Friday, June 09, 2006

Shadow Warriors: Soldiers of (MIS)Fortune

Recent reports of the intrepid Malaya has sparked a controversy regarding recruitment of "mercenaries" by the Blackwater Corp. Blackwater is engaged in training and deployment of "private security aides" for different individuals and governments. This report was however denied at first by the SBMA but later confirmed a pending application.

Reports also said that they are now looking for Filipinos with police and military backgrounds. Blackwater gained public attention after four of their "operatives" were butchered in Fallujah, Iraq in March of 2004. An interview by ABS-CBN tonight confirmed that 3,000 Filipinos are currently employed in Iraq as "shotgun riders" (security back-up) for supply convoys. Sniper (alias used by source) said that they earn as much as $2,500 a month. He added that they are no different from US military personnel and serve as augmentation security forces. Sniper said that there are more openings for "security aides" and encourages Filipinos to try to apply for these jobs. He however added that the "job" is quite dangerous and that he recently lost a driver during a "milk run". Fire-fights are common and they too have to fend off their ambushers from time to time. He stressed that with the lack of opportunity in the Philippines, Filipinos would be enticed by the high pay their employers give them.

Going by Malaya's report, Blackwater couldn't have picked a better place to hold office. Subic as we all know is a good training area for Escape and Evasion Tactics, Survival and even camouflage/concealment training. SBMA said that Blackwater intends to lease the shooting range and the nearby ordnance depot. Financial incentives offered by Blackwater ranges from $70,000 to $80,000 a year. Quite a fortune with the current exchange rate.

From exporting domestic help, entertainers, nurses, educators and caregivers, the Philippines has now graduated to "mercenaries". The administration might have gone too far with this latest caper as this will surely make our country a haven of sorts. We'll be hosting another "armed group" should this push through. From JI to Al Qaeda to "goons and guns for hire". Surely this will entice our police and military personnel. Soon, we will even have a shortage of policemen and soldiers. Will this really be a fortune or misfortune for our men in uniform?