On Sept. 28, 2013, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin declared that the military’s mission in Zamboanga City had been accomplished. The mission was to rescue and ensure the safety of the 194 hostages (“Mission accomplished,” 9/28/13). The military mission took almost 20 days to accomplish, left hundreds dead and injured, and devastated the city, driving more than 100,000 Zamboangueños from their homes into various evacuation centers, many of them with their houses burned.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin declared “mission accomplished” in Zamboanga City on Friday with the rescue of the remaining hostages of Habier Malik’s band, but the conflict that started on Sept. 9 has resulted in what the United Nations termed a “humanitarian crisis.”
Government officials have taken great care to describe the so-called negotiations between the Philippines and the United States to increase American military presence in the country in soothing constitutionalist or strategic terms. It is what is not being said, however, that worries us. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, for instance, assured the public that the meetings [...]
As a military wife and a widow, it pained me to read Ramon Tulfo’s column titled “Gazmin’s peace initiative toward NPA” (Metro, 5/2/13). In that column, he said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines is an “organization of cowards.” That was not only an unfair and unjust statement; it was disheartening too.
By Bernie Lopez
The suggestion of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin that US bases be revived here is like suggesting that the Philippines put itself in the line of fire in the event that a Korean war, possibly nuclear in nature, breaks out. It is like running between two cowboys in a gunfight as soon as they start firing. Such a geopolitically naive proposal will draw Korean nuclear missiles into Philippine soil. This suicidal idea is unacceptable, coming from a Cabinet member and a prestigious former ambassador.
By Conrado de Quiros
There were a couple of unrelated news items in the newspapers last weekend that, taken together, make an interesting proposition about life.
By Ramon Farolan
Hand-carried by special courier is the following letter from Secretary of National Defense Voltaire T. Gazmin. I thank the good secretary for his response, and for the benefit of our readers both military and civilian, I am publishing his letter in full.
It was certainly reassuring that following his recent visit to Washington, DC, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told the public that the United States would honor its 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines, even as it need not necessarily take sides in the Philippine-China dispute over the Scarborough Shoal. However, I was confused—in fact, a [...]