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Philippines must prepare for a long war against ISIS

ISIS
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Jumel G. Estrañero |

Terrorism cannot be tackled overnight. On October 22 during the 38th MassKara Festival on Sunday night celebration, President Rodrigo Duterte urged the nation to be prepared for any terrorist attack as the fighting in Marawi City wound down. He said, “The ideology of the pro-Islamic State terrorists who laid siege to Marawi was “dedicated to killing human beings.” He added, “In the coming days, with the siege that… I’m not trying to scare you. Let us just be prepared for any eventuality,” he said in a speech in Bacolod City.”

Moreover, Duterte then recalled the tragedy that struck Super Ferry 14, saying it was one of the most brutal terror attacks perpetrated by Al Qaeda. President Duterte could be referring to the February 2004 bombing of Super Ferry 14 that killed more than 100 people while heading to Bacolod City.  Six members of the notorious Abu Sayyaf group were tagged as culprits in the bombing, which was then downplayed by the government.

The psyche of terrorists is indeed different. In general, what the government must do is to pay high attention to study whether Martial Law will be lifted since the declaration of liberation has been made.

I believe that terrorism is everywhere. No nation has escaped from the clutches of the evil of the (Islamic State) ideology dedicated to just killing human beings and destroying places. Like, Raqqa and Aleppo in Syria, those have become the symbols ruined culture and civilization because of self-centered ideology.

Read more: Philippine strategy to combat homegrown terrorism

Despite the fact that Duterte declared the city “liberated from terrorists’ influence” last October 17 (Tuesday) as the starting point in marking “the beginning of rehabilitation,” it does not hold through the future of terrorism since groups like Maute and alike are acting in their own interests. They will not care if there are pronouncements like that. It is still there, it is existing, and it has pledged to the world that they just want to kill those who are not with them.

The psyche of terrorists is indeed different. In general, what the government must do is to pay high attention to study whether Martial Law will be lifted since the declaration of liberation has been made. But I believe, Martial law was justified to clamp on Mindanao to quell the terrorist uprising until the last terrorist had been killed.

As a way ahead, let us support our government. Government troops are trying to end the fighting in Marawi this time around, with a handful of Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists making a last stand in a two-story building by Lanao Lake. We can only hope for the best. After that, another battle to face thereon. We need to endure as a state.

On one hand, politics also play in dice in this significant issue. Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Gregorio Honasan believed a martial law should stay up to the end of the year to ensure that sympathizers of the Maute group would not be able to create trouble. They might be saying that tor the protection of our construction and rehabilitation volunteers and members, martial law should remain until Dec. 31. In fact, Congress has decided that martial law should remain in place [in Mindanao] until the end of the year not just to make sure that the island is cleared but also that the situation has stabilized.

Read more: Indonesia, Malaysia & Philippines launch joint patrols to tackle ISIS threat

Meanwhile, terrorism is the new trend in the Southeast Asia. In the Philippines, we cannot ignore this; a caution of emphasis to be addressed in long-term policy and strategy in macro and micro perspective. As a way ahead, let us support our government. Government troops are trying to end the fighting in Marawi this time around, with a handful of Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists making a last stand in a two-story building by Lanao Lake. We can only hope for the best. After that, another battle to face thereon. We need to endure as a state.

Jumel Gabilan Estrañero is a defense analyst/researcher in the Philippine government while teaching political science, geopolitics, international negotiation, multilateral diplomacy, political economy & geography, international trade, practice and policies, and other social sciences. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.


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