Let the MILF, MNLF kill each other

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EFREN L. DANAO

EFREN L. DANAO

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has said that the government would intervene to keep the percolating feud between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) from reaching a boiling point and actual firefight.

It’s much better for the government to keep its hands off this feud and let the two Muslim armed groups try to decimate each other. President Duterte said he would love to exterminate drug users and pushers whose number he placed at 3.7 million. I’m sure there are millions of Filipinos who would love to see the MNLF and the MILF massacre each other for a change instead of innocent civilians.

The MNLF was inconsequential until the late President Cory Aquino allowed the return of Chairman Nur Misuari.
The MILF became a ragtag group during the administration of President Erap Estrada after government forces led by Lt/Gen. Emmanuel Teodosio captured all of their military camps, including Camp Abubakar.
Unfortunately, subsequent administrations let the MILF reclaim these camps and gave them sanctuary in these places which it considered MILF territories that even government forces can’t enter without coordination and permission.

The government doesn’t want to lose to China any island, atoll or even rocky islets that can disappear with high tide. Yet, it’s a willing party to the diminution of its sovereignty by the MILF. This can be gleaned from the government reaction to the massacre of soldiers in Al-barka, Basilan, and in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. The government blamed the soldiers for failing to coordinate with the MILF before entering “their territory” to arrest terrorists.


The MNLF a few years back tried to show it was still a force to reckon with by laying a siege on Zamboanga City. Hundreds of civilians were killed; thousands were displaced with the torching of their houses. Misuari went into hiding after that atrocity, only to surface as a Malacanang guest some two weeks ago. Chances are, he would no longer be held accountable for the sufferings he had inflicted on the innocent civilians in Zamboanga City.

From the looks of it, the Duterte administration is friendly to both the MILF and the MNLF. Despite this, the government should step aside once these armed Moro/Muslim groups start fighting each other to the last man.
Then, the government can concentrate its full force against the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

President Duterte initially said that the Abu Sayyafs were merely driven by circumstances to do what they were doing and should be given appropriate understanding. He didn’t believe that drug users and pushers were equally driven by circumstances and so, he ordered their killing “if they resisted.”

The President has since changed his mind about the Abu Sayyaf after they continued kidnapping people and beheading those who fail to pay ransom. He has ordered an all-out war against these terrorists, while predicting victory in a few weeks. He hasn’t changed his views, however, on drug pushers and users. It appears that he considers them as reprehensible as the Abu Sayyafs although the Abu Sayyafs have killed more soldiers and civilians.

Put to rest the Marcos burial issue

The Supreme Court has spoken and the President has remained firm — former President Ferdinand Marcos can be legally buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. These effectively erase all hindrances to his interment in this final resting place for former soldiers, veterans, defense secretaries, presidents and national artists.

Opponents will continue to protest, claiming FM’s interment at the Libingan is an insult, a betrayal of the martyrs during martial law and of the victims of human rights violations during that period. I wish all of them would read the various columns of our esteemed columnist Rigoberto Tiglao about this subject. Most of those who died were communist rebels who wanted to oust the government and were most willing to die for their cause. Tiglao was among the communist rebels detained during martial law but looks at his deprivations not with bitterness but with understanding.

Perhaps, had those promising young men and women not died during martial law, they would now be leading productive, peaceful lives like hundreds of their contemporaries– or, if they continue to believe in the dying communist ideology like a few, live in exile like Joma Sison in Utrecht, Netherlands.

Going back to the FM burial issue, I believe that majority of Filipinos are most willing to forget that period of our history that ended more than 30 years ago. It took much fewer years for Filipinos to forget the atrocities during World War II by Japanese invaders, assisted by Filipino collaborators that included Benigno Aquino Sr. Those atrocities that included the death and torture of millions of Pinoys were so readily forgotten that Benigno Aquino Jr. was elected senator 21 years after the war, and BS Aquino The Last, president in 2010. What would have happened to these two Aquinos if Filipinos had never forgotten that the first Benigno was a collaborator and betrayed the country?

There have been attempts to resurrect the fire of EDSA People Power of 1986 that toppled the Marcos dictatorship. All failed. The most earnest effort was last February where the Aquino administration required every mayor in Metro Manila to bus 200,000 each to EDSA. Try as they might, the pro-Aquino, anti-Marcos
people can’t force others to remember EDSA with the same intensity as before.

Cries of human rights violations during martial law 30 years ago will not resonate with the people as long as similar violations are occurring during our supposed democratic period. Are human rights violations in a democracy less reprehensible than human rights violations during martial law? Attempts to highlight crony capitalism and corruption during martial will be shrugged off as long as these persist in all administrations after 1986.

The Marcos name as a national issue should have been settled in 2010 when Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos was elected senator. Before that, the Marcoses had kept their power and influence only in the Ilocos Region and in Leyte, home province of Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos. Mrs. Marcos lost in her bid for the presidency in 1992. Bongbong lost in the 1995 senatorial election. The nation was not yet ready to forget martial law and the Marcos name during those years. Things changed in 2010 when Bongbong won in a national election. He garnered 14 million votes in a contested election for vice president last May, one of the reasons cited by the Supreme Court in allowing the burial of the former president at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

The readiness to forget is the main reason why the United States achieved national reconciliation a few years after a civil war that claimed millions of lives. The Philippines must do likewise. It cannot continue to wage war against the long gone era of martial law and still hope for national reconciliation.

19espiloy47@gmail.com

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6 Comments

  1. Benzirach Cruz on

    MNLF is movement that was a product of turbulent 60’s founded by a university professor while MILF is an offshoot of MNLF internal didsputes. These two movements are eventually cuddled and financed by Saudi Arabia and Malaysia ( a proxy of Great Britain). By the way these two movements operate shows they are not for the interest of the entire Filipino nation but actually working for their own interest and their sponsoring state whose end motive is to advance their business agendas vis-a-vis oil and gas industries. They threatened not in one occassion our territorial integrity (the recent is the Zamboanga Siege and the Mamasapano Massacre of our soldiers) and national security. There is no other way of dealing with this two group but to treat them as a threat to our national peace and interest and any government officials who would lend support (official or otherwise) is guilty of treason.

  2. Your views show you have not unlearned yet the prejudices & ignorance brought by more than 300 years of Spanish Catholic tutelage.

  3. I came across an idea which mentioned about a possible “Coup” of the Marcos family, opting to have the the burial of FEM somewhere, other than in the LNMB. Perhaps, in Ilocos Norte where he is idolized and adored by almost all the people .A mausoleum close to a library in his name, will be very appropriate and befits the former president. This will be adding a tourists’ attraction in the north. After all, his name is already vindicated by the SC’s decision allowing the interment in the LNMB. Bottom line: hero or no hero; sinner or saint, it is a question between FEM and his Creator. Who are the detractors to judge? .