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Lessons from Patikul

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It is tragic and unfortunate that again we lost so many lives of our Philippine Marines in the Patikul raid of Abu Sayyaf lairs. Most despicable too is the beastly manner by which the murderous extremists mutilated the bodies of the Marines. The savagery tells us that as far as these elements are concerned they follow no rules of battle but only the law of the jungle.

We cannot still fathom why President Aquino mentioned the name of this dreaded terrorist elements when he talked of peace initiatives between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. It only suggests that there still exist an unholy alliance between the MILF and this ragtag and vicious terror gang which has given the military a lesson in jungle warfare. Assuming that the suspicion of strategic alliance between the Abu Sayyaf and the MILF is true, it does not give merit to the Aquino government to associate one with the other. It is unconceivable to see or even think of a remote possibility of an Abu Sayyaf observer in the peace talks for this would presuppose their legitimacy and belligerency.

On the second thought, maybe President Aquino knows more than what were fed to us or what we already knew. He might have been apprised of verified reports that would validate the link between the MILF and the Abus. If he says that the secessionist elements in Sulu and Basilan are using the extremists to force the issue of peace, then definitely we are in accord with the indignant president.

In fact, one cannot dismiss the audacity of the MILF for demanding from the government not to pursue the exploitation of natural resources, like oil and gas, in the autonomous region of Muslim Mindanao. Where nothing is agreed or even written yet to define the parameters of who exploits what exists in the bowels of the earth of the sovereign Philippines, no pretender, save for those who were given the right, can claim ownership or privilege to explore and exploit any inch of the Philippine territory. Even during his supremacy, Libya’s strongman Moammar Khadaffy counseled the MILF to negotiate peace with the government within the ambit of the Philippine sovereignty and the primacy of its constitution.

The warning of the MILF, that is obviously addressed to the government, is therefore superfluous since the separatist group has yet to demonstrate that left alone it can manage resources as it can manage criminal and savage groups as the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah which had made MILF camps and territories as safe havens and hideaways.

Let us stop the saber rattling and if the MILF is saying they do not subscribe to the savagery of the Abu Sayyaf elements since their practices are patently un-Islamic then let us see them helping the government ferret out these beasts in the jungles of Patikul and Basilan.

As to our Marines, we have not lost hope of your capability as we believe in your superiority in training and discipline. For an island peopled with just a little over 30,000 the weapon much superior to the fancy night vision equipment is how to gain the confidence of even just the tenth of the populace. Confidence and trust are infectious and sooner than what weaponry can achieve, you have most of the populace on your side. Keep that faith aburning and Patikul will not even allow you to leave. (MW)

By Menardo Wenceslao




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