“Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them.”
Ephesians 5: 11
The Philippines is just one of the many countries worldwide where journalists, lawyers and judges are slain and their killers go free. Mexico is also very dangerous for anyone that reports on the cartels and the cartels routinely eliminate large numbers of police officers within any city where the authorities take a stand against cartel domination. Mexico is a nation where almost every firearm in the hands of its own people is illegal.
Even Mexican police officers are often disarmed when off duty because so many of them have been involved in the murder, rape and slavery perpetrated by the cartels across whole regions. So can the Philippines learn anything from Mexico?
Political Assassination in the U.S. Russia, Iraq and other nations are high on the danger list for journalists, lawyers and others. But the United States is not immune to journalists being murdered for publishing things that their opponents find objectionable. The refugees who came to the United States from Vietnam saw Vietnamese assassinated by anti-communist groups.
August 24, 1982. Nguyen Dam Phong Tu Do (Freedom) Houston, Texas was allegedly assassinated at his home by an anti-communist group.
June 19, 1984. Alan Berg KOA (AM) Denver, Colorado A liberal radio show host was murdered by a white nationalist group. Then on October 15, 1984, Henry Liu (a.k.a. Chiang Nan) Freelancer and author Daly City, California A critic of the Kuomintang who was assassinated allegedly on the orders of the Kuomintang.
August 9, 1987. Tap Van Pham (a.k.a. Hoai Diep Tu) Mai Garden Grove, California He was assassinated by arson while sleeping in his office by an anti-communist group that took responsibility.
November 22, 1989. Nhan Trong Do Van Nghe Tien Phong Fairfax County, Virginia A layout designer who worked with Triet Le, he was the first employer of the Vietnamese-language magazine to be assassinated.
September 22, 1990. Triet Le Van Nghe Tien Phong Bailey’s Crossroads, Virginia A columnist of controversial content for the same Vietnamese magazine that employed Nhan Trong Do. Assassinated.
February 18, 1991 Jean-Claude Olivier WLQY-AM (1320) Little Haiti, Miami, Florida A colleague of D’Or, he was known for his controversial commentary and was assassinated on his way to his car.
March 15, 1991. Fritz D’Or WLQY-AM (1320) Little Haiti, Miami, Florida A colleague of Olivier’s at WLQY, he was assassinated as he left a club.
March 11, 1992. Manuel de Dios Unanue El Diario La Prensa Queens, New York City, New York Murdered by Colombian drug traffickers for writing about drug trade.
October 24, 1993. Dona St. Plite WKAT-AM Little Haiti, Miami, Florida St. Plite was attending a benefit for former colleague Fritz Dor when he was also assassinated for supporting Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
October 18, 2000. James Edwin Richards Citizen journalist, editor and publisher Venice, Los Angeles, California Richards was murdered at his Oakwood neighborhood home in the neighborhood where he had established himself as a citizen crime reporter.
September 11, 2001. Bill Biggart Freelance photographer Lower Manhattan, New York City, New York Killed while photographing the rescue effort outside the World Trade Center before the tower collapsed.
October 5, 2001. Robert Stevens Sun Boca Raton, Florida Murdered as one of the media targets of the 2001 anthrax attacks less than a month after 9/11.
August 2, 2007. Chauncey Bailey The Oakland Post Oakland, California After investigating corruption in his community, Bailey was murdered on his way to work by the target of his reporting.
August 26, 2015. Alison Parker WDBJ 7 Moneta, Virginia Parker, a reporter, and Ward, a photojournalist, were shot on live television by one-time colleague Vester Flanagan while interviewing a subject about tourism.
Defensa Sa Sarili. Filipino doctors, priests, journalists and accountants are now allowed to arm themselves while at work under a controversial new gun law that took effect in their country in 2014.
Journalists Assassinated in the U.S. The reality is that corrupt government factions are behind many such executions around the world. In the U.S., we have seen drug cartels, Black Muslims, Neo-Nazis and Anti-Communist groups execute journalists. We have even seen anthrax attacks kill journalists. Ironically, some journalists at CNN were accusing the President of the United States of inciting violence by tweeting a meme that shows CNN getting trounced in a wrestling match! However, real threats made against news personnel often don’t get reported because news organizations fear retaliation against reporters and correspondents in the field.
