Path to peace is hindered by Kato PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 20 August 2011 14:49

By MENARDO WENCESLAO

We take a different view from those who condemn the Moro Islamic Liberation Front for alleged inability to rein-in Kumander Umbra Kato and his lawless forces. We subscribe to the popular belief that this ragtag elements had already dissociated themselves from the MILF given the fact that they declared themselves as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. That Kato and his men had effectively been severed their umbilical cord from the MILF is no longer a subject of debate. There is now an ongoing battle between the MILF combatants and Kato’s men and the casualties are being counted from both sides.

We view this development as MILF’s demonstration of sincerity in negotiating peace with the government and its resolve to prove that they can handle problems as serious and complicated as Kato. Remember that it was Kato and Bravo who went on a killing rampage when the controversial Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain was questioned before the Supreme Court. Both the negotiating panels of the government and the MILF knew that that MOA on AD was too far from being  final as the document has still go through a lot of legislative scrutiny and political processes. The criminal acts of the two MILF commanders mirrored the kind of savagery that the duo are capable of. Some quarters made a fuss about the unconstitutionality of the MOA on AD but there is a lot more of significance and implications that one can absorb from the criminal and disruptive acts that the two renegade commanders of the MILF are capable of be it in the atmosphere of peace and conflict.

For what good is the parchment of a peace pact when there lurks a potential threat that can derail treaties and cause yet another war? That President Benigno Aquino went the extra mile to personally meet with MILF Chairman Al Hadj  Ibrahim Murad gives us a strong signal that this administration is serious in putting an end to the secessionists upheaval. This is not a question of gaining extra points for the President’s popularity as MILF senior negotiator Michael Mastura had suspected the motive of Aquino was, we firmly believe that the President was in fact putting his principles at stake to achieve the elusive peace.

It will be more productive if Professor Mastura help Chairman Murad and Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar draw out a strategy on how to deal with a problem like Kato for if there is any peril that can implode in the MILF and peace itself, it is in fact the uncontainable force of Umbra Kato.

As of now however, we are seeing positive signals as the MILF has crack the ship on this wayward and murderous force.