Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Editorial: Enemies in our midst

THE arrest of Police Superintendent Maria Christina Nobleza, an officer assigned at the Police Regional Office (PRO)-Davao, on suspicion of trying to rescue and bring in some supplies for the Abu Sayyaf bandits still holed up in Bohol slaps us with the reality that the threat of terrorism is real.

That the Abu Sayyaf were even trying to gain entry in Bohol, where tourists flock to because the island's idyllic environment, illustrates how devious and determined they are to capture and kill if not earn millions. Their forays in Sabah can be set aside, especially because now it seems they have insiders in law enforcement agencies like this police superintendent.

President Rodrigo Duterte has been warning us about it in between his constant rants against drugs.

"Whether you like it or not, the new war coming is terrorism," Duterte said last September 2016 to the members of the Philippine Army First Scout Ranger regiment.

"Sa ayaw mo't sa hindi, it's not a question or issue of when. Hindi lang natin alam, pero puputok talaga ito because of the radical changes (Whether you like it or not, it's not a question or issue of when. We just don't know, but this for sure, will happen because of the radical changes)," he warned.

It was in the same speech when he asked for understanding from the uniformed men on why he needs to make peace with the communist and Moro rebels.

"Wag nyo ako pagdudahan because I can cross ideological border. I have to look for ways to maintain peace," he told the soldiers. With peace on hand, the country can face bigger problems better.

"My job under the Constitution is to look for peaceful way to settle disputes so we can live together. Because the soldiers can't fight forever," he said.

He is right. With the terrorists making inroads in attacking vulnerable areas and people, and they have insiders in their realm; indeed, law enforcers and peace keeping forces need to focus on the real enemies of the state -- terrorists.

Of course, the ragtag group of New People's Army (NPA) can join the foray if among them are those who fear being rendered irrelevant when a peace agreement is achieved. Then they join the terrorist list and be hunted down as terrorists, that's no problem at all. Those who want peace and development for all can go ahead and sign the pact and truly work for inclusive development.

Indeed, there remains a lot of work to do. The drug menace that Duterte warned us about appears to be bigger than he even imagined, with government officials and uniformed officers into the game. Now, we have the terrorists cavorting with women in uniform.

It is up to us, the Filipinos who love our country, to do our part in ensuring that there is peace, that our communities are well secured and thrive in harmony. The challenge is to keep the peace and sustain development for all. With such a challenge, there is nothing more petty that the quibbles being waged by those who want to get back to power. We are looking forward to the day when finally they will realize that they too are terrorist baits, if they are not among them yet, and start to work along with the Filipino nation for the betterment of the greater majority and not only themselves.

Back to Superintendent Nobleza, maybe the police hierarchy might also need to check on who the police colonel has been working closely with in previous assignments, and how she rose through the ranks. There just might be more Pandora's boxes waiting to be opened.
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