Arriane Merez, ABS-CBN News
MANILA--Combating the Abu Sayyaf group using military tactics may not be an effective long-term solution, an analyst said Monday.
National Defense College associate professor Chester Cabalza explained that the recent releases of Abu Sayyaf hostages with the help of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), is a good message since it shows cooperation from different stakeholders given that the government is keen on its peace efforts.
Cabalza however added that using military tactics to counter kidnapping and terrorism attacks of the Abu Sayyaf does not solve the problem.
"It's a matter of respect and sincerity as of the moment. We are trying to build this trust with the secessionist group--the MNLF group, but it all boils down to what's next given that you still have captives there by the ASG and we still see presence of ASG in Mindanao," he said.
Last Sunday, three Indonesian nationals held captive by Abu Sayyaf were freed through the help of the MNLF.
The MNLF also helped negotiate the release of four Abu Sayyaf captives, including Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad and three more Indonesians last September.
Cabalza said medium and long term solutions would require addressing the socio-economic problems of Mindanao.
"It all boils down to socio-economic conditions in Mindanao. We have to deliver basic services and of course we have to look at some of the issues on human rights abuses [and] marginalization of the Muslims so it's very complex," he said.
Cabalza noted that there are many ways to look at the problem in Mindanao. He is however positive that the government is looking at it from a new light given that President Rodrigo Duterte is from Mindanao.
"The president is from Mindanao. He's looking at the problem from inside. He knows what he's going for and that could help perhaps to heal some of the wounds that has been done to some of our Muslim brothers," Cabalza said.