By Geraldford P. Ticke

Welcome Septem”ber.” Dubbed as the country with the longest holiday season that starts when “ber” month enters, firecrackers start coming to life. Allow me then to be the first (or if not at least among the first) to greet every one Merry Christmas.

But even before September came, down south of our country is already having the bang as ragtag members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) stormed barangays in North Cotabato and Lanao del Norte which led to armed confrontation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, following the failed Memorandum on Agreement that was supposed to be signed between the MILF and Philippine Government. Add to this the never ending bus bombing by rouge members of the MILF and their cohorts that claimed lives of scores of innocent individuals. These no-nonsense activities made the AFP tag them as nothing but a terrorist group.

Locally, the southern tip of the province nearly witnessed the same as Western Command deployed troops in Bataraza after receiving reports that members of the Moro National Liberation Front held arms and tried to establish a “Bangsamoro Country” Bgy. Buliluyan of the municipality.

Residents were gripped in terror expecting the tension to escalate but, lucky enough heat suddenly died down. But still fear is in people’s mind as reports of presence of MILF members spread in the area.

With these developments, we look forward to a Merrier Christmas.

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The most recent hostilities in Mindanao could no less be linked to the failed MOA signing. Junked with finality by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, doubled with the scrapping of the government peace panel, peace negotiations once again come to a stalemate.

And as stated in a previous article, it is not clear whether or not the MOA signing could finally be the answer to the conflict what is clear is that the innocents remain on the losing end. What we would like to see is a stalemate of the conflict and not the negotiations. And a permanent stalemate at that.

And along this endless line of lost lives, where are the rights activists who always ring a bell whenever government forces score against the NPA’s?

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Is the CPP-NPA-NDF joining forces with the MILF? A document supposed to have been released by the AFP says so. The paper quotes NDF leader Jose Ma. Sison saying “there is a longstanding alliance between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the MILF and that the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and command of the NPA”

Both groups are supposed to be waging war to uphold the cause of the marginalized which the claim to represent. Looking back, the same marginalized sector that they represent became the victims of their latest caper particularly that of Commanders Umbra Kato and Bravo in North Cotabato and Lanao del Norte.

And who is getting the better end of the deal? The same paper said the supposed alliance is for both parties to have a “safe conduct pass” between and among their members should they cross paths, not to operate in each other’s areas, exchange ideas and assist each other to bulk up their armories. My enemy’s enemy is my friend. Two forces joining together in trying to bring down what they call the oppressor of the masses. The masses they say they are fighting for. Why is the government talking peace with these people?