So the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) handed over some of the weapons looted from the bodies of 44 Special Action Force police officers they had massacred. Big deal. This means that the MILF leadership clearly know who among them were directly involved in this savagery. It means that every day that passes wherein they fail to hand over these specific individuals to the Philippine government is another day they are guilty of harbouring fugitives.
There are also reports that the weapons returned were missing parts. More importantly, that only some of the weapons were returned raises even more questions — like where’s the rest? GMA News reports that out of 63 missing firearms, only 16 were returned.
But, see, this is only the second biggest outrage in this tragedy.
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Chief “peace” negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer gushed amidst all the handshakes being extended in the quaint turnover “ceremony” the other day how (translated from Tagalog), “The road leading to this day was not an easy one to traverse. Just like the families of the slain SAF officers, the MILF also suffered casualties.” She even referred to them as “ating mga kapatid” (“our brothers and sisters”).
Okay, I wonder what the families of the fallen SAF trooper could be thinking in light of this height of national spinelessness. Is Coronel-Ferrer sleeping with the enemy? Because it sounds like she is. According to the same GMA News report, she even “commends” them!
More disturbing are the words being used in discussions with the MILF surrounding the rest of the firearms that remain missing. Coronel-Ferrer “calls” on these terrorists to return them. Since when does a government “call” on an enemy of the state to comply with its terms?
No, the word to be used in this instance should have been demand.
That small detail is important considering that the word “sincerity” is also a word being bandied around here. In a statement issued in the early days following the eruption of this crisis, Senator Bongbong Marcos who heads the Senate committee reviewing the draft BBL already laid out clear criteria around what real sincerity should mean to the Philippine government and its “bosses”, the Filipino people…
1) Return the arms, equipment and personal effects of the PNP SAF troopers who were killed in the massacre.
2) Provide assistance in finding and arresting bomb-making expert Basit Usman, the secondary target of the PNP SAF contingent deployed to Mamasapano.
3) Demonstrate that disarmament has actually begun and show willingness to surrender arms to the government or third party.
4) As a sign of good faith, identify the commanders whose units were involved in the massacre of the PNP-SAF officers.
5) Explain fully the true relationship between the MILF and BIFF.
6) Include the BIFF in peace talks as their presence is essential for the BBL to succeed.
So far only one — the first — item in this list has been touched upon. Touched upon, but by no means fulfilled. 16 items out of 63 that were stolen from the victims of a war crime is simply not acceptable.
It is no wonder that the Philippines is a mediocre nation — because its standards of achievement are absolutely mediocre. Hailing the return of firearms looted under such appalling cirumstances (from victims of what evidently was cold-blooded butchery) is a new low being plumbed by Philippine society. Do Filipinos really want to be part of this national shame?
One thing’s for sure, these terrorists will return another batch of these stolen goods quite soon — by shooting them back at the remainder of our boys out there bravely defending the security of this sad nation. I wonder how “thankful” Miriam Coronel-Ferrer will feel when that happens.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.