‘Papatayin ko kayong lahat!’ and why he failed

The President said he is inclined to make the entire Philippines like Davao City where people celebrate Christmas and New Year with no firecrackers for the last 15 years.

President Rodrigo Duterte

The recent bombing in Jolo Cathedral that claimed more than twenty lives and wounded almost a hundred parishioners showed that martial law in Mindanao and theoritically all over the country cannot in anyway contain criminal activities for so long that the authorities will not take their jobs seriously and be watchful of the suspicious actions around.

It happened in Marawi where the terrorists freely entered the city without being noticed and the intelligence arm of the government that is funded by billions of pesos of peoples failing to appreciate the information tidbits and scenarios prior the take-over.

The Jolo bombing fueled by the continous verbal attacks of President Rodrigo Duterte against the Catholic Church and its leaders by calling people to murder any priest or bishop whom they believe have committed any wrongdoings is a classic example of failure of intelligence.

Now, the resolve of President Duterte in putting an end the reign of terror is evident in his order to the military to pound the terrorists by all means and use any available force thus the air assaults that definitely will annihilate civilians from their lands and place them on temporary shelters which are more often than not neglegted and are only attended to by politicians seeking fame who would rather bring television and still cameras with them once they start giving relief goods.

The temporary shelters eventually become breeding grounds of hatred and ideas that have mutated into crude mindsets and have become the primary cause of the military actions.

But the scenario has become too familiar as the government has failed to acknowledge the fact that the situation has now turned into a cycle. Duterte is not the first president to order a tough approach against Abu Sayaff. Duterte though is the only president up to the present who has declared several times “Papatayin ko kayung lahat!” and failed to terrorize the terrorists.

Terrorism is not a local problem. It has become a worldwide concern. A local approach though is necessary to help neutralize it. Recently, Israel and Russia offered to help solve the Jolo bombing and other terrorist-related problems. While we should be thankful as these countries are more sophisticated compared to us in handling such crimes, the Philippine context in reality as a problem of commitment and leadership.

Terrorism in our context is both greed and a social problem. Obviously, missiles and artillery bombings should be considered as the last option. A cheaper solution includes continuing education of the people and a commitment of the government to address the socio-economic problems of the country.

The police and the military on their part should religiously work together in sharing information in order to address any trouble ahead and prevent it from harming people. Terrorism and like problems are table concerns that can be resolved and arrested using valuable information gathered without simply firing guns and cannons to kill the enemy. The approach should be arrest first before the kill. Any attempt to just kill and kill could fuel emotions of the innocent who becomes the collateral damage and eventual create another uprising.