Editorial: Muzzle the guns-A A +A
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
OF COURSE, no one is inclined to muzzle theirs. They're all over in fact, hitting the military as if as a tactical offensive knowing that the military have their attention focused on Zamboanga City.
And so, the Bangsamoro Independent Freedom Fighters (BIFF) attacked three barangays in Midsayap, North Cotabato, trapping teachers and students for hours.
Up north, five people were killed and five others were wounded when communist rebels attacked a military outpost in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental Sunday dawn.
We, Mindanaoans know so well that one major gunbattle will not beget more. That is what happens when you take up arms against one, knowing there are several other armed group with their own ideologies and demands just waiting to get their hands on the military.
But, the national government seem intent on pushing with their own agenda. Whatever that is, the poor people of Zamboanga who are losing a lot of manhours and cost of money simply because they cannot work nor do whatever they do for a living and the traumatized teachers and students of Midsayap have to suffer the brunt. There will be more, nearer all our doorsteps, for every day that President Benigno C. Aquino III insists that gun power is the only solution to an enemy's gun power.
That was how ousted President now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada thought when he ordered the all-out war during his term. Nothing as ever resolved there except for hundreds of thousands of evacuees, starving and living in cramped quarters. What did these poor people get? Nothing but relief assistance before being shooed off to return to their homes; a sure formula for poverty.
We can't help but wonder how the middle class are hanging on in Zamboanga, them who only have enough to send their children to good schools and spend for a few luxuries for as long as the regular earnings keep coming. A little more of this, then they will all fall through the cracks to poverty, tied up in debt, most likely, and all that we can expect from government will be a few thousands, P10,000 at most, to rebuild their homes and their lives.
We can't help but worry about the children and how these will be affecting them long into the future. Sure, government always promises counseling and delivers some. How effective are they? Government doesn't dare conduct follow-ups and studies. For as long as expenses are disbursed, the expected outputs are delivered, and reports are made on how many to create that illusion of grandeur, government is contented. It's never about an individual child. It's always about the reports. The humane services are the call of the individual government employee, usually the lowly and caring manpower, not the executives.
Having said all these, we join the call for a ceasefire. We call on government to stop the gunbattle right now. There are hundreds of thousands of lives at stake here, all unarmed. This is not about who started who and creating a macho image. This is about lives of people whom you have professed to serve. Just stop.
We have a few choice words for our top government officials and his emissary, but we're holding our peace and will have to be content with the word: Stop.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 25, 2013.