By BENJIE OLIVEROS
The Mamasapano fiasco that killed 44 policemen, who came from its elite unit, has generated so much reaction from the public that it compelled President Aquino to explain how and why this blunder happened – although what he did was to merely blame somebody else. Let us not put the lives of those killed, policemen and Moro rebels alike, to waste. Let us derive lessons from the Aquino government’s costly blunder. Here are some lessons and revelations we could derive from this fiasco.
1. The level of ineptness of the Aquino government is quite high and yet it does not have the humility to accept its mistakes and correct its errors. Instead, President Aquino always passes on the blame to others or his underlings while saving himself from being held accountable for his costly blunders. Clearly, President Aquino approved a military action – ignorance is no excuse – that imperiled the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to curry favor with the US in the hope of getting more military aid.
It also raised a question: Why is suspended PNP Director Alan Purisima heading the operations?
2. It would take more than a piece of paper, crafted as an agreement or a law, to achieve peace. Even with the ceasefire and expected forging of a peace agreement, the Aquino government approved a military operation within the area of operations of the MILF. It is obviously not a simple serving of a warrant, with the number and type of troops involved.
The reaction of the Moro rebels, on the other hand, showed their deep distrust over the sincerity of the Philippine government and the intention of its troops.
No matter how many agreements the government signs and with whom, peace could never achieved unless the roots of the armed conflict is addressed. In the case of the Bangsamoro people, the armed conflict is rooted in centuries of oppression and chauvinism and deep social inequities.
The Philippine government has already signed a peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) before and still a just and lasting peace has not been achieved. Even if the Bangsamoro Basic Law is passed and the fighters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are decommissioned and disarmed, if the Bangsamoro people’s right to self determination is not genuinely guaranteed and the deep social inequity plaguing them is not addressed, the armed conflict would continue. This early, there is already the Bangsamoro Freedom Fighters and the MNLF is exhibiting signs of unrest.
3. If the government takes on a war that is not ours, but an invention of the US to justify its continuous military buildup, aggression and intervention such as the “war on terror”, then the war would be brought to us. Assuming that indeed Abdulbasit Usman at Zulkipli Bin Hir – Usman and Marwan – of the Jemaah Islamiya are here, the question is why are they here?
It is most probably because we have allowed ourselves to be used by the US in its war on terror. Reports reveal that the whole Mamasapano operations was directed by the US to neutralize Marwan. The US supplied the intelligence; it instigated the Aquino government to undertake the operations; and US troops were sighted participating in the retrieval operations.
Second, the oppression and social inequities being suffered by the Bangsamoro people create the breeding ground for armed Islamic fundamentalist movements. If the Bangsamoro people do not suffer oppression and social inequities, and the Philippine government does not allow the US, or any country for that matter, to use the country and its Armed Forces for the war that the US created and instigated, Usman and Marwan would not be welcomed here.
Even the much-maligned ISIS would not have thrived if there was no “war on terror” and there are no acts of oppression and injustices being committed against Muslims all over the world.
For a Commander-in-Chief and President to merely lay the blame on a commanding officer for a critical and sensitive operation involving a lot of troops is too simplistic and shows an utter lack of accountability.
If we hastily blame the MILF and other armed Bangsamoro fighters for attacking government security forces operating in the area where they are stationed, we fall into the ploy of the US of racial profiling through portraying all Muslims as terrorists to justify its so-called “war on terror” and its military hegemony and aggression.
If we are to look beyond the blinders being spread by the propagandists of the US and Philippine governments and take a deeper look into the roots of the armed conflict, everything would be much clearer.