MANILA (Mabuhay) – A lawmaker from Mindanao renewed calls for peace amid certain sectors’ clamor for an all-out war following the bloody Mamasapano clash that left 44 PNP-Special Action Force personnel dead.
Basilan Rep. Jim Hataman Saliman, chair of the House committee on peace, unity and reconciliation, called for calm and sobriety at the start of the House hearing on the covert police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25.
“A well-known terrorist has divided our people. [The] aftermath of [the] Mamasapano clash has put [the] nation in [a] state of sadness,” Saliman said.
The police operation targetted suspected terrorists Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, and Filipino bomb maker Basit Usman. While authorities said Marwan was killed in the operation, Usman was able to escape.
In expressing condolences to the bereaved families of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos who died in the clash, Saliman warned that the Mamasapano incident threatens to derail “all noble efforts of those at the negotiating table.”
He reminded lawmakers that the Bangsamoro Basic Law is not primarily intended for the armed combatants in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) but for the “silent majority” who have longed for peace in the region.
Both the Senate and House of Representatives have suspended deliberations on the Bangsamoro bill pending the results of their respective investigation on the Mamasapano clash.
The measure aims to formalize the creation of a new political entity that will replace the existing ARMM. (MNS)