Foreign Correspondent: The Philippines
President Marcos has embarked upon a policy of extermination as a solution to the Moslem problem in the Southern Philippines. This is common knowledge even though the same venture with the Jews by Hitler met with horrendous cries of indignation and condemnation. Here in the Philippines the silent war goes on; the Moslems die, children are killed, and the U.S. becomes more involved and little is said or printed. Marcos has, at the present time, no alternative to annihilation of the Moslems; there is no possibility for assimilation, amnesty, or amalgamation; there is only extermination!
It all began when President Marcos declared martial law and decided to break up the private armies that exist in every barrio to protect not only the legislators, but each barrio captain and anyone else who feels a threat from "outside." Marcos called for the surrender of every weapon held by any individual not connected with the government. For the Moslems in the province of Cotabato including Zamboanga and Jolo and Basilan, this order meant more than a governmental decree to give up their wives. Guns to the Moslems are tops in the hierarchy of importance; wives are second. This is the major mistake by Marcos. Some Moslems who owned four weapons turned in one. The vast majority chose to fight, and the young took to the mountains to resist the inadequately-trained government troops.
But there is more…land. The Moslems feel that the government is after their land—which is true. Land has been stolen from the Moslems as the Catholic-Christians move in, but at the same time, the Moslems have sold pieces of property over and over again as titles become obscured, lost, or erased. The whole concept of who owns what and how in the southern part of the Philippines becomes lost through the greed of the Moslems and the Christians.
So what is the solution of the government? Can the Moslems ever be assimilated into the Philippine nationality? Hardly. They are a different religion with unusual concepts such as the acquisition of many wives; their hats are different; they worship in mosques. They are different from the usual Christian Philippino. They feel superior to the Christians in their part of the country. Can they ever be assimilated? The answer is an absolute negative. Then what do you do as president of a country involved in a desperate war with these people? You annihilate them; wipe them out; exterminate them! And that is exactly what is happening now with the help of the U.S. government in planes, napalm, and bombs.
But the solution is not easy. It is costing Marcos more than he is willing to pay in troops and supplies. For the first time in over two decades, the Philippine government is forced into conscripting men into the army.
There are many of us who believe that Vietnam, Cambodia and Indo-China will move slowly southward into the Philippines to help exterminate this small religious minority. Not even the Pilgrims had it that tough. They were persecuted but no one tried to exterminate them.