The country may have sadly lost 44 members of the elite Special Action Force (SAF) of the national police during an encounter with the rebel forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), in what was suppose to be covert operation in apprehending a couple of terrorists with bounties on their heads, but the question now is if this is enough reason to give up on the elusive peace in Mindanao through the Bangsamoro peace talks.
With the peace panels of the government and the MILF holding a special meeting in Kuala Lumpur, in the aftermath of the deadly engagement between the police commandos and Moro fighters, there never has been a moment like this where the desire for peace in Mindanao is greatly sought after by both parties.
So much time, effort and goodwill has been spent and shown by members of the peace panels that to allow this deadly clash to breach and affect the friendly relationship between the Christians and Muslims in Mindanao in forging an autonomous political entity named Bangsamoro, is forsaking the development and progress in the area.
The consequence of the covert operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao is the product of poor planning, communication and coordination of the police forces directing the mission.
As much as we honor the dead who were just following instructions thinking that those giving them orders to go to the lair of the Moro fighters have already made the necessary coordination with the leaders of the MILF about their intentions to make their mission easier and safer, we also angrily condemn whoever was or were behind that gave the command for the SAF personnel to invade the place – at their own risk.
Even Mohagher Iqbal, chief negotiator of the MILF, lamented the failure of government to coordinate with the MILF hierarchy about its mission to arrest the Malaysian and Filipino terrorists.
At this point in time where the Bangsamoro peace talks has to be sustained until it becomes a success, both the government and the MILF should be more frank and transparent about its intentions. To be silent and less candid is to show bad faith.
Thus, no words can ever justify that covert operation was the only way to snatch the two terrorists and come out of it unscathed – more so that the SAF personnel were entering the lair of the MILF.
It simply was a foolish way to sacrifice lives when it could have been negotiated to avoid unnecessary deaths.