The fact that journalists and news media organizations have apprehension about violent attacks is legitimate, however. In the current climate, there is motivation for terrorists, political zealots, the mentally ill and others to attack journalists. It is unknown how many U.S. journalists carry a gun for safety. Many members of the press write articles against guns and claim it is just plain wrong or dangerous to be armed. Nevertheless, we know some say one thing and do something else. Some journalists carry a gun and others have security professionals that provide armed protection. Lawyers and judges are also at risk. Everyone benefits from the right to bear arms!
Autodefensas. A movement began in Michoacán, Mexico several years ago showed amazing success at opposing the cartel violence that was allegedly condoned by the Mexican government. The citizen volunteers, known as a Autodefensas, were so successful in opposing the cartels with road blocks, arrests and armed opposition to cartel operations that the government could not stop them. The Mexican government eventually legalized the Autodefensa groups and invited them to partner with the government.
José Manuel Mireles Valverde. Dr. Mirele is a Mexican medical doctor and former leader and founder of the paramilitary Autodefensa groups that fought against the Knights Templar Cartel, and other cartels, After legalizing the Autodefensa and giving the groups official recognition, the Mexican government arrested Dr. Mireles.
Growth of Autodefensas. Nevertheless, various self-defense groups spread across Mexico. There have been allegations that the U.S. government worked with the Mexican government to favor some cartels and undermine others. Thus, the Mexican people have started to realize that something like the Second Amendment will do more to stop the violence than merely waiting for their politicians to solve the problem. Meanwhile, President Trump has raised the question of how he will avenge the recent deaths of nine U.S. citizens, including women and children, who were targeted by cartel gunmen in Mexico.
Philippine Journalists targeted. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), 159 journalists have been killed in the Philippines since 1992. Many are also missing. One recent example is the November 7th killing of radio reporter Dindo Generoso in the central Philippines city of Dumaguete.
Police Officers Implicated. Generoso was shot by two motorcycle-riding assailants while driving his car to host his regular morning radio program. Generoso is reported to have been killed by eight .45 caliber gunshots to the head and body. He was declared dead on arrival at the Sillman University Medical Center, the Philippine Star reported. Authorities announced murder charges against four people, including a current and a former police officer, according to CNN Philippines.
Maguindanao massacre. The 2009 Maguindanao massacre, also known as the Ampatuan massacre, on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, resulted in the death of 58 people who were kidnapped and killed. At least 34 journalists are known to have died in the massacre. Verdicts regarding some of the defendants are finally to be announced in December of 2019.
Filipino Lawyers Not Immune. There have been a large number of lawyers killed in the Philippines. The usual gaggle of NGOs, human rights advocates, and UN affiliated Leftists, has not helped matters by constantly blaming President Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs for almost every death of a journalist, judge, prosecutor or any other unsolved killing or disappearance.
George Soros Stirs the Pot?. The same Soros-funded forces that allegedly work overtime to discredit President Trump as a racist and enemy of human rights for just saying “NO” to illegal immigration indignantly shout that using deadly force while making drug arrests is a crime against human rights. This is the accusation even when the arresting officers are confronted with lethal force!
Human Rights Groups. Do arrests of drug suspects that result in use of lethal force constitute extra-judicial killing? That is the accusation brought by United Nations advocates. But every case has unique facts and such issues are not for ideology-driven agitators to decide. The Philippines is a sovereign nation, not a dependent client of the United Nations or any other foreign power.
Let’s see human rights issues being addressed in China, Russia, Mexico, the United States and Iran, to name a few. Why weren’t the human rights folks and Soros operatives cheering when President Trump proposed to send troops into Chicago to staunch the gang warfare there?
Restrictions on Philippine Firearms. There is one proven initiative that President Duterte can implement to empower the Philippine people and promote law and order. He deserves kudos for the good work he has already done. Philippine gun laws are complicated, time consuming and concealed carry is so expensive that only the very rich or the very determined citizens will ever manage to jump through all the hoops it takes to own a pistol. The president should empower citizens by eliminating red tape and streamlining the process. Making “Away From Home Permits” less expensive and more convenient will help to reduce violent crime.
High Powered Rifle Ban. At the present time, the President is forbidding citizens from owning any rifles that fire rounds more powerful than pistol ammunition. Unless such rifles were owned before the ban, only .22 caliber and other pistol caliber rifles are permitted. So-called high-powered rifles (even .223) are banned, even for marksmanship competitions, unless issued by military or police to members of the armed forces or law enforcement. This may create vulnerability to attacks like the occupation of Marawi if the Philippines is targeted again to become an international Caliphate.
