The road to peace
MUCH of the public was relieved that President Benigno Nonoy Aquino III finally decided to take military action against those responsible for the ambush-slaying of 19 Army personnel in Basilan even if the military action is short of being called all-out war.
However, the current military action should be complemented by a firm political act that will send a clear message to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that their taking advantage of the organs of the Philippine republic is now over and that force would be met with overwhelming force.
Without this firm guarantee of retaliation the current punitive action would be for nothing.
As a start the government should not allow the creation of MILF Area of Temporary Stay (military camps) in any place in Mindanao except Maguindanao where the organization is an organic entity.
Second the MILF must be made to cut off any ties with criminal groups, especially the murderous Abu Sayyaf, and made responsible for the operation of criminal groups in Maguindanao and in areas where they have ATS.
Third, the MILF should arrest and turn over to the government any criminal groups caught in its areas of jurisdiction.
Fourth, qualified MILF fighters should integrate themselves to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and accept assignment in other areas of the republic while competent MILF civil servants should also integrate themselves with the civilian bureaucracy of the republic and accept assignments in areas other than Mindanao.
While we recognize the need for an autonomous government for our Muslim brothers to ensure respect for their history, culture and religion, the MILF should publicly renounce its desire for an independent homeland and recognize the Philippine republic as the only political entity within the Philippine archipelago.
The MILF should aggressively run after the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and made sure that no other similar faction would exist within their ranks.
These are just preliminary suggestions that I ga-thered from folks all over Metro Manila. I sincerely pray that these suggestions would be considered.
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Despite the suggestions mentioned, there are those who are skeptical about the real intentions of the MILF.
They claim there can never be any permanent peace settlement with the MILF because it is determined to establish an independent Islamic republic.
They added the MILF is only using the peace talks to consolidate its ranks and gain support from Muslim countries in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
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