- Interrogating Mamasapano
- March 18, 20150
Two foundational premises must inform the inquiry into the Mamasapano Misencounter. First, no unjustified death by violence of any Filipino should be condoned. In one day, a Muslim community, suffering what they experienced as an unprovoked attack, lost 17 members. Did not these casualties also leave grieving parents, widows, orphans?
The Philippines is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious community. Many statements in mainstream and social media, some quite vicious, obviously reject the principle that the national government is responsible for the welfare of all Filipinos, regardless of their religious or racial identity. But this is the fundamental premise upon which rest the peace negotiations aimed at bringing back the Bangsamoro community into the national polity.
Second, no failure of leadership or discipline or training should diminish the value of the ultimate sacrifice the SAF 44 paid in the service of their country. Sadly, failures did occur on both the Christian and the Muslim side that resulted in the bloody clash at Mamasapano. Senior officials on both sides bear the burden of probing how and why and by whom these came about-- to ensure that justice is done and to prevent similar disasters in the future.
To his credit, SAF Director Getulio Napeñas immediately accepted responsibility for his role in the misencounter. He chose not to use the mechanisms established under the provisional peace agreement to avert accidental armed confrontations, because he did not trust the MILF. According to a military source, this framework for coordination has actually worked; no “misencounter” has taken place between the army and the MILF since 2010.
Neither did Napeñas coordinate Operation Wolverine with the armed forces, which SAF later tried to summon to their aid. Army units available to help did not have and could not get the information they needed to provide timely support to the beleaguered troops. Initial reports indicated that SAF could not communicate directly with military reinforcements, because they were on different radio frequencies, and did not have the equipment to direct artillery or air assets against enemy positions.
These were serious lapses. But Napeñas maintained that he made a judgment call, command decisions that he believed followed from his mission order or within his authority to make.
The PNP will need to conduct its own internal review of the incident, which will include a judgment on whether Napeñas, already suspended, deserves censure. Whatever verdict it eventually reaches, Napeñas is already suffering the punishment and the pain of knowing that he had led 44 men to their deaths.
The MILF must conduct their own inquiry into the conduct of the troops they control. The public expects MILF commanders on the ground to be as forthright as Napeñas in admitting to their superiors accountability for any action that contributed to prolonging the fire-fight. This information MILF leaders themselves should want to know. An earlier disengagement would probably have reduced SAF fatalities, but it might also have averted some deaths among their own troops.
However difficult for those who lost loved ones, they may yet accept death in the heat of combat as part of the occupational risks that security forces accept. But the MILF must quickly disprove reports that their troops robbed and mutilated SAF casualties or charge and sanction those who were responsible for the crime.
An internal investigation would be mandatory for any institution confronting a crisis on the scale of Mamasapano. Since such post-mortem assessments would focus mainly on institutional systems and interests, we would also need an impartial, third-party commission credible to the MILF, the government and the general public.
But the eight distinct bodies reportedly now being contemplated to conduct separate inquiries seem an excessive and potentially dysfunctional investment of the scarce human and material resources of agencies already burdened with their own responsibilities. Should these inquiries reach divergent conclusions, who will determine which one is right?
With presidential elections drawing closer, the danger that partisan political interests will drive these inquiries will become more pronounced. To prevent a protracted and inconclusive process that will not serve our national interests, the review must keep a close focus on the planning and execution of Operation Wolverine.
The misencounter at Mamasapano has already exacted a heavy toll. Placing on the balance the loss of 44 men against the elimination of Marwan, SAF survivors believe that the expenditures of these lives was a hard but acceptable bargain—because allowing Marwan to train more terrorists to explode bombs would eventually have cost more casualties.
A similar calculation of potential costs should guide our thinking on the peace process. How many more lives will be sacrificed, like those of the SAF44, should the Mamasapano Misencounter provoke the dismantling of the peace agreement and the resumption of war?
The prospects for peace in Mindanao should not become another casualty lost at Mamasapano.#####7 Feb 15 Edilberto C. de Jesus (email@example.com)
Professor Emeritus, Asian Institute of ManagementBUSINESS MATTERS
- March 18, 20150
Roles reinforced, roles reversed
Edilberto C. de Jesus
Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:33 AM | Saturday, March 7th, 2015
Overlapping Mamasapano hearings, the 29th anniversary of Edsa 1986, and the launch of the Almonte memoir underline continuities and discontinuities in our history.
