Unity in uncertainty
Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) - June 29, 2017 - 4:00pm

Now is really the time for all of us Filipinos to unite and pray for our country especially for the hapless people of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur who are undergoing so much pains, sufferings and deaths due to the on-going siege by IS-Maute terrorists. Let us for the meantime set aside all these useless bickering, bashings and personal insults particularly in social media between the pro and anti Duterte people. Let us all be pro-Philippines and pro-Filipinos during these dangerous times.

It’s about time for the bloggers and social media trolls of Tatay Digong to stop claiming that they are the only ones who are right, and hitting and threatening to take actions against his imagined and perceived de-stabilizers, critics and opponents. They are only continuing to divide our people and sow further discord throughout the land. Even the leftist rebel groups who have been undermining our democratic government since we gained independence, should declare a ceasefire in the meantime so that our government can fully concentrate in putting an end to the conflict in Mindanao particularly in Marawi city. Anyway, peace talks with them have been resumed even if they persist in their hostile moves.

The more serious threat is clearly that of the Marawi siege by the IS-Maute group despite the assurances by our Defense Department that it will end soon. Intelligence reports show that what is happening in that city right now is no longer an internal conflict but an external intrusion into our territory because militants and terrorists from other countries are apparently trying to seize certain parts of our land in order to establish their own Arabic caliphate.

To be sure, Filipinos of whatever creed or color, whether Christians or Muslims, leftists or rightists, should at least allow our government particularly the military and the police to concentrate on their operations in quelling the supposed rebellion in Marawi. Now is not the time to baselessly and falsely charge our army men who are risking and giving up their lives for our country, of wrongdoings like allegedly forcing women stranded in the city to marry them, or threatening to rape them if they will not evacuate. Even if there may be some basis in making those charges, they should not air or publish them anymore but take them up privately with the proper authorities.

It is interesting to note in this connection that more than a month after the terroristic attack began, people are still at a loss as to why these lawless elements were able to launch such attack and enter Marawi city when there has already been intelligence reports about their plans, months before it was undertaken. In fact in his recent public appearance after a hiatus of six days Duterte claimed that he already knew of the Marawi siege which will take some time to crush. Therefore, the lingering questions that remain unanswered in the minds of our countrymen especially in the affected areas, are: why no preemptive action was taken to prevent the siege? Why the members of terror groups were able to carry out their plan and infiltrate the city with seeming ease?  Why Marawi City? Are there many sympathizers of the group there as would enable them to stage a rebellion or uprising that led to the declaration of martial law in Mindanao? Is there really a rebellion happening in Marawi City now?

Maybe if these questions are satisfactorily answered, our people will be more united in supporting the moves of this administration and in praying that the fighting in Marawi City will soon come to an end. It is indeed better that our citizens be informed of the real score on this current trouble in Marawi so that they will support and help the people there. Hopefully this administration will be more open in this regard without however jeopardizing and adversely affecting its strategic operations in the area.

Indeed, the prevailing atmosphere in our country now is one of uncertainty and anxiety, because of lack of transparency, or sometimes because of confusing information and vague statements by administration officials. Oftentimes, their actions and pronouncements need subsequent clarification and explanation including that of PRRD. Hence, even the explanation about his sudden and unexpected disappearances during the Independence Day celebration and then last week again, has not cleared the air of doubt about his health which remains the subject of speculations despite the repeated assurance of the Palace spokesman that nothing is wrong with him and that he is in the “pink of health.” PRRD’s recent admission that when he disappeared for four days starting on Independence Day last June 12, he really travelled incognito and went to a certain place which he did not specify. Obviously this admission did not remove the lingering doubt about his health.

At this stage therefore, it is really quite difficult to ask our people to give this administration the benefit of the doubt regarding the recent happenings that somehow give rise to the feeling of uncertainty and instability in our country. People however are still hoping that this administration will still be more open and transparent so that these doubts will be removed. Satisfactorily answering the issues set forth above, and regular briefings about the IS-Maute siege may help. Likewise, a medical bulletin by a qualified and competent Physician or by a well known and reliable hospital may also settle the doubt about the President’s health.

At any rate, with or without these lingering doubts, it will not be amiss and will be more appropriate if we still pray for the good health of our President and for peace in our land.

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Email: attyjosesison@gmail.com

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