From the Manila Times (Jul 1): ‘Mad bomber’ to sow terror in Mindanao
GOVERNMENT forces beefed up security forces in Mindanao following reports that a mad bomber would blow up several local offices here this month.
Ustadz Pendie Colano, chairman of the Selatan State Revolutionary Committee of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), identified the foreign-trained bomber as Abdul Basit Usman, alleged leader of Jemaah Islamiyah. He will reportedly carry out his “mission” together with two Pakistani and two Indonesian nationals.
Colano said the mad bomber would be joined by members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) headed by former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Commander Ameril Umbrakato.
A BIFF insider who requested anonymity said Basit and his four companions have long planned blowing up several government offices since the Ramadan in 2012. They had to postpone their plans because of heavy government security.
He added that a number of MILF followers under the leadership of MILF Chairman Ibrahim Murad Al Haj would help Basit carry out his plans this month.
Region 12 Central Mindanao Philippine National Police Chief (PNP) Chief Superintendent Lester Camba, Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City) regional police director, could not be reached for comment. Even General Santos City Police Senior Superintendent Froilan Quidilla refused to comment on the matter.
Colano said the previous series of bomb explosions in Maguindanao were the handiwork of Basit since no one else would dare plant explosives in nearby military installations.
“This holy month of Rama–dan is the time Basit and his four companions from Pakistan and Indonesia would strike. This will give the Muslim rebels and communists insurgents the opportunity to sow widespread fear and panic in various parts of Mindanao,” according to a reliable informant.
Government soldiers carrying machine guns mounted on military trucks have been sent to several areas in Maguindanao and in various military detachments in North Cotabato, Cotabato City, South Cotabato and Soccsksargen in preparation for rebel attacks.
Marines have also been deployed at private and government power installations like the National Power Corporation, Globe Telecom and Smart Communications as well as other potential targets of Basit’s group.
Checkpoints have also been established in all possible entry and exit points of the rebels, especially in the provinces of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos City.
An opportunity is like running water in the river which will never return if you let it go. An opportunity that already knocked at you will never again knock same as the way it is. If it will knock again, it will be different.
Most of the time, the same opportunity will never come back. If it will and is the same as is, then you must be one of the luckiest persons. But we all know that life is not only about luck. According to some experts, luck is only 10% of success. That means, 90% of success depends on people.
The greatest opportunity for the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to settle the right to self-determination struggle of the Bangsamoro people is after they signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in March this year. This agreement is an honest compromise between independence that the MILF always desires and government preference for token autonomy as in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). We do not know of any other framework agreement or any time in the future that this rare chance of a breakthrough will avail itself: most likely not in the lifetime of the current leadership of the MILF nor within the term of office of the next president sitting in the Palace.
If the two Parties do not grab this opportunity or if they fail by their own making, the future might change dramatically, not in the liking of the MILF, because it has already adopted a policy of staying engaged in the path of peace. But there are other armed groups or even the enviers who feast on the failure of the peace efforts.
But even without wanting to wash their “dirty linen” in the open, people’s minds are already wandering to suspect the comments made by the Office of the President (OP) especially its legal team on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) crafted by the MILF-led Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) as causing the delay.
We do not want to confirm or deny this suspicion. The government and MILF have not opened much on this. The reason is not only for modesty sake, we are sure, but more importantly, it is the only right course of action.
Be this as it may, but what is threatening in this particular instance is the tightening timeline. The two parties have agreed to submit the BBL--- an agreed version, we believe --- to Congress on July 28 in time for the State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Aquino III. In a negotiation, even a disagreement on a single verb or word takes hours for the Parties to settle. How much more for a thick document such as the BBL?
Let us just hope for the best and pray that they overcome their differences. After all, they have no other option except to agree.