Cop and MNLF guerilla lay down arms briefly for dialogue to free hostages

Although they were held hostage briefly, (Merceditas Hasinon’s) story stands out among the thousands of narratives this eight day standoff has spawned because of what the policeman and the MNLF guerrilla did: the combatants who talked “walang armas-armas” demonstrated that civilian hostages need not be collateral damage in war, that in life-and-death situations, dialogue can save lives. – Carolyn Arguillas, MindaNews

Interesting and inspiring story in the midst of the conflict raging in Zamboanga City, Philippines.

For those who are not familiar with what’s happened there, a renegade group from the former Moro National Liberation Army has occupied some areas of the city by force. And they have held several hostages over the past week.

The Moro National Liberation Front used to be one, if not the biggest secessionist group in the Philippines, fighting for independence of Mindanao and advancement of Muslim rights. They would later sign a peace deal with the government, ending almost three decades of armed struggle.

In recent days, several hostages have escaped or were surrendered by the rebels to government forces. This story from MindaNews, is a narrative of how a guerrilla fighter and a policeman, momentarily put their weapons down, and discussed the release of hostages.

Makes you feel good that there are still a few people, both in the government and the secessionist group, who believe that civilian lives should not be endangered by the their armed confrontation.

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