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US troops in the Philippines. Moro terrorists

Bienvenido Macario forwarded an article from the Daily Tribune of which here is an extract claiming that ousted President Estrada was more vigorous in pursuing Muslim terrorists than President Gloria Arroyo. The terrorists are called "Moros" , Moors, even though they have nothing to do with Morocco, because the Spaniards went around the world and were appalled to find the "Moors" they had finally expelled from Spain. The Catholic bishops were pleading with Estrada not to use force against them. Estrada showed them why he had to:

"One night in the presidential palace in the year 2000, a delegation led by the muy santificado Ricardo Cardinal Vidal and CBCP president Bishop Orlando Quevedo met with President Joseph Estrada and his Chief of Staff, "judgment call" Angelo Reyes. They were imploring the President to stop his Mindanao campaign. Estrada firmly, though politely, said no. When Quevedo argued further, Estrada asked that they view with him a videotape of an incident that happened in Maguindanao just weeks before.

Kneeling hogtied before his MILF captors was a Filipino soldier, tortured black and blue, stripped naked waist-up. His tormentors shouted at him, ordering him to pray. The soldier started mumbling the words of the Our Father. Just about when he was to say, "give us this day..." a swift slash of a kampilan severed his head from his body. The prelates of the Church were horrified, and for a few minutes, there was nothing but absolute silence. Then, Joseph Estrada, in tone and decisiveness most presidential, admonished the holy men, "I hope you understand why I must..."

I still think most highly of the Filipino soldier. Which is why I cannot for the life of me understand the hallelujah chorus that greets the American soldiers with open arms amid the strains of Handel's Messiah, not because I hate the Abu Sayyaf any less than any other indignant Filipino, not because I regard the American military as interlopers, but because of the craven submissiveness with which our leadership, ironically led by an Iron Lady(?) [Gloria Arroyo], would denigrate the pride and capability of our own fighting men.Why not just resuscitate the late Bartolome Cabangbang's campaign for Philippine Statehood, USA? I'm sure we would get millions of signatures in a week".

My comment: There clearly is a split between the Catholic Church which opposes and the military, who want harsh action against the Moro terrorists. I doubt that the US would be interested in giving statehood to the Philippines.

Ronald Hilton - 2/24/02