Fair warning-A A +A
Saturday, June 9, 2012
THE kidnap-for-ransom syndicate operating in Basilan and Zamboanga has again struck, this time victimizing Chinese traders doing business in the area. This is disturbing news considering the modest gains in the peace efforts in the region that had encouraged local and foreign businessmen to try the investment climate anew.
With the negative development, all the gains and benefits are again pushed on the edge of perdition. Let’s face it. It is extremely difficult to build confidence in a region shattered by secessionist rebellion, terrorism and kidnapping in places like the island provinces of Sulu and Basilan and the provinces of Zamboanga and Central Mindanao. But, it takes only a single explosion of terrorist bomb or news of a kidnap victim to destroy that wholesome image of the region in just a split of a second.
And yet, we are not only talking here of statistics like how many innocent victims were killed in the bombing or names of kidnap victims and the amount of ransom demanded. We are concerned here of the unquantifiable impact of even just a single heinous crime not only on the gains of peace initiatives but most especially on the investment climate and on the future of the young generation who dream of better life and stable peace.
The impact of still another kidnap-for-ransom incidence and a terroristic act go beyond statistics and deep into the hopes and dreams of the youth. Each incidence of kidnapping, be he or she is a businessman or a teacher, drives away investors and along with it the opportunities of the youth to be employed or for local businessmen to partner with local and foreign investors.
While local governments, police and military authorities are tasked to address the problems of peace and security, it behooves on the citizens of every community where terrorist elements and kidnap for ransom moves to be involve in the campaign against crime in their midst. Bear in mind that terrorists and extremist separatist forces have ran out of funds from their donors who had been routed and ousted by a new breed of Arab and Islamic generation who have realized the evil that their despotic leaders spawned.
With their terrorist arms and beneficiaries running out of funds, many of them have turned to kidnapping and extortion to support their existence and moribund operations. This fact must serve as a fair warning to all and a guidepost for those who still are not sure of which path towards the future to take.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 09, 2012.