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A physician’s perspective: Mamasapano crisis can heal our country

/ 12:02 AM February 16, 2015

“First do no harm.” It would be wise to apply this primary tenet of the Hippocratic oath to the Maguindanao conflict.

I fully understand the reaction of many of us to seek immediate retribution for the killing of our police officers and men. That is a legitimate response. Justice must be served. The guilty must be punished.

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I also understand the impulse to censure, to cast blame on President Aquino, the peace process, and the Moros in general. Attributing fault is cathartic. It gives us momentary relief from pain and frustration. It offers some subjective benefit.

Objectively, though, it has no value. In fact, almost always it does more harm than good. Blaming dissipates our energies, distracts us from the job at hand, distorts our priorities. Does castigating the President bring back the dead, apprehend the killers, help the cause of peace in Mindanao?

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It seems apparent that many of the President’s critics are pursuing a private political agenda while others simply want to call attention to themselves. The danger is that disparaging the President may damage not only his poll numbers but, more significantly, entire government institutions as well.

The time calls for unity, not divisiveness; cooperation, not hostility. We must collaborate on finding a common path to a definitive answer to the Maguindanao problem.

Call to mind what Pope Francis said: Feel. Think. Act.

It is good to feel the loss of our men in uniform. But we cannot let our emotions get the better of us. Above all, we are men of reason. Intelligence must overcome instinct. Action must be based on strength of mind and spirit.

We do not know yet the most sensible, sustainable solution to the current situation in Mindanao. What we do know is: The solution, whatever it may be, will require perceptiveness, perseverance, and singularity of purpose.

I pray that the aftermath of the crisis will heal our country, bring justice and tranquility to our troubled nation.

—MARTIN D. BAUTISTA, MD,

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UP College of Medicine 1989

[email protected]

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