Assassins, lords of the rings, taxpayers: three’s a crowd

It’s not too surprising that on Women’s Equality Day, BBC featured a Filipino woman assassin for the Philippine Government’s war on drugs. The concept of woman as killer clearly is antithesis to the more widely held image of women as peacemakers and nurturers. It makes people wonder about what motivates a woman to fight. For those who’ve watched Kill Bill and such like it is apparent that fighting is the personal means by which the woman decides to move away from victimhood. Another factor to look at is policy, such as the cautious acceptance of women combatants in the military as compared to insurgent groups where men appear more accepting of women actively fighting alongside them. These reveal the contradictory views hence treatment of women in conflict situations and subsequent impact of these on women’s motivations and decisions to fight or not; of the complexity of women’s role in human security.

Now this, a female assassin who allegedly accepts PHP20,000 for each kill. Is that the cost of human life (or, death) these days? Twenty thousand pesos. It doesn’t even buy a second hand car (although if she kills 20 she could). In this case apparently financial status is a factor although may not be the primary reason considering that there are plenty of rich and poor women who had not even thought about killing as a diversion or an income source. For conflict researchers, such presents gap areas for further study to inform policy as for instance identifying what would get women out of insurgency (negative participation) into counterinsurgency work (positive contribution).

On the other hand, if the lords of the drug rings have in them the teeniest of remorse and horror at the deaths of their employ on the ground, they would’ve waved the white flag months ago. For Catholics, remember the 40-day plague? Terrible pestilence befell the Egyptians until the Pharaoh would free the Israelites. But the Pharaoh relented only when the plague reached his doorstep, in the death of his only son and heir. What kind of God would send such horrible suffering? we ask. Beats me but in the Bible the Israelites (slaves in Egypt at the time) were said to be God’s chosen people, His favorite, and He will do everything to take good care of His people. (This sadly continues to fuel the tension in that part of the world.) Now, during that long ago plague in Egypt if a household is to be spared the life of it’s firstborn, it should smear lamb’s blood on the door. We’re seeing a similar but equally terrible drama playing out in this drug war (not just here but worldwide). But look, the lords, whoever and wherever they are, remain unmoved.

Back to the woman assassin. The BBC’s feature has unwittingly revealed an aspect of the campaign that has not been discussed: where did the PHP20,000 fee come from? Where else but T-A-X-E-S. Meaning, it’s taxpayers who are ultimately funding the war. Yet funny how people and business go about their days as if they have nothing to do with it! Congress’ role in behalf of the people is provide (or not) constitutional legitimacy to the campaign. It remains conspicously and mysteriously silent however. It’s continued silence is taken as a yes. Yes to reallocation of taxes to finance the war. Happy national heroes day everyone!

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