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Just another ‘shake the tree’

Similar to his verbal offensive in the war on drugs, Duterte’s rants received immediate results.

When former President Rodrigo Duterte uttered the aspiration for an independent Mindanao, many listeners fell off their chairs, and secession hung thick in the air.

That happens to people still unfamiliar with the hyperbole of Duterte.

To make a point, Duterte would employ his abrasive talk that he describes as a way of shaking a tree to get to the fruits.

It was so effective in the war on drugs that rights groups were right on his back, believing every word that he spewed was what would happen or had happened.

The allegations of rights violations stemmed from the words he uttered during his many addresses rather than the evidence. Hypocritical groups then connected his statements to the rising number of deaths amid the intense campaign against narcotics.

Thus, the immediate conclusion was that Duterte had ordered the killing of thousands of individuals who were suspected of involvement in the drug trade.

Transpose his statements on secession, and it comes out that his call for an “independent Mindanao” is his rant against Imperial Manila.

Most of all, it expresses Duterte’s disappointment over how past and current administrations used resources and taxpayer money.

In explaining his call later, Duterte said he wanted to “regroup Mindanao leaders to push for the Mindanao initiative, which is for the island of Mindanao to secede from the Republic of the Philippines.”

Similar to his verbal offensive in the war on drugs, Duterte’s rants received immediate results.

Duterte, a lawyer, said that secession should not be considered rebellion or sedition when it goes through the legal process.

“Before the United Nations, the process starts when you gather signatures, which will be verified, under oath, in the presence of so many people, we sign that we want to separate,” Duterte said.

He also expressed disappointment over how the “people in power” spent government money.

“I will tell them our money is just being exhausted by this devil who is spending it carelessly. Mindanao is rich, the mine is here, the mining is here,” Duterte said.

He said he wanted Mindanao to be independent “because several presidents have come and gone, but nothing has happened to the Philippines.”

Former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, one of the prime movers for “secession,” cited the example of Singapore, “when (former prime minister) Lee Kuan Yew and the other leaders of Singapore decided to secede from Malaysia which did not result in bloodshed,” he said.

Lee had told the Malaysian government to allow them to secede “because maybe in the future we can help you.”

“Had Lee Kuan Yew and the other leaders not mustered enough courage to separate from Malaysia, maybe up to now Singapore would still be part of a third-world country,” Alvarez said, adding that Singapore’s only asset was good governance.

Touting a secession immediately received a response from the center of power. The reaction was mostly about quelling a rebellion similar to the 1970s-armed rebellion of the Moro National Liberation Front of Nur Misuari.

The attention of the central government, thus, has been refocused towards Mindanao since, after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. took office, attention again shifted away from Mindanao as key projects were placed in the freezer.

Duterte has found that his style of magnifying problems has worked in the past and is expected to produce results today.


Credit belongs to: tribune.net.ph

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