PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte declared “all out war” on illegal drugs, “all out war” for Maute, “all out war” for New People's Army (NPA), “all out war” for corruption, and an implied “all out war” against his political critics. Where do we expect to end? Let us hope (and pray) that we will not end up in civil war.
This “all out war” on illegal drugs has already caused the death of colorful political figures, alleged master drug shippers in their regions; and those in the target list have sleepless nights waiting for the operatives with search warrant like angels of death. They fear for their life, for their wife, for their children, for their loyal servants... even for their cats and dogs. The grenades may explode in their living rooms to be followed by the whizzing bullets during the unholy hour.
The ordinary men of the streets have been killed. They were the alleged drug pushers and habitual users. Their angels of death have been unknown and some angels did not use their wings. They are black motorcycle riders in tandem. The relatives of the victims could only cry and gnash their teeth… for their miserable moment, for their poverty, for their hopelessness, for having relatives involved in drugs.
The “all out war” for Maute is going on… at least, in Marawi. It is shocking to imagine that the elite members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the well-trained policemen are fighting few fighters of Maute-Isis who are “just children” or very young. What magic do they have that their bullets have already killed more than a hundred warriors? Are the terrorists better than our military strategists who graduated from, Philippine Military Academy and Philippine National Police Academy with Americans as war coaches?
Our military analysts confirmed that there are some areas in Marawi that are still “problematic.” Our government spent billions already for the show of force that almost pulverized the once resplendent Marawi City. Marawi could be reduced to ashes after the devastation. The government can always comes up with short and long-range solutions coupled with kaleidoscopic promises. The Maute members will just spread to other towns and cities like cancer cells.
The government has no choice but to prepare again for another “all out war.” With this on the air, Martial Law in Mindanao may still go on after December 2017. Mindanao may serve as a playing ground for the government troops, Maute and the NPA may simply join the horrible frolic because President Duterte had already formally announced the eventual termination of the peace talks between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines, and there was that cancellation of the back channel talks.
The fight, Armed Forces of the Philippines versus NPA, may extend to another 50 years. If there are fights in Mindanao, Visayas, and Luzon, what can we expect? The Reds are fighting based on ideology. They want social reforms to happen. As long as there is a wide gap between the rich and the poor, the Reds' ideology will always motivate them to check on the abuses of the landlords, on the malpractices of the companies owned by the pseudo Filipinos and the multinationals, on the biases of the politicians, and on the intervention of the first world countries.
The “all out war for corruption” is uphill but doable. President Duterte could be serious in his calling but the “President’s men” (some of them) may not have the same motivation as the president. Some of his friends have been chopped off from office because they have been perceived to have an iota of corruption. More heads will roll up to the end of the president’s term. The chopping off of heads gradually creates enemies for the president. His best friends could be his worst enemies if the expectations are not met.
The “all out war” for the political adversaries of the president is just there hibernating. The next local and barangay elections may open up new wounds that will spark new controversies. The political guns are already aimed at Senator De Lima, Senator Trillanes and some big wigs of the opposition. We can expect bigger guns and the biggest bang. This could be politically exciting but this will divide our country.
“All out war” is something not new but if it escalates it could always end up in wide scale armed conflict. It simply means that no great powers are at one’s another throat. We do not want a civil war to happen in our country. Civil war is snarling savagery. We do not dream that there will be fighting involving opposing warlords, regional militias, criminal organizations, and fighters who fight for money. In “all out war,” we are all victims.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on August 12, 2017.
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