Saturday, 22 October 2011 10:27
Useless encounters between the AFP and the MILF which claimed dozens of lives of soldiers and recently 19 troopers were slain at Al Barka, Basilan could have been avoided had there been an effective implementation of the ceasefire agreement in Basilan with the creation of the local ceasefire committee.
The members of the National Ceasefire Committee of both the GRP and MILF panels elbow each other during socials after every meeting in Manila.
But the commanders of both forces in the local level don't see eye to eye due to negligence of local AFP commanders to organize a local ceasefire committee and initiate dialogues among the members of the local military and MILF commanders in coordination with the local officials.
Proper coordination could be undertaken to thresh out problems on identified areas as temporary camps of the MILF to avoid mistaken encounters.
Local military commanders have never learned from so many combat lessons of the past since the outbreak of rebellion in 1972.
The local ceasefire committees were effectively organized during the MNLF conflict where AFP and PC/INP local commanders were free to visit MNLF camps.
To lose 19 soldiers in a senseless encounter is plain stupidity on the part of the commanders who is criminally liable for sending his men to combat without conducting a proper estimate of the situation and without knowing “Troop Leading Procedures”.
(The author was the chairman of the Provincial Ceasefire Committee in Zamboanga del Sur in 1986 up to 1988 in his capacity as Provincial Commander where encounters between the AFP and MNLF forces were avoided. The author was also a member of the National Ceasefire Committee in 1995 and 1996 during the peace negotiation between in GRP and the MNLF).
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