Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Reasons for rejecting Amnesty for the Abu Sayyaf (Part Two)

Even before it could be considered further, amnesty for the Abu Sayyaf has been rejected outright by the Arroyo Administration after Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said it was actually a good idea.

Senator Richard Gordon proposed a lot of things to end conflict and kidnapping incidents in Mindanao. This is part of a statement he released to the media regarding his proposal of amnesty for the Abu Sayyaf:

I am glad that everybody is now joining the debate regarding amnesty for some members of the Abu Sayyaf Group who may want to go back into the fold of the law.

What I want to do is to put people into a peace mode from a war mode.

It is only in this mode that we can move forward to find a solution.

What I proposed was not just AMNESTY.
What I am calling for is a sincere, effective, and comprehensive solution to the never ending war in Mindanao.

This entails a full court press from the government in terms of improving the economy, delivering justice, and infusing infra in conflict areas.

All out war has ever led to peace and to progress. It only digs a deeper hole and creates more problems and new complications. Long term solutions are arrived at after sound consideration and constructive debate. They do not just appear in one’s minds as a brilliant idea at a snap of a finger.

In anycase, let me explain the point of offering amnesty to the Abu Sayyaf another way and it might be familiar to some of you who are fond of allegories.
One day the Sun and Wind saw a man walking with his coat on. The Wind made a bet with the sun and said that because he was more powerful than him, he could blow the man's coat off his back. The Sun smiled and being quite an agreeable fellow, he agreed to the wager.

The Wind tried to blow off the man's coat with all his might. Leaves, trees, grass, and boulders started flying in all directions as he vented his might on the man. But no matter how hard he blew, the Wind could not blow the man's coat off his back.

The Wind was flustered and became even more upset when he saw the Sun smiling. He said, "Why are you smiling? Are you making fun of me? Go ahead, why don't you try and get the man to take off his coat. I bet, you can't."

The Sun said, "Sure, just stop blowing."

And the Wind stopped blowing, while the Sun just kept on smiling and doing nothing.

Pretty soon, it began to get warmer and the man started sweating. After a few more minutes, the man couldn't take the heat anymore and took off his coat.

Let me put it another way, when you offer amnesty to the Abu Sayyaf members who want to return to the fold of the law, what happens?

Well, the first thing they have to do is to surrender or at least, stop kidnapping or killing people. This alone would be of great benefit as it reduces the number of Abu Sayyaf that the government has to hunt down and apprehend or fight. Perhaps, it may even be necessary to bring the members of the Abu Sayyaf seeking amnesty to Metro Manila along with their families and probably get them to "inform" the government about the situation in Sulu.

Those interested in amnesty, as a sign of their sincerity in returning to the fold of the law and in an effort to convince the government to forgive whatever crimes they have committed, may even -- as a condition for considering their application for amnesty -- be asked to cooperate with the government for a number of things.

To assuage any fears about expunging the criminal atrocities of the Abu Sayyaf, the government still has to follow LAWS in granting amnesty and those laws basically prohibit the grant of amnesty for the following:
Amnesty does not cover the crimes against chastity, rape, torture, kidnapping for ransom, use and trafficking of illegal drugs and other crimes for personal ends and violations of international law or convention and protocols, even if alleged to have been committed in pursuit of political beliefs.
Moreover, the PERSPECTIVE OF THE UNITED NATIONS must also be considered.
Strategies for expediting a return to the rule of law must be integrated with plans to reintegrate both displaced civilians and former fighters.
Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration processes are one of keys to a transition out of conflict and back to normalcy.
Carefully crafted amnesties can help in the return and reintegration of displaced civilians and former fighters and should be encouraged.
However, amnesty can never be permitted to excuse genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, or gross violations of human rights.
So, what all this boils down to is not really an issue of allowing criminals elements of the Abu Sayyaf to go scot-free. It is an issue of stopping the war which evidence already shows merely intensifies the desperate circumstances experienced by people in Basilan and Sulu, which breeds armed dissent and eventually war.

Secretary of National Defense Gilbert Teodoro made a brave pronouncement, he said that the Abu Sayyaf will be neutralized by December.

How many times have we heard this pronouncement?

Just google it and you'll see.

1 comment:

better said...


the government shouldn't have shot this down just like that. it should have been discussed further. sarado agad utak eh or to be more accurate sarado agad pinto para iwas batikos. daming gunggong sa paligid. bwiset.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...