The MILF Have Been Suckered Into War:The "Peace Agreement" As A Trojan Horse

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During the previous year or so the MILF have been charging the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) that the latter is not interested in peace citing the lack of progress in the peace talks and the near-impasse in the substantive portions of the agenda. Earlier this year the Malaysian peacekeepers of the International Monitoring Team notified Manila that it will not be renewing its peace-keeping chores saying practically the same reason cited by the MILF. Mindanao-based peace advocates shared the same lament. It even led to the resignation of some personalities connected with the peace process. Even the very respected Fr. Eliseo Mercado of the Notre Dame University in Cotabato City broadly hinted of government’s insincerity in the peace talks.

Suddenly, nearing the end of Gen. Esperon’s tour of duty as AFP Chief of Staff the talks suddenly accelerated. Gen. Esperon was appointed as the presidential adviser on the peace process right after retirement and, lo and behold, suddenly a “breakthrough” in the peace talks was announced. Soon after a signing of the “peace agreement” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was announced.

When it became clear that the substantive portion of the agreement was about the “ancestral domain” and the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE), Christian politicians in three key localities in Mindanao made angry noises. Suddenly, there was major fighting in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte and full-scale assault by the AFP followed. It was supposedly “to bring to justice” the commander of the BIAF (Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces) 102nd Base Command Abdulrahman Macapaar or Commander Bravo based in Lanao del Norte and Commander Ameril Umbra Kato of the 105th Base Command in North Cotabato who supposedly occupied 15 barangays.

Commander Bravo denied the charged atrocities in Kauswagan and pointed instead to the group of Alvin Canto as the perpetrators. This group immediately surrendered to the military after fighting started. Is this the same case as the “Polish” attack against Hitler’s Germany that started WWII?

Is Kato’s “occupation” true? For several years now the military has been charging Ustadz Kato with conniving with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). Is there more than a coincidence here?

After nearly four months of war all of the MILF-BIAF’s base command including those in western ARMM have been attacked by the AFP saying it would continue until the MILF surrenders the wanted commanders, a demand that was surely rejected by the MILF. Contrary to my expectations nearly all of the MILF areas have been overrun by the AFP. Feeling victorious, the current AFP chief of staff probably slipped when he boasted that:
1. “What we did in 2000 was to symbolically occupy areas and raise the flag. We have not accounted for much of their capabilities and even firearms”, thereby directly criticizing Erap’s “all-out war” against the MILF.
2. “Our objective now is not just to occupy lands…but to degrade the capabilities of the forces involved”.
3. “We have not only occupied some of their traditional areas which means we have constricted their area of capability, their space to maneuver…we have inflicted considerable damage not only to personnel but to equipment of the different groups we are pursuing”.

All in the disguise of “bringing to justice…” Looks like Gen. Yano mastered the Bush art of “truth-stretching”. What was really the objective was “to change the realities on the ground”, as preparation for “new peace talks”.

Looking at other quarters, there seems to be moves to rehabilitate Nur Misuari of the MNLF. Maybe as a substitute sparring partner if the MILF does not report to the peace talks?

Looking back, the GRP’s “concessions” in the peace talks looked too good and magnificent to be true. Maybe it knows that it won’t pass Supreme Court review anyway. “The right hand giveth, the left hand giveth”. A pretext (atrocities kuno) to a full-scale war was found. The “peace agreement” turned out to be just a Trojan horse.

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