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Fall of the 44: Its legacy as eye-opener


“It’s an eye-opener!”  Exclaimed Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III, referring to the gruesome killing of the 44 PNP-SAF troopers in the infamous “Mamasapano Encounter” last January 25th.  His exclamation came when he was Karen Davila’s interviewee during the latter’s popular “Headstart” on ANC a few days after that tragedy. 

To my humble mind, Sen. Guingona’s reaction (echoed by Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero last February 10th during the same TV program) emphasized the relevance of the “Fallen 44’s” tragic fate to the scheduled enactment of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) next month.  As we all know, the hearing of the BBL has been suspended until the pertinent committees of both houses of Congress shall have completed their respective investigations into the truth surrounding what the MILF claims as a “misencounter” between the “Fallen 44’s” companies and many MILF elements.  There are reports that some BIFF fighters and private armed men had taken part in felling the 44 SAF troopers.  The MILF lost 18 men during that fatal armed confrontation.

Thus, beyond all that have been said and done about the fall of the 44, its eye-opening impact on the attitudes of many of our lawmakers and compatriots in Luzon, Visayas,  and Mindano vis-a-vis the proposed BBL looms over the stalled peace process.  For the shocking death of the 44 has moved many lawmakers in both houses of Congress into reviewing the proposed BBL more profoundly and meticulously, particularly the provisions relative to the political, economic, military and police powers the GPH and MILF peace panels have jointly recommended for the new Bangsamoro autonomous government.   

This is the legacy of the “Fallen 44”to our nation as a whole, particularly the Muslims, Christians, Lumads and other sociocultural groups in Mindanao, Sulu, Basilan, and Tawi-Tawi.

Nothing can adequately and completely assuage the intense, perpetual grief of the families, relatives  and friends of the “Fallen 44” over the irreplaceable loss they have suffered.  Nonetheless, may their appreciation of the legacy of their departed heroes provide some measure of relief to their tired minds and heavy hearts!  May the eye-opener it has given the members of both houses of Congress lead to the passage of a constitutional, equitable, and sustainable BBL!

Finally, may the legacy of the “Fallen 44” catalyze the process toward the prompt attainment of the “peace with justice” their families, relatives and friends – and the entire Filipino nation, evidently – are anxiously hoping for! (By Ric Adjawie)

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