Posted by: Mer Pints | August 29, 2008

The indiscriminate arming of civilians, where will this lead to?

My only exposure with firearms was when I was invited to attend a gun handling/firing class sponsored by a gun club some years ago. I was so scared with guns before that I was motivated to join a gun familiarization and safety course. I was trembling my first time to fire a .38 caliber revolver. But soon I was hitting well the target with a cal. 9mm pistol and a .45 caliber pistol. As I gained progress with my gun handling skills, soon I found myself joining my friends at the reserved force learning how to fire an M16 rifle at an outdoor range with a military instructor. I learned how to shoot with an M16 from a semi-automatic to a fully automatic.

Gun enthusiasts encouraged me to hone my skills in shooting and recruited me to become a gun club member but I politely declined the offer. A reserve officer too recruited me to join the reservist but I had no time for such activity. Actually my only motive to learn about firearm handling was to overcome my fear with guns. Even after said firearm training experiences, I have not been that enthusiastic with guns. 

For self-defense I feel more secured with my running shoes, with my arnis and iron pipe, and my slingshot. Up to this day I still have a slingshot hanging in my room and a box of used bearings ready for self defense. But of course I live in a more secure environment with 24-hours roaming security guards. I am not as threatened as those who live in the south with the MILF rebels. This is not their mindset of security. 

After losing their relatives and love ones when rampaging MILF rebels attacked towns and villages in North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte, Sarangani , and Maguindanao provinces, civilians have started arming themselves. They don’t want to experience anymore a repeat of the senseless massacre of civilians, looting, and burning of houses. Civilian volunteers have started securing their villages; they don’t want to take chances. They believe that the military will not be there always to protect them. Other civilians too are arming, everybody is now buying guns for their own protection; as reported there is now a shortage of guns and ammunition in Mindanao.    

The resurgence of vigilante groups 

In the light of these troubles in Mindanao, vigilante groups are forming. The dreaded Ilaga in past has resurfaced. This vigilante groups claims to have a following of 10,000 members and supporters. They vow to protect Christians, Lumads, and even peace loving Muslims from the rebels. They promise to kill 10 MILF rebels for every Christian killed. Composed mainly of poor farmers, the Ilagas (rats in Hiligaynon) had been fighting moro rebels in the past during the time of Marcos. 

Likewise in Zamboanga City, it has been reportedby ABS-CBN online that some “3,000 civilians are slowly gathering and forming as an armed group.” This nameless group (as it is still organizing), do not intend to kill or serve as vigilantes like the Ilaga group in Central Mindanao. They said they offer their services as “internal defense force” for the protection of communities in the city according to Zamboanga City 2nd district councilor Jaime Cabatao.. Most of the members of the group come from well-to-do families, and some are licensed gun holders. 

No to vigilante groups 

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) expressed alarm about the resurfacing and forming of vigilante groups to run after the rebels and protect villages as the rise of such groups will result to anarchy and killings of civilians. 

Likewise the Amnesty International in the Philippines warned of human rights violations and escalation of violence in Mindanao. Historically, according the group, the presence of vigilantes  led to more civilian killings. “Forming vigilante groups may expose civilians to harassments and violations of their human rights.”

According to Dr. Aurora Parong of the Amnesty International, “Protecting civilians does not mean arming them. Security forces of the Philippine government already have that role.” Anakpawis party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano urged the government to disarm and dismantle immediately the Reform Ilaga Movement of North Cotabato as the group will only exacerbate the armed conflict in the region which may cause massive human rights abuses.

Worsen peace and order situation in the south.

On her part, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago agreed that the rise of armed civilian groups in Mindanao would worsen the peace and order situation in the south.

“If the Ilagas are going to substantiate their threats, that would certainly exacerbate the situation. But it might also prove terminal to the MILF leaders because the Ilaga are composed of Christian settlers who are determined to defend their settlements against what they look upon as marauders. They do not agree with the MILF or MNLF members that these members have the sovereign right to their homeland. They believe that it is the Ilagas who have their homeland in Mindanao because they were the original settlers there. This is basically an argument over who came there first,” she said.

As a defense minister during the martial law, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, warned that the conflict between Ilagas and Moros may be revived. However he said, if the government cannot protect the civilians, then it’s the duty of the government to provide arms to the civilians to defend themselves.

PNP is against indiscriminate arming of civilians

While the Philippine National Police will be distributing thousands of shotguns to civilians who will pass as members of police auxillary units as per announcement of  Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, the police will not allow indiscriminate arming of civilians.

