DAVAO CITY: I don’t understand the logic behind the “timing” of the AFP assault on Ameril Umbra Kato’s BIFF. The ink on the agreement with the MILF had barely dried when the assault was launched. It simply spoiled the euphoria. The peace milestone was overshadowed by the fighting. Some Muslim communities were evacuating and again on the run for their lives as the new peace breakthrough was announced. Some might even take this against the MILF for being contributory in bringing them additional miseries— given AFP’s announcement that the MILF agreed and cooperated in this military assault. When there is fighting, you hurt everyone whether BIFF, MNLF, MILF or just plain ordinary folk. They belong to one community out there on the ground.
Ostensibly, the purpose of the assault was to show to the world that with the peace agreement almost a done deal, the government with the help of the MILF would now run after the “spoilers.” However, it is also sending the world a disturbing signal: that a deal with the MILF will not assure comprehensive peace in the land.
My point is: yes, the military should forcibly deal with the BIFF and all those who fight government, by all means. But the “timing” was a big mistake. It upstaged an important development in the peace negotiations. And it is igniting more trouble at a time when we all badly need a quiet, peaceful ambience to celebrate and applaud the recent milestone.
Too bad the trigger was pulled at the wrong time. We stirred the hornets’ nest. The assault may have its military tactical value. But it is not strategic. (firstname.lastname@example.org)