We mourn with the Filipino people for the death of 19 soldiers in an encounter with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Basilan.
Every single life lost in this conflict is a pin pricked in the heart of our nation. We grieve for our soldiers, their families and loved ones. They paid the ultimate price for our nation.
We must work for genuine peace and usher in progress so that their deaths will not be in vain.
Government must firm up its resolve to end the root causes of social unrest and armed conflict in Mindanao so as to put meaning in the deaths of our men in uniform.
We urge the GRP peace panel to review its current track to the path of peace and rethink its handling of the MILF given this latest unfortunate incident. It appears that the approach needs a serious review. We cannot allow the MILF to dictate the terms and conditions of the peace process. This latest incident is a major setback in the efforts to secure a just and honorable peace.
While we will not jump into the fray and call on a suspension of the talks, given this latest incident, the GRP should not rule out the option of suspending the talks if we find the MILF explanation and its subsequent acts to address the matter as unacceptable.