As explained by the PNP, police auxiliary units will be “community-based and will not be allowed to enter other villages.” Each auxiliary unit in the community will also be under full supervision by the local police units.

“Vigilantes and the indiscriminate arming of civilians are not allowed,” PNP chief Avelino Razon said in an interview over DZMM.  He also reminded the Ilaga members to get authorization first from the local police before they could carry firearms. He warns the Ilaga members that they could be arrested for carrying firearms without authorization.

The PNP chief expressed also concern that the revival of vigilante groups would only worsen the peace and order situation in Mindanao. Similarly, this is the reason why the police auxiliary group was organized instead.

Armed vigilante groups and the 2010 presidential election

Some observers also fear that the current trouble in Mindanao shall be taken advantage of by rogue politicians to form their armed group in the guise of defending their community to harass electorates for the 2010 presidential election. While there is no hard evidence as of now linking the formation of armed groups and the way the 2010 presidential election shall take place, there had been cases in the past where said groups had been used by the politicians to eliminate their political opponents and harass voters for their advantage. Will these be the scenario a few more months from now?

As these armed groups will number by the tens of thousands, how capable will the police and the military to control and restrain their activities should they (the vigilantes) decide to ignore the law and take the same on their hands? Will this create more troubles than sense of security as the police and the military will be facing two different fronts, the rebels and the vigilantes? Should the government decide to weed out the vigilantes this early, what assurance can the government give to secure the civilians in the villages so there will be no repeat of what happened some weeks ago?

I for one, like thousands of peace loving citizens, believe that only the police and the military should possess firearms for the protection of the citizens no other else. But while it is so that the police and the military have the tactical and logistical advantage over the rebels, they are that they can pounce on them anytime, they also have their lapses operational blunders. Until such time that the public will be assured of security and guaranteed full protection from the government, the proliferation of armed groups can never be abated.   

Till then the real impediments to peace and progress in Mindanao remain unresolved by the administration (socially, politically, and economically), no arms shall be surrendered, no vigilante group shall be dismantled, and the MILF shall continue to bring head ache to our leaders in the government. And what about the scenario when government shall lose control in the armed conflict involving various forces, will people experience the worse of widespread famine and diseases since they can no longer go back to their homes, cultivate their farms, and live a normal life? .   



  1. Bakeries will opt to produce the bread from a cheaper lower-protein flour to lower the price of pandesal,these are just a funny stories that hit the news in our country.If you get tired of reading all the sad news about the Sabio brothers calling each other regarding the tug of war case between Meralco and GSIS,the moro-moro conflict drama in Mindanao, the belt tightening of laborers, jobless and punyakules,the ballooning debts in our country and the president’s migrane in attempt to secure new loan to pay the interest on the capital. Beware about the Chinese ZTE.These are the items are decidedly Filipinos will panic.Some of the items will make you smile,Luli the first gentleman’s girl will be getting married.

    The most fascinating stories that called my attention is none of these news that’s happening.The gorgeous girls posing in the internet looking for a date and probably marriage caught my attention.Take this ads for example “Rich,educated and sexy Filipina looking for Americans husband”–Rich by what standard? Belong to the Ayala and Zobel clan or a daugther of corrupt politicians? Here’s another one “Rich American seek filipina wives”This American probably a Moslem because he is looking for more than one. A rich American flipping meat fatties at Burger King earning twenty thousand dollars a years including overtime is phenomenally rich considering the exchange rate of forty five pesos, comparing to a Filipino making minimum wage a day that can relate to one thing a bowl of instant noodles on the table.

  2. I wonder,if this pedophile rich American flipping burger place an ad at wowowee,how many colleges graduates unable to find work will appears at the gate of Kapamilya TV Station for the interview and the videotaping by Cory Vidanes and Pokwang. It is naive to expect that the prospective wives will consult Dra.Belo or Dr.Calayan for botox and skin bleaching.Or how does a shy Filipina who earned 30 units of English along Recto Avenue with a packet of pictures in a gown ang toga will overcome the embarrassment of answering questions that test her intelligence as a college graduate and then mimicking with RR.They might be speaking the same slang English like Gloria Arroyo that only her Palakpak Boys can understand.

    it makes me laugh about these ads,If he want as a beautiful,sexy and intelligent Filipina, Why he could not find a nurse TNT in America ? There is something wrong with this caucasian man. Of course maybe, he want to be lucky to find a forty years old virgin Filipina conservative from the barrio who become fearful of the communist who come down from the mountains at harvest time and took 3 sacks of rice every ten gathered,leaving the remaining seven to be divided between the farmer and the landowner.Call it tithing,securing protection or paying revolutionary tax.The virgin wanted to leave before she’ll be rape and she sold some patola harvest in the market for a bus fare to WowoWee with a positive thinking that if they pass the interview: comes next is the green card.

