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Losing the benefits of peace


The Jordanian journalist and his TV crew have fallen prey to a group of starvingkidnap-for-ransom syndicate cum terrorists who once peddled themselves asIslamic militants. How they managed to slip through the peacekeeping forcesthat could have given them a situation report and caution in an area where afew vicious Abu Sayyaf members still operate defies imagination. They havebrought this misfortune to themselves. The Jordanian must have thought that theAbu Sayyaf Guerillas, having bandied themselves as Islamic militants, may givehim the rare privilege of an interview. He was ignorant of the fact that theASG are bereft of any political ideology and religious belief. He is therefore as good as any for ransom money or maybe for the guillotine if the same is notdelivered.

TheAbu Sayyaf is not only the killing machine of Al Qaeda but since the fundingspigots from their traditional donors in the Middle East have been closed theyhave resorted to banditry and kidnapping to sustain their existence. Unless theJordanian journalist has other agenda than just gathering exclusive footagefrom ASG, he will remain to be just another statistics of victims that theterror group had held for ransom.

But the victim here is not the bull-headed mediaman who believes that theterrorist-cum-KFR is still an organized threat to the island province of Suluand Tawi-Tawi. While we do not know the agenda of the Jordanian, while thereare loose talks that he has special links to Al Qaeda to allow him to havespecial privilege of obtaining scoops the fact is that he had been tagged as akidnap-for-ransom victim. Each time an announcement like that hits the frontpages of the newspapers and travel advisories are issued by nations wary of thesecurity in the Philippines, we quickly lose whatever positive image we havedifficulty of redeeming. The biggest loser of course, are the people of Suluand the rest of the island provinces in Western Mindanao.

Each time a hostage or a victim of kidnapping is flashed worldwide the confidencebuilding process suffers a setback. The enumerable opportunities for theislanders are lost and it will take years to recoup them. Denying the KFR andthe terror group sanctuaries is the only way they can be totally eliminated.Now it is up to the island communities to take a bold and resolute stand tohelp eradicate the elements that had brought untold miseries in theirexistence. They should realize that they have been missing and losing thebenefits of peace.

By Menardo Wenceslao


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