Lessons from Marawi Tragedy and the Ongoing NPA Operations

Lessons from Marawi Tragedy

And the Ongoing NPA Operations

By Apolinario Villalobos


Infiltration as a terroristic act has definitely succeeded with the Marawi City devastation as the latest manifestation. The ISIS-professing Maute Group recruited insiders and used them in waging terror in the city in their effort to overthrow the government and replace it with the traditionalist Islamic faction. The group enticed many young Maranaos to join them with tempting huge monetary reward equivalent to the Filipino executive wage. The New People’s Army (NPA) has used this tactic, albeit with threat, instead of financial persuasion. This bandit group has infiltrated remote villages and employed threat in their recruitment campaign and extortion.


The Philippines is helpless against terrorism despite the declaration of the government that everything is in order as far as security is concerned. Such assurance is ridiculous because the country’s coastal fronts are pathetically protected by the inadequate facilities of the Philippine Navy and Philippine Coast Guard. Many forested areas and remote villages have become lairs of bandits and rebels. Military outposts in remote areas are inadequately and inconsistently manned….beefed up only when there are reported attacks by the unfriendly elements. And, most especially, the military equipments are outdated. Add to that the dwindling number of combatants. The aforementioned are reasons why the Philippine military is very far from being successful in their drive against the Abu Sayyaf based in Basilan and the splintered NPA that turned bandits….and now, the Maute Group. There is a clear indication that the military need for manpower and equipment must be given attention soonest as possible.




Not taking things for granted is what I mean by the “lesson” that the Armed Forces of the Philippines should learn from the Marawi tragedy and the NPA operations. The AFP brags about its accomplishments based on the number of dead police and soldier, and promises to fulfill commitments on certain dates. Unfortunately, the promises remain as unfulfilled promises.


To help Duterte maintain a reputable image, the AFP should stop making promises and act more appropriately…period.

Marawi….Oh, Marawi!

Marawi…Oh, Marawi!

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Marawi…Oh, Marawi!

Sa ‘yong sinapit, kami’y nakikidalamhati

Nagkagutay-gutay dahil sa mga nag-umpugang lakas

Kaya ngayon, animo ay kalansay na lamang ang mababakas.


Lunsod ng marangyang kultura

Kamaranawang niyayakap ay Islam

At ang iba naman ay ang Kristiyanismo

Subalit nagkakaunawaan kaya walang gulo.


Hindi nagpagapi sa mga Kastila

At kahit sa iba pang mga banyaga

Dugo ng mga magigiting ay dumanak –

Mga bayaning Maranaw, hindi mahahamak!


Nagsimula sa Gitnang Silangan

Adhikaing sa Marawi’y pinagpilitan

Islam nga kung ituring, pero di tanggap

Dahil sa karahasan nito na di mapaglingap.


Maute Group ang nagpasimula

Na sa lunsod ay unti-unting naglipana

At  nagpataranta sa mga naninirahan doon

Nagulat sa mga ratatat at dagundong ng kanyon!


Kalunos-lunos ang mga eksena

Dinig sa mga radyo at TV, lahat ay nakita

Na ikinagulat at nagpayanig sa mga Pilipino

Pangyayaring hindi inasahan, mistulang dilubyo!


Di pinansin kumalat na kuwento

Tungkol sa napansing kilos ng ibang tao

Marami ay dayo, naglipana sa buong lunsod

Na sa daloy ng pamumuhay sila’y nagpatianod.


Nang magkaroon ng perhuwisyo

At sa kapulisan ay dumagsa ang reklamo

Noon lang nalamang di tsismis ang kumalat

Dahil buong Marawi ay nasa loob na ng lambat

Kaya nang kapulisa’y magsikilos…huli na ang lahat!

The Philippine Brassware

The Philippine Brassware

By Apolinario Villalobos


The Maranaos of Lanao find brass as a good object on which they express themselves artistically. Be it on lampstands, “gong”, plant holders, jars, ash trays, and food trays, the Maranao brass artist whose deft hands have been made sensitive by years of experience, imprint his personal expression of the “okir” and “naga” art forms.


Synonymous to the southern culture which in itself is exotic, the brassware is usually considered as an object that could enliven any living room, office, restaurant corners, or hotel lobby. Those who visit Marawi City, Jolo, Zamboanga City or Cotabato City, always see to it that they have purchased a brass item to be brought home as a souvenir. Not only are the brassware kept for their decorative value, but also for their cultural significance.


While brass handicraft is a waning source of income for some families in other Muslim provinces that have become outlets and showcases, in southern Lanao, particularly, Tugaya, locals still consider it their source of income. Here, some of the artisans still use the crude centuries-old foundry and casting methods. Despite the crudeness of the craft in Tugaya, the cottage industry is struggling for its perpetuation.


It is said that the craft was brought to Tugaya by a local trader, Maruhom Maulia, who got the knowledge from his trading trips to Tampasok, Sabah, where brass and bronze items were manufactured. Eventually, while at Tugaya, he fell in love and married the Sultan’s daughter.


According to Dr. Manitua Saber, an authority on Islamic arts, the techniques used by the artisans of Tugaya are similar to those being used in Bali, Sumatra and Brunei. Furthermore, he said that the technology could have found its way to Southeast Asia by way of China or India, in 1,000 A.D.


There are two processes practiced by the Maranao artisans, such as, the stamping and drip wax techniques. It is interesting to note that the tools which the artisans use are also made by them, usually out of the local materials.


In the stamping technique, brass plates are incised using a home-made “compass” to determine the size of the expected design.  Several plain plate tied together are etched or punched with intricate designs of “naga” or “okir”, or both, before they are formed into the desired item. Brassware produced out of this method, are cheaper compared to the drip wax technique which is more tedious, as it involves more time and processes. The latter, actually, revolves around the “mold” technique, and being crude, needs several phases to complete the process.


The brassware comes in many forms and uses. Those who are not familiar with the use of the items, would resort to just one thing – use them as decorative accessories in homes and offices. It is not surprising therefore, to find homes whose tables in the living room are accented with brass betel nut containers, open flat iron, small gongs or kulintang set and urns.

In Pasay City, brass and bronze items from the small ash trays and betel nut containers to big jars and urns can be found at the Philtrade Center, beside the World Trade Center, along Roxas Boulevard. Similar items can also be found in the Ermita district of Manila and the Islamic Center in Quiapo.