News Flash

September 05, 2015, Saturday
  • Maynilad announces water supply interruptions in some of its service areas on Thursday & Friday next week. 12 hours ago |
  • 1 of 2 men who fell off Magallanes flyover while on board a motorcycle declared dead on arrival at Pasay City Gen. Hospital. 12 hours ago |
  • PNP HPG asks LGUs in areas along EDSA to deploy 1 cop & 1 investigator at ‘choke points’ in case accidents happen. 12 hours ago |
  • Bike lanes along EDSA being installed. 12 hours ago |
  • White Plains shooting suspect Jose Maria Abaya identified by new complainants in a 3rd shooting spree in Caloocan City. 12 hours ago |
  • PNP HPG increases the number of its members to man traffic at EDSA on Monday from 90 to 150. 12 hours ago |
  • Sen. Drilon to ask LP to immediately convene and approve its vice presidential candidate for 2016. 12 hours ago |
  • Sen. Franklin Drilon believes Sen. Grace Poe will run for president in 2016. 13 hours ago |
  • Mother of death convict Maryjane Veloso claims Consul General Roberto Manalo is causing a rift between her & her daughter. 13 hours ago |
  • Celia Veloso says her daughter Maryjane who is in Indonesia’s death row is angry with her for criticizing PH gov’t. 13 hours ago |
  • Suspect in fatal shooting of a man in Quiapo, Manila nabbed. 13 hours ago |
  • Suspect in the slay of DepEd official’s wife & maid in Sta. Ana, Manila denies involvement in the crime. 13 hours ago |
  • Suspect in a double murder case in Sta. Ana, Manila to undergo inquest proceeding. 13 hours ago |
  • 3 vendors killed in a shooting incident in Marawi City. 13 hours ago |
  • 50 more lawmakers to face charges in connection to PDAF scam. 13 hours ago |
  • Firearms of retired and suspended policemen to be subjected to inventory. 13 hours ago |
  • QCPD Station Commanders ordered to go on weekend duty. 13 hours ago |
  • PNP Chief Ricardo Marquez asks mall owners to give PNP prior notice on mall sale. 13 hours ago |
  • 2 victims rushed to hospital after the motorcycle they were riding fell off Magallanes flyover in Makati City. 13 hours ago |
  • Bayan says gov’t to pay P7.5B in penalty charge to consortium operating LRT 1 due to unfulfilled contract obligations. 13 hours ago |
  • Passengers observe MRT 3 trains’ aircon & engine are frequently turned off at some stations which cause more travel delays. 13 hours ago |
  • LRT 2 commuters stand in long lines at train stations to pay for single-journey tickets each time they take rides. 13 hours ago |
  • Lack of beep cards with stored value still plagues LRT 2 operations weeks after magnetic cards were phased out. 14 hours ago |
  • Coloma says President Aquino still trusts Customs Commissioner Bert Lina. 18 hours ago |
  • 2 rebels arrested following an encounter between soldiers & NPAs in Camarines Sur. 18 hours ago |
  • DOTC says drivers in Metro Manila should refrain from committing traffic violations such as swerving & counter-flowing. 18 hours ago |
  • DOTC attributes heavy traffic congestion in Metro Manila to motorists' lack of discipline. 18 hours ago |
  • Complainant Gerry Dionisio says Jose Maria Abaya had fired upon his Kia pick-up along TPLEX in June this year. 18 hours ago |
  • Another previous victim of White Plains shooting suspect Jose Maria Abaya surfaces. 18 hours ago |
  • DPWH to reclaim 1.5 meter of sidewalk along Edsa currently being occupied by illegal vendors. 18 hours ago |
  • DPWH to set up yellow delineators from Edsa-Munoz to Edsa-Roxas Blvd. to separate lanes for public & private vehicles. 18 hours ago |
  • Death toll in accident on Wednesday involving a 10-wheeler truck in Barangka, Marikina rises to 3. 19 hours ago |

