"Salami"zation of the Philippines, Now a Reality? by Erick San Juan
President Noynoy Aquino made an unannounced trip to Japan last Thursday to hold a secret talk with the MILF rebels headed by Al Haj Murad Ibrahim. They met at the Ana Crowne Hotel at the Narita Airport, possibly the reason that most of them did not get Japanese visa to enter Japan so there will be no leak of the meeting. It's just like a "Mission Impossible" possibly arranged by 'hidden hands' disguised as ICG-International Contact Group. The meeting was supposed to be "cloaked in secrecy" but when somebody from the foreign affairs reportedly reacted, PNoy's loop was forced to admit that the meeting really happened. Malacanang was bombarded by adverse reactions from the citizenry and the media.
PNoy and Murad allegedly discussed on how to achieve lasting peace in Mindanao and end the war. But why deal with the rebel group in that level? Why not just let DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin or NSC adviser Garic Garcia talk with a combatant like Murad? The president which I believe is really sincere in putting closure to that enmity, but why not meet Murad in the Malacanang palace? Why spend time,money and effort to travel to Japan? Peace panel chief Marvic Leonen even refused to give details of the meeting and said that there was no secret deal made in Japan. He added that "the MILF is no longer a secessionist group because their proposal does not include independence. They are not asking to be a separate state." But what sub-state are they talking about? Have you heard the MILF "parrot" the same chorus line? How nice to hear these personalities play with words. The MILF allegedly want to be considered Filipino citizens but with Bangsa Moro national identity.
What's the other side of the truth? Remember that before the said talk, the MILF warned that "if the Philippine government will push through with the oil exploration in their claimed area which they believe as their ancestral domain, there will be a continuity of hostilities. Let's wait for the statements that will come out from the MILF's website, LUWARAN.COM so we will know which is which..
It's sad that everyone who understand international law and arbitration believe (naisahan si presidente) the president was not given the big picture that he legitimized the 'status of belligerency' of the MILF by that airport hotel meeting. Blogger Ferdie Pasion reacted that the conferring of PNoy of equal footing to the head of the MILF in a foreign land will make the MILF rebellion in a war status. Our military and law enforcers can now be declared 'war criminals' at the slightest hint of human rights or war rights under the Geneva Convention. MILF detainees in our jails will now be considered 'prisoners of war', while the human rights violator will be penalized and can be declared a 'war criminal'.
Our national interest is at stake here. Our government should act immediately to rectify the so called "out-of the-box" solution where the president took the risk because of his "good" intention. Many believe that the president is ill-advised by some vested interests in his circle. Pundits believe that the MILF recognize the president in rhetorics but not in deed.
Minsupala meaning Mindanao-Sulu-Palawan will be balkanized soon. A possible Somali-zation is also in the offing. Methinks 'salami-zation' is more appropriate because all the ingredients of the above concerns not only Minsupala but the whole nation where the other rebel groups like the NPA's are based. A failed state at work? Heads should roll before it's too late.