MAMASAPANO, Maguindanao (MindaNews/18 January) – If there are things that have come out good in this town after the tragedy almost a year ago that left 44 police commandoes, 17 Moro rebels and five civilians dead, one of them is the new bridge in Brgy. Tukanalipao that residents now use in lieu of the old one that serves as a reminder of that fateful day.
Villagers cross the new bridge with their work animals, even four-wheel vehicles.
“We used to cross this river on foot; now we can do it without difficulty,” Sala Kayanga and his wife Bai Kanutan said as they crossed the bridge on a water buffalo pulling a cart.
The wooden bridge that connects both ends of the corn fields still stands but is no longer used as it has deteriorated. It was the same bridge used by the Special Action Force troopers and some members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that engaged them at dawn of Jan. 25, 2015.
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has introduced other projects like an irrigation system and new schools to restore people’s trust in government and sustain peace initiatives.
On Jan. 25, Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu will lead a medical outreach mission in partnership with the military and peace advocates.
The SAF troopers had come to Mamasapano to get Malaysian bomber Zulkipli bn Hir alias Marwan and his Filipino aide Basit Usman. Marwan was killed in the raid based on the DNA test done on one of his fingers by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The operation, done without coordinating with the MILF as provided for in the ceasefire agreement between the government and the rebel group, led to the suspension of deliberations on the Bangsamoro Basic Law in Congress.
Lawmakers took turns accusing the MILF of bad faith, a development that threatened to derail the peace process.
Maguindanao 2nd district Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu has filed a bill seeking to declare January 25 as national day of mourning to remember those who perished in the carnage. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)