Vicious Cycle Calls for All-Out War vs MILF

Citing the vicious cycle of “rogues” committing abuses and hiding in Moro Islamic Liberation Front “territories,” Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson on Sunday maintained his stance of scrapping a deceit-laced peace process with the secessionist group. 

Lacson lamented an “annoying common experience” that had cost the lives of many soldiers who could not distinguish between “real” and “rogue” MILF fighters in the past several years.

“It has become a vicious cycle: the ‘rogues’ conduct atrocities, kidnap civilians, or attack and ambush our troops then seek refuge within the confines of the MILF encampments or ‘territories,’“ he said.

“Even when I was still the Philippine National Police chief, I was being told the same story by my own police forces in Mindanao. This is the main reason why our soldiers are losing many battles against the MILF,” he added.

He said that in the case of the recent clashes in Mindanao, one can only imagine the frustration of the Army’s Special Forces in not being able to rescue and save the lives of their six captured men only because they were not supposed to encroach into an off-limits zone.

Even law enforcement agents can conduct hot pursuit rescue operations without a court-issued search warrant, he noted.

Soldiers should at least be allowed to do the same to save the lives of their own people, he said.

“Everybody wanting peace in Mindanao is a no-brainer. Pray tell me, how can we have real and lasting peace when we allow an organized group to bear arms and worse, unofficially allow their belligerence status?” he said.

Lacson also advised the government’s peace negotiators to “wake up” to the reality that renewed peace negotiations have become an arena for posturing by the MILF, because it is a basic negotiation technique to always deal from a position of strength.

“Our peace negotiators should now wake up to that reality. Review history and you will easily see the pattern and timing of escalation of the MILF ‘rogues’ atrocities,” he said.

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