A recipe for frustration – Manila Standard


posted July 13, 2017 at 12:01 am

Deadlines are good. They provide a sense of structure and predictability. They enable people to focus on targets and work toward their objectives within a reasonable period. 

President Rodrigo Duterte now claims that government forces will be able to liberate Marawi City between 10 and 15 days. 

IS-inspired terrorists attacked Marawi on May 23, prompting Mr. Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao. The Supreme Court has since affirmed the legality of the declaration. Without an extension, it will last until July 22. 

Sadly, we have heard all this before. First, the administration said Marawi will be liberated before June 2, and then extended it a few days more. 

But the fighting has continued, more than 500 have died and thousands of families have been displaced.

A Social Weather Stations survey tells us a majority of Filipinos support the declaration of martial law to counter the growing threat of terrorism.  This should be all the input needed by the administration to do everything that needs to be done to free Marawi and end the threat of terror elsewhere in Mindanao and the country. 

It can even set deadlines for itself, too—but refrain from announcing them. 

We get that the problem is tricky and that the decisions authorities make every day are difficult. This is why we understand why the battle has been going on for nearly two months now. 

When they commit to a date, we get our hopes up that things in fact are getting better. When that day comes, and passes, and nothing changes, our hopes get dashed and the authorities become just a little less credible in our eyes. 

This appears to be a habit for the President, who also once regaled us with promises that he could snuff out the drug menace in just three months. He asked for an extension—and until now, we see how the drug problem, no matter how drastic the action taken, still plagues the country. 

We trust the President knows how serious the situation is. We know the military is doing everything it can to quell terrorism and restore some form of normalcy among the people. If they are working within deadlines, they should just keep it to themselves lest they miss it again.

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