Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Take the kid gloves off....

If you live here in the Philippines, and assuming you don't live under a rock somewhere, no doubt you've heard about the resurgence of violence down south, as the the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) wreaks havoc on various towns and villages, killing civilians, burning houses, destroying public property.

The MILF is an armed group which has as its goal the secession of Muslim Mindanao, what they call Bangsamoro, from the Republic of the Philippines, and they have been using violence to further that goal for more than twenty years.

Recently, the Philippine government attempted to forge a peace plan with the MILF through a Memorandum of Agreement, which, among other things, establishes a Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE). This, for all intents and purposes, is tantamount to creating a state within a state. All would be well in good, except for the fact that the government, either in a fit of arrogance, or an apparent display of bad faith, failed to consult local leaders, whose town and cities were, for unknown reasons, included in the BJE...even those predominantly populated by Christians. As such, the agreement was temporarily restrained by the Supreme Court while it hears arguments from both sides of the issue.

In the meantime, the MILF has again resorted to violence in order to press its demands for an independent Muslim state.

I say nuts to that.

The MILF high command has gone on record claiming that MILF forces attacking civilians are renegades, that is, they are acting on their own and not following orders from the MILF hierarchy.

To that I say, why bother negotiating with a group of rebels who cannot control their own ranks?

Why bother negotiating with rebels who act nothing more than common criminals who rob establishments, slaughter innocent civilians and children and destroy private and public property?

Why we believe people who claim to be willing to die for their beliefs, yet cowardly hide behind hostages...civilians used as human shields?

Why do we deal civilly with people who act like savages, people who desecrate and mutilate corpses of those they have killed?

Why treat them as if they have the moral ascendancy to represent Muslim Mindanao, when they have no mandate from the people of Mindanao?

Why are we considering bargaining away land which is part of the Republic of the Philippines, when it is clearly in violation of our Constitution?

Why give them lands which they claim to belong to them by ancestral right, when such lands are presently inhabited not only by Muslims but by Christians as well?

What gives other countries the right to intercede on their behalf for the furtherance of their objective for an independent Islamic state, when all the MILF has done to argue its case is to deal death and destruction to innocents whose only crime is to not subscribe to their beliefs?

Most importantly...

Why recognize a group which apparently has absolutely no respect for human life?

Why indeed.

While I concede the fact that it is indeed an honorable goal for Muslims in Mindanao to seek the right to self-determination in what they believe to be their ancestral homeland, there is nothing honorable in the brutal and despicable methods that they have adopted in an effort to achieve that objective.

I think it's time to take the kid gloves off, and recognize these people for what they truly are...lawless criminals who only know the language of violence.

The government should talk to them in the only language that they understand...and end this conflict once and for all.

Clearly, enough is enough.





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