Do our part in fighting terrorism
I read from the news that the Mindanao State University (MSU) has finally opened its gates for the first time since the crisis in Marawi City erupted (Regions, 8/23/17). One of the statements that struck me was by Lanao del Sur Vice Gov. Mamintal Alonto Adiong Jr.: “We stood up against them. We would fight terror and we would not allow terror to defeat us.”
The vice governor’s words, which I can only imagine to have been delivered with utmost conviction, had me thinking about how this country and its citizens should approach and address the challenges on terrorism, rebellion, and violent extremism.
I advance the belief that the duty to safeguard and defend this country does not solely rest on the military and other government security forces. As Filipinos, we are likewise duty-bound, as members of this populace, to protect the land that cradles and nourishes us.
Does this mean we have to march to Camp Aguinaldo and have ourselves enlisted? Well, if one thinks he is fit to become a soldier, then well and good.
How about the rest of us who may not be physically well and capable to be part of the military force—is it still possible to become part of the solution without having to go to the front line?
I believe we all know the answer—YES.
Unfortunately, the current reality these days is that some locals, especially in far-flung areas, have been helping and providing refuge to the Abu Sayyaf, New People’s Army, Maute group, and other rebel, terrorist, and extremist groups while others choose to turn a blind eye instead of invoking the power, assistance, and protection of responsible government authorities.
What our country needs in resolving such challenges is proactive cooperation. One solution which all of us may have overlooked in the past years is the value and necessity of active and willing involvement of all local government units and peace-loving communities in this unified cause, in the most practicable way possible.
Indeed, we have to do something about these problems and challenges—and we have to do it NOW.
LEANDRO BILOT, [email protected]
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