Occupation of the City of Marawi. In 2017, the Philippine armed forces, dislodged ISIS affiliated foreign fighters ensconced in the city of Marawi with air cover and other military assistance from the United States. Islamic extremists took the whole city of Marawi captive for five months. Many jihadists, battle hardened veterans that infiltrated the Philippines straight from fighting in Syria and Iraq, created conditions similar to Raqqa and other cities in Syria and Iraq where ISIS claimed to have established a caliphate.
ISIS affiliated groups are reported to be targeting the Philippines and may still be infiltrating through the many islands that extend beyond Mindanao into the Sulu Sea and Indonesia. Southern Mindanao is a stronghold for Islamic extremism. The struggle for Muslim rule has been fought there and across the Philippines for over 500 years.
Davao City. The principal Southern Philippine City of Davao, located in Mindanao, is President Duterte’s hometown. He established his reputation as a law and order prosecutor. As mayor, he worked with civilian volunteers to clean up crime in the city.
License to Own & Possess. Just obtaining a License to Own & Possess a firearm requires a trip to Iloilo on the Island of Panay if you live in the Central Visayas region. My son spent the better part of a day traveling to the regional police facility there and taking a written neural-psych test that lasted more than two hours. The PNP also interviewed and drug tested him. He had to complete many other requirements, most of which required burdensome documentation.
There are also classes, background checks and another permit required before he can actually take possession of a gun. The additional fees and taxes double the cost of the gun. Thus, a $600.00 Glock 17 might cost close to $1200.00 or more! I originally thought this was because of a tariff to protect domestic arms manufacturers. However, Philippine manufactured ArmsCorps products seem to be just as expensive as Glocks.
Empowering People. So do I think the drug problem can be solved by making it easier for law abiding Filipinos to obtain and carry firearms? The Philippines is a nation where the police protect the people instead of protecting cartels. But if you want cooperative witnesses who are willing to speak up and support the President’s war on drugs, the people need to be able to protect themselves from the criminals.
Vigilance, Not Vigilantes. The last thing the President wants is people taking matters into their own hands. Many Pinoy families have lost family members to the methamphetamine product called Shabu. The people support the President’s mandate against the drug. The problem is that threats originate from so many quarters that the people need to be empowered to stand up boldly and decree an end to foreigners poisoning the nation with Meth. Chinese, Koreans, Japanese Yakuza and other nationalities are getting arrested in drug busts. Empowered citizens will make a difference, however.
Expatriates in the Philippines. There are also many expatriates in the Philippines, often retired members of foreign military forces, that live all around the Philippines but cannot possess guns unless their wives are citizens of the Philippines. Incidentally, a license to carry also requires a very expensive fee over and above the other licenses discussed above. They all need to be renewed (every two years apparently) with additional expenses and documentation including the written psychological examination and other red tape in central cities like Iolilo.
The President has a heart for the working people and the poor. Of course there is concern that firearms will fall into the wrong hands and the security situation is tense due to attacks on the military by Communist rebels and conflict in Mindanao. But the President himself recognizes that high powered rifles in the hands of the people may be needed if reports of widespread terror cell groups turn out to be well founded.
Self-Defense Tradition in the Philippines. When he was mayor of Davao, the President endorsed citizen law and order groups that were similar in concept to the Autodefensas. The terror spread by the growth of the Mexican cartels does not seem to be an imminent threat in the Philippines. Nevertheless, the philosophical foundation for citizens helping the government take back the Philippines in the face of imminent threats has been recognized during many times and in many places. Perhaps some of the time and money spent on psychological testing for LTOP applicants and the huge fees for permission to carry a pistol outside the home could be invested in educating licensed concealed carry holders on legal methods of supporting local police to promote law and order.
Examples of such assistance are assisting Tanods by reporting activities within Barangays. Giving people in local neighborhoods the ability to protect against retaliation empowers those who want to assist the police. Other citizens might volunteer to watch for criminal activity and meet with local police officials to discuss problems in the neighborhoods. Maybe the President can kick start such an initiative and call it “Defensa Sa Sarila At Mga Mahal Sa Buhay.” Let’s look forward to peace and prosperity in the Philippines with empowerment and more firepower for honest Filipinos.