We have to act. We have to get to the bottom of this latest challenge to finally having permanent peace in the region. We deserve so much more. We have been working vigorously, assiduously, with unremitting and uncompromising perspicacity, so that finally we can reach that evanescent if not elusive peace and development for this region and our people, yet every step of the way there are spoilers, unmistakably enemies of peace and we just cannot just sit idly by, especially with this tremendous work we have ahead of us, entrusted to us in this august office. We have to act and we have to be decisive and relentless as we have to be forthcoming.
This recent incident in the historic island of Sulu, where lawmen clashed with other lawmen is another disheartening chapter in our long quest for peace. It is in fact a lot more alarming than the other incidents where lawless elements are involved. It is basically asking the question of capacity, of readiness, even propriety of having us in charge of our own security. Not only us as a region but of the country. It is simply incomprehensible why there could be an incident involving lawmen on opposite sides. You could say or assume, as many seem to have done already that it is a mis-encounter. Then at least we have something to start with. Then again, the extent of this unfortunate incident is still unfolding, suddenly it is no mis-encounter, apparently it is not some kind or any kind of encounter but a simple “shooting incident”, which simply indicates there is much more to it than any kind of encounter.
We have to ask the important questions. Of course, it goes without saying that the soldiers were there for a particular mission or purpose, that such mission cannot just be shared with other law enforcers. Not everyone in government and or in law enforcement has the same security clearance that any and all mission can be or should be shared. In other words, there are protocols that should be followed. While each security and or law enforcement agent or unit do not necessarily share information, protocols are shared as the ultimate objective is shared. So again, we ask, what led to such sorry incident?
Let’s say that the military men who unfortunately met their untimely death at the hands of their fellow agents of the state are there as what their officers say there are, to scour for terrorist elements, the assumption is that they are trained, that they know what to do, how to act accordingly, whether they are dealing with fellow officers of the law or lawless elements. Apparently, they identified themselves to the accosting party and followed their directive accordingly. Reports like this have to be ascertained and ensure its fidelity to the actual incident. If it is true that in fact they complied when they were asked to come to the police station, what led to the shooting? Did they suddenly change their minds and without warning hurriedly left the police with them?
On the other hand, how did the police act when the military men they accosted identified themselves? The casualties were undoubtedly military men as they have been identified by officials active and retired as reported in the news. Did they not present enough identification instruments so that the police can identify them conclusively? Again, there are protocols that are known to officers that they follow in the line of duty. So again, what could possibly have led the police to doubt their being with the military?
We are now the regional government. We have negotiated strongly to be more than all the supposed regional governments before. More not only in terms of autonomy but also in terms of responsibility. Security may not be as how it was envisioned during the negotiations, where the regional government will have more authority together with the national government but nonetheless, we got more than what were accorded before. We have got to get to the bottom of this not only because we are one in the interest of justice, but also because we have got to know more of the security situation and the concomitant requirements so that we can really procced with all the plans successfully as agreed with the government. Then and only then can we aspire and expect to reach that elusive peace.
So far there are more questions than answers. This incident to me is an exhortation for the regional government to have the capacity to investigate and to be informed routinely, systematically, professionally and therefore objectively. We may not have the security powers sought before but this should not prevent us from knowing more about the goings on in our midst, in our region, especially in those incidents that are crucial to national security. However which way we look at this incident, there’s no gainsaying its magnitude, what with the impending clash between the two security institutions! We have to diffuse the situation and fast! But how will we able to do so if we are unable to get to the bottom of it?!
I have no doubt every one of us here agree that the future of this region, of our people, of our country is in our hands. We have our own differences. I’m sure every country, every people have differences. These differences did not prevent other countries from prospering, from ensuring the welfare and future of their people. Why should it be any different for us? There seem to be not much interest in this incident that so far. An investigation has been called by the President. I believe it is incumbent on us to also know more about it and help in its resolution in the process.
(File photo courtesy of MILFChairmanOfficial)
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