Philippines President: No Revenge Attacks After Rebels Kill 19 Soldiers

Insists Government Will Still Honor Truce

Addressing the Tuesday clash on the Basilan Island, which left 19 army soldiers and six Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters dead, Philippines President Benigno Aquino III rejected calls from parliament to restart the civil war, insisting no retaliatory strikes would be authorized.

Aquino offered condolences for the families of the slain but said restarting the war would not benefit anyone, and that the ongoing peace talks would continue. A government negotiator termed the attacks “accidental.”

This doesn’t seem to be sitting well with the Philippines military, and army spokesman Col. Antonio Parlade condemned the move on the radio, saying they should temporarily lift their ceasefire to launch revenge attacks and “hunt down the insurgents.” The Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile seemed to agree, saying that they should launch attacks until MILF agrees to surrender those responsible for the attack.

The peace process between the MILF and the Philippines government has been slow-going, but the group has already agreed to abandon efforts at full secession from the Philippines in favor of a semi-autonomous region similar to Iraqi Kurdistan,

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.