The crisis in Zamboanga

By Bong Austero | Sep. 17, 2013 at 12:01am
The crisis in Zamboanga City, which started last week when about 200 armed men belonging to the Moro National Liberation Front took over five barangays and declared their quest for an independent Moro state, acquired a personal dimension when I learned that a colleague’s son was among those held hostage and used as human shield by the MNLF.  The boy is in Zamboanga City to study for his college degree and was living in a dormitory in one of the five barangays.  He is barely 17 years old.  As a result, we are monitoring the Zamboanga crisis with a little more concern than most - we’re not just praying for a quick resolution to the standoff, we’re also praying for the safety of the hostages.  Above all else, we are praying for lasting peace in Mindanao.

Unfortunately, it seems we compose a minority.  Most just want the crisis to end already.  I’ve been in several discussions where most everyone present expressed annoyance over this latest interruption of our supposed march to a better Philippines.  I can understand why and how business and industry tend to view the crisis as a nuisance that needs to be dealt with quickly and drastically; Zamboanga is the sixth largest city in the country and is a major component of the Mindanao economy.  The city has been virtually shut down since last week and the losses to business on a daily basis is staggering.

I’ve met people who seem to think that the Aquino administration is not being decisive enough, that the situation should be dealt with in a more resolute manner; in other words,  government should storm the five barangays in Zamboanga City with guns blazing and kill all the insurgents in one sweep.  My default reaction to this kind of assertion is to tell the person to stop watching too many action movies.  That kind of conflict resolution is only achieved with any level of success in the movies of Bruce Willis and Sylvestre Stallone.  But, alas, there seem to be too many people who subscribe to the “end it now,whatever it takes” course of action despite the fact that there are just too many civilian lives who could potentially become collateral damage and the fact that there is actually a wider context to the conflict.  The Zamboanga crisis has its roots on the decades-long problems of Mindanao.

Anyone who is still thinking straight should then easily figure out that the Zamboanga crisis is not going to be resolved with a purely military solution.  Government troops may, by some stroke of luck, be able to end the current standoff in Zamboanga, but it will not guarantee an end to the crisis.  As what happened in Syria, a totalitarian approach to end an uprising can have disastrous long-term consequences.  A purely military solution  increases the probability of expanding the crisis to other places in Mindanao.  As it is, there are now speculations that other breakaway groups of the MNLF and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front are preparing to get into the act to achieve visibility and consequently invite participation into the ongoing peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the MILF.

While it may seem as if the 200 armed insurgents in Zamboanga are mere recalcitrant renegades who are virtually a lost command, we must recognize that they are not isolated ideologically and religiously.  Nur Misuari and his men may have already been marginalized politically by the current government, but when push comes to shove, the larger context of the Mindanao struggle involves all muslims in Mindanao.  The protracted war in Mindanao has continued precisely because we have not been as successful in pursuing a more comprehensive approach to the problems.

Of course politics and the presence of too many breakaway groups have further muddled the issues but let is not forget that the problem in Mindanao is first of all economic and social.  Unless we are able to address the problems of poverty, discrimination, inequity, injustice, etc, crises such as the current one in Zamboanga will continue to recur.  Lest people have forgotten, the current crisis in Zamboanga is actually a repeat of a similar caper pulled by Nur Misuari in 2001 when he was ousted as chairman of the MNLF.  Back then, MNLF forces held hostage residents of several barangays until they were allowed to escape.

So while our soldiers are preparing to launch an annihilatory solution to the crisis in Zamboanga, let’s all remember that while we may be annoyed by having to witness the crisis in the comfort of our living rooms, millions of people in Mindanao actually live the crisis.  The crisis is complicated and there is more to it than meets the eye so let’s all be patient as the government search for more ways to bring permanent and lasting peace in Mindanao.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Comments are views by readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with editorial standards, may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section
comments powered by Disqus

Want Updates?

Be the first to know on what is latest from, simply enter your email below to get started. We don’t spam dont worry!