THE only time you can feel martial law in Mindanao outside the conflict areas is when you pass by a checkpoint. The relative thoroughness and few questions are not usual.
While we are used to checkpoints, the interaction before was just a greeting, a peek into the vehicle and a thank you or a motion to move on or both.
Now, the soldiers would most likely ask where you are bound.
At the Lorega, Bukidnon checkpoint, one soldier even has a logbook listing the number of passengers and destination, while his companion does the asking.
Considering the blood-hungry terrorists still desperate to earn Islamic State's glowing commendation, the delay this causes is but a small sacrifice.
Just imagine the bigger sacrifices made by the soldiers and policemen to keep our people safe. The war in Marawi has been going on for two weeks now and soldiers have been dying because of it. While indeed there may be more terrorists who died, we can never close our eyes to the fact that for every dead soldier is a family who has lost a member, and for every dead soldier is a sadness that every other soldier feels; including those who man checkpoints.
The least we can do is show appreciation, acknowledge their greeting with a smile and a response. Making them smile through a sincere greeting and show of gratitude will definitely make their day easier. Let's all do that.
They have a responsibility to fulfill, let us make it easier for them to do this.
This is the time when our peace keepers need our support the most. Let us give that to them.
There is no better way to thwart terrorism than working as one people full of gratitude and love for each other.
The hatred on which the desire to kill and maim is planted on can never be sustained when a country unites to make it easier for the peacekeepers to keep the peace.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on June 12, 2017.
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