A terrible fortnight in our country PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 June 2017 14:00

By Remedios F. Marmoleño

This has been a terrible fortnight for our country.

On May 23 we experienced the attack on Marawi which quickly led to the declaration of martial law. The attack resulted in the loss of many lives- our police and soldiers, civilians and the terrorists -  and the displacement of thousands of people from their homes.

While the effort to rid Marawi of the terrorists was being carried out,  11 of our own soldiers were killed by our own Air Force. What a sad experience.

And even while the Marawi attackers are still holding out, and a probe of the “friendly fire” tragedy is being done, the Resorts World Manila took place.

What is happening to our country?

Terrorism has become a world-wide reality and even countries which we normally consider as peaceful , countries like the UK, France and Belgium, have had their share of terrorist attacks. While the Philippines, especially Mindanao, has experienced over the years many incidents of fighting between government forces and rebel groups, the Marawi incident of May 23 is the latest and perhaps the most scary for me.

I am not being unfair when I say this but the Marawi attack has made it very clear to me that military intelligence on the enemy’s movements and capabilities is woefully inadequate. From the observation of some Marawi residents a good number of the attackers were not “locals” but more like people from other countries, not just because of the language they used but also because of their looks. How did they get into the country? How did they connect with our local terrorist bands?

For some time now we have heard government officials saying that ISIS is not in the Philippines. Were these officials perhaps expressing their fervent hope that this is true? Were they perhaps simply not thinking?  And is this why Marawi was simply caught flatfooted?

In the days following May 23 there were reassuring press releases that our government forces had already taken control of 90% of the city. And yet to this date we know Marawi is still not fully in the hands of government forces.

And even before Marawi is back in the full control of our  government  the RWM incident  takes place. The authorities make it appear that the RWM tragedy, which has taken something like 37 lives as of the latest count,  was the work of a lone individual who meant to carry out a robbery.  A single person responsible for all that mayhem?  But remarks of other people in the RWM belie this. Who should be believe?

I am tired of hearing from government people their PR releases. We should demand that they be more forthright. Enough of this pambola.