It seems to be a tradition for the country’s The Few and the Proud – to lose a couple of their grunt’s heads in combat. About two years ago, nearly a dozen of Philippine Marines have lost their heads (and genitals) to the Abu Sayyaf. Around a couple of years earlier, it was a bunch of Philippine Scout rangers who had their heads chopped off somewhere in Basilan.
Now having one’s head cut off is a probable end for these grunts.
One of them said that it is their enemy’s way – cutting heads to “dehumanize” the soldiers of the Republic (if only they knew that these poor fellows have long been dehumanized because of low pay, degrading living conditions, a virtually no combat skills upgrading and having crooks for leaders who now accused of stealing millions of solider pay for their own gargantuan mansions). It is the enemy’s way of sending shivers down the ranks of brave farmer boys-soldiers that form the bulk of our tough Marine Corps. These boys who left their families and fight terrorists who are said to be using weapons and ammunitions allegedly sourced from scalawags in the military.
Why do the Abu Sayyaf have to dehumanize them? Has this become the rule of the war zone? Add ignominy to the fallen by severing their heads and keeping them for souvenirs?
Intentional beheading of adversaries in this day and time can only be done by savages. Those who are not worthy of any human right or code of military conduct. In short not worthy of mercy. These terrorists who proclaim to be “sword of god” are nothing but scums of the battlefield who must be stump out without mercy. It is correct that the Philippine Marines are up against an uncivilized enemy who uses fear to demoralize the enemy. These scums do not deserve to be treated with fair rules of warfare.
President Benigno C. Aquino during the burial rites for the fallen Marines vowed to pursue these lawless elements. This statement, Mr. President is a poor rehash of similar promises given by your arch-enemy Gloria Macapagal Arroyo when she consoled the families of the 10 fallen Marines who similarly lost their heads to the Abu Sayyaf. Several years later, this band of terrorists remains to elusive of the so-called “full force of the law.” In fact, they seem to eat Presidential threats for breakfast.
Given that Basilan and Sulu are small islands that can be thoroughly combed for ticks like the Abu Sayyaf, President Aquino should focus all military power there. Anyway, the other provinces do not need the Philippine Marines. The Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force can very well take care of the dwindling communist insurgency. So why don’t the President transfer all the military bases in those islands – complete with support systems like military hospitals, munition storages and airfields for its bomb dropping OV-10 Broncos.
While at it, why don’t the President declare Martial Law only in Basilan, Sulu and parts of Zamboanga. Implement the ID system (so Marines can easily pick up non-ID bearing individuals as the enemy). Bring back hamletting and saturation drives. Evacuate villages which are friendly to these terrorists. In short, flush out the water wherein they freely swim.
The Philippine military can also make use of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) or the Mutual Defense Treaty (if its applicable) by seeking assistance of the US Military on vital reconaissance of Abu Sayaff lairs by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and fast patrol crafts which can chase and sank escaping bandits.
All of these can be done if only President Aquino hold on to his promise to every Marine family who lost a father, husband or father in a very traumatic manner to the Abu Sayaff’s sword.