THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez - The Freeman

War will always have casualties. In the current military offensive against the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group, fifteen soldiers have lost their lives. Fifteen heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice to the country for freedom against terrorism, to preserve our way of life.

Such is the price of war. I really hope the Abu Sayyaf have lost more fighters, and that their world is getting smaller everyday.

President Duterte has ordered the total annihilation of the Abu Sayyaf. The AFP is utilizing all its resources to achieve this objective. It is a much different fight now. With an ongoing ceasefire between the NPA and the government, more soldiers have been sent to Sulu to exterminate the ASG. The president has also promised help for the families of the fallen heroes. Rightly so.

The ASG on the other hand has threatened an all-out offensive against what they call "the soldiers of Duterte". I say bring it on. This threat must not be a cause of concern, nor belittled. The focus of the AFP is total victory in the form of the ASG's complete destruction. Why would you even inform your enemy of your plans?

I do feel for the civilians in the affected areas. Many have been forced to flee the fighting, lest they get caught in a crossfire. Civilians are always the biggest losers in any war. I only wish there were no civilian supporters of the ASG.

One of the reasons why it is difficult going after the ASG is because of sympathizers within the local community. The success of the ongoing military operation against the ASG would be further guaranteed by the cooperation of local governments. Locals may offer safe havens to cornered terrorists, which do pose a problem for the AFP.

Totally defeating the ASG would be a tremendous victory for the country. Too long has the ASG been a bane to the Philippines. It is right that they finally be eliminated. That would also make the entry of ISIS much harder, if they are not already here. The ASG would be their only ally.

What the military and the government should also watch out for are new groups that may spring from the ASG's demise. Better to deal with these right away, before they get bigger and become organized. ISIS is always waiting for the opportune time to strike. Without allies in the country, they will fail.

Imagine the country without the Abu Sayyaf. Peace and progress in Mindanao. These are enough reasons to push on with the military offensive, until this criminal band of trolls are no more.

Just make sure it doesn't just metamorphose into another criminal group. All the more reason to make sure they are gone, in order to prevent ISIS from gaining a foothold in the country.

To the brave soldiers fighting a just war, I say soldier on!


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