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By Benjie R. Pangan

At Close Range

Friday, October 12, 2012

THE now-revived and re-calendared government peace talks panel with the ever-recalcitrant rebel groups make me and other exasperated observers skeptic and apprehensive over the success of an apparently futile exercise.

While the duly-established republic wants a peace deal forged and sealed, the opposite side of the bargaining talk is not so sincere about the peace overtures and, by their characteristics alone, the rebels are vengeful, dishonest and plain schemers. No wonder previous panelists of the government were duped and double-crossed and nothing came out of the much ballyhooed peace talks! And to think international interventions have even been tapped.

So, if we go by the same disastrous routes, we are all suckers of Moro double talk and lies. It's better to focus our efforts on the upliftment of the living conditions of our impoverished brethren in the hinterlands of Mindanao.


And now comes another no-brainer: the creation of the Bangsamoro in lieu of the obviously-failed Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARRM). Data supplied cite Bangsamoro "will encompass a territory much smaller than the one proposed through the Muslim homeland agreement and will cover the five provinces in the ARMM, plus six municipalities in Lanao del Norte, several villages in six municipalities in North Cotabato, Cotabato City and Isabela City in Basilan".

With the creation of Bangsamoro, can peace be finally achieved considering the troublesome naure of its residents? Why not let them be by themselves, or better still, encourage them to seek their own kind in Malaysia or Indonesia? Why pamper them with privileges and other peacekeeping perks and privileges? Have we had not enough of the murderous Ampatuan clan? Sus.

To illustrate, in some distant past, treachery was evident in the ill-fated meeting of some Moro leaders with the unsuspecting then General Teodolfo Bautista and his men, who were persuaded not to arm themselves and then were mercilessly gunned down by the rebels. Now, who are we to talk peace? While at it, how come the government cannot hold Jose Maria Sison and other prominent dissenters for past transgressions?

Let not PNoy rejoice prematurely over the euphoria of the success of the newly-established Bangsamoro state. As long as it is inhabited by crazies from remnants of the MILF and MNLF, there is nary a chance to realize peace.


It's begging time again. With the onset of the holiday season, expect hordes of Badjaos and Aetas to roam the streets (and even offices!) begging for alms from both the motorists, passersby and office workers. Why is this so? Are the authorities allowing this degrading act?


By the time this column comes out, I will be in Baguio City attending the 2012 National PESO Congress at the Baguio Convention Center scheduled from October 10-13, 2012. This annual event, participated in by PESO Manager and Coordinators nationwide, is steered by national president Beth Alonzo who is also president of Bulacan PESO managers and ably assisted by Pampanga Provincial PESO Manager Luningning Y. Vergara and other national PESO officials.


I had the opportunity to meet with former Congressman Francis "Blueboy" Nepomuceno over lunch at Maranao Grill of the Oasis Hotel last Monday and he, in a nutshell, laid out plans as a comebacking representative for the First District of Pampanga: continue with his programs he left when left Congress, like infra projects, delivery of basic services, employment/job generation, health, education, sports and shelter. This time, says Blueboy, he intends to revitalize programs for all sectors in the first district, including the residents' empowerment and participation in governance.

Coming later was Vice Mayorable Mark Allen Sison who is running under the United Nationalist Alliance banner of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay whose performance and approval ratings are that high and still continues to please his constituents.

Like Governor Lilia "Nanay Baby" G. Pineda, these two gentlemen pledged not to resort to mudslinging and instead focus on good performance, credibility, competence and laudable vision for their constituents. Bravo to these two gentlemen!


What is this I read that in Abra the election season for inmates means some freedom for some of them as politicians bail out some of them or arrange their temporary release so they could serve as goons during next year's elections. What?

With loose firearms (with goons and gold) all over the place, would next May's elections be honest, orderly and peaceful?

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on October 12, 2012.


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