Three people for an Island


The kidnapped Red Cross Workers, from left: Mary Jean Lacaba, Eugenio Vagni and Andreas Notter with Sulu Vice-Governor.
The kidnapped Red Cross Workers, from left: Mary Jean Lacaba, Eugenio Vagni and Andreas Notter with Sulu Vice-Governor.

How messed up can this be? First, terrorists see somekind of market value on Red Cross volunteers so they kidnap them. Second, a Red Cross head acts like a military general. Then more recently, the geniuses acting as negotiators thought it would be best to surrender an entire island, valued for its rich agricultural reserves, for three people. And two of them are even foreign.

Is this how desperate we are? Why don’t the government scrap our armed forces as well if they keep on offering to pull out and minimize our territories? The last time there was a similar threat which was barely a year ago, when the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) wrecked havoc in the south, the government also thought of just sitting down and writing a peace treaty which would relinquish one-fourth of our territory to Muslim “exhibitionists”.

I mean hello? Although we “proudly” have one of the weakest armed forces in the world they are still very much capable of taking out those terrorists. They have proven this over the years as they were influential in taking out notorious terrorist leaders like Abu Sabaya, Commander “Robot”, Khadaffy Janjalani and Hamsiraji Sali.

If  Sulu is lost, that would be the second as it looks like the government is going to give up the Spratlys as well. A group of islands valued for rich petroleum reserves. In the ongoing battle for the islands, China fired a racist shell at the Philippines. Tsip Tsao, a writer for Hong Kong magazine called our country, “a nation of servants”. As usual, the statement was taken as an insult and caused another diplomatic fiasco in the Philippines just like the Terry Hatcher-“Desperate Housewives” issue. Now this is very embarassing, not because our dignity is tainted but because we are obviously in denial. We know that the statement is true and that’s why we find it very offensive.

Just look back at the manner the government had in making decisions. Didn’t they always concede to what the bad guys wanted? When was the last time we got the upper hand at the enemy? During the Burnham rescue when the military shot all three hostages they were trying to rescue? The government constantly make us Filipinos look like servants. And what’s confusing is they are always the first to protest this kind of name-calling.

The terrorists set a March 31st deadline for the government to order all armed entities to retreat at a certain distance or else a hostage would be beheaded. And as predicted, the government did order the military to do so. Blowing away a golden opportunity to pressure the bandits into releasing the hostages. And when the deadline was drawing near they changed their demands into something greater, the surrender of the entire Sulu province. You see what happens if we spoil the bad guys? Who knows what they would ask in the next hostage crises.

Kidnapping, extortion and similar terrorist habits are increasing gradually. The government should take every incident as a learning experience, and be able to form a stratedgy to prepare for the next crises and learn not to give in to demands and still win the situation.  Because come to think of it, why would anyone continue to do something if they don’t get anything from it?

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