Aquino’s 'no all-out war' policy gaining ground

October 24, 2011 10:30 pm 

By Ben Cal

MANILA, Oct. 24 –- The "no all-out war" policy of President Benigno S. Aquino III continues to gain ground with the latest support coming from Sulu Governor Sakur Tan.

In a press statement, Tan said he is fully behind the President for the continuance of the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) despite the call from other sectors for the Chief Executive to declare an all-out war following the wave of attacks by combined MILF forces and Moro bandits in Basilan and Central Mindanao the past few days.

Nineteen Army Special Forces soldiers were killed in an ambush by MILF rebels and bandits in Al-Barka, Basilan last Tuesday. Fourteen other soldiers were also wounded.

The MILF rebels sustained six killed as they surprised the soldiers who were to serve an arrest warrant for a wanted terrorist linked to the beheading of 10 soldiers in 2007.

MILF forces again launched an attack on Sunday in Basilan and Lanao del Norte, killing five civilians and two soldiers.

The military also reported that MILF rebels seized two schools in Zamboanga Sibugay over the weekend.

The wave of attacks have triggered clamor from various groups for the military to declare an all-out war against the MILF, but President Aquino rejected the idea as this would only shed more bloodshed in Mindanao, not only of the combatants but civilians caught in the crossfire.

Tan said the wisdom of the President “in deciding against an all-out war against the MILF deserves the undivided support of all peace-loving peoples in the region.”

The Sulu governor said he made consultations with fellow provincial governors in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the local chief executives in Sulu, community leaders and sectoral groups about this serious matter.

“War mongering will only worsen the situation and stoke sentiments that are divisive and counter-productive,” Tan said, citing that “the gains achieved thus far in the peace process as defined in the Mindanao peace framework should be preserved and peaceful means of engagement with concerned group(s) should be continued.”

Tan condoled with the families and loved ones of the soldiers who were killed in action in the Basilan firefight.

“Sobriety is called to fore in these trying times and patience should prevail to give peace a surviving chance,” Tan said. “War is not the path to peace!”

Meanwhile, Congressman Pangalian M. Balindong (2nd District, Lanao del Sur) also supported the no all-out war policy of the President. (PNA)

DCT/scs/RBC/mec

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