From DVIDS (Sep 18): AFP, U.S. Marines Begin “Groundbreaking” Work in Puerto Princesa City
U.S. Marine Col. John Armellino, front, and Armed Forces of the Philippines Marine Col. Custodio J. Parcon Jr. shovel cement onto a capsule filled with a blueprint of two classrooms during a groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 16 at the Maoyon Elementary School in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines. The ceremony signified the start of a humanitarian civic assistance project to build two new classrooms and a bathroom that will provide the resources needed to teach more than 100 students. Parcon is the deputy commander of the 3rd Marine Brigade, and a native of Iloilo, Philippines. Armellino the chief of staff of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, III Marine Expeditionary Force, and a native of Newark, New Jersey,. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Matt Myers/Released)
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, PALAWAN, Philippines – Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. Marines gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 16 at Maoyon Elementary School in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines.
The ceremony signified the start of a humanitarian civic assistance project to build two new classrooms and a bathroom that will provide the resources needed to teach more than 100 students.
“We will have community members, along with school teachers and students, working with the U.S. and Philippine Marines to build these classrooms,” said Irene Dilla, the school principal. “We are so thankful that you (both) are here to help us, and the children are all excited.”
When construction is completed on Oct. 6, the school will provide a safe and comfortable environment for the children of Puerto Princes to have the opportunity to learn, according to Dilla, a native of Maoyon, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines.
AFP and U.S. service members will partner around the area to complete more community relations projects to assist where help is most needed and build upon friendships, according to Col. John Armellino, chief of staff for 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“Our Philippine counterparts select all the project sites because they know what needs help better than we do,” said Armellino, a Newark, New Jersey native. “[These projects] allow us to work closely and make important memories. If you have a friend and you want to strengthen that bond, then you need to participate in activities together to form a lasting relationship.”
As the ceremony came to a close, a hole was dug so Armellino and AFP Marine Col. Custodio J. Parcon Jr., could place a capsule holding the new classroom blueprint into the ground before pouring cement over the top of it to signify the beginning of the project and, with it, a brighter future for generations of school children.
“This training gives our country positive exposure and will be seen all around the world,” said Parcon, deputy commander, 3rd Marine Brigade, AFP and native of Iloilo, Philippines. “It is also good because the U.S. Marines here [help] the locals and they help teach the children how to speak English.”
This was the oft-repeated message of Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, Chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. This was also stated in his speech during the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in Malacañang Palace on March 27, 2014.
Successful insurgency or revolutionary struggle necessarily must have legitimate reasons to fight the state and rally the people around it. Popular support is indispensable in the success of this life-and-death struggle. The MILF has all these elements to keep it alive and moving to become the most organized and strongest of all the so-called Moro rebel groups in Mindanao. It has even eclipsed the mother organization, the Moro National Liberation Front, when the latter had failed to consolidate its gains both militarily and politically.
The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which is currently under deliberation in both chambers of Congress, has addressed most if not all of the legitimate reasons for any legitimate revolutionary or jihadic organization to fight the state. Anyone or group who fight the government, after a good BBL is finally put into law and sincerely implemented on the ground, will no longer have the cause to fight for and get the support of the people and the international community. Such a struggle will eventually lose steam and fade eventually.
Contrary to the fears of some people, the BBL is a menu for unity and solidarity of the entire Philippine state. Continue to deny the Moros of their basic rights and legitimate aspirations for right to self-determination is to provide them good ammunition to exist and fight a popular war.
We firmly believe the BBL is an antidote to secession; and moreover, it gives more legitimacy to the Philippine state.
In the BBL, it addresses the issues of identity, territory of the Bangsamoro, ancestral domain, natural resources, sharing of powers and wealth, administration of justice (Shariah Law, local courts, and indigenous justice system of the indigenous peoples), human rights issues, etc. What more a Moro can ask for?
Of course, solving the Bangsamoro Question or Problem will not be fully addressed by the BBL alone even if it is passed by Congress. The basis of the BBL is only the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), its four Annexes and the Addendum on the Bangsamoro Waters, thereby leaving other parts of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) not yet addressed or unimplemented.
This will be done through the other mandate of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) which is to make proposals to amend the Constitution. And almost surely, one of the proposals is to give reserved seats in the Senate for the Moros and the indigenous peoples in this country.