The bravery and fidelity to duty of the Special Action Force 44 are not in doubt. But investigative findings raise questions on how the planning, coordination and execution of Oplan Exodus contributed to the SAF casualties. Nevertheless, bishops demand that P-Noy apologize and resign over the Mamasapano debacle.
Did these bishops demand that the Marcoses apologize and renounce public office for participating in, or profiting from, the crimes committed during the martial law years? Presidential Commission on Good Government chief Andy Bautista recently reminded us that plundered wealth still remains under Marcos control.
Delayed deliberations on the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which Mamasapano made more urgent, risk breathing new life to the Muslim-Christian conflict exacerbated by Ferdinand Marcos. As Amina Bernardo recalled, it was the Marcos Jabidah massacre, exposed by Ninoy Aquino on the Senate floor, that transformed Nur Misuari from UP academic to revolutionary. Perhaps, Senator Bongbong has forgotten that his father provoked the Moro National Liberation Front secessionist insurgency.
But the Edsa commemoration might have refreshed his memory and helped him comprehend what had appeared to confound him in the hearings. Gen. Rustico Guerrero of the Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command had explained that according to military doctrine, information was required before unleashing artillery fire to reduce the risk of harming friendly forces and noncombatants.
Doctrine notwithstanding, Senator Bongbong asked whether Guerrero would have disobeyed a presidential order to fire artillery in support of endangered SAF units. Had Guerrero said “no,” critics could have faulted P-Noy for failing to give the command that might have saved SAF lives. Guerrero stood his ground; the prudential principle would preempt even a presidential order.
This response, Senator Bongbong clearly did not expect. Neither did his father expect that soldiers would defy his command to fire on rebel soldiers and the civilians protecting them at Edsa ’86.
After the post-World War II Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials, military officers charged with war crimes can no longer depend on the defense that they were merely following orders. A terrorist suicide bomber gives up his life to kill his victims. Artillery fire indiscriminately dealing death from a distance could have exposed Guerrero to criminal charges.
Mamasapano offered legislators a chance to demonstrate their grasp of conflict-resolution and peace-building processes, the complex threat of international terrorism, and the protracted Muslim-Christian conflict in Mindanao. This chance was largely wasted.
In sessions marked by badgering and bullying, confusing and incoherent questioning bordering on bigotry, the exchange between the son of the dictator and the professional descendants of the post-Edsa military offered a glimpse of hope. The trajectory has not been straight or steep, but the AFP appears to be keeping in step with humanity’s slow evolution toward higher ethical standards.
The most instructive and edifying episodes in the Mamasapano hearings have come from those closest to the combat: the military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal. Both parties had kept their guns muzzled for three years. Both recognized the threat that uncoordinated police action in contested territory posed to the lives of soldiers and noncombatants and to the progress of the peace process.
The MILF did activate the ceasefire protocol when it realized that its forces and those of the government had clashed at Mamasapano. While the AFP mobilized to lend support to the SAF, its officers rightly worried also about how the escalation of the conflict would impact on the peace process.
Beyond the congressional hearings, AFP leaders also showed their sensitivity to the complex character of the Mindanao conflict. At a forum of business leaders convened by the Institute for Corporate Directors on Feb. 24, Gen. Ariel Bernardo opened the discussions by explaining his support for the BBL process.
At the FEU Public Policy Center forum that same day, former AFP chief of staff Emmanuel Bautista made an impassioned argument for peace. Both men know the costs of war. General Bernardo’s first assignment in Mindanao dates back to the ’80s. General Bautista’s father, Gen. Teodulfo Bautista, died in an MNLF ambush.
Meanwhile, our fearless politicians talk about “pulverizing” the enemy. We have seen before this role reversal of professional soldiers preferring peace and civilians urging war. President Joseph Estrada had won many splendid battles—in the movies. President Fidel Ramos had experienced actual combat. But it was the artista who declared all-out war against the Muslims and the veteran soldier who pursued a peace agreement.
Police officers have justified the 44 SAF casualties as the price for eliminating Marwan. The question that should have been probed before launching Exodus: Was Marwan’s elimination worth the risk of derailing the BBL process and the prospects for peace in Mindanao?
If the resumption of war turns out to be the cost of Exodus, Marwan, with assistance from our politicians, would have achieved his biggest triumph.
