Barely a week after Pope Francis left the Philippines and as local leaders in the Roman Catholic Church said the “Pope Francis fever” was still on, ruthless killing happened in Mindanao. The Philippine National Police Special Action Force lost 44 valiant men, while sacked SAF chief Director Getulio Napeñas claimed more than 200 died among enemy force.
The orphaned families of the SAF commandos are claiming for justice and appropriate government attention to survive especially that their beloved who died in the clash in Mamasapano on January 25 were their breadwinners. So do those from the MILF camp.
The Senate is over half way their investigation supposedly “in aid of legislation” and not in an expedition to fish political figures who could be blamed for what PNoy dub as “misencounter” in Mamasapano. Details were laid to the public. Thanks to the media who make blow by blow account of whart transpire in the Senate hearings. In the meantime, the approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which could ultimately lead to the nomination of PNoy to the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize global awards search, is at bay.
Question now is: Should the Muslim women widowed by their husbands who died in the Mamasapano encounter with the PNP-SAF be allowed what they demand from the government? Further they claimed discrimination and unequal treatment from government in terms of attention to those orphaned by those who died in the crossfire.
There are various schools of thought scooting across the information highway. Social networking sites in the world wide web are flooded with varied opinion on the matter. Generally, Filipinos frown upon a fair treatment to the families widowed by those from the MILF in spite the MILF’s claim of treachery as well on the part of the PNP-SAF. The killing they alleged was murderous attended by the elements of treachery and abode, that some MILF men were killed while in slumber. All these were not part of the government’s concern for now in spite the fact that they remain Filipino citizens.
Vice-Mayor Jerry “Sambo” Yaokasin of Tacloban, a pastor in Chinese Christian church in the City, commented, “This is so sad that Filipinos have to kill and be killed in the pursuit of peace.” He added, “To grant equal benefits to the families of the MILF men would be adding insult to injury as the SAF fought for the country. They were there to captured terrorists and died in the hands of MILF.”
Rev. Fr. Christ Arthur Militante, the newly appointed spokesman of the Archdiocese of Palo and mass media coordinator, has a distinct view on this. Favoring a fair treatment to the families orphaned by the MILF and in keeping with the reconciliatory stance of Pope Francis towards real peace across the globe, he stated, “Peace is everyone’s desire which goes beyond any affiliation.”
There are always two sides of a coin. However, the issue on justice should be well weighed in the balance lest the Philippine government and the entire peace process and the safety of the majority of the Filipinos will be put at stake.