Hand tied to their back
CTALK - Cito Beltran () - October 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Thirteen members of the Army Special Forces were killed in action while six POWs were murdered in cold blood because they, like many others, are sent to combat with one hand tied to their back.

While everyone is talking about deceit, murder, and violations of a ceasefire, officials of the Philippine Government refuse to admit that they have been fooled into a situation where they, the government, are the only ones following the rules of a ceasefire by force of circumstance, and actually believe they are in control of rebel infested areas.

While the Philippine Government acts in good faith, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front regularly massacres or ambush government troops based on claims of trespassing, acts of aggression or failure to coordinate or ask permission before entering MILF territories. As far as the MILF is concerned there is only one term of engagement; Shoot first, chop heads, answer questions later.

In spite of the fact that troops are being slaughtered, the Philippine Government insists on honoring the ceasefire and pursuing peace talks. It is clear that the Philippine government is totally out of touch with the reality that they are dealing with criminal elements that utilizes dual personalities to their advantage.

The best proof of this was when the government sent a police team to execute a warrant of arrest against a known killer and terrorist who beheads soldiers of the AFP. The idea was to present the warrant and if necessary capture the cold-blooded killer. Unfortunately a warrant of arrest is only effective for a lone criminal, ideally in a situation where the government has the upper hand or the superior force.

In the rebel-infested areas of Mindanao, the rebels are in charge and they are in control. Aside from Islamic laws, the only law that applies is who has the guns and the most number of men.

It was absolute madness or criminally irresponsible to send 40 men straight into the mouth of 400 blood-thirsty fanatics. This scene has played out time and again, and always our policemen and soldiers end up paying the price with their life or limbs.

In a combat zone, soldiers will tell you that a warrant of arrest has the same value as toilet paper. Unfortunately 19 men died just to deliver that piece of paper. Was it worth 19 lives just to be able to make the point that all points of Basilan are covered by Philippine law?

Yes it was but the death toll should have be on the side of the criminals and the MILF who gave them refuge and did the killing. Why go into their lair? Why a warrant and not an ultimatum followed by action?

Government officials speak of lofty ideals but all they have been doing is talk, and then talk even more. They don’t go deep into jungles and contract malaria, they don’t suffer extreme hardship and ultimately pay with their own lives, leaving behind orphans and widows who after living hand to mouth will now move further down the chain of poverty and anguish.

The Aquino Administration would do well to consider getting out of the pit that the Arroyo administration jumped into all for the sake of political goodwill not only with the MILF but also with Muslim nations and the United States.

PNoy may wish to review or investigate why junior officers and new recruits are constantly being slaughtered while high ranking military officials sit comfortably in their air conditioned offices or vans far from the line of fire.

Of particular interest is why the firefight lasted for nine hours, why soldiers ran out of ammunitions, and no airborne reinforcements and supply came early enough. Almost every other year or so, the same tragedy happens. Soldiers die from loss of blood, no gunboat providing back up, etc.

I have been told time and again that President Noynoy is very meticulous and detailed when it comes to information. Perhaps he should determine whose bright idea it was to send a suicide mission?

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MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino and his crew deserve congratulations for the successful implementation of the Motorcycle lane. May we now suggest a similar campaign for cargo trucks and delivery vans as well as buses to be banned from the left most lane or overtaking lane on EDSA and C-5.

In fact it would be well worth the effort if the MMDA, NLEX, SLEX, and other toll roads were to declare a permanent ban on the left lane for all commercial and cargo vehicles. In addition to this, the MMDA should also ban mobile billboard trucks on major roads because they intentionally drive slow and cause traffic build-ups.

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During Senate investigations on the PCSO, we noticed that questions would always crop up on how the PCSO determined who was entitled to an ambulance among the many congressional districts as well as local government units. In short, every time a politician gets an ambulance people always get suspicious.

In order to do away with the politics of ambulance dispersal, it is suggested that the PCSO donate ambulances to police stations, provide fuel allowance as well as a “standby nurse or physician” living within their jurisdiction. By doing this, the police can also save lives and give medical assistance.

The local government can still have access to the ambulances but they would have to go through the PNP which adds a filter against misuse.

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