Gov’t looks weak in Sulu conflictBy Ramon Tulfo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
In an effort to stay neutral in the shooting war pitting the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu province, the government looks like a weakling.
Malacañang said it did not sanction the attack by the MNLF on the lair of the Abu Sayyaf in Patikul town.
“There was no sanction, there was no clearance. They didn’t tell us that they were going to attack the Abu Sayyaf,” President Aquino said in a news conference.
It’s the government’s duty to enforce the law and it should stop the carnage in Sulu.
No matter which group the government is favoring—in this case, the MNLF—it should prevent further bloodshed by sending a peacekeeping force to Patikul.
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Clearly, the MNLF is doing what the government is supposed to have done a long time ago: Raid the lair of the Abu Sayyaf to secure the release of foreign and Filipino hostages.
It’s ridiculous for the MNLF to have arrogated unto itself the job of the government.
If it can’t keep the peace in Sulu, the government should withdraw all military and police forces in the province and just make the MNLF the sole enforcer of laws in the province.
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Of course, the fighting between the MNLF and the Abu Sayyaf kidnappers favors the government and the rest of the citizenry.
Lives of government troops were spared in the bloodbath where Moros fight fellow Moros.
Nonparticipants in the conflict are in favor of letting the MNLF and the Abu Sayyaf annihilate each other, saying they are former allies anyway.
They were allegedly in cahoots in the abduction of foreigners and their Christian compatriots.
Let the better equipped and stronger group prevail over the weaker one (Matira ang matibay), they add.
And then the government would deal later with the victor.
That’s what the government did during the time of my father, then lst Lt. Ramon S. Tulfo, in Sulu.
The Philippine Constabulary would arm “friendly outlaws,” those who were on good terms with the government, to fight “enemy outlaws,” to make the job easier for the PC in keeping the peace.
That was in the post-World War II era when the government was still rebuilding from the ashes of war.
But times have changed since then, and the government is supposed to be stable now.
The government should uphold the majesty of the law even in “no man’s land” like the provinces of Sulu, Basilan, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur.
Otherwise, there’s no reason for the government to exist.
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Graft charges and falsification charges have been filed against Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala in the Office of the Ombudsman.
A certain Ramon Talaga Jr., who filed the case, said Alcala, then a congressman, misused P3.5 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund by faking the signatures of beneficiaries of a project that provided livelihood to poor farmers in Quezon.
The case reeks of politics.
Talaga is a former mayor of Lucena City who was defeated by Roderick Alcala, a nephew of the agriculture secretary.
Why was the case filed only now when Alcala is about to make the country a rice exporter, which didn’t happen during the time of his predecessors at the Department of Agriculture.
More from this Column:
- How easily voters forget
- Dead man biggest winner
- My fearless forecasts
- Jojo Binay’s juvenile tantrum
- Our twisted system of justice