POSTSCRIPT / January 27, 2015 / Thursday


Opinion Columnist

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Noy must rethink his love affair with MILF

THINK: The dawn massacre of 30 elite police commandos in a remote village in Maguindanao last Sunday should prompt President Noynoy Aquino to rethink his love affair with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front consorting with Malaysian operatives.

The policemen, members of the PNP Special Action Force, were in barangay Tukanalipao to serve a warrant on Zulkifli bin Hir (aka Marwan), a Malaysian terror suspect blamed by US and Philippine authorities for several deadly bombings in the South.

Marwan, who allegedly has funded and trained local al-Qaida-linked militants in making explosives, is believed to have found a haven in the remote village controlled by rebel groups of various stripes. With the warrant-servers massacred, he got away again.

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PREPOSTEROUS: As expected, the MILF said the carnage was a “misencounter” resulting from the PNP’s failure to coordinate with them.

That is preposterous! As any warrant-server knows, alerting whoever is harboring a high-value, well-connected suspect is a sure way of ensuring his escape.

The ferocity and barbarism that met the policemen, with the outgunned officers reportedly mangled and dismembered, showed it was a deliberate overkill. The violence was in proportion to the worth of Marwan to both the government and his protectors.

The police officers were in proper uniform. It would have been easy, and civilized, for both sides to talk it over upon mutual recognition. That the MILF gunmen were able to hit their targets meant they could see them well.

But in the first place, why should the authorities ask permission to enter a so-called MILF area? Have the rebels seceded already? Have they taken over a defined territory where the Philippine flag cannot fly, where normal legal processes are routinely ignored?

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DEAL’S OFF: Teresita Deles, the presidential adviser on the peace process, called for sobriety. She apparently did not want to derail the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law giving the MILF its own federal state that will stick out as an oddity in our republican setup.

How can any Filipino in his right mind keep calm in the face of that one-sided mowing down of policemen out to serve a warrant on a valuable personality being protected by his coddlers?

Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate committee on local government, did right suspending all discussions and hearings related to the passage of the BBL. The House should follow.

If President Aquino is still shocked speechless, Deles should talk posthaste to her MILF counterpart. Her appeal for calm should be addressed to the hot-heads on the other side.

When the President recovers his wits, he should talk to his US handlers and confess that this is just too much. He should plead with the international kibitzers drawn in by the US to give us Filipinos more time to think this over.

And to Malaysia, President Aquino should say that the deal is off.

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UNDER THE RUG: Elsewhere, it is now turning out that it is not just the Department of Social Welfare and Development sweeping beggars and street children under the rug when dignitaries, such as Pope Francis, are coming to town.

In Angeles City, owners of bar, clubs and such entertainment spots in barangay Balibago outside the Clark Freeport are being asked to donate P100 per day to keep children and beggars off the streets from Jan. 21 to Feb. 7 during APEC activities in the city and the Freeport.

Senior officers of APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) hold their meetings in Clark but some of the dignitaries or their staff might stray into Angeles, a liberty fun town of US servicemen then stationed on Clark when it was still an American base.

It was not clear from the Balibago barangay memorandum asking for the P100 daily donation where street children and beggars were to be housed. During the Jan. 15-19 visit of Pope Francis, the DSWD hid some 500 of them in a luxury resort in Batangas 100 kms from Manila.

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SLOW MEN AT WORK: To fund his APEC-related “clearing operation”, Angeles Mayor Ed Pamintuan may want to dip instead into the bulging city coffers. He has just raised by 300 percent(!) the local realty tax to the dismay of property owners in the city of 320,000.

For APEC delegates and other motorists, Pamintuan should first clear Aniceto Gueco St. connecting Balibago and the North Luzon Expressway. It is an ordeal fighting one’s way through that narrow two-way road that should be declared a no-parking tow-away zone.

Talking of traffic flow, the mayor may also want to tell motorists how many more years it would take the government to complete the Pandan Road choked with vehicles to and from the NLEx and Magalang town. They have been working on it for decades.

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DONATION FOR APEC: On the fund-raising for APEC safety and comfort, barangay chairman Rodelio Mamac said in a memo last Jan. 14 that the donation was agreed upon with the directors of the League of Angeles City Entertainers and Managers (Lacem).

The idea, he said in his circular, is that “no street children, mendicant, beggar will be seen loitering (and) thus ensure uninterrupted conduct and pass of all APEC participants, VIP’s, guests and foreign observers.”

His memo added: “The Office of the Mayor, the Office of the Punong Barangay, the Balibago Business Establishments Association (BBEA), the Lacem, and the Philippine National Police will conduct clearing operation of all street children, mendicant, beggars and provide them the necessary safekeeping within the APEC period.”

(First published in the Philippine STAR of January 27, 2015)

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