The Zamboanga zarzuela or moro-moro (Philippine traditional stage plays) finally ends its 10-day run in Philippine media. Well, it’s not yet really finished, but what is left is just the epilogue.
On Sept. 9, 2013, the media reported that some 200 or 300 MNLF men loyal to Misuari attacked some villages in Zamboanga city and were holding hostage the residents there.
Really, why in the world would 200 or 300 MNLF rebels attack Muslim villages? With 200 or 300 men, they could easily attack the City Hall or the police or even the military garrisons. Only the ignorant and the gullible would believe such a scenario. As the MNLF spokesman said, “If we attack a village, we pulverize them.”
Misuari’s spokesman Atty Fontanilla and the MNLF Facebook page insisted that they had nothing to do with whatever was going on in Zamboanga. As the MNLF stated, they were busy preparing for the Review of the Philippine-MNLF Final Peace Agreement scheduled on Sept. 16 in Jogjakarta, Indonesia.
Although the alleged MNLF rebels were supposedly holed up only in 3 villages, Zamboanga City was in stand still. All flights were cancelled, schools and offices were suspended, and a curfew was installed. For what?
The MNLF Facebook page posted this on Sept 9:
UPDATE: I made a few calls to inquire what is going on in Zamboanga City. The MNLF has to implement an effective civil defense plan to secure their lives and secure a high-level MNLF leader.
CAUSE: People sighted a GPH Police/Military large troop movement (LTM) that is tactical in nature (full battle gear). We have no information on why the GPH Police/Military launched a tactical LTM. I think the military should explain. If the GPH movement was a non-tactical movement, the 1995 MNLF-GPH Ceasefire Ground Rules Section 4 (on Movements) says “Non-tactical movements of GRP and MNLF forces outside their identified places shall be coordinated by concerned/affected GRP and MNLF commander(s).”
EFFECT: The military movement caused the MNLF to organize into an armed defensive formation (ADF) into a strategic convergence zone. During ADF, the public would see MNLF (from all point of origin) in groups of a squad or a platoon to move towards the direction of the ADF convergence zone.
NOTES: Media published it as an “ATTACK”. The truth is, there was no “ATTACK” because there are no shootings yet. The media should be careful next time, they could have just said that “there are sightings of large troops movement”.
HOSTAGES: If you mean like a hold-up hostage situation that you see in movies, there is none. Everyone in Zamboanga City now is a hostage inside their houses or cars as a result of their own fear, especially those inside the convergence zone.OTHER GROUPS: Normally, when there is a “SCARE” as a result of irresponsible media, the people (MNLF, MILF, Fake MNLF, Fake MILF, Political Private Armies, Individual Gun Owners, etc etc) will naturally arm themselves in full battle gear. This is what you will see in Zamboanga now.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Zamboanga is in an armed-conflict vulnerable status right now.
PROPOSED SOLUTION: To defuse the tension, make the GPH Police/Military explain the LTM they initiated and publish it on the news. Then allow sufficient TIME for the people to overcome their fears and they will gradually go back to their homes.
All throughout the so-called standoff and up to now, Misuari and his MNLF maintain that they have nothing to do with the Zamboanga affair. And they insist on impartial investigation by international parties.
A few days later, MNLF Commander Jabir (Habier) Malik was said to be the leader of the MNLF rebels holed out in the villages. And the next day, he was reported to have been killed. A day later, he was interviewed via phone patch by an online news group.
On Thursday, Sept. 12, Rappler.com reported that 80 MNLF rebels, with 35 hostages, surrendered to the police in Barangay Sta. Barbara. But Mar Roxas, the Secretary of the Dept. of Interior and Local Governments, and head of the government task force in Zamboanga handling the alleged MNLF attack, denied that there any surrender. Rappler, however, stood by its story.
Around the 5th or 6th day of the Zamboanga play, President B.S. Aquino arrived in Zamboanga, declaring that “MNLF’s happy days are over.”
But the play dragged on. Thousands of troops were sent to Zamboanga. More tanks and ammunition arrived for the soldiers. Media hype continued.
But the biggest attraction in the land still remained the PDAF or Pork Barrel scam. The people’s attention refused to let go the pork barrel scam which involved senators, congressmen and government officials.
And then we saw this on TV:
Looks like the game was up! From the TV news clip, it was very clear that it was all staged. There were no MNLF men in the area.
