‘Rise above anger and work for peace’

FOR FLAG AND COUNTRY  Members of a group called 2/22 Coalition, which seeks the ouster of President Benigno Aquino 3rd hold a giant Philippine flag which, according to them, is an expression of People Power.  Malacañang, however, has belittled the coalition, saying it lacks support from the public and the military. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN

Members of a group called 2/22 Coalition, which seeks the ouster of President Benigno Aquino 3rd hold a giant Philippine flag which, according to them, is an expression of People Power. Malacañang, however, has belittled the coalition, saying it lacks support from the public and the military. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo  Duterte on Friday appealed to the country’s top political leaders to rise above the national outrage and anger over the Mamasapano (Maguindanao) incident where 44 police commandos were killed by men believed to be members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). He urged them, instead, to help one another in preparing a back-up plan in case the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) fails to pass Congress.

Malacañang, however,  also on Friday expressed optimism that the proposed BBL would still be passed even if it  suffered delays especially after the Mamasapano incident.

In calling for sobriety, Duterte said, “The outrage is understandable. The loss of 44 lives of the members of the Special Action Force (SAF) is a national tragedy but, as leaders of this country, we have to calm our people instead of stoking the fire of hatred.”

He cautioned those who are calling for an “all-out war” to exact vengeance against the groups believed responsible for the death of the 44 policemen that an outbreak of violence in Mindanao would be disastrous not only for innocent civilians but also for the whole country.

“I join the nation in demanding justice for the fallen SAF commandos and in determining who was responsible for the disastrous mission but we must not allow ourselves to be carried away by our emotions,” Duterte said.

“I have seen first-hand the horrors of conflict. I carried in my arms the bodies of innocent civilians mangled by bombs [that]hit the San Pedro Cathedral, the international airport and the Sasa wharf not so long ago,” he added, referring to Davao City landmarks attacked by insurgents.

“Rising above the deafening din of cries for revenge to think of ways to avoid an outbreak of hostilities is not cowardice or an act to dishonor those who sacrificed their lives to make our communities safe from the threats of terrorists but prudence and level-headedness,” the Davao City mayor said.

“Effort to neutralize the enemies of peace and those who wish to harm our people must indeed be continued, this time taking to mind the lessons learned from previous operations,” Duterte added.

He, however, said the effort to find a lasting solution to the Mindanao conflict to achieve peace must never be abandoned.

“Let us not forget that in the history of the wars of the world, even the bloodiest conflicts mankind had ever witnessed, where millions of lives were lost, ended in the peace table,” Duterte noted.

According to the mayor, there should be three courses of action that should be taken by the national leadership to handle the crisis resulting from the Mamasapano incident: determine accountability on the tragic mission and establish  criminal liability of those involved with the purpose of serving justice to the victims and their loved ones; draft and implement a plan of action to handle the volatile situation and ensure that it will not degenerate into another round of hostilities; and prepare an alternative plan in case the BBL fails to pass Congress, the Senate and the Supreme Court so that the search for peace will be pursued.

In not giving up on the Bngsamoro Basic Law, Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said the government remains committed to continue the peace process and will stay the course.

“At this point, the peace panel and the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process is cognizant that there is already a delay in the timetable. The leadership of Congress has conveyed to us that they are not dropping the matter. They recognize that . . .  it’s an important piece of legislation, and when the hearings commence, we will . . . come to the deliberations ready, and as has always been the case, our peace panel will be ready to answer the questions,” Valte told reporters in a news briefing.

“At least on the side of government, [we accept that there would be a delay in the passage of the BBL]but [what is important is that]it’s still on the table. The peace panel and our peace advocates will be ready to answer questions when the deliberations come,” she said.

A priority measure of the Aquino administration, the BBL aims to create an expanded region with more powers than the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

It is part of the historic deal that the  MILF and the government signed in 2014 after 17 years of negotiations.

The initial target was to pass the bill by March 2015.

Yet the mission to arrest top terrorists in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, puts at risk the peace process, intended to be a key legacy of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

Under question is the sincerity of the MILF, which faces allegations of an “overkill” in Mamasapano.

The rebel group in turn blames the heavy toll on the police’s failure to follow existing coordination mechanisms under the peace process.

Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was the first to suspend BBL hearings in the Senate, and his counterparts in the House of Representatives followed suit.

Lawmakers said they will not tackle the measure until parallel investigating bodies uncover what happened in Mamasapano.

The government is pinning its hopes on Congress to pass the draft measure into law within the first quarter so that a plebiscite can be held before June and a transition authority can be put in place a year before the May 2016 elections.


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  1. Bangsa-moro is direct total absolute assault to the Sovereignty, Authority, and the Patrimony of the Philippines!

    Those Filipinos who clamour, endorse, and fight for the BBL are traitors and cowards indeed, who hate a free, proud, independent, and sovereign Philippines.

    Only the free, sovereign Filipino People has the sole constitutional authority to decide through a nationwide plebiscite in matters of Philippine National Territory!

  2. In my opinion, this agreement would pose a threat to the country. Look at Israel, this state was divided and one side goes to the arabs and the other to the jews. the jews gladly accepted their share and the arabs didn’t. Why? because they don’t just want a piece of land where to live, they want to take the whole land.Same with the Philippines. Digging into history, the south was not originally owned by the muslims. they came later and took root and took away some land. Then that started the war between muslims and Christians. If only both could settle in their piece of land peacefully, there will be no trouble. but as long as there is one who wants to have more than what he has and takes away what rightfully belongs to the other, then there is friction. Giving them right to a piece of land will not stop there. It will embolden them and ask for more, and more and more. It has always been the agenda of the muslims to rule the world like what the Christians wanted to do too. Why cant we co exist and respect one another despite of belief? why cant we respect a person because of his character and not because of his belief? we are all the same, unfortunately some just crave for power and money.

  3. Crisostomo Ibarra on

    I agree with Mayor Duterte in having a Plan B, just in case the BBL doesn’t push through. I will also take heed on the Former DILG Rafael Alunan III’s proposal, in regards to the peace process in Mindanao.

    The peace process in Mindanao should include all the stakeholders and not just the MILF.

    We need to choose the right peace partners and brokers. If they threaten us with war, if their demands are not met, it’s not peace they want. They are terrorist!!!

    We should exclude Malaysia in this Peace accord, due to the following reasons:
    1. Sabah issue = conflict of interest.
    2. Highly likely that they are funding the Moro rebels.

    Furthermore, I’m a realist, I therefore would like to have a “Plan C”.
    Plan C is to have AFP/PNP/etc to start gearing up, weapons check, ammo load, comm and equipment check. Pre position our troops and assets, and expect the worst.

    MILF is using the threat of war as an instrument of politics. We should respond in kind so as not to appear weak and without resolve.

    I would also like remind the officers of the peace panel that they are representing the REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, not whatever acronym organization. The Filipino people are counting on you not to short change us on these negotiations. Show some Grit.

    In conclusion, Si vis pacem, para bellum.

  4. Peace agreement with barbarians is not for peace. It’s CAPITULATION! Deles, Leonen, Ferrer and Aquino should be hanged for TREASON!

  5. For crying out loud!!! Wake up people see what’s happening around the world where Muslims are. They themselves cannot understand each other, much less get along with one another. BBL will not bring peace to Mindanao. Peace will only come when MILF, MNHL, BIFF and the ABUSAYAF are made to accept the laws of our land and abide by our constitution, by force if need be. All of us want peace, they are the ones that create the havoc. Let us not be dictated by these minority and a lunatic president, not to mention the money hungry arse lickers like Deles and Ferer. This two traitors should be shot.

  6. The essential question is, what is peace from the point of view of the Moro rebels? Is coddling terrorists like Marwan, Basit Usman and others consistent with their clamor for peace? Is savagery, robbery and mass murder to be condoned for the sake of peace? What peace are they talking about? The Muslims in Mindanao cannot even agree among themselves how to co-exist peacefully. Is lawlessness peace? Before we talk of peace let us first restore order, implement genuine reforms, jail the corrupt politicians, and the rebels who committed atrocities, ensure equality before the law, provide adequate basic social services to our poor communities especially in far flung areas, respect human rights and indigenous cultures, empower the poor by enhancing their free access to the five essential capitals of sustainable development such as natural capital, physical capital, human capital, financial capital, social capital, In plain language, genuine comprehensive agrarian reform, build roads, bridges, hospitals, irrigation, electricity, schools, etc. The poor should be given loans with minimal interest to help them with their livelihood, they be provided with scientific and technical knowledge and skills in modern farming since our economy is largely based on agriculture. Their children should have access to quality and affordable education and health care. The poor should be taught how to form self-help organizations such as cooperatives and similar organizations to assist them in promoting their products and in to facilitate exchange of ideas and skills with their counterparts throughout the world. Then and only then shall we have harmony and peace.

