On all fronts

ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato - The Philippine Star

Not too long ago, heightened security measures were undertaken in central Mindanao due to possible retaliation by terrorist group Dawlah Islamiya who recently lost 23 of its members in the area due to military offensives.

For those who are not familiar with the group, Dawlah Islamiya is known for staging bomb attacks in public areas in order to avenge the deaths of its members in encounters with police as well as military forces.

On the other hand, a few days ago in Isabela City, Basilan, the military expressed optimism that they can clear the province of Abu Sayyaf groups (what remains of them) by early next year, in the hope that they will yield to government and begin a new life in the community.

In the same breath, in Bacolod City, two more NPA fronts operating on Negros Island have been declared dismantled, where relentless military operations on the island have resulted in the demolition of the NPA’s Central Negros 1 and 2 fronts.

Considering all the gains, it was not only heartbreakingly shocking to later on see, in a most recent bombing attack that occurred at the Mindanao State University gymnasium, the killing of four persons and injuring of at least 50 others who were there for a Catholic mass.

As of late, the bombing suspect was  apprehended in an operation in Barangay Dulay Proper Marawi, whose links were found attached to local terrorist group Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute.

Coincidence or not, the Oslo joint communique was affirmed shortly before such grave crimes occurred in Mindanao State University, after which Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Z. Duterte said, as she pleaded with the President, that the government’s statement with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Oslo was an “agreement with the devil,” sighting historical patterns of insincerity and that it would fail to deliver justice to the families of those who have suffered due to insurgency.

At the end of the day, and as a wise retired general recently relayed to me (and others), our lingering threat is not external but rather internal and the question is, considering what our valiant soldiers and police officers continue to do for our nation, whether our fellow citizens are capable of giving the same support as Americans do for their very own forces while our men and women in uniform fight for our fellow citizens, especially those living in remote villages that are utterly marginalized due to corrupt practices, combined with corrupt politicians sadly sleeping with the enemy for political support.

Looking at all fronts, good governance should not be kept at bay and such has been the very same basis for EO 70, where every Filipino must be co-creators of this.

We have tremendously missed out in the last 54 years; yet, the last seven years have given us a rainbow of great opportunity. Let us not allow our country to lose such gains lest we stare into the abyss.

As the Vice President said, “Our love for this country and genuine concern for the welfare of the Filipino bind us together in this noble mission of protecting the whole nation and securing a better future for the Filipino people. On all fronts, lahat ay para sa Diyos, sa bayan at sa pamilyang Pilipino. On all fronts, we have to wake up to the fierce urgency of the now.”

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