Edilberto C. de Jesus (firstname.lastname@example.org) is professor emeritus at the Asian Institute of Management.
Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/83123/roles-reinforced-roles-reversed#ixzz3TfDs7Ijb
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on FacebookChina pledges $40 billion for new 'Silk Road'
- January 14, 20150
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping is promising $40 billion to help Asian nations improve trade links in a new effort to assert Beijing's ambitions as a regional leader.
Xi made the pledge in a meeting with leaders of Pakistan, Bangladesh and five other Asian nations ahead of this week's Asia-Pacific economic summit, state media reported Sunday.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation gathering brings together leaders of the United States, China, Japan and 18 other economies, giving Beijing a prominent platform to assert its ambitions for a regional leadership role to match its status as the world's second-largest economy.
The summit Monday and Tuesday also gives opportunities for regional diplomacy, including a possible ice-breaking meeting between the leaders of China and Japan after two years of tensions in an island dispute that raised concerns of a military confrontation between Asia's two largest economies.
Beijing has launched a series of initiatives this year aimed at increasing its influence in what it sees as U.S.-dominated regional and global trade, finance and security structures.
The latest effort, the "Silk Road Fund," will finance infrastructure and cooperation in industry and finance to link Asian economies, Xi said in the meeting Saturday with leaders of Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Tajikistan.
"Efforts by a single or several countries are far from adequate," said Xi, according to China's official Xinhua News Agency. "Only by building extensive partnerships where all will think and work in unison can we expect to achieve positive results."
Last month, China and 20 other Asian governments launched a $50 billion bank to finance infrastructure in the region, despite U.S. objections that it was an unneeded duplication of work by the World Bank. Beijing is providing most of the startup capital.
In May, Xi called for the creation of a new Asian structure for security cooperation based on a group that includes Russia and excludes the United States.
Linking Asian countries is "not merely about building roads and bridges or making linear connection of different places," Xi was quoted as saying.
"More importantly, it should be a three-way combination of infrastructure, institutions and people-to-people exchanges and a five-way progress in policy communication, infrastructure connectivity, trade link, capital flow and understanding among peoples," he said.
In a speech Sunday, Xi said China's economy is shifting to a "new normal" of slower but more stable growth and has the resiliency to overcome any bumps in the road.
Xi also touted the benefits of Chinese development to the world in the speech, given to Asian business leaders gathered in Beijing ahead of the APEC summit.
China's outbound investment will exceed $1.25 trillion over the next 10 years, while the country will import more than $10 trillion worth of goods and send more than 500 million tourists abroad over next five years, Xi said. "For the Asia-Pacific and the world at large, China's development will generate huge opportunities and benefits, and hold lasting and infinite promise," Xi said.
China is spearheading a free trade initiative — the Free-Trade Area of the Asia Pacific — seen as part of Beijing's efforts to counter U.S. domination of global trade and financial regulation. China's economic growth slowed to a five-year low of 7.3 percent in the latest quarter.
The International Monetary Fund says China should lower its growth target to no more than 7 percent for next year. The Conference Board, a New York-based research group, has forecast that China's economic growth will decelerate to 4 percent a year between 2020 and 2025.
However, Xi said the economy is robust, with strong job growth, low inflation, rising incomes and a shift away from investment to services and high-tech manufacturing.
China is also shifting to a consumption-driven economy, reducing reliance on investment and exports, Xi said. "Under the 'new normal' conditions, China's economic growth has become more stable and driven by more diverse forces," Xi said.
The world's No. 2 economy has shifted down a gear from the torrid rates of the previous decade, but remains among the world's most dynamic, he said.
Addressing concerns about further declines in growth, Xi said China recognized emerging risks but described them as "not that formidable."
"Resilience best equips the Chinese economy against risks," Xi said.
Associated Press Business Writer Joe McDonald contributed to this report.Source Surin Pitsuwan: The Role Of Muslim Democrats
- December 16, 20140
HUMAN SECURITY: FROM CONCEPT TO PRACTICE Case Studies from Northeast India and Orissa
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CONCEALED SECRETS In the Museum Buildings of Ubud Bali
by SAROJINIA Foreword
Why are museums built all around the world? How important is it that it must be built? These were questions I asked frequently and they became my attraction to write about the museum subject in this book. There is a saying that goes like this:"Learn from History"
Robert V. Daniels, a historian, stated that history is a memory of human experience. Therefore, it can be concluded that it is in the learning from the experience of our fore fathers that we may understand the good way of living, and then, how to develop further the good things started by our older generations. Aside from that, the understanding of history can also help us avoid mistakes made by our predecessors, that it will not be repeated with all its negative effects on nature and human life. History can help man, particularly the younger generations, understand human behavior in the past and present in order to be predicted in the future. But how can we study and understand human behavior in three different periods of time all at once? This is one of the answers why a museum should be built.