  3. Whatever others may say, whoever places such ad inviting Filipinas to “audtion” for a marriage to a rich kuno or Kano, I find it offensive and an insult to the Filipina women. Why are you buying us women with your riches? Shame on you guys, you make every Filipina looks like a pice of dirty rag by bragging your riches. I am not an intelligent Filipina so I may not pass your “audition” hehehehe. I don’t even know if you guys look like a horse? Sorry but I am just expressing my outrage. I still believe that Filipinas should be treated with honor and dignity even if others don’t find this essential anymore since they give more premium for their needs to survive.

  4. hi mher! napabisita lang ulit. 🙂

  5. Ito ngayon ang naisip ng gobyerno para raw mapuksa ang mga MILF.Sabagay nabangit nga pala ni Arroyo sa kanyang SONA na mura na raw ng 50 centavos ang text.Aarmasan daw ng text ang mga civilian na naaapektuhan ng geyera sa Mindanao.I text raw sa mga kapit bahay”wer-r-u na”–”run-na-my hapon” para raw maraming buhay ang maliligatas.Ang tanong.Papano na ang mga walang load.

    Sana sa halip na text,mas maganda sana kung pagkain at education ang ibigay sa kanila.

  6. Kinopya ko ito sa post ni Cocoy kay Ellen.

  7. Ayaw mo bang sumali Mer sa audition sa Wowowee?

    Gago rin pala ang merkanong ito.Ano ang akala niya sa tulad nating mga Maria Clara.Sabagay hindi na uso ngayon iyan.

    hindi ko na kailangan pang mag pa audition dahil ako ngayon ang nag a audition sa kanila.HIHIHIHIHIHI

  8. BE, heh,heh,heh…I thought of the same thing. How can one say captured when the camp is empty? They captured the “cows” etc and the arms the rebels want to leave behind. anyway, these arms will be resold to them at a later date by the same “sodiers” who found them.

    Ito naman ang kinopya ko kay PSB.

    Kokopya na lang muna ako sa iba dahil hindi ako nakapag-review.Naghahanap kasi ako ng pera pambayad sa amortirization.Mahaba na ang nilakad kong nakayuko at napaupo kahit piso man lang ang walang mapulot.HIHIHIHIHIH>

  9. Napasali kasi ako doon sa jobless at punyakulis na binangit ni Cocoy.Pero mura na raw ang pandesal ngayon dahil may halo na ng gawgaw.

  10. Thanks for the visit Aling Baby… you are always welcome po. Papasyal din po ako uli sa inyo.

  11. Kimuchi idol,
    Napausapan na iyan. Text lang ang katapat niyan, hehehehehe. Sasabihin sa text, coming coming, out out na, hehehehe.

    Gago kasi ang kanong iyan, gustong kumana ng pinay tapos paluluhain lang niya. Kahit ano pa ang nakaraan ng isang Pinay, hindi pa rin maiaalis sa kanyang puso ang pagiging isang Maria Clara.

    Idol, feel ko pa rin ito sa iyo… Nasa isip ang pagiging Maria Clara. Hindi bastbastang kinakaladkad lang diyan dahil sa pera.

  12. Idol, nainlove na ako sa mga tipo ni Dr. Jose Rizal, kaya hanggang ngayon wala pa akong BF. Ayaw kasi ng mga duwag na iyan ang mabaril sa Luneta, hehehehe…

    At saka idol Kim, hindi ako papatulan ng mga Kano dahil hindi ako intelligent, sasapi muna ako sa kapisanan nina Doble para maging intelligence, e di intelligent na rin ako, hehehehe.

    At saka natatakot ako kay Willie baka ma-inlove pa ako sa kanya, hehehehe. Kaya ayaw ko munang sumali sa mga ganyang klase ng audition.

  13. Pandesal na lasang gawgaw, naku baka galing pa sa lalaki iyong gawgaw, hehehehehehe LOL

  14. Binabalikan ni Cocoy ang dekada 60.siguro nanghuhuli siya kung ilang taon na tayo.HIHIHIHIHIH>

  15. Ako 25 pa ngayon, hehehehe.

  16. FOOD SECURITY is the key answer sa war sa south. if everyone is secure sa pagkain walang giyera. kaya lang namin sila nakikigyera at sa ancestral domain na yan, they want to make sure that in their future mayroon silang makakain.

    thats it. yun dapat pagtuunan pansin ng gobyerno.

