A couple months ago, while holding ongoing discussions on peace, a rougue leader “captured” the Philippine Military at the meeting. After two days, it was resolved peacefully, with those doing the kidnapping claiming they just wanted to have their demands met.

However, this same group, led by a man named Malik, has continued to cause trouble, and this time the Army is not going to step down.

The latest action of government troops is against a mortar attack against a local city hall that killed two soldiers and a civilian.
So today when the OIC, Organization of the Islamic Conference, who helped broker a peace deal with the MNLF in 1996, called on both parties to make peace, the Philippine government declined.

The president’s spokesman explained:

“We acknowledge the call of the OIC for peace in Sulu and we have consistently worked with international allies and stakeholders toward this end,” Bunye said.

“But even the OIC would agree that any government will have to deal firmly with any and all depredations against the community such as that staged by the wayward armed group of Habier Malik,” he added.

Bunye stressed the government must maintain the rule of law in Jolo through aggressive law enforcement to secure the safety of civilians.

“We cannot have peace hostaged to the victims of the lawless,” Bunye said.

Those who feel peace should prevail need to remember that although the majority of those with a grievance can be satisfied with a negotiated settlement, that some will not.

And the lesson is not that one cannot win against a “determined insurgency” but that the fact that murderous insurgencies, if given into, result in murderous governments. The trick is to separate the murderous extremist element from the rest, and this is done by economic development.

Most “insurgents” have families and just want a decent life for their families, leaving the sociopaths and “true believers” who have to be either killed or jailed.

This is what the latest fighting in the Southern Philippines is about.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her webpage is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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