Weeks of various assaults on communities sent the military retreating, but counter-attacks have sent the insurgents back running. Now that the military has the upper hand it should pursue its offensives on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) until every member has been neutralized. Or in other words, finish the job.
The death toll now in the ARMM region has peaked to over 180 persons dead. Most of them innocent civilians. The military suffered a few casualties as well, but with their advanced weaponry (superior to the rebels anyways) they were able to take the bigger number of kills. And as the weeks passed by the authorities were able to capture MILF bases, one after another. And just yesterday they were able to overrun the camp of Commander Bravo, one of three wanted MILF sub-commanders who have multi-million bounties placed on their heads. A big blow to the rebels, and a big win of the government. They have weaken the fighters, yes, but haven’t past encounters done the same? There was even a time when the MILF reached its lowest troop count. But still they were able to rebuild their forces and became formidable again. And of course, since they were formidable they were able to pressure the government into negotiations. The question is, why did the government lose its momentum into finishing them? Well, it’s because they chose to stop offensives and give in to talks. Talks, which we have been doing for about three decades now. Talks, which have been done over and over for so long but has yet to take effect. Are these talks really the solution? They only gave way for the rebels to do more crimes. Crimes which became neglected as years passed. This “diplomacy” only made it possible for more civilians to die in the name of the rebels’ so called “acts of peace”.
During times of “diplomacy” the military was called to halt its offensives. The weakened Moros would then send a “diplomat” to a foreign country that would mediate the talks. During the cease-fire the Moros would then build up their forces once again and when they are ready they recall their “diplomat” and wage war again with the military. Sheer genius. The present government knows about this, everyone does. So it would really be suspicious if the government would call for another cease-fire.
A possible reason for the government to declare a cease-fire is bribery. As what I have talked about in my previous entries the MILF could be supported by a foreign country such as Malaysia that could, if ever the MILF-GRP deal would be signed could sign a pact with the newly formed MILF country to exploit resources off Mindanao. The Government could indeed be bribed by a country such as Malaysia so as their chance of getting the natural resources would still be alive.
Our country also have a tragic history with not finishing the job. Remember in 2001 during the Lamitan siege? The military ceased attacking after they realized that they got the Abu Sayaff rebels trapped. When they were guarding leisurely the Abus took advantage and attacked them. The military lost twenty soldiers, the Abu Sayaff bandits escaped and took over a dozen hostages along with them. The price of diplomacy.
Let us hope the government doesn’t fall to the same trap again. Allowing the MILF to regroup, rebuild and strengthen up. And when the time comes when they abuse us, we might find ourselves on the losing side. The military have overran several bases now, they are on the offense while the MILF is on the run. Let us hope they do the right thing, finish the job. Let no member of the group abuse an innocent civilian ever again!