  17. Colegiala girl,
    Nakapasyal ka na ba sa burol nina Mang Pandoy at at Tiya Dely? May service tayo para sa kanilang ala-ala sa Barangay Hall.

  18. Ang food security ng mga rebelde ay sa barrel of the guns. Maraming Kristiyano diyan sa Mindanao na hindi nagugutom dahil masipag. Marami ding Muslim ang mauunlad ang buhay dahil nagsisipag. Food security is not based on territorial domain, nas sipag at tiyaga iyan ni Snator Villar.

  19. Nawala ako ng ilang araw dahil may pinuntahan akong isang probinsiya na hindi ko na sasabihin kung saan.

    Itong pagaarmas ng mga sibilyan kung saan nananalasa ang mga MILF ay unang nalathala ilang araw na magkaroon ng mga karahasan dulot ng kawalan ng direksiyon ng pamahalaan sa kanilang pagsusulong ng MOA-AD. Galing na rin kay PNP Chief Avelino Razon ang balita na mga 10,000 firearms ang kanilang ipinadala sa Mindanao para armasan ang ilang kwalipikadong individual o grupo. Samakatuwid, sa hanay ng kapulisan nanggaling ang pag-aarmas at kahit may tuntunin dapat sundin, nabuksan ang Pandora Box upang ang mga nakatagong armas ay ilitaw at sabihing galing sa PNP kahit hindi.

  20. Kapag may ganitong kontrobersiya, palagi kong inilalagay ang aking sarili na kung ako’y nasa katauhan ng mga apektadong tao sa Mindanao, ano ang aking nararapat na gawin?

    Naisulat ko na kung ako’y isang MILF member at pinangakuan ng oras na malagdaan ang MOA-AD, magkakaroon na ako ng sariling lupa, maguumapaw ang aking kaligayahan. Sapagkat biglang naudlot yon at ipinaalam sa aking ng pamunuan ng MILF ang walang kasinseridad ng gobyerno at dapat akong lumantad at lumaban, mas malamang na gagawin ko dahil doon sa Mindanao ang aking mundo. Doon nabuhay at doon din mamamatay.

  21. Sa isang banda, kung ako’y isang Kristiyano na may sariling lupa sa lugar na yaon, dahil sa panukalang ibigay ito sa MILF dahil kasama sa ancestral domain, lalantad din ako at ipaglalaban ang aking karapatan. Katulad ng mga MILF, doon ako din nabuhay at doon din mamamatay. Sapagkat pinapatay nang walang kalaban-laban, mapipilitan akong mag-armas upang ipagtanggol at sarili at pamilya.

  22. May kanya-kanyang katuwiran at may kanya-kanya ring pamamaraan upang harapin ang mga kaganapan. Ngunit para sa sariling kapakanan at kung madadamay ang pamilya, sariling desisyon ang iiral upang mabuhay.

    Ang mga rhetorics ng mga nasa malayo at hindi tuwirang apektado ay para sa media lamang. Ang taong nakatapak sa lupa sa parteng Mindanao, alam nila kung ako ang nararapat para sa kanila at kung saan sila panig. Sa ngayon, hindi na mahalaga sa kanila ang mga sinasabi ng nasa gobyerno sapagkat ito ang may kagagawan kung bakit muling sumiklab ang karahasan. Ang mahalaga sa kanila ay patuloy na mamumuhay kahit nasa gitna ng panganib. At kung ikaw ay nanganganib, hindi pwedeng tirador lamang ang sandata sapagkat may de-kalibreng armas ang kabila. As simple as that.

  23. Nang ako’y naging associate researcher para sa isang proyekto na pinundohan ng Word Bank, nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataon na umapak sa mga liblib na pook ng Mindanao. Mga Lumads ang aming kinapanayam sa study na iyan at dito ko naranasan kung papaano umakyat ng mga bundok at maglakad sa mga kagubatan upang matuntun lang ang mga taong kailangan naming makapanayam sa pagaaral na iyan.
    At dito ko nasaksihan na ang baril ay karugtong ng buhay ng mga tao doon. Sa isang bahay na aming tinuluyan, kaakap ng isang binata ang kanyang M14 habang natutulog. Naglakas ako ng loob na tanungin siya at sinagot naman niya ako kung bakit lagi siyang may bitbit na baril, para sa kaligtasan ng kanilang pamilya.
    Isa siya sa mga sinanay pala ng militar upang magtanggol ng kanilan village. Kinaumagahan isang katutobong datu naman ang aming nakapanayam, may bitbit din siyang M14 at may dalang maraming bala.
    Obserbasyon ko lang, naging mindset na ng mga tao roon ang pagtatanggol at pakikidigma.

