TRUE TO FORM
HAPPY EIDEL FITRE TO ALL is the holiday Islamic greetings that would customarily reverberate these days, and we’re glad the faithful are up and ready to face life’s challenges ahead. The month-long fast may be over, but the lesson-learned from carnal abstention and being prayerful should hold on to the end. For there is no better substitute to keep sharing the Ramadan virtues, not just a mere annual tradition, but a must-way of life. God bless, and let’s enjoy the long weekend holidays!
Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo announced Monday that the Aquino government is firm in restoring order in Maguindanao with the joint assurance by the AFP and the PNP to contain the Ameril Umra Kato-initiated atrocities since Aug. 5 that left dozens of casualties and close to 40,000 refugees in the ensuring `hit-and-run’ skirmishes. A week after, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division blared the good news – two known strongholds of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a Kato-organized underground movement, had been overran by troops belonging to Col. Mayoralgo dela Cruz’s First Mechanized Infantry Brigade. Citing the gallantry of government combatants in having to restore normalcy along the Maguindanao highway, 6th ID chief, Maj. Gen. Rey Ardo said the weeklong combined operation against Kato’s freedom fighters was “calibrated and surgical” with restraint punches to avoid, as much as possible, non-combatant casualties. As of Thursday, Ardo said the capture of two BIFM lairs forced members to assimilate in Moro communities with some joining the mass exodus of people for food and other assistance. The civil defense office of Director Loreto Rirao and the DSWD should spearhead in checking raw information that unarmed BIFM members have disguised themselves as evacuees. This should be done to clear circulating allegations that two known political figures in Maguindanao are BIFM allies. An MILF official, in a published report, has dragged into the controversy as alleged BIFM supporter Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, which he categorically denied as politically-motivated with the local elections nearing. Apart from Mangudadatu, the name of city vice mayor Muslimin Sema, current chair of the Moro national Liberation Front was also mentioned as alleged supporter. A surprised Sema, also belied such accusation, `this could be part of another black propaganda.’ The MNLF is now working and supporting the government after the 1996 signing of the `final peace agreement.’ “And why should we sabotage peace that we have fought for?” Sema asked, admitting though of few misgivings that some provisions of the Agreement have yet to be implemented by the government.
Maguindanao police director, Senior Supt. Macelo Pintac, said the intelligence community are one in their findings that the ageing Kato, who succumbed to a stroke is no longer calling the shot, especially the recent BIFM-staged hostilities. Kato, a religious man, would not rock Maguindanao and neighboring towns of North Cotabato in order to avenge the June 10 killing of a comrade by a military sniper. A BIFM spokesperson has been repeatedly saying that the offensive was a jihad or `holy war.’ And here, lies the various interpretation of the word which many attach to oppression. The 64-dollar question would be – was the BIFF simultaneous attacks on military installations that triggered mass civilian evacuation and loss of human lives justified before man and Allah? Where does the `thou shall not kill’ boundary end? Christ, a Prophet of Islam enjoined us to love one another, even the bitterest enemy. He admonished us not to practice vengeance as in the `eye-for-an-eye’ or a `tooth-for-a-tooth’ of old – for this is of the devil. Christ, the Savior stated: “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? He concluded saying: “Therefore, you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48). Leaders must lead toward things that money can’t buy, for lies the path of love and forgiveness.