News Sense

Of death and peace


By Hilda Austria


THE whole nation was shocked and grieved with the massacre of some 44 Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) members in Mamansapano Maguindanao last January 25.

After the incident, many questions were raised. Who holds the responsibility for the aftermath of a supposed serving of warrant of arrest to a terrorist but led to the death of some members of an elite force in the PNP? And should the government pursue the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) considering the latter’s involvement in the massacre.

I am dismayed, together with many Filipinos, with the actuation of the commander-in-chief of the PNP, shifting the blame to everyone else even to the dead SAF members but not to himself and his failure to honor to them when he chose to attend an inauguration of a car plant company instead of receiving the caskets bearing the fallen men.

These men deserve respect and honor for risking their lives to protect not only our country but world against a terrorist wanted by the world, being harbored in our territory. Their commander-in-chief should know that.

We do not know the real story behind this operation which was a big blow to the ongoing “peace process” in Mindanao, we can only speculate since the President’s answers to queries on the matter led to even more confusion.

On whether the peace process should be pursued or not, I think it should still be pursued but with more caution and wisdom especially that the MILF’s loyalty to the agreement’s purpose is now questionable after their members attacked our PNP forces while cease-fire is in place.

I support the move to defer approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law if only to determine the the sincerity of the MILF to surrender their comrades responsible for the massacre in Mamansapano. It’s the least that the government can do to lift the morale of our uniformed men. If the MILF cannot keep a simple agreement of ceasefire and stand on neutral grounds between the government and their former comrades, how can they be expected to keep their commitment to a bigger scenario like the Bangsamoro Basic Law?

Although I believe a peace pact should still be pursued since the fallen SAF members others died for the purpose of keeping peace and order in our land, but in time.

Meanwhile, let us mourn the death of the SAF members with their families and the absence of peace in Mindanao that killed not only policemen, soldiers, rebels but also the innocent civilians trapped in the war zone. Let us pray for our government officials especially the President for God’s guidance and bestow them the wisdom which he so needed at this point in time.

To the fallen SAF members and every policeman dedicated to their oath despite the inadequacy of the country, they serve; a salute.

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