A museum is not only the place to store and exhibit the historical items but also to document and collect products of the creations of the people from generation to generation. Some of the collections are the only items left in this world, and these items are very valuable, but they are fragile and sensitive for the theft. They need special maintenances and cares. That is why the museum should be planned and designed with special considerations of these problems.
"Concealed Secrets In The Museums Of Ubud, Bali" is a book that elaborates on Ubud museum architecture. This book shall be the first book in Indonesia that analyzes and explores the architectural and artistic aspects of museum buildings in Ubud, explaining the design concepts based on the owners hope and objective in building the museum. Why am I interested in Ubud museums? There are a number of very specific advantages and uniquenesses of the museums in Ubud to be uncovered. Generally Indonesian museums make use of buildings from the Dutch colonial time, where the designs are of course works of Dutch architects in Indonesia. These buildings are known as Indie buildings. Some of the museums are built by the Dutch government even before Indonesia's Independence, and afterwards the management of these buildings were then taken over by the Indonesian government. There are also old buildings which in the colonial times functioned as government offices, transformed into the museums of today. From the architectural point of view, these buildings certainly do not reflect the works of the native sons of this nation, while my intention is to expose museum structures which truly represent the culture and creation of Indonesia's sons, as cultural assets worthy to be proud of. Henceforth we may observe and learn how local designers interpret museum structures according to their own views, each based on their own social and cultural backgrounds as multi cultural Indonesian.
Ubud is famous as a centre of art and culture which has its own uniqueness among the museums of Indonesia, The development of museum construction in Ubud is very fast. There is some specific uniqueness that needs to be uncovered; they are not built and managed by the government but by individual members of the amazing Ubud society. Why are they willing to build museums? These non-profitable general buildings need a lot of money to construct; the operation and maintenance costs are also quite high while investment returns are uncertain. Moreover, the works of high value that have become the museum's collections can not be sold anymore. This is one of the museum secrets that need to be uncovered; because these individuals are persons whose concept of building museums with such noble intentions can become role models for the younger generations. A person's worth to be regarded as nation's culture conservation heroes.
The other uniqueness about the museums in Ubud is that most of Ubud museums reflect the original and specific Balinese architecture, even though one of them has been the result of the coorporation between Indonesians and foreign designers, the building still shows the original Balinese character. There is still a museum that is the result of the intermingled cultural ideas of the two cultures, but also still sticks to the Balinese cultural values.
This book is divided into two parts: the first part will explain the history of museum development in Ubud and the leading figures involved. Then follows a summary of the prevailing terms and conditions in building a museum in Ubud, that based on national and the related local regulations (HIMUSBA). I think this is very important to learn in order for us to realize whether these regulations and terms will influence very much the concept and the form of the museum buildings. The further explanation of this part is about the Ubud environment as an international tourism resort; the condition of its environment, the local society, culture and the specific uniqueness of Ubud, because we like to know whether the physical environment and social culture will give consideration to the construction of the museums in Ubud.
The second part of this book is the core of its discussion, which is the analysis of the Ubud museum's architecture, covering building lay out, building room lay out, building construction, construction materials, building exterior and interior design, aesthetic detail and landscape. The five Ubud museums to be analyzed were chosen based on the similarity of type: they were all museums of art that have the same aspects to be analyzed. Aside of that, all these 5 museums are from the architectural point of view already well known nationally and internationally acknowledged as museum buildings. These 5 museum buildings also have each their own uniqueness quite intriguing to be discussed architecturally.About the author
Sarojini Imran is a fellow of BABA 7. She is currently a lecturer in the Faculty of Architecture Engineering at Pancasila University, Indonesia. She has a Bachelor of Engineering and a Master of Science in Anthropology. She has written much on issues of sustainable development and on architecture.
"Those interested in acquiring 'Concealed Secrets' please write to the author at email@example.com