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‘Most fearless’

March 24, 2020 - Tuesday 4:03 AM by Jimmy Laking

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Before the advent of COVID-19, one American missionary said he would settle for one of the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera as among the most fearless of Filipinos.

Now he is not sure anymore. Previous to coronavirus, the missionary said it was a toss-up among the IP populations of the Cordillera on who the most fearless was. It is an observation he said that was backed by other missionaries before him.

One missionary said the IPs of Mountain Province could be the most fearless, citing an observation by then-General Douglas MacArthur who saw them in action against the Japanese before the fall of Bataan in World War II.

MacArthur described how IP soldiers from Mountain Province rode the tanks and engaged the Japanese in bloody combat.

MacArthur would later write: “I have never known the equal of those Igorots riding the tanks. Gentlemen, when you tell the story, stand in tribute to those gallant Igorots. As members of the Philippine Commonwealth, they have proved to be excellent fighting men.”

One missionary was rooting for the Ifugao whose soldiers distinguished themselves in Sulu and some of whom earned the Medal of Valor, the highest PH could give to its soldiers.

Another said it is the Kalinga whose soldier-sons also fought against extremists with distinction. 

But one missionary said he saw no equal to the IPs of Benguet whose sons fought against Yamashita in World War II and later on excelled in fighting against extremists in Zamboanga, Maguindanao, and Marawi.

He said for sheer fearlessness, the IP of Benguet in a fit of anger or frustration would suddenly down a jigger of pesticide and end it all forevermore. Just like that.

But with coronavirus running roughshod over the Philippine countryside, most of these missionaries said the IPs of the Cordillera will have to take the backseat.

They said the most fearless are the millions of Filipinos still roaming the towns and cities while majority of their countrymen have retreated to their homes to observe community quarantine.

“You find them in Metro Manila and in other urban centers, milling, jostling for spaces in public transport or just being where other people used to gather,” they said.

“At the market, some do not wear masks and freely mix with other people without regard for social distancing,” echoed one missionary.

“As a PUJ driver, he would insist on filling up ever available space without any thought of the spread of COVID-19,” added another.

The conclusion was that these Filipinos, errant they maybe, were clearly defying the stay home order of President Duterte.

Their disregard for social distancing also indicates they may have the idea that they are immune to the virus, which may qualify them as fearless.

Hence, if there is such a thing as the “most fearless” of Filipinos, they certainly would take the cake.

Some say the most bull-headed or most fickle-minded Filipinos would fit more the description. Take your pick.

Of course, it is better to stay on the side of caution and stay alive in the process than earn a dubious distinction with one foot in the graveyard.