During the commemoration of the Bataan Death March (“Day of Valor”) yesterday, the President, or the President’s speechwriters, compared World War II to the liberation struggles in Mindanao, using the framework that both are similar, if not the same; and then, compared the MILF to the Japanese Imperial Army, on the President’s emphasis that the MILF, like Japan, was a former adversary turned ally.
This is the gist of his speech and it is quoted by major news organizations. Here are the pertinent portions of that speech: “The entire world stood in solidarity: Never again should such a tragedy take place; no one wins in a war. Is it not true that even the victors and survivors needed to rebuild from the ashes? From such an insight, the opportunity rose: Because of their decision, adversaries became partners. xxx This is the same lesson that leads us to champion lasting peace in Mindanao, and to call for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. xxx Imagine: Those who were once our enemies are today our partners in realizing a just peace for all. In coming together to foster stability in Mindanao all the more are we able to widen the scope of opportunities available to our countrymen.xxx” (the entire paragraphs are quoted below for reference.)
Now, what could possibly be the reason for using this day, reserved to honor all the martyred soldiers during World War II, to campaign for the Bangsamoro Basic Law?
It was necessary — the President wanted to maximize every occasion where he delivers a speech, from now on, to advance this cause.
But, of course, in substance, he is correct– the historical insight is so breathtaking it causes us to lose air, and to faint.
We should see these events the way the President and his speechwriters see them: that World War II and the liberation struggles in Mindanao are similar if not the same. Both have similar facets –
Here are the possible reasons that World War II and the liberation struggles in Mindanao can be said to be identical (I enumerated them and put them in bullet points like a slide show for ease of presentation):
• A.Both events involve guns and bombs. Don’t you see that? Both are bad, bad, bad.
• B.People are fighting in both events, they are fighting, fighting each other. Shame, shame, stop fighting it’s bad, don’t away each other pleeease.
C.In both events, people were killed and are being killed, kawawa naman to them. Bad, bad, bad.
In fact, the President waxed eloquent. Here was how he put it: “ The entire world stood in solidarity: Never again should such a tragedy take place; no one wins in a war. Is it not true that even the victors and survivors needed to rebuild from the ashes? From such an insight, the opportunity rose: Because of their decision, adversaries became partners.xxx”
The President should be applauded when he preached to the war veterans, brave men and women, who were intently listening to him, “NO ONE WINS IN A WAR” which is to say, “DON’T GO TO WAR”.
Perhaps, there was an inability to distinguish when, as a people, we should fight and drive away foreign invaders, and when, as a government we should negotiate with our countrymen who are forced to take arms because of injustice and poverty.
The job of the President on this occasion was simple: Thank all the heroes and martyrs. Honor them by providing for their families and surviving kin. Thank all those who fought on our behalf so that we could take our place on this podium, on this day , where we as a nation stand side by side with all nations, equal in sovereignty, for better and without regret.
World War II had to be fought, the Filipino people’s resistance to the Japanese Imperial Army, and the war effort of the allies against the fascists, was a just war –- it had to be waged, and it had to be won.
Thank you: for fighting that war, thank you: for giving your best, your most ardent, to win our freedoms, isang pasasalamat po na walang hanggan mula sa amin at pinakamataas na pagpupugay sa pamamagitan ng pagkalinga sa lahat ng inyong mahal sa buhay, we owe you more than a lifetime of grace and gratitude and can only hope to express this in the way that we honor, and will forever honor, you and your family, with all our might and fortitude.
∗∗∗ ∗∗∗ ∗∗∗
Pero ito po ang speech niya (For reference) pertinent portions of the President’s speech as transcribed and published by the government site: “ xxx The entire world stood in solidarity: Never again should such a tragedy take place; no one wins in a war. Is it not true that even the victors and survivors needed to rebuild from the ashes? From such an insight, the opportunity rose: Because of their decision, adversaries became partners. Nations that once needed help, such as Germany and Japan, are now extending aid in pursuit of global peace and progress.
In our part of the world, since then our country was able to hurdle so many challenges, especially through the help of the United States, Japan, and the other members of the international community. In times of calamity, are they not always there to extend support and respond to our needs? In fact, their help has become a given; it has become a question of how quickly this help will arrive. For example, the United States and Japan responded immediately after we were hit by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. Thousands of personnel were deployed by their governments, along with ships and aircraft to deliver relief goods and ferry our countrymen to safety. Beyond this, they extended financial aid to rehabilitate affected communities. Of course, in their time of need, we likewise extended the help we can afford without hesitation.
“Clearly, progress cannot be achieved through mere individual action. Conflict can only lead to more suffering and misunderstanding, while solidarity brings widespread benefit. This is the same lesson that leads us to champion lasting peace in Mindanao, and to call for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
“Imagine: Those who were once our enemies are today our partners in realizing a just peace for all. In coming together to foster stability in Mindanao, all the more are we able to widen the scope of opportunities available to our countrymen. In doing this, no one will be driven to join radical factions, terrorist groups, and others interested only in pursuing their selfish agendas. Two generations have already suffered due to the violence that has dominated Mindanao. Now that we are here, we will not allow succeeding generations to suffer the same fate. However hard our task may be, whatever challenges we may face, we will continue to pursue peace, because this is the way to obtain justice for all.
“We are well aware: The trials we face as a country, even those we face today, are indeed serious. Among these are the dangers brought by pandemics, the disasters caused by climate change, and the spread of fear and violence by terrorists. If we fail to unite, many more opportunities will be wasted; many more lives will be claimed by chaos, and many more livelihoods destroyed by lack of understanding. The challenge is to strengthen our solidarity further, and tread a single direction towards the fulfillment of our collective aspirations.
“ xxx Let me emphasize: This generation has the responsibility of maintaining peace, and of continuing the pursuit of widespread prosperity. This is the vow that the Philippines makes, not only for the victims of past wars and violence, but also for present and future generations of Filipinos, and for the rest of our brothers and sisters across the globe. Thank you.”