Resolve 'cultural friction' to achieve peace – Bautista
MANILA, Philippines – Commanding General of the Philippine Army Lieutenant General Rolando Joselito Bautista on Tuesday, May 22, said years of "cultural friction” must be addressed if there is to be lasting peace in the Philippines.
“As a nation and as a people, centuries of cultural friction must be resolved for us to be able to reach a better understanding of one another in order that we may one day live together under the spirit of trust, understanding, respect, and love,” Bautista said at the Philippine Army’s launch of its book series, “Marawi and beyond: The joint task force Marawi story”.
During his speech, Bautista highlighted the army’s goals at the start of the months-long battle, a day before clashes broke out almost a year ago.
“What was clear to all of us from the start of the conflict was that human rights must be saved at all costs, the doctrines of international humanitarian law and the principle of human rights must be upheld, religious and historical icons must be preserved, and culture and traditions must be respected,” he said.
The war prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to proclaim martial law in Mindanao, which remains in effect to this day, despite Marawi being liberated from terrorist influence in October last year.
Bautista also recalled the sacrifices of troops, whose service he said, the books hoped to honor. (READ: Soldiers who fought in Marawi promoted one rank higher)
“Dito natin nabigyan ng kahalagahan at saysay ang kasabihan na walang iwanan hanggang matapos ang laban. (This is were we give importance and value to the saying that no one is left behind until the war is over.) In the battle of Marawi, your combined security forces give credibility to the phrase that no single soldier, policeman, or coast guard personnel shall be left behind until Marawi is liberated,” he said.
“Our united efforts together with the courage and bravery of our security forces proved essential in obtaining victory against the ISIS Maute terrorist group,” he added.
Asked what the books might mean for him and the Philippine Army, Bautista said the series aimed to be an account of what transpired in Marawi City, as told by soldiers and stakeholders involved in the war. (Marawi in 360: Inside the War Zone)
“When somebody talks about Marawi and what happened in Marawi, dapat it came from the Philippine Army kasi itong mga nag-narrate ng mga stories dito, yung mga na-interview dito, it's all first-hand accounts ng mismong actors, mga commanders, mga enlisted personnel, wounded, lahat 'yan kasama sa mga facts na inintegrate dito sa book na ito,” he said at the sidelines of the event.
(When somebody talks about Marawi and what happened in Marawi, it should come from the Philippine Army because the ones who narrated the stories here, the ones who were interviewd, it's all first-hand accounts of the actors, commanders, enlisted personnel, wounded themselves. All of these are included in the facts that were integrated in these books.)
According to Bautista, the book series is composed of a "master book" as well as 6 books for public audiences. Another 21 books were written for internal military reference and are not available for public viewing as they contain confidential and sensitive information.
Last year, government troops and Islamic State (ISIS)-linked terrorists clashed in Marawi City on May 23. The 5-month war is said to be the longest and bloodiest Philippine military operation after World War II. – Rappler.com