ADVOCACY MINDANOW: Sabah: Let’s All Cool It

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/04 March) — I am sad with what happened several days ago in Lahad Datu, Sabah. The violence and the killings were tragic. And from all indications, my earlier personal apprehensions that the problem will worsen if the Malaysians will push the button, are now taking place.
I remember what President FVR used to say in admonishing everyone to always look for win-win solutions when facing situations: “Don’t throw shit to an electric fan. It will only irretrievably spread the mess” or words to that effect.


But I am reserving comments since all the facts are not in yet. And also, there are actions done by all the principal players that we are not privy about as yet. Hence, it is best that we wait for all the facts to surface.


I was an active participant in previous crisis situations that I handled. And I know that in similar situations, there are circumstances and information known to the crisis handler that others are not aware of. Such info determines one’s course of action during critical and emergency situations.

Decisions are made based on the interplay of many factors. To make a critique of the judgment calls made by those handling the situations without knowing all the info at hand may not only be premature. It will be grievously unfair. And unwise.
Hence, let us all pipe down and avoid knee jerk criticisms of what happened. Of course, we cannot avoid dealing with initial criticisms, doomsday scenarios and worst-case situations that many “instant” experts will proffer. And there are many of them out there just ready to pounce for one reason or another. It is always said that post incident “quarter backing” with the benefit of hindsight are favorite pastimes of commentators or grandstanders.   Those who just sit in air-conditioned offices, safe and far from the scene of actual combat or incident always dish out “I told you so” comments after the fact. Everyone becomes an expert.
But it is best that we hold our judgments for the moment.
Why? One, the situation is still volatile and it has not been resolved up to now.  Two, it has serious security and diplomatic implications involving both the Philippines and Malaysia. Three, it involves the honor and dignity of the Sultanate of Sulu and the Tausugs who already sacrificed the lives of 10 of their members (and still ready to sacrifice some more), as they are standing their ground in spite of demands for surrender.  Four, it strikes deep into the workings of the Aquino administration and how the President himself handles crisis situations. Fifth, it is too complex to over simplify with the Malaysian factor at the vortex.

LET’S COOL IT —The events will still continue to unfold in Sabah. And even in nearby Sulu and Tawi Tawi in Southern Philippines. Then, the diplomatic reverberations of the Sabah claim will still have to be dealt with somehow.

This is a lode mine, a treasure trove for all. The media will have a field day. The kibitzers will kibitz. The politicians must have something ready to say. The Sultanate will continue to profess honor and dignity. Across our shores, the Malaysians will pander to their own national interest and play to their gallery. Back home, President Aquino and his advisers will continue to seek the best approach consistent hopefully with our national interest. Everyone will have a field day!

At the end of the day, the President has to take full responsibility for the turn of events.  There’s no passing of the buck, no ifs and buts.  As the saying goes, the buck ends on Your Excellency’s desk.

In the meantime, I have an unsolicited advice to all: ‘LET’S ALL COOL IT, FOLKS.”

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