In My Own Words - Ron Centeno

a collection of thoughts and sentiments...in my own words

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4/11/2009

Looting For A Living

Written by Ron Centeno

Kidnap- for- ransom has now become the order of the day in all corners of the world, in general, and in southern Philippines, in particular. Be it from the jungle of Sulu, to Mexico’s Tijuana, or to the coast of Somalia along the Indian Ocean, this senseless act of looting is a loathsomely lucrative business.

Recently and similarly in the past, the Abu Sayyaf Group, now led by Albader Parad, has been in the business of seizing innocent civilians in exchange for a huge payoff. Some of the group’s earlier victims include a Filipino TV evangelist Wilde Almeda, an American Muslim convert Jeffrey Schilling, former Manila Times owner Reghis Romero, and ABS-CBN journalist Ces Drilon, to name a few. Overall, the undisclosed amount paid for ransom has been very difficult to determine. It is figured in millions of pesos.

Recall that the earlier group’s ideological reason for existence was to promote an independent Islamic state. That was then. Now, it is completely reduced to nothingness and is apparently turned into an abhorrent thievery.

What brought Parad, his cohorts, and those other militant-Islamist-turned-kidnappers that have long been dead, to this fate is an open-ended debate.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the culprit to the sorry-state of our Muslim brothers in the region is the absence of economic opportunity to which they have long been denied for decades now. Absent of such opportunity, the likelihood of putting matters into their own hands via extorting money the wrong way comes without surprise.

This is not, however, to suggest that I condone their horrific way of earning a living; because no matter how neglectful our government to our brothers’ plight in the South, kidnapping must be deterred at all cost.

On the other hand, one would argue that given the Islamist preoccupation to sowing terror, creating business in the region is a risk no one dares to take. Imagine erecting a Megamall complex in Patikul; luring Dell Corporation to move its chips production in Sipadan; or building a presidential vacation villa in Pandanan.

Such propositions are quite unconscionable, if not outrageous to begin with. Without doubt, the likes of Henry Sy, Lucio Tan, or Andres Soriano, for example, would be under no illusion to forge a business opportunity where risk to their investments is astronomical given the presence Islamic rebels.

In such case, if the trend continues as it is, then peace and prosperity in that southern part of the country shall forever be hallucinatory.

11 Your Thoughts/Comments Here::

austenfan said...

Yeah, you have a point. But we really can't blame them for having major doubts in investing there.

I'm not even sure what those groups here in the Philippines are fighting for. Sometimes I think it would be better if the government just gave them the autonomy they want.

Anyway, nice post! :)

Lisa said...

Hi Ron, you deserve this award, grab it..http://lisgold.com/2009/04/wonderful-blogger-award.html

Anyway thank for the visit and the comments..also the tag you shared with me...appreciate it..

Dina said...

Hello 3M.

On the topic of our Muslim brothers, sometimes it's hard to figure out what they really want. They probably feel left out by the government that they are doing anything to get their attention.

I still pray for peace and prosperity for our country. You may say it could be a hallucination but reality begin from dreams and aspirations.

Sorry it's been a long time since I dropped by and I noticed your posts have been very serious lately. :-) I miss your lighhearted topics. How are you and Ces doing? Hope all is well wih both of you.

Ratty said...

It's such a shame that people feel the need to resort to violence to get what they want. As soon as they begin, they find it easier the next time.

Ron Centeno said...

Austenfan

Lisa

Dina

Ratty,

Thanks for dropping by and for your opinions. I really hope for peace and prosperity for our brothers in the south.

Mokong™ said...

Sang-ayon ako sa batas na NO RANSOM...
at kung ako ang nasa sitwasyon nila ng mga pamilya ng may bihag... hindi ko alam gagawin ko, hehe!

Pray na lang natin na sana matapos na ang kaguluhan sa Mindanao, Pilipinas lalo na ang turismo dito sa atin ang naapektuhan at napapahiya sa buong mundo.

Nice post!

gillboard said...

Ngayon lang nakabalik... Hay... Yang problema sa Mindanao, pinagdadasal na lang namin mga kaluluwa ng mga terorista doon. Na malinawan ang isip nila sa kung ano ang gusto nila... Ang gulo ng utak ng mga yun eh...

MaxiVelasco said...

i am actually thinking twice (even thrice) before leaving anoter comment here. hehe.

anyway, i was born in quezon city but my parents decided to transfer to davao city when i was about 4 or 5 years old. i was raised there. although davao isn't a muslim state, there are many muslims living in the area and have been my friends. i can honestly say that there are really nice muslim people while there are really some who are the opposite of them.

my first job was in a hospital in general santos city (twink's place). i wanted to try living independently kaya, i looked for a job away from my family for awhile. been there for two years and could see how busy the hospitals (i guess there are 3 others) getting very busy especially treating the wounded after bombing/shooting attacks. working just right to the ER assisting the nurses and doctors with all their needs, it breaks my heart looking at the suffering civilian people - crying, shouting - sometimes, wanting to die to escape too much pain.

i was one day doing my weekly groceries at the nearest shopping outlet. after buying the items/food i needed, went out immediately and took a tricyle. good thing the tricyle drove right away instead of waiting for other passengers - as a bomb exploded on the shop's main entrance. i was, i don't know... a few meters away when it exploded and couldn't believe it. i saw people on the ground, some dead, some reaching their hands for help. it was a scary scene.

instead of going home, i told the driver of the tricycle to bring me to the hospital so i can be of help there (it was my off day). there were more than 100 people delivered to the ER which the capacity is only up to actually 15.

i won't explain some more but i could say that it was a bloody experience escaping death for just a matter of seconds. what i can say is that terrorism will not benefit anyone. i just feel so sorry for the victims - the civilians.

i've seen a documentary about these terrorist muslims in mindanao. saw them training very young kids about their war faith and how to hold guns and ammos. just breaks my heart.

again, nice post and reflection here Ron!

MaxiVelasco said...

ah. i forgot. sorry.

my free followers spot are again up for grabs for the next batch, ron! you can now reserve a spot again. only 6 spots left. here's the link where you can do your reservation:

http://www.healthnbeyond.com/2009/04/free-follower-spots-up-for-grabs.html

have a great day...

I am Xprosaic said...

Im living here down south for almost my entire life. And generally, I am satisfied with our living condition here. Mindanao is a huge island. Maybe in Muslim areas we cannot assure peace and order at any given time but only in these areas. In Davao City in general, we are practically living a normal and decent life. I think that local and national government plays a huge role in one's area or community. If only the 'elected officers' would set aside their 'palabas' and go straight with business, maybe we can solve the problem. I just could not understand why the Philippines sometimes sends peace keepers to other country to help but for the longest time they could not simply control a 'group of people' doing some 'unpleasant business' in Mindanao. I also believe that armed forces (military, navy, air force) were the one who are good in strategy but does that mean that this so called 'bandits' outwit them?! I don't know... sa aking palagay kung gusto nating umunlad ang Pilipinas, dapat lahat tayo matutunan nating mahalin ang ating sariling bansa. Pagkakaisa! Hindi lang sa pagitan ng Muslim at Kristyano kundi sa kapwa Pilipino... Minsan kasi napapansin ko ang taong humihila pa pala sa atin ay kapwa Pilipino din... Sayang... Sana matuto na tayo bago mahuli pa ang lahat... Naks! Haba nito... Speech an ba toh?! hahahhahahhaha

David Funk said...

Great post Ron. I'm really beginning to understand how things are in your country more and more.

I couldn't help but take note of Maxi's comment, too. That's really something to witness something so traumatic like she did.

Once again, and objective and very thoughtful analysis my good friend!

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