Monday, September 21, 2009


The saber-rattling of the administration against Malaysia is really an old ploy used as a last resort by Philippine officials from way back whenever crisis managers meet to devise means to take the heat off from an angry citizenry over government failures as misrule, high prices and lack of essential services.

During a crucial make-or-break meeting of political and propaganda strategists during the height of anger over the martial law regime of President Marcos, declaring war with Malaysia was discussed as a way to divert the people's anger from the military rule.

The proposal was defeated by a narrow vote mostly from peaceniks who said the consequences might become too horrible to handle. Even as far back as the regime of President Garcia, war with Malaysia was also discussed mainly through a former newsman who had become one of Garcia's trusted advisers and who served as a diplomat in that country.

The thorn in the relations between the two countries is the claim to oil-rich Sabah, traditionally a part of the Philippines until ceded to Malaysia by the British when they pulled out of that country. This was bitterly contested by the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu, the recognized owners of the island.

There are more than half a million Pinoys in Sabah. This has prompted Kuala Lumpur to beef up its military facilities there to counteract the Pinoy presence. Malaysian officials had admitted that if armed hostilities break out in the island now, it would be a walk away for the Philippines due to the big Filipino group of settlers there. Malaysia has ordered modern air and naval craft and weapons from the United Kingdom, which has caused grave concern in Manila.
War with Malaysia? Why, the AFP can't even annihilate the Abu Sayyaf.

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