Even as I write, the war in Mindanao has just escalated one notch, with reported MILF raids in Lanao del Norte and Saranggani and bombs in Iligan. Whether the incidents are a result of MILF frustrations regarding the non-signing of the MOA-AD or a response to military and police offensives in North Cotabato, the point is that these play into a scenario.
The scenario is one where a justification for a state of emergency happens. Violent incidents increasingly happen and spread. The AFP is increasingly forced to defend towns and villages. The MILF, in turn, increasingly turn to its own offensives in order to defend Moro communities. In no time at all, we are into a deepened conflict until the military is convinced to agree to a declaration of a state of emergency.
For a national state of emergency to happen, there has to be demonstrated to exist a credible threat to the national seat of power in the National Capital Region, a nationwide state of war or terror, or attacks on national political leaders. The level of the resurgent conflict in Mindanao–even if it spreads to other areas in Mindanao–cannot yet justify this drastic option.
However, the next days or weeks bear watching because of the political scenario of charter change that requires neutralizing the opposition and terrorizing the people. With the recent show of widespread opposition to Malacañang’s charter change plans, only the emergency card is left to play.
Let us hope that desperate people do not cross the line of sanity.