The Fallen 16 PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 03 September 2016 13:25

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — In an informal conversation that I had with Billy Ruiz, then a Marine general, he spoke of the rise of a dreaded Islamic force in Basilan. He was referring to the Abu Sayyaf. He said that many of his men and army soldiers have died fighting an enemy that could not be seen. They double up as civilians in the daytime and terrorists at night.

With dozens killed on both sides and hundreds of villagers displaced in the “war” between government forces and the Abu Sayyaf, there will be no let-up in the fight to “pulverize”  this barbaric group. The pause button shouldn’t be pressed even as we pay tribute to the Fallen 16 army soldiers who gave their precious lives in the name of peace.

While a ceasefire has been declared with communist insurgents and renegotiations with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Nur Misuari faction, for secession of hostilities, not to mention the stalled peace treaty with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the military operations against the Abus should not stop.

The Navy has blockaded the southern border to prevent any possible reinforcement by the Abus boating into Sulu and Basilan from elsewhere in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Holding more than a dozen captives in the hinterlands of Sulu, the Abus may use them as human shields against the rampaging soldiers eager to avenge their fallen comrades. The Abus may even try to trade them off for a ceasefire. But there are no fillers yet as government forces continue to pound the criminals’ lairs responsible for the execution of their captives and beheading of      soldiers.

El Presidente’s avowed mission to annihilate this murdering thugs is far from being accomplished. That is why the military should not relent in pursuing these bandits who by now must be low on food and ammunition.

The Basilenos and Suluans know that peace will come to their provinces with the total elimination of the Abus. Our military resources are sufficient enough to crush the devil’s advocates. Our soldiers are trained and ready for a guerrilla-type warfare.

The Fallen 16 served their country, the Philippines, with pride, honor and distinction. The beheading of some of them by the ruthless enemy has created enormous anger and resentment among our soldiers that has all the more raised their level of patriotism and bravery, coupled with a hateful revenge in their hearts.

The Fallen 16 deserve a parade of honor, no less.

At the casino coffee shop at the mothballed Zamboanga Plaza Hotel in Pasonanca, Brig. Gen. Ruiz admitted that it was difficult to fight a phantom. As he puffed his cigarette while trying to hold his emotions for the many deaths of his soldiers in Basilan, he said that the war to stop the rise of the Abu Sayyaf will be long and fierce. That was 1981.

El Presidente knows that the soldiers are firm in their commitment to fight and preserve the peace any where in the country. He has promised unprecedented transparency in all his official acts against terrorism. Our soldiers will demand, as they strike with impunity, the enemy’s pound of flesh. Retribution.