The conflict in Maguindanao
THE social media and coffeeshops are abuzz with talk over President Benign S. Aquino III’s admission yesterday, January 28, that there was a lack of coordination in the clash that killed more than 40 policemen in southern Philippines.
The President, in his message to the nation, declared a national day of mourning for the deaths of at least 44 members of the counter-insurgency Special Action Force of the National Police who were tasked to capture two terrorists in a covert operation that ended in disaster.
Police Director Getulio Napeñas, who was relieved after the incident, admitted that he did not coordinate with the Armed Forces of the Philippines before launching “Oplan Wolverine” that aimed to capture Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” a reported Malaysian terrorist.
Marwan, who is considered as the Osama bin Laden of Southeast Asia, has a $6-million bounty on his head offered by the United States government.
“Operation Neptune Spear” is the covert US Navy Seals operation that led to the death of al-Qaida chief Osama bin laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on March 2011.
Maguindanao is once again in the news. Six years ago, a similar incident also occurred in one of its towns, Ampatuan, when more than 50 people were killed, 32 of them journalists, in what is now known as the Ampatuan Massacre.
It seems that we are reminded of Maguindanao only when killings occur. But what is there to understand about the seemingly never-ending cycle of violence in Maguindanao?
Is Maguindanao or the entire Mindanao region only a refuge for terrorists or is it a land full of promise yet neglected by the government? We hope that this series of articles and video documentary that we have compiled for your easy browsing would at least make us think about Maguindanao beyond the Mamasapano clash.