The events of late speak for itself. We have gone to war. Continuous attacks from the MILF, aggravated by an ambush at Lanao del Sur, followed by killing civilians and burning houses are but indications of clear and present danger. Chief of Staff, General Alexander Yano calls it a “virtual declaration of war” and indeed it is. Actually, it’s not even “virtual” to me. It is a definite and crystal clear declaration of war — a blatant disregard for the peace process and disrespect to the laws of the land. For what else can you call something as atrocious as these? As of this writing, the rebels have left the scene yet took adult male hostages — probably to use as human shield as they walk through the area.
While it is so tempting to blame people now, the events have been too tragic that my brain can hardly come up with a good argument for finger-pointing. Reports say that there were dead people on the roadside. The bus driver in yesterday’s ambush swore to have seen and heard these rebels shout “patayin ninyo lahat yan” (“kill them all“). Just thinking about it is horrifying enough. I can’t imagine the terror in the faces of the people inside the bus. And I can’t imagine that such evil people exist. And sometimes, I ask myself how grave our inequities to these people may have been for us to go through the burden of talking peace with people who prefer expressing themselves through their guns? What have we done to deserve this problem (if we even deserved it at all)?
I can’t help but wonder if it had been different, had the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (BJE MOA on AD) been signed last August 5 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Had it been any different if a TRO wasn’t issued or if has been lifted sooner? It’s tempting to think of “could-have-beens” at this time. It is this deferred peace that has expedited the ongoing war in Mindanao. But somehow, knowing what I know now and considering what has happened last week, it scares me just the same. It makes me doubt all the more that peace can happen within PGMA’s term.
We are now a nation under threat. Peace is as elusive as ever. Something has to be done. And right now, I am in agreement with PGMA, “every inch of Philippine territory has to be defended.”