  7. Michael Richardson on

    I am a great admirer of Duterte, but on this occasion I believe he doesn’t properly understand the nature of the problem. As a foreigner (British), I can see that there is nothing basically wrong with the way the Philippines is governed apart from the corruption. The Philippine Constitution is good, and so are the laws passed by the lawmakers. There is religious freedom and you can worship any god you like – even Mickey Mouse providing you don’t break the law. Why then, I ask myself, would a group of people want to separate themselves from it! Can it be a coincidence that this group is Muslim!! If you look at what is happening in the bigger picture, and think of Philippine Muslims fitting into some grand future scheme in which Islam is the dominant force in the world, you begin to wonder whether we are dealing with a clash of ideologies. (Civilisations?) If they really want to work towards a better world, where Allah reigns supreme, and all other religions are stamped out, then this kind of Islamic dissent must be treated with the contempt it deserves.

  8. This article shows that your reporters and even Duterte don’t realilze that, as your own editorial states, the BBL cannot be passed because it is unconstitutional and MILF’s Murad and the rebel organization’s leaders will not accept anything but the original BBL they and their lawyers wrote!

    Yan ang problema: you seem to be opposed to immorality, corruption, hypocrisy and ubntruthfulness, but in your own news reports you do not point out that the viewpoints you report are being spouted by some personality are wrong!

    In the end, tolerated pa rin ninyo ang kawalanghiyaan ng mga leaders natin. especially Aquino and his bandit gang.

  9. A peace agreement that does not resolve the issues and just has the parties stop fighting is not a long term solution. Look at the peace agreement signed by Germany after WORLD WAR I. It just delayed the fighting until WW II. But the peace agreements of WW II have stood the test of time. The US insisted on the term: UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER. That resolved everything.

    The BBL is not a long term solution to peace. It is a temporary peace and should be seen as such. It gives land, power, and money to an armed faction, with a clear goal of a separate nation. Once the armed group gets the money thy will build up and gain more power, they will then launch a war to take additional land and power, while declaring true independence from the PH.

    So the choice is clear. An all out war is coming. The choices are now or in the future. I believe that we should bring law and order to the south now. Keep it one nation.

  10. Make no mistake about this: Once the Bangsamoro substate, with its own armed force, is handed down to the MILF, the MILF will declare it as an independent Islamist republic. Who will then protect the rights of Christians who compose nearly half of the inhabitants of Bangsamoro? If they do not convert to Islam, there is the possibility that they could be killed or beheaded, like what ISIS does to non-Muslims in its area of control.

    Since this MILF and other terror groups will not disarm and pledge allegiance to our Constitution, the only way to peace is to destroy these terror groups. Sri Lanka only achieved peace in 2009 after its armed forces destroyed the Tamil Tigers in 2009 after 26 years of fighting. America achieved peace after the Union forces defeated the Confederate Army under Gen. Robert Lee in April 1865, after 4 years of war.

    Let’s hold a plebiscite on BBL. We cannot allow the incompetent BS Aquino and his Congress lapdogs to hand over a piece of our territory – Bangsamoro, to the MILF terrorists. NO to BBL! One nation, one flag!

  11. PEACE WITH THE MILF CAN NOT BE RUSHED. The BBL was being rushed; Deles Ferrer Iqbal Murad Jaffar had kept many details of the BBL in secret (like…. how many rifles and what types will be surrendered? Will crimes against civilians (like torching of villages) be given amnesty?) how much money, who gets the millions of pesos — which body will audit how the money is spent?
    Then… Mamapasano with MILF showing brutality against PNP-SAF. To reward the brutality is nonsense, especially because of the many weak areas of BBL as it is written.