    Dalawang grupo ang binabantayan mg mga tao roon, Lumad man o Muslim, o isang Kristianong settler, ang mga rebeldeng NPA at MILF. Ang pagaarmas ng mga sibilyan sa conflicted areas ng Mindanao ay hindi lang ngayon, matagal na iyang nangyayari ngunit lalong tumindi ang kanilang pangangailangan ng armas dahil sa pananalakay ng mga rebeldeng MILF.

  24. Dalawang bagay ang nakita kung sanhi ng kahirapan sa Mindanao noong ako’y napunta roon, una ang kawalan ng oportionidad at kakulangan ng tulong mula sa pamahalaan para sa kanilang pag-unlad. Malayong-malayo ang progreso nang Luzon kumpara sa Mindanao. Pangalawa, ang peace and order situation ng Mindanao kung saan may problema na sa NPA, may problema pa sa mga MILF. Naapektohan ang kabuhayan ng mga tao dahil sa mga kaguluhang iyan. Pero sa aking nasaksihan, karamihan sa mga tao roon (lalo na sa mga liblib na pook) ay nabubuhay sa tinatawag nilang hand to mouth existence. Isang kahid isang tuka. Karamihan sa mga kauotobo ang umaasa pa rin sa mga yamang gubat upang may makain, nagtatrabaho sa mga loggers (legal or illegal), at nagsasaka. Nakapagtataka nga na sa kabila ng yaman ng Mindanao sa mga natural resources, pagiging food basket of the Philippines,etc. maraming pook pa rin doon ang underdeveloped kung saan napakahirap ang buhay ng mga tao, at may mga nagugutom pa.

  25. Ang sa akin lang, kaunlaran ang sagot sa armed conflict sa Mindanao. Pagpapaunlad ng mga kabuhayan ng mga tao, at pagpapatayo ng mga inpraistraktora na siyang magdadala ng pag-unlad sa mga underdeveloped na lugar. Sa isang banda, sadyang may mga tao naman na ayaw sa kapayapaan, naghahasik ng karahasan, at nagiging sagabal sa pag-unlad. Ito ang mga taong may ibang motibo, sa karahasan sila kumikita at nabubuhay. Kaya naman sila ay nangangamba na kapag naging payapa at maunlad ang kanilang lugar, mawawalan sila ng pagkakakitaan at kapangyarihan.

    Suma tutal, hangga’t may mga taong nakikinabang sa mga kaguluhan sa Mindanao, walang matatamong kapayapaan. Kahit ilang opensiba pa ang gawin ng militar, hindi masusugpo ang pagdami ng mga rebelde at bandido.

    At habang nandiyan ang kaguluhan, hindi mo maiaalis sa mga tao ang mag-armas at magtanggol ng kanilang mga sarili. Balik muli sa pag-uusap kaya ng kapayapaan. At least walang sibilyang nalalagay sa alanganin?

    May mga nagsasabi na ang pangkasalukuyang kaguluhan sa Mindanao ay nakakatulong daw sa gobierno para mapagtakpan ang mga isyu ng katiwaliang, etc. na naiuugnaw sa mga namumuno. May katotohanan kaya ito?

  26. Tama kayo riyan.Hindi mapakali ang isang tao kapag wala siyang pera at makain.Gagawa at gagawa ng paraan para mabuhay kahit ibenta pa niya ang kaluluwa niya kay satanas.Iyang mga MLIF na grupong iyan at kakaunti lang ang magandang stado sa buhay iyung mga namumuno lang,iyung mga tauhan ay mga walang kayang mabuhay kaya sumapi na rin.

    Noon ang NPA ay association ng mga radical na studyanti at karamihan ay may kaya sa buhay.Pero ngayon ay naging tulisan na sila.

  27. Iyan nga nakakatakot sa mga grupong rebeldeng ito, hindi na yata ideology ang ipinaglalaban, baka ito’y para sa kanilang pansariling kapakanan.

  28. kap hindi kasi tlg maiiwasan na mawalan ng prinsipyo lalo na kung wala ng laman ang sikmura.

  29. Generally I do not learn post on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to check out and do it!
    Your writing style has been amazed me. Thank you, very nice post.

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