Wire agencies and other news outlets reported over the weekend that a group of armed extremists killed members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in a town in Maguindanao.
The report of the government-run Philippine News Agency even quoted Abu Misry Mama of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who claimed that his group killed, not seven, but eight members of the MILF, a group that forged a peace agreement with the government.
The steps in coming with the agreement prompted the BIFF to leave the MILF as wanted to continue pushing for its agenda, whatever it is.
The theory was the two groups have been involved in “rido,” a conflict between clans that could result in continued fighting between them until one party is completely wiped out.
The military, through Maj. Gen. Diosdado Carreon of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said that it is ready to help the MILF should the latter make a request.
This is not to question the sincerity of the government, but the military must step into the chaos so that it does not get out of hand. It must immediately take steps to arrest the situation by digging into the cause of the conflict and running after those who might have erred criminally and bring them t the bar of justice.
Of course, the government will always say that, unless its help is needed, it will just allow the MILF to solve its problem. However, it must remember that the latter has become its partner in ensuring that peace will reign in Mindanao as its members have even started laying their guns down to show sincerity to the agreement.
It is imperative for the government to reciprocate the action of the former rebel group by ensuring that these former combatants are protected.
It should also note that the other armed group has continued to be outlawed one, so it must immediately be controlled or completely stopped in its desire to continue with its armed struggle.
In the past, the military will just gleefully watch in the sidelines as Moro rebel groups would try to decimate one another. It cannot do this now, otherwise, it will become a willing participant in abandoning the peace agreement that its principal has tirelessly crafted.