EDITORIAL - No blank check for the MILF
(The Freeman) - January 29, 2015 - 12:00am

Forget that the MILF, being a rebel group, has no real and legitimate claim to any territory within the Republic of the Philippines. Assume instead that it in fact has, and that as part of the authority it exercises over such territory, it can demand permission (coordination is how it euphemistically calls it) from anyone who seeks to enter, including the police.

Assume further that the police, despite being in legitimate pursuit of its duty (it was moving to arrest two wanted terrorists who have found safe haven in the territory claimed by the MILF) failed or neglected to seek "permission" to enter. Was the "breach" serious enough to warrant the ambush and massacre of the policemen? What was so hateful about the "failure to ask permission" that the wounded policemen had to be finished off and the dead defiled and mutilated?

The government has called for an investigation. But what good will an investigation serve when the truth already stares us in the face? Whatever findings the investigation may unearth will only serve to underscore the bitterness and folly in allowing ourselves to be played by those who never truly intended to deal with us squarely and honorably.

If the MILF truly seeks an honorable peace, the best way to have displayed that intention was to promptly call the attention of the Philippine government about any "breaches of protocol" the police may have committed. Surely, government peace negotiators Teresita Deles and Miriam Coronel Ferrer were just a call away. Indeed, the MILF must have a hotline to the president, or any other responsible official with a grip on the peace process.

But no, the MILF and its BIFF cohorts fired away, gratified by the opportunity the "breach" presented. Now they are justified in killing the enemy because the enemy did not seek permission to enter its "territory." Never mind that there is a peace process going on and that the surest way to display a desire for peace is to work for it even if it entails some sacrifice, like holding back the trigger finger and using it to dial a call, to coordinate in face of a lack of coordination.

It is also revealing that the MILF and BIFF joined forces in the massacre of innocent law enforcers. The truth can now be told that the MILF and the BIFF are not truly separate and different. They are in fact one and the same, distinguished only by assignment and name. The MILF tries to play the government, the BIFF to harass it. Either way the pressure builds to give what, it is very clear now, cannot be given.

Desirable though peace in Mindanao may be, it must not be had at an unfathomable price. The Philippines cannot write a blank check in favor of the MILF. There can be no peace without honor. And there is no honor in depriving anyone the chance to live. There is no honor in desecrating the body after life has left it. If the MILF cannot see peace and honor in this manner, it does not deserve to enjoy them either.

BIFF GOVERNMENT HONOR MILF MINDANAO PEACE PERMISSION REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES TERESITA DELES AND MIRIAM CORONEL FERRER TERRITORY
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