August 19, 2017, 9:07 pm
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Maute’s ‘palit-ulo’ scheme

Palit-Ulo has been resorted to by the  Maute Group since last week in exchange of their parents and relatives albeit it was shun down by the President. In fact, a leader of Islamic State (IS)-inspired terrorists holed up in Marawi City is willing to release a
Catholic priest (Fr. Teresito “Chito” Suganob) that his group is holding captive in exchange for the freedom of his parents and relatives captured by the military.`

Just to have glimpse of what happened, on June 9, Ominta “Farhana” Maute, mother of the Maute brothers, was arrested by the police in Masiu, Lanao del Sur province. Two days earlier, the Mautes’ father, Cayamora, and his second wife were
arrested at a police-military checkpoint in Davao City. On June 18, Farida and Al Jadid Romato, cousins of the Mautes, and Abdul Rahman Dimacula, boyfriend of Farida, were arrested in the port of Iloilo City. So there!

Technically speaking, the seizure of Marawi has caused the biggest internal security crisis in decades for the Philippines, and a realization that the long-feared arrival of IS could be a reality. Images of black-clad fighters and IS flags flying in Marawi has
caused alarm in the mainly Roman Catholic nation, and the protracted occupation and presence of foreign fighters suggest that the terrorists may have bigger designs on the southern Philippines than previously imagined. 

Now, I just don’t get the point of Maute why do they need to link MILF in this issue saying that they are willing to withdraw from the city if the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) would intervene for an end to the crisis. I can sense that they are
persuading the MILF to join their club for fun of atrocities. I hope the MILF would not be stupid enough to relish on the offer. On the other hand, the challenge here is the resistance of the Maute group and their allies from the Abu Sayyaf bandit group
who were unwilling to negotiate with the government. From the vantage point of Maute, their psychological warfare is like this: If the MILF will intervene, they are ready to leave Marawi City.

If the authorities would free his parents and relatives, it will only show how weak the negotiation skill of Malcañang since Maute’s leeway is only a trap. Meanwhile, Maute is stating the obvious that a hard-realist President will surrender. They know how
hard the President is from the beginning. Its anger is atoll and this very nature of this incumbent leadership is just making a license for Maute and alike to be violent in mainstream. What a lame excuse for a loved one’s heads. – Maria Jumela E.
Decena, Silang, Cavite, mjedecena@gmail.com

****

I fully agree with President Duterte’s branding of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines as being ‘double-faced’ and insincere while hammering out a peace deal with the government.

There had been many incidents that while talking peace, the NPAs reject, ignore or defy the policy statements or directives of their seniors from the NDFP who are based in the Netherlands.

When questioned with this reality, Joma Sison, the acknowledged leader of the bandits, admitted that he and his company ‘have no control’ – administrative or operational - over the NPAs. 

President Duterte on Saturday scoffed at the communist rebels for continuing to attack government forces despite efforts at encouraging peace talks, adding burden to his administration’s internal problems such as the Marawi City siege.

I think and I suggest that the government would be better off talking peace with the local NPA leaders rather than with their ageing leaders who refuses to retire and still wanted to be in the limelight.

The 78-year old Sison and his ageing companions should not be sitting in the GRP-NDF negotiating table since it is useless to deal with a man who is not being listened to by his subordinates.

And dealing with them abroad only creates wastage in terms of time, money and effort on the part of the government. - Jomarie Kaye Patalinghug, Cebu

****

Even if I support the declaration of Martial Law in the whole of Mindanao, even extending it for a certain period of time, I do not agree with President Duterte’s threat to jail people who would criticize him for it. The President or any of his officials’
decision will not always be perfect and there should always be people around to praise or criticize what they are doing in government. By passing the buck on the AFP to give recommendations on whether to end or continue and extend ML in
Mindanao, it would give the President somebody to blame on if and when it suffers a setback or commit blunders.

