We have forgotten: there are no winners in war.
The recent bombing in Davao city is a direct attack on the Duterte Administration with the Filipino people as its biggest casualties.
The campaign to cleanse the Philippine system of drugs, oligarchy, and terrorism may be what this country needs but such an approach comes with a price. More often than not, it comes in the form of disunity and the loss of human life.
This attack is a hard slap on the face of Duterte who, prior to winning the 2016 Presidential elections, superbly championed Davao as his showcase city for good governance. What once was an inviolable and safe city is now marred with death and fear. It is no longer the Davao it once was (and it may never be again). This a direct assault on the President’s reliability and credibility as the tough-talking mayor who once made Davao the envy of the whole archipelago.
With the President’s hard lining fight against drugs and name-shame campaign, the violent groups responsible for this bombing are only getting started. They will not stop unless the President gives in (which out of pride, ego or plain narcissism, may never happen). But we forget that in the middle of this war, the biggest losers and the biggest casualties are the Filipinos.
This country is now living in very dangerous times. And we still choose not to see and hear the repercussions of his bull-headed decisions. The 16M Filipinos has chosen a leader, who himself, espouses violence so why should anyone be spared from the barrel of the gun?
The country will continue to live in fear, trepidation and insecurity as long as we have a President who refuses to acknowledge the error of his judgments.
It has now come to a point wherein Rodrigo Duterte is not only a danger to himself but also to his fellow Filipinos.
Being the first Mindanawon President to sit in Malacañang, it is not surprising if the lenses of our nation are now refocused on the most culturally diverse island of the Philippines. A ‘land of promise’, this potential cannot be realized until the peace and security issues are addressed.
Security researcher specializing in the Middle East, Gregory Wyatt says that if the peace process is stalled, there will be continued radicalization with a huge potential for sectarian violence targeting innocent civilians either as a tactic borrowed from ISIS or violence against Muslims justified with the specter of ISIS.
For the full story, turn to page 28-30 Issue 3 of the Philippine Resources Journal.