By Hector R. R. Villanueva
“I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”
— Robert Frost
As events had unraveled, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte did right in declaring martial law in Mindanao.
While President Duterte may be the Commander-in-Chief, he was never a career soldier which makes a lot of difference when it comes down to drawing up strategies and planning for war, or quelling a rebellion.
However, being a native of Mindanao and a long-time mayor of Davao City, the Chief Executive is familiar with territory and the deep rooted problems of the island.
With the declaration of martial law and the moral support of the nation, President Digong Duterte may have nipped in the bud, so to speak, an ISIS-inspired rebellion in the heartland of Mindanao by frustrating the attempt of the Maute rebels to establish an Islamic caliphate in the pristine City of Marawi – but beautiful no more.
The nation should now realize that the Philippines is vulnerable to secessionist movements, ISIS intrusion, Moro chauvinism, banditry, and jihadist tendencies, and has never been subdued by Western colonizers.
Thus while loquacious politicians are questioning the constitutionality and semantics of martial law, the armed forces should foreclose on the siege of Marawi, revive the city, and establish law and order in the rest of Mindanao.
As Cicero of ancient Rome would have it, “Laws are silent in time of war.”
In the meantime, President Digong Duterte has his plate full, and warring in all directions with a lackluster Cabinet, and “promdi” bureaucracy as the President is unable to outgrow the narrow confines of Davao City.
First, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte should not only re-assert his congressional super-majority in the Senate and House by fast-tracking critical legislation, such as the death penalty and inhibitions against the Reproductive Health Law instead of mundane and time-wasting hearings but also exert some control over excessive media coverage and fake news.
Second, crush the NPAs once and for all, and bring peace and order to the villages.
The government is wasting too much time and money by conducting peace negotiations abroad with the CPP-NPA-NDF.
Third, it is repeated again and again that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte must outgrow Davao and let go of his fixation on Davao City, and address the larger mandate in front of him, and his single-mindedness in the war against drug trafficking.
In essence, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte shall make sure that the rebellion does not spread, and martial law is confined to Mindanao.
When all is said and done, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte should be lauded for his leadership and determination but he needs to outgrow his parochialism since the rest of the country awaits his leadership and guidance.
You be the judge.
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