Yes, It Seems The MILF Was Suckered Into War

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Now, here comes the chief government peace adviser, Hermogenes Esperon, the just-retired AFP chief of staff saying that if negotiations resume, “the matter of DDR–demobilization, disarmament and rehabilitation–will immediately be tabled.” He added: “After discussing upfront the DDR, we can go addressing other matters including the aspirations of the group.” The GMA News said Esperon was referring to the MILF’s desire to give the Bangsamoro people their own territory.

Now, pardon me, isn’t that a call for a surrender? As in “Lay down your arms first and then we will talk”?

I thought the peace talks have been going on for the last 6 years. The Supreme Court issued a TRO (not yet an injunction, mind you) and the signing of the peace treaty was held in abeyance. Some fighting ensued (which happens yearly, anyway, or several times a year when tempers get hot) and now here comes the chief peace negotiator completely changing the framework of the talks!

Now I do not wonder why Malaysia as the IMT (International Monitoring Team) for the ceasefire wanted to withdraw earlier this year and undiplomatically charging that they doubt if the government really wants peace. Later Malaysia threatened not to sign up again as IMT when its term expired.

Now I understand why a highly-respected priest-peace advocate who is trusted by all contending forces in Mindanao, Fr. Eliseo Mercado of the Notre Dame University, personally withdrew from his position in the peace talks several years ago charging the government is not sincere in pursuing peace in Mindanao.

Everybody in Mindanao knows that the MILF is weaker now than they were in 2000 before Erap’s war. They lost territory and they lost their central base, the Camp Abubakar and several other satellite camps. Even the completion of the Narciso Ramos Highway [see my previous post] is proof that they have been weakened.

In the past and in recent days Erap has been quoted saying that if he was not deposed “the MILF will be wiped out by now”. Is this a case of the military’s slip showing through? That if they are “unleashed”, they can “crush” the MILF?

Is this the whole plot behind the “peace-signing”? That like Hitler a Polish “border incident” must first be created? Yes, I remember now. The Philippine-American War of 1899 started with a “shooting incident” in a bridge in San Juan.

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