For as long as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the government are exchanging words not bullets, whatever resentment and rage will always be defused. In Mindanao, exchanging words is always a better option than firefights. So many lives, not only among combatants but civilians had been wasted. So many opportunities to redeem the people from the plight of poverty and the iniquities of futile secessionist struggles are lost. Progress and development are impeded because the very few who had arms have been fighting a war that the overwhelming majority does not want to have any part in it.
Even as the talks and the saber rattling are seemingly endless, those in the conflict areas have no other choice but accept it. But then this is not the kind of solution the need in their embattled communities. This is palliative and nothing can move on towards stable peace if the MILF and the government reach an agreement that the people of Mindanao had been asking for and not the kind that leaves quarters for extremist to again sow terror in the land that had long been terrorized.
For as long as Al Qaeda and its fierce and vicious hydra dwell comfortably in the territories held by the MILF, the threat to peace will always be there. That is why Indonesia could be a more serious arbiter in the peace negotiation between the MILF and the government because Indonesia have experienced the wickedness of the terrorists and therefore would understand, more than the Malaysian do, the anguish of the people that had suffered from the savagery of Al Qaeda operatives.
The MILF should not feel threatened by what they charge as “hawkish” statement of some military officials. They ought to be threatened instead by the vestiges of terrorist elements which, according to the international intelligence communities, are still enjoying asylum in the territories held by the MILF.
Pres. Noynoy Aquino wants a quick albeit lasting solution to the troubles that had been hounding Mindanao. If they are true to their words that they too want an immediate end to this protracted conflict in Mindanao, then they might as well believe in President Aquino for if not our Muslim Filipino brothers, Christians and Lumads who had been displaced by war might suffer yet another long years of desperation.
We hope that these talks will end with a handshake and stable peace in our beloved Mindanao.