The Supreme Court, the highest court of the land, is set to rule on the constitutionality of the imposition of Martial Law in Mindanao within this coming week. If the High Court says it is unconstitutional, then I urged the AFP and its leaders to follow its
directive and refrain from arresting suspects without a warrant and place them under custody more than the prescribed period of time. If the High Court, however, gave the ‘green light’ or sustained President Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in
Mindanao, the AFP or the PNP should not use this to harass or imprison innocent people.

I am convinced that there is a need to maintain Martial Law in some parts of Mindanao, particularly in Marawi City and its nearby areas, where the NPAs and the Abu Sayyaf and Maute group operate their brand of banditry and terrorism. But the AFP or
the PNP should not allow themselves to be part of the society who would suppress, arrest and jail the critiques of this administration. President Duterte and his officials are not always perfect in their decision-making, and somebody or anybody should
be around to tell them that what they are doing is/are wrong. - Dana R. Del Rosario, Camarines Norte

***

40 days has been symbolical both in biblical and secular context. From the security perspective, it has been 40 days since the Marawi siege started. Since then, Maute has been an embodiment of internal and external struggle of the Philippines in
terms of security; both threat of incoming foreign terrorists and bandwagoning of other insurgent groups like the Abu Sayyaf and other insurgent groups on the side. In this light, terrorism has gone virus from from Syria and Iraq to Libya and Yemen,
Indonesia & Malaysia and the Philippines.

Outside the Philippines, the cultural and religious fabric in the Middle East, intricately woven over centuries, was being torn apart by terrorists intent on eliminating the very diversity that had given rise to many of the world’s great civilizations. Thousands
of civilians were at the mercy of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Sham (ISIL/ISIS) or Da’esh, whose fighters were systematically killing ethnic and religious minorities and those who disagreed with its warped interpretation of Islam. In Iraq,
information strongly suggested that Da’esh had perpetrated genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and that minorities had been victims of that violence. In Syria, a lack of accountability had led to an exceptional rise in those atrocities, by
Government and non-State armed groups alike. In Libya, Da’esh-affiliated groups were targeting minorities and attacking religious sights.

Given those war-torn areas in the far portion of the globe, I firmly believe that Maute has the same agenda of putting more sets of atrocities in the Southern Philippines. 40 days have gone so far. There are a lot of soldiers killed (and it will continue to
increase in number) and 400,000 civilians are affected by such drastic terroristic act of Maute. Let all people have constant prayer and act together against the band of evil! If anyone is with God, who can be against us? May the Lord fight for the
liberation of Marawi through our troops. - Kristina E. Gabilan, San Mateo, Rizal, kegabilan@gmail.com

used the biggest internal security crisis in decades for the Philippines, and a realization that the long-feared arrival of IS could be a reality. Images of black-clad fighters and IS flags flying in Marawi has caused alarm in the mainly Roman Catholic
nation, and the protracted occupation and presence of foreign fighters suggest that the terrorists may have bigger designs on the southern Philippines than previously imagined. 

Now, I just don’t get the point of Maute why do they need to link MILF in this issue saying that they are willing to withdraw from the city if the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) would intervene for an end to the crisis. I can sense that they are
persuading the MILF to join their club for fun of atrocities. I hope the MILF would not be stupid enough to relish on the offer. On the other hand, the challenge here is the resistance of the Maute group and their allies from the Abu Sayyaf bandit group
who were unwilling to negotiate with the government. From the vantage point of Maute, their psychological warfare is like this: If the MILF will intervene, they are ready to leave Marawi City.

If the authorities would free his parents and relatives, it will only show how weak the negotiation skill of Malcañang since Maute’s leeway is only a trap. Meanwhile, Maute is stating the obvious that a hard-realist President will surrender. They know how
hard the President is from the beginning. Its anger is atoll and this very nature of this incumbent leadership is just making a license for Maute and alike to be violent in mainstream. What a lame excuse for a loved one’s heads. - Maria Jumela E.
Decena, Silang, Cavite, mjedecena@gmail.com

 
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