Saturday, September 08, 2007

This blogger is going to Jolo, Sulu

I don't think I can tell you a lot about who I am going with and why they are going just yet. I have yet to get clearance from a couple of people.

The wife thinks I shouldn't because it might be dangerous but I've told her that I have to because I want to see how a truly NEW peace initiative is going to unfold.

Arlene is reasonably worried for my safety. She was held hostage in Basilan about 7 years ago when she was still with RPN9 and covering Robert Aventajado's attempts to negotiate for the release of Abu Sayyaf hostages.

I cannot contain my excitement, really. I am excited about this peace initiative and I am excited about

In anycase, most news organizations (broadcast and print) are already gearing up for a massive coverage of the Erap Plunder Case promulgation on Wednesday September 12. Being a former TV news guy, I know that this latest development in the Erap Plunder saga will outweigh and outspace all other news items for the next few days or weeks. But really, it is more of an emotional issue for the masses and for the people who have invested political capital in a failed Presidency.

It will be remembered that it was under the Erap Presidency that a total war was declared on the MILF and Abu Sayyaf. People from Mindanao are still smarting from the effects of this declaration. Under Gloria' watch, there were elements of this declaration again but it was termed as an all out offensive and the orders were to serve a warrant of arrest to those who beheaded 14 marines in Basilan. More than war, the people of Mindanao (even those who are not in areas where there is strong military presence) are suffering from a very negative image despite having so much to offer the world.

I think bringing a new solution to conflict in Mindanao demands a little more daring and a little more compassion than we've been used to seeing.

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