Saturday, 15 January 2011 16:29
If the culture of violence in Central Mindanao will continue to persist whatever potential for recovery and growth in the region will settle into stagnation. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front has issued a statement that it will help the government in rescuing kidnap victims but for as long as this is not demonstrated in terms of action this declaration will merely be another hollow assurance from the fronts. It is no secret that kidnap-for-ransom syndicates operate with unholy alliances with some lawless elements of the front as well as the band of Abu Sayyaf terrorists. In the recent incident of kidnapping involving a Filipino Chinese businessman from Cotabato City, the suspects sought refuge in territories held by the MILF.
What we are saying here is that, if the MILF wants to help, they should drop the rhetoric and do as they promise they will do. But since the burden of rescuing the victims lies squarely on the government peace keeping forces then they should pursue the suspects even if their trails end in MILF territories. If the MILF cannot run after the suspects, the government must take action if only to show that they are the legitimate force and that they are not subservient to the secessionist fronts.
The ideal situation moreover is for the MILF and the government to jointly operate and undertake a rescue mission. They have to prove to the people long harassed by internal conflicts, terrorism and syndicated crime of kidnapping. Central Mindanao, like Cotabato City, is not only guarded by so many elements of military and police and other auxiliary forces, the MILF and the MNLF are there too. And yet, the area is infested with criminal and terrorist elements carrying out their diabolic missions practically unhampered.
We cannot live by the promises of the MILF and the military we need action…concerted action if needed. Presently it is direly needed. The deliverance of victims of kidnapping to safety and security creates heroes of those who can do the task. If the MILF rescue the victims, then let them be the heroes.
By Menardo Wenceslao
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