Saturday, 28 May 2011 00:00
We are happy that Filipino-Chinese businesswoman Angelina Suken Chew- Mantigue of Upi, Maguindanao was finally released by her kidnappers. We do not however share the jubilation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines over this development and neither do we see any positive indicators in what they purport as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front role in the release of the kidnap-for-ransom victim.
We cannot comprehend how the AFP leadership possibly can see any positive indicators in this development. It appears that they have not kept track of scores of kidnap-for-ransom by KFR gangs that made MILF-held territories as their staging points. The kidnapping of Mantigue is no different from similar incidents in the past. The perpetrators plan and mount their plots in MILF-held territories and bring victims in the same place for it offer them safe haven. We all know that because of the prevailing ceasefire agreement, the AFP cannot conduct pursuit operations in these territories without prior coordination with the MILF.
That the MILF “immediately took action when they heard that the kidnap gang brought their victim inside their territory” is a lot of crap. If the AFP bought this anecdote and dubbed it as a positive note in the peace process, we say the new leadership in the region was only born yesterday. What aggravates and should be insulting to the AFP is the fact that kidnap-for-ransom victims are released only after paying the ransom. So why should the AFP pat the shoulders of the MILF? Haven’t they thought that the ransom money may have been used to procure military hardware, recruitment and supplies of the MILF combatants?
Instead of celebration we expect condemnation from our AFP leadership and even the government peace negotiators. They, the MILF included, cannot go with merriment when ransoms are paid and the perpetrators finding comfort in the Front’s camps. This reaction is just plainly irrational.
By Menardo Wenceslao
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