Monday July 23, 2018

Luczon: Painted with malice as usual

MORE than a hundred days after Maute terrorist group seiged Marawi City, some hostages were free at last.

Although this may not be the first, but what is significant here was the release of Catholic priest Chito Suganob who is known to lead the Catholic minorities in the Muslim-dominated city, and also active in peace-building movements.

Since day one, many have been anxious to the priest's condition as skeptic reports conveyed varied versions of the stories. And speaking of which, even the priest's liberation from the captors were subjected to different interpretations.

Some said, the priest and other hostages were "rescued" by government forces, some insisted that they were able to "escape," while some believed they were "abandoned" thus the reason they were able to break free.

The use of one word may be subjected to many interpretations which can be used to politically debate on certain points. But nonetheless, how it's being perceived would somehow reflect the different sectors' view on how this administration handled the conflict situation.

The Western Mindanao Command has consistently dispatched information that efforts in normalizing despite not giving exact timeframe when will the terrorists be captured, and despite of some small exchange of gunfire and razed properties.

While its premiere university, the Mindanao State University has started to conduct regular classes, and some government agencies and Non-Government agencies were able to enter Marawi City, there remains a cautionary measure for a limited movement as some areas remain to be occupied by the terrorist group.

And some rumors proliferating about the nature of the priest's releases in exchange for some terms for the terrorists are giving conspiracy theorists their ample resources to draw some conclusions. However, these rumors have yet to be verified, and more it can be laid to rest once Fr. Suganob will start talking and share his experiences in the next days to come.

Whatever the stories coming out after he speaks up, it will likely be interpreted based on the biases and leanings of the people, especially on groups that are critical on the way this current administration handled the crisis.

Fr. Suganob's future pronouncements can be potential tools to strengthen the claims of some, especially in a time that Martial Law in Mindanao is still in effect, although a huge number of people would say that there is nothing to worry about.

His words will be subjected to many interpretations, but it is also important to know if what are the things he learned from the inside about especially what were these terrorists talked about and their future plans. However, just like any other hostages who were freed, it's more important for the time being that he needs to test and be debriefed. But for this religious icon, it seems he can manage fairly enough.