JOLO, Sulu (MindaNews/23 Oct) — The gains obtained after decades of joint search for peace should not be put to naught by a single or even series of isolated incidents such as what happened in Basilan and subsequently in Zamboanga Sibugay province.
Encounters should not be limited to the battlefield. As a matter of fact, the most ideal corridor to address this current stain to having final peace in Mindanao is by way of resuming the stalled peace talks between the GPH (Government of the Republic of the Philippines)-MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front).
All-out war or other means of reprisals will no longer resuscitate and bring back to life the 19 soldiers and 7 rebels. On the other hand, it will only compound the miseries there and double our losses in terms of precious lives and damages to property.
Ceasefire is a condition sine qua non to a sober search for justice and punishment of those who transgress the limits of Jihad and other instruments of redress installed on the ground (in Basilan or anywhere else in Muslim Mindanao). The case of Amiril Umra Kato can be made the precedent.
End the present dilemma and similar cases of violence by way of returning to the peace table and ink a lasting political settlement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Indeed, it would be a double whammy for the Aquinos: the late President Cory Aquino for initiating the 1996 Peace Agreement (with the Moro National Liberation Front) and President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to finalize it with the MILF. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Prof. Octavio Dinampo is from the Mindanao State University in Sulu).