On Sept 11, the MNLF Facebook page posted this:
GENERAL ORDER FOR THE MNLF: Stay at home or somewhere safe, maintain a low profile, and avoid any trouble. But be ready to protect your life and your family if your household is harassed. The genuine MNLF is not involved in that chaos in Zamboanga and nearby towns. Don’t get swayed by the bandwagon of media. If your senior officers in the unit would ask you to prepare for a combat mission, please report the name to me 0921-7172040 so I can warn you if that person is in the list of the over 200 Fake MNLFs that we intercepted. Allahuakbar!…The following are the major Counterfeit MNLF operators in Zamboanga and Basilan area. Please do not obey any kind of instructions (especially combat recruitment instructions) from these persons.George Sampang Abdulsalim Laki Wahi Bulleng Montong Kiram Abdullah Ocacc Mohammad Hj. Sahipa Walsa
Manalbang Tahil Tuan Samili Usman Powa Degte Ibrahim Akramin Menembanl Nurmina Mahamud
Afdar Salik Hj. Abbas Tangkian Min Alam Hb. Andang Hashim Lacson Sawadjaan Abdullajid HB. Hussein
Hj. Abdua Jakaria Hatimil Hassan Jan Jakilan Mitsuara Hassan Ustadz Abdulmuhmin Mujamid Likhab Salahuddin
Aramel Amirin Datu Bungsu Mursalun Ustadz Hassan Jaiiani
According to the Media, military intelligence report has it that Misuari is ill. Maybe because of his illness, the military and government took advantage and created this hullabaloo.Perhaps the producers/directors of the play sensed that it was time to wrap up, the military let loose its ammunition and bombed the villages, including the one where Dr. Marietta Galvez said in the video that there were no MNLF men there.After bombing the place, all Muslim residents there were tagged as MNLF, which was exactly what the MNLF was saying all along.
The MNLF FB page’s latest status update was posted yesterday:
MNLF GENERAL ORDER: ABORT THE EXTRACT OPERATION. ALL TROOPS WITHDRAW. THE STANDOFF DISAPPEARED LIKE BUBBLE DESPITE PRESIDENTIAL CORDON. MALIK PRESENCE IN ZAMBOANGA UNCONFIRMED. MALIK INTEGRITY INTACT IN MNLF. ALL HIGH-PROFILE MNLF ACCOUNTED SAFE. SURRENDEREEs ARE COUNTERFEIT MNLFs REWARDED WITH GPH LIVELIHOOD PROJECTS. PRESIDENT PORK BARREL PAMANA PROJECT USED AS REWARD FOR COUNTERFEIT MNLF TO DO VIOLENCE TO DESTROY REPUTATION OF MNLF. ZAMBOANGA CHAOS HAVE NO MNLF FOOTPRINT. 1996 FPA HOLDS IN EFFECT.
To add another twist to the moro-moro, on Sept 17, it was announced that the Zamboanga Police chief was kidnapped by the MNLF rebels. A day later, the police chief surfaced with 23 alleged MNLF rebels in tow. He said he and three of his men pursued a lead on a reported group of rebels. They then bumped into these 23 rebels. And lo and behold, he persuaded them to surrender because these alleged rebels needed the police’s help to go back to their hometown, neighboring island of Basilan.
Hmmm. Looks like the scriptwriters were running out of credible scenarios. Here’s a link to the video of the interview with the Police Chief:
And now for the pièce de resistance, the President announce a P 6.1 B fund for the rehabilitation of Zamboanga. I guess that’s the payback for all the producers, scriptwriters and actors of the Zamboanga zarzuela.
And so what does this all mean? For one thing, it means that the Philippine government is not sincere in the Peace Talks. For another, it means the government is now ready to treat Misuari as insignificant and throw away the government’s “Final Peace Agreement” with the MNLF.
But most importantly, this means that the Bangsa Moro people are left with NO PROTECTORS. The MILF apparently doesn’t care what happens to the Moros as long as the group gets its Bangsamoro substate. The MNLF, on the other hand, is divided into the Misuari faction, which is now shown to be impotent and others which are either in cahoots with the government or are afraid of the government.
I guess it’s about time for a new Bangsa Moro revolutionary movement.
A look at the happy faces of the actors after curtain fall:
TV CHAR GEN: 15 MNLF MEMBERS FROM BASILAN SURRENDER TO THE AUTHORITIES