WHILE PEACE negotiators are finalizing the annexes of the so-called Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the preliminary peace agreement that was signed in Malacanan Palace in October 2012, the so-called 'spoilers' of the peace process waged a series of attacks against government troops in Central Mindanao on Saturday (July 6).
The first attack was carried out by heavily armed men against the troops of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion which is stationed in Sito Dam, Bgy Damalabas, Datu Piang, Maguindanao at 10:40am, killing one soldier.
At around 11:10am, troops of the 5th Special Forces Battalion were fired upon by heavily armed men in Sitio Mapangkaya, Bgy Paidu, Pulangui Pikit, North Cotabato, triggering an intense firefight. One soldier was killed while another one was injured in the said incident.
Later in the day, another group of armed perpetrators attacked the troops of the 68th Infantry Battalion stationed in Bgy Bakat, Shariff Saydona, Mustapha, Maguindanao. Three soldiers including a young officer were killed while two others were wounded in the clash.
Committed to the peace process
Despite the recent attacks, the AFP remains committed in supporting the peace process which is believed as the only way to end all armed conflicts in Muslim Mindanao.
I myself had participated in the military operations there in the late 90s but the end was nowhere in sight! We may had flushed the 'enemies of the state' out of the communities that they attacked during that time but the 'Moro problem' has remained.
It is the reason why the soldiers are among those who fully supported the primacy of the peace process. Sa dami ng namatay sa amin at pati sa mas marami pang nalagas sa kabilang panig, di rin natapos ang patayan kasi hindi natugunan ang pinakaugat ng problema ng mga Moro.
That is why we want to make the Framework Agreement that calls for the creation of an autonomous political entity called 'Bangsamoro', work. We will support the government to make it a success story.
Spoilers of the peace process
I strongly believe that majority of our Muslim brothers in Central Mindanao are yearning for lasting peace in their land. Sino ba naman kasi me gusto ng tuloy-tuloy na patayan at pagkakaroon ng pamilyang mag-bakwet (evacuate)?
However, despite the fact that the largest armed group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, had officially 'silenced' their guns, several clashes among clans and sub-groups occurred.
We must not neglect the fact that there is a bed-ridden old man named Umbra Kato who has loyal fans following his evil orders. He is a former MILF commander who made a name for himself by carrying out sporadic attacks against government forces in 2012 , triggering the focused-military operations against his armed followers.
In many cases, feuding clans also carry out violent attacks against each other. Muslim brothers against Muslim brothers, settling clan disputes through warfare. It should be noted that there were several cases where the military, through the help of the local government leaders and MILF leaders, were able to end bloody confrontations among these warring clans, such as the case of the 40th Infantry Battalion.
And, we also have armed followers of warlords who used to (and will always want to) dominate the political arena, enlisting the help of either MILF or MNLF members who are their relatives. This scenario brings more confusion to the scene. It is very hard to distinguish 'who is who' in the middle of an intense firefight!
I am hopeful that everyone is enlightened about this sad reality. Kung alam natin ang katotohanan, alam din natin paano solusyonan kasi kung hindi, walang humpay ang patayan.