All Filipinos of good will may not but want and wait for the victory of the present administration in its avowed all-out war against the terrorists particularly in Mindanao. But one big and signal question is what costs would such a victory entail, what mind frame the victory would form especially among the people of Mindanao, and what value system would the same victory inculcate in the minds of the Mindanao population more concretely among the children and young people in the region.
It is both a civil and moral disaster when a government launches war against its own citizens. While war against nations is bad enough, a war by Filipinos against Filipinos is one of the worst misfortunes the Philippines could have, live and experience. And such a war is on and raging in the South.
Let not the big financial cost of guns and bullets, canons and mortars, planes and other weaponry be anymore counted and taken into consideration. But insurmountable and unquantifiable are the huge and profound cost of the following: The many lives killed and the much blood shed. The lamentation of the parents, spouses and children of those who went to war alive and returned dead. The sorrow and pain caused by the dislocation of thousands of civilians, specially the elderly, the women and infants. The destruction of the places and their environs wherever war goes or passes by.
It is most probable that the war in Mindanao is causing not only grief but also anger and even hatred against those who killed not only their soldier relatives but also their Abusayyaf kins. And with such grief, anger and hatred particularly in the minds and hearts of the children, relatives and friends of the Abusayyaf members killed, would they simply stay still and keep their peace after the national leadership won its victory?
The unrest, militancy and rebellious spirit of certain Muslims in Mindanao must have a deep root cause of long standing. To simply attribute such a spirit to their culture and tradition is not only offensive but also inane. And mere words no matter how plentiful and tokens no matter how impressive, would not work as the long Mindanao history clearly proves. It is incumbent upon the national government—with all its intelligent well placed and amply rewarded bureaucrats—to find that root cause and precisely have it eventually uprooted.
29 August 2007