Musings, Thoughts & Commentaries
by Tom Anthony
“Agri-viable” is the word used by President Duterte of the Philippines to illustrate the unique position of Mindanao in his plans.
At the recent National Banana Congress held in Davao City, President Duterte explained the realities of the economic situation in the Philippines and his plan for a third world country to catch up with developed nations. Duterte recommends expanding banana production by gaining efficiency. But there must be peace to expand.
As Militants - ISIS, DASH - promote Moro nationalism, world commerce is highly competitive. Mindanao—the large island comprising about one-third of the Philippines—is not industrial. For hundreds of kilometers one does not see the smoke of a single factory. Rather than try to compete internationally against technologies that are “at their apex”, companies must define core competencies and leverage them. For example, The Philippines should negotiate trade agreements with Japan and China and trade agricultural products for electronics.
The Philippines could crash and become a part of China. Duterte is right, make peace with China. There’s no need for US noses pushed in trying to manage yet another situation that is none of our business and no threat to our nation. We have enough going on other places—and have had little success managing our own crises. Duterte took the opportunity to negotiate with China and other countries of South East Asia to engage in trade with mutual advantages—not referred by other nations who have no business being involved.
My novel, Rebels of Mindanao, asked “what if?” Unfortunately, those “what ifs” may be today’s realities.
There are 6 million drug addicts in the Philippines and a corrupt government taking bribes from the drug dealers.
President Rodrigo Dutarte has defined the term “Narcopolitics” as a culture in which drug dealers provide funds to government officials to overlook immorality. Duterte stated that over 5,000 police captains and other officials have engaged in corrupt activity. He promises to end drugs so that the next generation will not be compromised.
Duterte asks anyone with knowledge of illicit conduct by officials to text him the name and “We will investigate.” As Drug Lords push back and defend their territories, the police fight back resulting in the death of Police officers at the rate of about two officers each day.
It is easy to understand Duterte’s frustration when US President Obama attempted to interfere in the domestic policies of an ally. By putting his nose where it does not belong, Obama is losing the oldest US ally in Asia.
In the sequel to “Sabine” I created the “Drug Lord” as the antagonist, an evil character—long before all this came out. The new novel is “Sarangani Girl” – out next year, and we hope to release concurrent with the movie. My novels are fiction; the characters created. But the stage on which they are set is real and shows the world from a new perspective.
Tom Anthony is a West Point Graduate and combat veteran who spent his professional civilian career in global business all over the world. He has lived and worked in Austria, Italy, Spain, England, Iraq, Israel, and throughout Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Anthony also lived in Mindanao for seven years.
Copyright 2017 Tom Anthony.