All eyes on Basilan, and everywhere
The military’s ultimatum for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to surrender the alleged perpetrators of the July 10 ambush ends today, Sunday, July 22.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines said this week it is an entirely separate operations of that of Fr. Bossi’s even if the stress on the ultimatum came a day after the release of the kidnapped Italian priest.
Apparently, the ultimatum hits a day before President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo delivers her latest State of the Nation Address.
This period could be definitive of the state of the nation: volatile, precarious and uncertain.
Surely we wanted to stick to bright prospects, based on gains earned so far in the ceasefire agreement and the economy.
But as troops troop to Basilan, and the ultimatum hangs it could easily become a tipping point for a big war to erupt in the distance.
This will not only be a Basilan debacle because the island province could only be a flash point.
We are talking here of the whole mainland Mindanao, especially in the ARMM area where the MILF has greater roots. And we are talking about an overall Philippine situation, too.
If war erupts in Mindanao, the government spends for it at the expense of the rest of the country. Win or lose, we will send negative messages to the international community, and above all toxify our already marred psyche.
It could ruin what little gains have been earned so far via the peace process.
It is just right for the public to train eyes on the Basilan situation, hoping via peaceful means, what trouble mills there will be quelled there.
(The trouble did not even start from there, I suppose.)