EVEN before the smoke of gunfire subsided completely, the Commander-in-Chief, President Rodrigo Duterte proudly declared the liberation of Marawi City from terror assault. In saluting our soldiers, especially the fallen ones who dutifully surrendered their lives so that we may live in peace and freedom, the President thankfully conveyed the gratitude of the Filipino people for a job well-done.

The Battle of Marawi is indeed the finest moment for the Filipinos and their soldiers in peacetime history. For together, it re-affirmed their uncompromising commitment that in defense of freedom and national sovereignty dear life itself is worth giving up. That for the cause of Motherland, the difference in political, social and cultural persuasion will not deter the much-needed racial solidarity to vanquish the patrons of violence. The blood spilled and lives lost in Marawi attest to this united stand against terrorism. Surely, the gallantry and patriotism will not be forgotten as the prize for social order and tranquility.

This does not mean that our soldiers are warmongers. In playing the role of General Douglas MacArthur, that much-acclaimed American Factor Gregory Peck said: of all people, soldiers pray for peace because they suffer first the brunt of war particularly when fighting an enemy reared by the modern brainchild of terrorism which does not recognize co-existence in a world nurtured in diversity. Again my snap salute to our soldiers and their civilian counterparts. We will prevail.

For better understanding, reproduced here with is the nature and history of terrorism as essayed by The New Webster’s International Encyclopedia: “Terrorism,(is) actual or threatened violence for political ends. The level of terrorism increased markedly in the 1970’s as anti-government groups throughout the world turned to violent acts such as bombing, hijacking, kidnapping, and murder. Terrorism attracted increased international attention through the stepped up activities of Palestinians and their allies, who gave up hope of defeating Israel by conventional military tactics after the rout of the Arab nations in the 1967 war. The more active terrorists groups of the period included the Provisional Wing of the Irish Republican Army, the Japanese Red Army (3 of whose members killed 28 people and wounded 76 at Tel Aviv’s lad airport in 1972), the Palestinian Black September group (responsible for the deaths of II Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics)…. Terrorists are very hard to catch, however, because their groups are small, highly organized and highly mobile. Additionally/moreover, modern-day terrorism is better-armed, has increased in membership due to unrelenting recruitment finance by wealthy rich sympathizers.

The historical quest of our Filipino brethren in Mindanao is not cessation from Motherland but simply autonomy in charting their economic life using their own resources and judgment. Federalization will certainly address this desire for self-reliance and socio-economic discretion. The reign of terror is fated to fail.

But what also arose my curiosity is that President Duterte after declaring the liberation of Marawi City, he said in passing that terrorism is everywhere. If what the President had in mind refers to that unbridled looting of the public purse as well as the unconscionable greed for profit of unscrupulous businessmen, particularly those in the telecommunication industry, at the expense of powerless clientele, as a form of terrorism, then, I agree with the President. Believing in the political will of the President to likewise liberate Philippine Society from the clutches of bureaucratic and capitalist landlordism, there is optimism that change is coming.