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Hoping for a happy ending

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The present military campaign against Abu Sayyaf is a test not only for the capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to deal with heavily armed terrorists band but also to ascertain whether the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is involved in any way with the activities of the lawless elements.

So far, it appears that the MILF has effectively quartered their faces in camps where they should be while the military is waging its campaign. The MILF has even sought foreign intervention to put an end to the armed conflict. But this was has nothing to do with revolution and political issues. This is everything to do with a diabolic force whose mission is only to sow terror regardless of creed, religion and nationalities. The government forces are out to nip in the bud the beastly elements that have killed innocent and treacherously ambush our soldiers.

In times like this, what could be assuring is for the MILF and the government to already sign a peace accord. What seems to delay the process is the demand of the MILF to expand its territory under its objective for an ancestral domain. This becomes a contentious issue in that the domain that they are asking for will not only encroached into areas that are not only densely populated by Christian settlers but are also part of the ancestral domain of the indigenous peoples. The IPs which have the more legitimate claim over vast territories are happy with the Indigenous People Republic Act which awards them vast areas as part of their domains. The IPRA law was never problematic form the start because it recognized prior rights, meaning, those who owns titles to the land within the ancestral domains are not to be affected by the effects of the law.

If the MILF only agrees with the features of the IPRA law, the matter of a ancestral domain which they are asking separately from the government should not have come in the way of the peace agreement. In a way, everybody is happy.

We hope that the MILF be not as inflexible as they have been. The compromises have been thoroughly discussed and we hope that agreement will culminate in a happy conclusion. (MW)

By Menardo Wenceslao




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