A PERSON who claims to be one of the injured PNP-SAF commandos who survived the Mamasapano Massacre, and hides behind the name “Jason Navarro,” has launched a petition using the advocacy platform Change.org. He wishes to gather thousands of signatures to urge the Philippine government, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP to stop the ongoing military offensives in Mindanao against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). (See our P1 story yesterday “Mamasapano survivor calls for peace.”)
He says the military offensives against the BIFF will lead to more suffering. Here are most of the heart-rending words of his appeal.
“The true face of war is not that dead soldier or rebel on the battlefield. It is a mother fleeing her home with a cartload of offsprings, amid sounds of gunfire.”
“I am a Special Action Force [SAF] officer. I lost 44 of my comrades and was wounded in battle. I will carry physical and emotional scars for life.”
“I too, am a child of Mindanao. In childhood, I watched the flight of thousands of people from nearby towns. Entire families desperately seeking safe haven, war having obliterated their communities.”
He called for an end to decades of conflict in Mindanao that have claimed the lives of thousands of soldiers, Muslim rebels and civilians and displaced thousands of families.
“A year after the Zamboanga City siege, thousands of war refugees continue to huddle on the grandstand. Food, water and other basic needs remain scarce. Many of their kin are dead, from the fighting or the diseases that have swept through evacuation centers.”
“To those who scream for war: What do you know of the lives lost? We, the people of Mindanao, are not pawns to be pushed here and there. Whether or not government wins battles, the people lose.”
“I wrote this petition to give voice to the many who share my belief in peace. I write for the countless mothers who have seen offspring sacrificed to war. No mother would want to see her child holding a gun.”
“No prize, no victory will ease their pain. War does not distinguish among faiths. War snuffs out lives – Filipino lives.”
‘I am SAF. I know war. I fear the day when my family comes face to face with it. Even as we seek justice for my fallen comrades, let us repeat again and again: War is not the solution. I hope you sign my petition. Together, let us send this message: Peace is the answer.”
Harsh but correct reality
Gloria M. Kuizon, one of the earliest Times readers to react to our news story about “Jason Navarro’s” campaign, wrote the following:
“I suspect this fellow who goes by the name of Jason Navarro is either really a Mamasapano Massacre survivor afflicted with the Stockholm syndrome or an invention of the Malaysian-MILF propagandists.
“Yes, we must have peace in Mindanao. But there should also be the firm rule of law. The government military is going after the BIFF, the Abu Sayyaf and other illegal armed groups. Does ‘Jason Navarro’ want these hooligans to just be left alone, to grow and continue doing their violent and criminal activities?
“What he should advocate is for the MILF leadership to tell their armies to join the AFP and PNP in finishing off the BIFF, the Abu Sayyaf and other illegal armies!”
We totally agree with the harsh but realistic comment of reader Kuizon.
And we wish to say to “Jason Navarro” that we in The Times, Ms. Kuizon and like-minded Filipinos do not “scream for war” as he seems to think supporters of law-enforcement measures are doing.
We are saddened by the sentimental but permissive stand of “Jason Navarro” who seems to forget that the failure to enforce the rule of law is precisely what has brought the reign of violence and disorder in many parts of the Muslim provinces of Mindanao.
Unfortunately his stand is shared by not a few Pollyanna-minded civic leaders of our country who claim to be champions of “Peace.” They do not realize that their permissive and appeasement outlook is exactly what the bandits and rebel groups want most Filipinos to espouse. For that mentality works to cripple the government’s law-enforcement agencies. It prevents them from doing its primary duty of protecting the ordinary citizens from evildoers–robbers, kidnappers, the Abu Sayyaf and other illegal armed criminal groups, terrorists like the BIFF, those members of the MILF who with the BIFF massacred the PNP-SAF company in Mamasapano.
These are the Philippine Republic’s enemies that slaughtered the Fallen 44 Heroes, whose heroic deaths do not seem to have any value to “Jason Navarro.”