Terrorized since 1972 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 31 May 2017 11:56

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

Rincon, San Diego, CA — Terrorism blows up bodies and implodes buildings and seduces sorrows and pain. Such was the case of the September 9, 2013 bloody siege of Zamboanga staged by a handful of well-trained, well-armed rebels belonging to Nur Misuari’s Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The same is true with the Davao night market bombing that killed dozens of people and wounding women and young adults that stained Davao’s reputation as being one of the safest cities in Asia. Likewise, the Marawi attack staged by some members of the Maute Gang was like the Boxer raids in old China — and turning the authorities from promising safety and security to brazen liars.

There were a number of unaccounted atrocities committed by the enemies of the state that provoked an angry El Presidente to declare a state of Martial Law in Mindanao. The declaration of state of “lawless violence” in the country is still in effect as the “war on drugs” continues.

Both pronouncements were made in 2009 by a furious President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after a political clan tried to wipe out a rival political family that also accounted for the death of dozens of journalists.

I worked with the defunct Department of Public Information in Malacanang at the height of the Marcos dictatorship. Kit Tatad, the youngest member of the cabinet who read Proclamation No. 1081 on government television that Marcos had declared martial law, was my immediate boss.

Curfew was imposed in Metro-Manila from 1:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. In the provinces, the curtailment was from midnight to 5:00 a.m. Army, marines, police checkpoints were set up all over Zamboanga city, particularly in areas dubbed as “critical”. Metro-Manila (at the time Greater Manila Area) and the Visayas were safe havens, as the government had neutralized the reds and student activists who fled to the two Zamboanga provinces and Davao.

Mindanao wasn’t safe. Zamboanga and Cotabato cities and Sultan Kudarat were targets of terroristic opportunities. Many innocent civilians perished in broad-daylight bombings and grenade blasts. Movie houses, downtown bazaars and     restaurants were frequently bombed. Cases of kidnappings and extortions grew like perennial plants after winter.

Martial Law, Marcos-style, had no happy ending in Mindanao. We had two enemies: abusive soldiers and policemen and the terrorists. It was spread around that foreign-trained rebels in demolition and sabotage were responsible for the bomb attacks on civilian communities.

Forty-five years ago last February marked the rebirth of democracy in the Philippines. The clergy, the believers of freedom and democracy, Fidel V. Ramos and Juan Ponce Enrile led the “coup” that toppled the Marcos regime. The street parliamentarians were the biggest winners as they replaced the Marcos “tutas”. The peninsulares emerged like water hyacinth and the insulares were held down, until now. The Marcos cronies were replaced by the “mestizos” and the yellow army.

Others hatched on to conspiracy theories that Madam Cory would remain in office until all vestiges of Marcos’s corruption had been wiped out. But, no. With her out after six years, the Marcos Blue Coats re-emerged with more determination to get back what was sequestered from them.

This government now, grieving for Mindanao and its people’s who have been terrorized since 1972, has vowed to avenge the victims of terrorism, and bring real meaning to their deaths. Since the evildoers have no permanent addresses, they will be chased down, for sure, and crushed.

If only for this, I am for the state of military control in Mindanao. It’s the best that El Presidente can do, and with the Almighty One on our side.