The Mamasapano incident

photo source from NBDC News

   The recent clash between Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao cause controversial headlines this week. 

   According to the officials, the incident was the biggest single-day combat loss for the Philippine government in recent memory, with 44 killed and 12 wounded in action (in contrast to 64 dead SAF report of MILF). It was the first clash between the government’s security forces and MILF in Pres. Aquino’s administration. SAF was served a warrant of arrest on Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir (a.k.a Marwan) and Abu Sayaf member Basit Usman. The operation went badly because of improper coordination. 

   According to Mohaqher Iqbal, the MILF chief negotiator and presiding officer of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, it was a mistaken encounter and the government did not coordinate with them with regards to the operation in their area. The act of MILF was only self-defense.

   According to reports, the government ordered an investigation into the fighting and the “fallen heroes” will be accorded full military honors and combat medals. The MILF also conducted their investigation on this matter. 

   This incident leads to the postponement of (the proceedings) Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the senate. “How can you negotiate a peace process when one party is still at war?” Senator Ferdinand (Bongbong) Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate committee on local government said. Senate majority leader Alan Peter S. Cayetano formally withdraws his co-authorship of the BBL as he questioned the commitment of MILF to the rule of law and democratic process. 

   Many speculations have been flourished on why this incident happened.The graphic images of mutilated SAF members on the national TV and in the internet post many questions to the viewers than answers. Many Filipinos are wondering why this incident happened (again). 

   For those who understand history and Moro struggle, this is not new. This is not surprising in the sense that it repeats what just happened in the past with a different twist. It seems that our government is thinking for a “new” tactic to delay the peace process. The absence of sincerity, respect and understanding are also contributory factors. Both parties are waiting to do their moves. The long history of Moro struggle put into the scene (subconsciously) again because of this encounter. The ghost of the past still haunts us because of its unresolved case. 

   The mineral resources sleeping underground in the island of Mindanao also contributes to this delay. The trillion dollars resources as the Wikileaks revealed are always good motivation to manufacture a false promise to the Mindanaons. 

   It is sad to see that some will be sacrifice for the benefits of the few. Only those on top benefits this charade while the grassroots remains ignorant. This incident will not be the last – if genuine peace process will not be materialized, more lives will be lost.

   2016 is near approaching, and the Philippine government can feel the pressure to fast track the peace process. While some are questioning the BBL, others still hopeful about it. With this incident, I think it’s good to be analytical, research and understand the Moro history than be sorry again. 

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