Salute to our soldiers for the bravery and valor they’ve shown in combat this weekend as they drove out of Datu Paglas in Maguindanao about 200 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Members of the Armed Forces pounded the terrorists from the air and the ground to retake the peaceful town and reopen traffic along the national highway linking Maguindanao and North Cotabato by noon Saturday.
About 5,000 residents scampered to safety after sighting the BIFF bandits led by a certain Undo Sulayman, said to be at odds with the town’s vice mayor.
Four improvised explosive devices (IED) were planted by the BIFF terrorists at the town market and along the highway, but were deactivated by the soldiers before they could have caused carnage.
The discovery of the IED should belie the claim of the BIFF Kagui Karialan faction that it was not planning to seize the town and that its members were just there resting because they’re fasting in the month of Ramadan.
Resting our foot.
The good news is that Lt. Col. John Baldomar, speaking for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, reported there were no casualties on the side of the military, although a viral footage, purportedly of one of the skirmishes, showed one soldier being hit.
The video may well have been from the movie Saving Private Ryan or the World War II series Band of Brothers, because of the ferocity of the fighting.
Our soldiers were shown pinned down on one side of the road, sheltering themselves from enemy fire and returning fire themselves from a semi-defilade position in a rice field.
A sniper then hit the soldiers’ “number one” with a medic frantically bandaging an apparent head wound sustained by probably their squad leader. The men were asking for mortar fire on the enemy’s positions. None came, basing it on the video.
The footage showed that while hawkish political opportunists like retired Associate Justice Antonio Carpio are saber-rattling against China over its de facto control of the West Philippine Sea (WPS), the soldiers are the ones who do the actual blood-letting.
Carpio and those who are coming short of calling for the Philippines to declare war against China should be told that they are actually waving empty scabbards against a nuke-laden nation.
A war by the Philippines against China, notwithstanding the Filipinos’ proven bravery, will be a rout, and naïve are those who think that the United States will be there to fight our battles.
Having lost his stature as one of the so-called “gods of Padre Faura,” Carpio must be staving off irrelevancy and boredom by trying to thrust himself ever more vigorously in the middle of the WPS brouhaha.
He is an armchair general who should learn from history that his international laws go down the sewer when nations fight for their interlocking interests. Military might, whether we accept it or not, makes everything right in the geopolitical sphere.
Against a nuclear power like China, what will the Philippines bring into battle? Our newly acquired missile-capable ships sans the missiles and the electronic guidance needed to make them effective?
Carpio should truly retire, buy a patch of land and go to farming so he’d develop a contemplative nature instead of thinking himself a shaper of our nation’s history.
A caveat, though. He should choose the location of his farm away from what little areas are influenced by communist rebels or the garden-variety terror groups like the BIFF and the Abu Sayyaf.
A war-monger Carpio may be, but we doubt very much he’s willing to take a rifle to defend his domain. He’d call the very same soldiers he is pushing into a conflict with China to save his own skin.
Carpio and his ilk should first help the government wipe out local security threats like the commies and the terrorists before thinking of crossing swords with other countries, much more China.
Misplaced bravery and misguided notions have gotten a lot of people killed.