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Rough Cuts | ‘Unholy’ alliance in SONA Day protest

Personally we are in favor of lifting Martial Law in selected areas in Mindanao. But we do not agree that it is only Davao City that should be the sole beneficiary of such lifting, if at all, the President decides to do it as recommended by some sectors.

We believe that there are other areas in this southern Philippine island where martial rule can also be done away with without fear of being attacked or taken over by armed terrorist groups.

Yes, there is no reason to doubt the capability of the local officials of Davao City led by Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio to provide the appropriate security measures to prevent entry of terrorists and create havoc in the area. But it is mortal sin to underestimate the ability of local officials like those of General Santos City, Cagayan de Oro City, Butuan City, and even Zamboanga City to do what Davao’s Inday Sara can if only to secure their respective LGUs from the possible entry and influence of extremist groups.

Besides, it surely does not look good in the eyes of other Mindanaoans if the city where the President comes from becomes the only area where Martial Law is to be lifted. It surely will create some kind of stigma that will stick in the minds of local executives in other cities and provinces where martial rule would remain in force. That is, that they are weaklings and helpless in standing against terrorist threats.

They may take it to mean that that it is only the home city of the President that has the local executives who can take on the terrorists and their backers; that it is only the mayor of Davao City who have the means to mobilize security forces to obviate any form of attack against its people.

Of course we will agree that there are more areas in Mindanao where martial rule should even be implemented strictly considering the vulnerability of their location vis-à-vis the convergence of people whose tribes, culture and religious beliefs of those from whom local terrorists are known to have come from or part of.

These areas perhaps, should be the last in the hierarchy in determining the provinces and cities where Martial Law in Mindanao should be lifted.

Meanwhile, we Davaoenos should be thankful to the power above for the peace that has continued to reign in our city.

We can only hope that the relative peace that the people in this part of Mindanao are currently enjoying will last much longer that we can think of. We must, therefore, not remain cowering in fear of possible terrorist attacks in the city, as much as be submissive to the thought that Martial Law cannot bring Mindanaoans, its people and the community, anything good.

Yes, let’s not be blinded by negativism attendant to the term Martial Law, especially the kind of military regime that is presently obtaining in Mindanao.

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Many will possibly not agree with us that there is some kind of an “unholy” alliance of several groups who would be mounting supposedly a massive protest in time of President Rodrigo Duterte’s 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) this coming Monday, July 22.

We say there is an “unholy” alliance among protesters because they will be coming from various sectors with different agenda but are banding together to badger what to them is a common enemy – the President.

One group of protesters consists of known left-leaning personalities who in the past had been haranguing the alleged intervention of the United States in Philippine affairs. But they were the “silent lambs” when the issue was about China because their leaders are long adherents of the Maoist and Leninist doctrines.

Another is a group that has in its ranks people who are strongly anti-Duterte policy on China, anti-Duterte’s brand of politics, and those who simply want to get back at the President on the “misfortune” of their public life with the rise of Duterte as national leader. This second group appears to have the backing of the country’s elite and a small sector of the business community. And of course prominent of the group are the country’s “Am-boys” or the highly pro-American individuals. So, we can only expect that during the protest rally they will be throwing at the President everything they can think of, perhaps including the kitchen sink, if there is one available at the protest site.

But as always, there will be participants from the labor groups who have made it their usual fare during commemoration of important events in the country such as Labor Day, Independence Day, and of course the SONA day. But normally, their protest action is more a reminder to the administration of what this particular group of protesters believes, are unfulfilled government commitments.

Let’s see how far ousted former Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno can mobilize participants in her call for protest on SONA day of the President.

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