From the Visayan Daily Star (Jan 10): ‘Army fails to destroy NPA movement in NegOr'
The National Democratic Front, through its NDF-Negros spokesperson, Frank Fernandez, said that the 302nd Infantry Brigade failed to destroy the revolutionary movement in Negros Oriental, prompting the Philippine Army to seek for a six-month extension to clear the province of the New People's Army.
Fernandez said that, contrary to military claims, the NPA in Negros remains strong, although he admitted that 2013 was a challenging year for the revolutionary movement.
Fernandez cited the deadline set by the AFP to weaken, if not destroy the revolutionary movement in Negros island, through its IPSP Bayanihan campaign plan, using the whole-nation approach strategy, that he said, ended as a failure.
The Philippine Army had earlier declared that the dismantling of NPA Southeast Front in Negros Oriental was imminent, with the reduction of its armed strength by almost 75 percent.
Brig. Gen. Francisco Patrimonio, 302 nd Infantry Brigade commander, said earlier that 12 of 17 barangays earlier identified as insurgency-affected, have been neutralized, although this is still subject to validation and confirmation.
Patrimonio said that, having so many rebels return to the folds of the law, with the rest on the run, is an indication that the Army is gaining headway in its mission in Negros Oriental.
Fear should not always be the guidepost in making decision with your nemesis. Oftentimes, one must trust even the most untrustworthy in order to succeed. Oftentimes, if not in all, trust begets trust --- and it must be genuine.
If the current Government of the Philippines (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace negotiation is travelling fast and is covering much of the ground in the peace journey, trust, we are sure, is the main factor. President Benigno Aquino III deserves to be trusted --- he has not fell short so far in all his commitment. Similarly, the MILF led by Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim has also shown and demonstrated that it is capable of being trusted. This credit hinges on the very foundation of its ideology that a trust or commitment made with a nemesis is as sacred as those entered into with the most trustworthy. The sacredness of the commitment carries with it the moral obligation for compliance.
Nothing is sure yet as far as the final closure of the GPH-MILF peace negotiation. Negotiation is one human endeavor that is highly unpredictable. It is a like a mercury that rises up and low very fast depending on the prevailing temperature or heat. However, on the basis of the issues or agenda settled by them, it is not an exaggeration to say that the peace negotiation is in the final stretch. If nothing of consequence blocks the way, the chance of signing the comprehensive peace Agreement (CPA) very soon is very possible.
It is for this reason that we appeal to our brothers from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) to come to grip with reality that during the current Aquino administration, the only viable and pursued peace track is the one with the MILF. The track with the MNLF had its time before. What should be done now is for the MNLF and MILF leaders to work together to pluck out what are good in the GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement (GRP-MNLF FPA) in 1996 and incorporate them into the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that is currently being crafted by the MILF-led 15-man Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC). The BBL should contain the best from the FPA and the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and its Annexes, which will be signed into one document called CPA.
We ask our brothers from the MNLF not to take the issue as personal or one group has the monopoly of good knowledge, or worse, to assume that the MNLF or MILF has the sole franchise to solve the Bangsamoro Question. Neither the FPA nor FAB is a perfect agreement. The only real and desirable thing now is that we produce the best BBL for the future Bangsamoro Government. This law is not for the MILF; it is for our people as a whole.