Love in the time of insurgency
That Bukidnon is a peaceful province is now a myth.
One cannot play blind to the kind of stories we hear from both the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the New Peoples Army about gaining strength against each other.
Both camps, even with disproportionate advantages, have brought the battlefield from the mountains to the media.
The news room has become a fierce war zone of propaganda.
Over the weekend fierce fighting in Quezon town resulted in deaths from both camps and as usual the two parties spewed explosive claims of atrocities, fatalities, casualties and even charm to win the heart of the public.
Army officials immediately talked over radio programs to explain its side; while the New Peoples Army has sent emails to express their own.
The military throws dirt at the NPA accusing them of causing un-peace as the NPA rebuts it is the AFP whose throwing lies at “bareface”.
It’s a word war of the “he says, she says” type, which makes reporting the news a little pushy and tricky.
It appears the media is bound to be caught in the crossfire. If we report, we report the carcasses of each other’s battle plans. If we don’t, then what about the consequences and the impact to the communities?
Peace is still more appealing than war and let’s give it a full chance here, no ifs and buts.
More than the count on how many did a party kill in an encounter, how many camps were discovered, how many guns were grabbed or “recovered”, more than the appeals for the public to dump the other party, and so on; the road to peace still offers the better journey.
We encourage the provincial government and local governments in towns and cities and non-government organizations and civil society to transcend the “war freak” stance and lead a new take for local peace negotiations right here in Bukidnon.
All of us know this war could not be solved in the military front only. Every body losses in war; while we all win in peace.
We have to understand that the AFP – NPA conflict cannot be left only for the military to address. In war, the real enemy is war itself.
We can be above conflict and we have to choose peace and stay away from violence. (Editorial, Central Mindanao Newswatch, 19 to 25 June 2008)