By Ignacio R. Bunye
It is getting to be a habit for the PNP chief Bato de la Rosa.
First, he made Marawi City – where our best and bravest have fought and died – a dumping ground for police misfits. The order drew the ire not only of Defense Secretary Lorenzana but also of concerned Marawi City officials.
Then, just last week, Bato reinstated Supt. Marvin Marcos, whom the NBI had earlier implicated in the murder of Albuera, Leyte, Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., while in police custody. The murder charge was later downgraded to homicide.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, himself a former top cop, did not hide his frustration and disgust when he hurled President Duterte’s favorite invective.
But then again, the poor guy was just following orders. This much is clear.
In a press conference some months back, Bato told reporters that he received a telephone call from a “kumpare” asking him to take it easy on Marcos. He did not identify the caller but everybody, even my driver, knows who called Bato.
The Marawi siege is nearing its end. One indication, according to the military, is the decreasing volume of return fire from the Maute Group. This can only mean that the extremists are low on ammunition and supplies. This is in marked contrast to the early days of the siege when the Mautes appeared to have ammo in abundance.
President Duterte is confident that things would be over in 15 days or less. Of course, the President could be wrong. Remember that he had earlier predicted to finish the drug menace in 3 months.
For everybody’s sake, we do hope that President Duterte is proven right. International observers feel that the longer the conflict continues, the more the extremists can draw support from international terrorist financiers.
Whatever the outcome, we have to plan the task of rebuilding and rehabilitating Marawi. And the job appears daunting. We still have to fully recover from the devastation of Yolanda and subsequent natural calamities. Already, government resources for Marawi are being stretched just to provide immediate relief and medical services to thousands who have been displaced by the fighting.
The government plans to earmark P20 billion for the rehab but given the city’s devastation, the funds would simply be not enough. And we are just talking of the rehabilitation of the physical infrastructure. Much work also has to be done to mitigate the psychological damage to people, both civilians and soldiers, who were affected by the conflict.
Secretary Ernie Pernia has announced the intent of international agencies to participate in the rehabilitation task. However, initial participation seems to be limited to a simple needs assessment. It would be a safe bet that President Duterte would be knocking at the doors of non-traditional donor countries, namely, China and Russia, for much-needed help.
I can not agree more with some sports analyst, including Chino Trinidad, who feel that the fighting days of Manny Pacquiao are over. Manny will be 39 in December.
Even Freddie Roach commented that it may be time to talk to Manny about retirement. If Mommy D had her way, Manny should have hung up his gloves long ago.
Manny has already established his legacy as one of the world’s greatest fighters. Nobody has ever won championships in 8 different weight classes. Another fight with Jeff Horn, win or lose, will not improve or detract from that legacy.
All athletes know that at one point, retirement is inevitable. Nobody wins against Father Time. The tragedy is very few know exactly when to stop.
Analysts say that the GOAT (the Greatest of All Time) Muhammad Ali should have stopped after the Thrilla in Manila when he fought Smoking Joe Frazier for 14 bruising rounds. Ali was then 34.
Another boxing great, Joe Louis, then age 37, wanted one more fight. The comebacking Louis got knocked out cold by a rising Rocky Marciano, who went on to become world heavyweight champion.
Marciano learned well from Louis.
In his last fight, Marciano fought an over-aged Archie Moore. Moore, then 42 (!), dropped Marciano early in the fight. Marciano rallied and stopped Moore in the ninth round to retain his heavyweight belt.
Marciano quickly announced his retirement – undefeated – at age 32.
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