LETTERS FROM DAVAO
By Jun Ledesma
When you have a situation like marauding Maute terrorists taking control of the entire City of Marawi better brace yourself for the worse. If these elements were able to penetrate Marawi almost without any resistance be cautious they might have slipped through sleeping security cordons in other soft targets elsewhere in Mindanao….or maybe Visayas and Luzon.
It is foolhardy and even childish to assume that these terrorist groups which are armed to the teeth are only concentrated in Marawi it is more reckless to idly think that martial law is not needed or for that matter should not cover the entire Mindanao.
The martial rule regime of Marcos is contemptuous and so the framers of the new constitution had seen to it that the repeat of that era will never happen again. Martial law and dictatorship control power absolutely and the specter of gruesome events militates against the repeat of the same.
But that was during the reign of Ferdinand Marcos. Today, we have Rodrigo Duterte who is no stranger to the dictatorial regime and martial rule. He is now President and is no dictator. He is in possession of vital information relating to the activities of the terrorist elements which by all indications are now an alliance of Maute, Abu Sayyaf guerillas and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. They are now moving around under the ISIS flag. But let us not debate about their being ISIS or not. This is not about propaganda, this is about terrorism, beastly violence and security. The kibitzers like the militant groups in Congress are opposing the declaration of martial law in Mindanao. It is plain idiocy. Outside the confines of congress, not a few are even begging President Duterte to impose martial law to quickly address lawlessness, corruption in the government bureaucracy and fast track the implementation of infrastructures long delayed by circuitous processes and TROs (temporary restraining orders).
If you repair to the social media, 99 percent wants martial rule not only for security but also to remedy what ails the bureaucracy. The people are tired of congressional debates among politicians of various ideological persuasions that prove to be one huge deterrent to development and progress. People are aghast how Courts can just cavalierly issue Temporary Restraining Orders that effectively halts implementation of important infrastructure projects. People are tired of listening to perjured witnesses and politicians who harbor them. People are getting weary of extortions carried out by police scalawags, smuggling syndicates, extortion in the guise of rebellion that have escalated along with the ceasefire.
Maute terrorists or by whatever name they sport took control of Butid town in Lanao del Sur but their celebration was brief as the military pounded their bases. That was months ago. They must have regrouped and full-force crept into the Islamic City of Marawi. This carries with it some worrisome implications that merit the imposition of martial law. Those who thought they knew better than the President had better shut up. I would not even venture a guess but the fact that government of Lanao are supportive of martial law and that Mindanao wanted it are enough reason why stricter rules had to be enforced. I say “stricter” because I do not see anything radical which are characteristic of martial law regime of Marcos.
My sympathies are for our Muslim brothers in Lanao. They are the victims of this act of terrorism. While we Christians demonize Muslims as though they invented terrorism, the truth is worldwide where extremism and terrorism had taken place, the huge majority of the victims are Muslims.
Maranaos, who inhabit Lanao Provinces, are known for their knack for arts and their native culture. They sell their arts which, despite the many influences of a hodgepodge of forms of arts, have survived and only enhanced with refinements and artistry. They are into commerce for which reason not a few of them are actively in business in Davao City selling their craft and other commodities that are distinctly of the people of the lake which they are. Because they found a peaceful place in Davao to engage in trade and commerce, then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte had seen to it that they took part in governance by designating their tribal leader as Deputy Mayor and another to represent the indigenous peoples in the city legislative body. That is institutionalized in Davao City.
Despite the popular acceptance of the enforcement of martial rule, the political opposition and their media establishments are not sleeping and watching akimbo by the wayside.
Quickly they summoned the horrific specter of the Marcos martial regime in an effort to condemn Duterte. But there is none of it. They fact that they rant and rage like loose cannons, eloquently argue against their misplaced claims. Martial law in Mindanao is for security. Period. (Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan)
About the Columnist
Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan.