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War not the way to achieve justice for 44 commandos

/ 12:02 AM March 09, 2015

The outrage over the tragic death of 44 Special Action Force troopers of the Philippine National Police is leveling off as it becomes

apparent that all-out war is not the answer to the calls for justice for the victims. The anger felt by the public, especially netizens, immediately after the Mamasapano incident, has been tempered by this realization: War is not the answer to violence, especially in a democratic society such as ours.

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It amuses many that some quarters opposed from the beginning to the present Aquino administration have resorted to extralegal maneuvers, like encouraging elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP to launch a coup or a rebellion against President Benigno Aquino III—an idea that repels many, even those angered by the Mamasapano incident.

What we see here is that people want justice and want the pursuit of peace in Mindanao to continue.

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The violent death of the 44 police commandos, 18 Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters and five civilians in the encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last Jan. 25 was actually a wake-up call.

We cannot have any more violence of that kind. A civilized society endeavors to protect its citizens from such waste of life by ensuring that all sectors unite in opposing the existence of terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and Basit Usman.

More likely, those involved in the attack on the SAF troopers, whether they be fighters of the MILF or of the more extreme Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, belong to the same clan as the wives of Marwan and Usman, who grew up in a culture of senseless violence, exemplified by the gruesome killing of a wounded, helpless SAF trooper by someone believed to be the one directing the attack against the SAF troopers, which was caught in a video.

We know that Marwan was married to the widow of Khadaffy Janjalani, the Afghan war veteran who formed and led the extremist group Abu Sayyaf in Basilan until his death at the hands of government troopers in the late 1990s. It is no wonder then that when Marwan was killed by the SAF troopers in his hut, Usman and the rest of the clan responded with a deadly, violent counterattack, as most of them are relatives and were expected to avenge their own blood.

That is the culture of violence that the country needs to address now. Violence has become the norm all over the country, with crimes getting more violent as population pressure and abject poverty make people more desperate to make a living and protect their lives. In such a survival-of-the-fittest environment, a return to the rule of law tempered by humanist standards is the only answer.

Mamasapano is a wake-up call for all of us. We want justice for the Mamasapano victims, but we do not want war either.

—MARIA SALIMAH HANAN,

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Bangsamoro youth of Maguindanao,

[email protected]

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TAGS: AFP, Basi Usman, BIFF, Marwan, MILF, opinion, PNP, President Aquino, SAF 44
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