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Basilan's two headed monster

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It is foolhardy for the government to expect the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to surrender  its commander Dan Laksaw  Asnawi who along with his men and Abu Sayyaf terrorists ambushed and killed 19 soldiers as claimed by the government. It came right from the horse’s mouth. 

MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar had declared that they cannot surrender  Asnawi is accused of something criminal because as far as the MILF is concerned their Basilan commander is innocent  unless proven guilty.

Asnawi along with his 10 followers and Abu Sayyaf members are subject of warrants of arrest for the beheading of Marine soldiers in 2007. How can they face trial if he and his men remain fugitives? How can MILF presume Asnawi innocent when he cavorts with the most dreaded terrorist organization, the Abu Sayyaf elements? On this score, the government should stop indulging in reverie that this band, which also figures in kidnap-for-ransom cases, is already dismembered. With what happened in the October 18 massacre one thing is certain: The Abu Sayyaf and the MILF had entered into an unholy alliance, a coalition that is a total defiance of the peace talks  and an affirmation that our soldiers are facing a fiercer and dreaded enemy that are not bound by any treaty or rules of combat.

Still following the niceties of the peace talks  Philippine Army commanding general Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz lodged a complaint before the ceasefire committee and cited as truce violations the MILF's harboring of Asnawi and his men. Ortiz said if the MILF does not surrender Asnawi, the Army will conduct pursuit operations against the two-headed monster, Abu Sayyaf and Asnawi’s men,  in Basilan.  The government made a clear distinction between the terrorist group and Asnawi’s men on one hand and the  MILF  when it declared that  the later should “stand aside" if it does not intend to help the government track down the armed men involved in the clash.

For peace to be restored in Basilan, the communities should know which side should the lend their support. The government move is a surgical operations out to restore normalcy in the island province of Basilan which not too long ago enjoys peace, vibrant trade and commerce, a strong coconut industry and a potential tourist destination like no other. All these are now deprived from the next generation of Muslim and Christian Filipinos who just want to live in peace and engage in any form of livelihood.

Asnawi and the Abu Sayyaf cannot, by sheer show of force and terror, reduce Basilan as their own battleground and enclave of kidnap-for-ransom industry. These do not conform to the dictates of a civilized society, Christian and Islamic doctrines.

We go by the legal process that to validate the suspects innocence or guilt
the MILF and government will collaborate to effect the surrender or arrest of Asnawi and his men. As far as Abu Sayyaf terrorists they had long earned their death sentence for their bestial acts and other unconscionable crimes. 

We are not in accord to escalate the campaign in other territories of the MILF that had respected the ceasefire agreement. Basilan, specifically Barangay Al-Barka, is the arena where justice should be served. But then, the peace keeping force must see to it that there should be no collateral damage.  They did it in Camp Abubakar, they can do it in Al-Barka.

By Menardo Wenceslao




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