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EDITORIAL - Escalation of violence

(The Philippine Star) - January 26, 2015 - 12:00am

No suspect has been arrested and no motive established for the bombing in Zamboanga City last Friday that killed two persons and wounded 54 others. Investigators are eyeing the usual violent troublemakers in the area, the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah, along with groups opposed to the government’s peace initiatives with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

As of last night, no one had claimed responsibility for the attack. Whoever was responsible, authorities must do more to prevent any escalation of violence. If the attack was connected to the peace process, more violence is likely as Congress hammers out the basic law that will govern the creation and operation of the Bangsamoro – an entity that will supplant the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Government officials and those involved in the peace initiative can do their part by making the process as inclusive as possible. The greater the number of people supporting the process, the easier it will be for peace to take root in a region that has been mired in violence and conflict since the Spanish colonial era.

Even if the bombing perpetrators have no direct interest in the peace process, they could take advantage of the rising tension in the affected areas to intensify criminal activities. Security officials have to do more to keep the public safe. Only recently, a Korean was added to the long list of foreigners being held captive by bandits in Mindanao. The government has to do more to stop this scourge that has driven away investments and tourists even from areas far from the conflict zones.

Authorities will also have to do more against the proliferation of loose firearms, especially with the approach of the general elections next year. There must also be ways for security forces to plug the sources of explosive ingredients for producing improvised bombs. It’s not enough for the Armed Forces to announce that it is bracing for more attacks. Security forces must do more in terms of prevention.

 

ABU SAYYAF AND JEMAAH ISLAMIYAH ARMED FORCES AUTONOMOUS REGION BANGSAMORO MINDANAO MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT MUSLIM MINDANAO PEACE PROCESS ZAMBOANGA CITY
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