What a waste!!-A A +A
Monday, September 30, 2013
THAT Inquirer photo of nine-month-old Sophie Damian reaching down to tap the coffin of her slain father, Army 1st Lieutenant Francis Damian, could not have been more poignant.
More than the fires that razed entire communities in Zamboanga, more than the sight of establishments closed and not doing business during a week day, and even more than those clips showing residents fleeing in panic to escape whizzing bullets, that picture front-paged by the Philippine Daily Inquirer was the gravest indictment against Nur Misuari and his MNLF followers.
They went to Zamboanga only to stage a peaceful rally, they say? Then how come they carried firearms and apparently enough shells and bullets to fight an already-three-week battle with the military?
If the intention was to stage a peaceful rally, why was their leader and number one spokesperson, Nur Misuari, the one who must be on the podium during any MNLF rally, conspicuously absent? Did he know beforehand that violence was going to erupt? Or was it in fact deliberately planned and meant to become violent?
A peaceful rally only to highlight their crusade for an independent Bangsamoro Republic, they say? Then how come they went on a burning spree, laying waste to entire Zamboanga communities, and taking hundreds of innocent civilians hostage? That move required planning, it had to be premeditated; it was a military operation.
If not for the quick reaction of the soldiers and the police, the group of MNLF "rallyists" would have taken over the Zamboanga City Hall and from there declared their independence from the Republic. It would have been a failed rebellion had it happened, but it was a rebellion nevertheless.
And what was the purpose of that Quixotic misadventure of Nur Misuari? We can only surmise that in the heels of a developing Bangsamoro peace agreement with the MILF, Nur Misuari wanted a stellar role in it again; he wanted to twist the Government's arm, to make President PNoy appoint him into a leadership role in the Armm once more, a move so typical of him.
Chairman Nur has had his chance. He was the governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao for many years and while he lived in style as governor, the Armm provinces sunk deeper into poverty. He has had his chance; but he muffed it.
And so, in order to sate a man's ambition, almost 200 members of the MNLF died fighting a war that was doomed to fail from the start, innocent civilians had to die while countless others lost their homes and their communities.
The City of Zamboanga will take years and billions of pesos just to get back to where it was three weeks ago; brave soldiers died or were maimed for life, and little Sophie will never know how it feels to wake up cradled in Papa Francis' loving arms.
What a waste!!
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 30, 2013.