanding columnist. He is president/national convenor, Gising Barangay Movement Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org)