by Darth Bane
Founder of the Order of the Sith Lords
Members of the Philippines’ Special Forces hunting down a known fugitive in Mindanao were ambushed by members of the Moro National Liberation Front. And the question on everyone’s mind is— should peace talks continue between the MILF and the Philippine government?
The common consensus seem to be that the Philippines should breakaway from the peace table, and hunt down the MILF. There is without doubt that it could be done, should the nation choose to irradiate them. And yet, time and time again press them to submission, and the government pulls back when they sue for peace. The MILF then rearms and does the whole thing all over again.
The definition of insanity, as is often quoted— is repeating the same thing and expecting different results. And the nation has been doing the some thing with regard to peace. However the reason why the bandit force of MILF haven’t been dealt with years ago, the problem persists today, and there must be different, and better solutions.
For the longest time, MILF really is a bandit group. Not a rebel force, or a force suing for independence. The reality too on the ground is that this armed force is surrounded by community. When these people talk “camps,” the mind conjures up images of a military base with armed men training like is some Hollywood movie. The reality is that these are villages, where families. It is medieval in the sense that instead of swords, they use guns. And it is in violence that they get their way. There are many good places in Mindanao, but there are places too where one is reminded of what a frontier is, and that is the Philippine frontier.
A war in Mindanao doesn’t help advance a better life for the people in Mindanao. The problem will simply return when these bandits sue for peace. What the people of Mindanao will benefit from is a demilitarization of all groups in the region. When the guns have been removed from the equation and real jobs, and real hope can be ensured only will there be real peace, and a real way out of poverty for most people in Mindanao.
The solution for Mindanao peace will never come from Manila. Peace in Mindanao can only be achieved when all the stakeholders accept that they want peace— and not their own self-interests. And let us make no mistake that there are self-insterests involved. We’re talking about the frontier where the status quo of warlords makes them kings.
But what of the soldiers killed in battle?
Where is justice for soldiers who died needlessly?
The perpetrators ought to be brought to justice, but not at the expense of the greater good.
Mindanao has to realize that not only are they gripping with the economic realities in the region, but they too are pressed for time. The ecological changes in the world will soon come to Mindanao. It will be hotter, and dryer in Mindanao in the next decades. And that will make it even more difficult to get people out of poverty. To act doesn’t mean to forestall— but rather to adapt. Prepare. And violence on the ground will only compound the long term problem for everyone.
Peace can only be achieved when everyone wants it. Peace can only be achieved when the stakeholders in the region let go of their guns, and realize it isn’t the government that is their enemy, it is their own anger, and self-interest. It is high time the people, and the leaders of Mindanao stand up, and act responsibly. Peace can only be achieved when Mindanao says they want peace and will bring those who would disrupt it to justice themselves.
And what of people clamoring for war? The Catholic Church has a theory for what constitutes, Just War. It is a philosophy studied by experts in war. It talks about criteria of going to war. A war in Mindanao today, is not a Just War. Put it another way, there has to be justice for those soldiers killed. Within the framework of our law, they can achieve that, but there has to be justice too for the entire people of Mindanao, and War will not be justice for our fallen soldiers, and a people gripped by warlords, and bandits.
Image credit: Boardman Robinson, Public Domain