By Genalyn D. Kabiling
The government cannot guarantee that other parts of the country are safe from the “mass insanity” of the Islamic State (IS) whom President Duterte likened to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler who in his time killed millions of Jews “for nothing.”
“I cannot give you that assurance,” the President said when asked to give an assurance that there are no Maute Group or other terrorists in Luzon.
“It’s a worldwide phenomenon. It’s bereft of an ideology. What they know is just to kill and destroy. That’s what – So wala akong assurance diyan. It’s a mass insanity, actually,” Duterte said in a media interview in Clark, Pampanga Wednesday.
The President said every generation has such insanity phenomenon, citing that Hitler was a “madman” in power several decades ago.
“‘Yung panahon ng tatay natin, Hitler was a madman. And yet, he was able to contaminate a lot of people with his ideas about, ‘yung killing of mga Jews, ganon. Papatay by the millions and – for nothing. Ganoon itong ISIS (In the time of our fathers, Hitler was a madman and yet he was able to contaminate a lot of people with his ideas such as killing Jews. ISIS is like that),” he said.
For now, Duterte said he could not even say how soon the siege of Marawi will end or what to expect in the coming days. But he remained hopeful that the conflict in Marawi will be over soon.
“I hope so. If it will end tomorrow, then I’d be the happiest man in this nation,” he said when asked if he thinks the crisis will be over before his State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA).
But while the Marawi conflict rages, Duterte has decided to spend more time with his troops to boost their morale.
“I would be spending more time in Mindanao because there is still fighting. Every now and then, I go to the brigades to check on their morale, readiness and everything,” Duterte told reporters in Clark, Pampanga.
“So hindi niyo ako makikita masyado dito – unless there is an important appointment. I’d be spending most of my time in Mindanao,” he added.
The President earlier dispelled rumors about his alleged poor health after dropping out of sight for a few days.
The commander-in-chief explained he merely rested and visited military camps.
“May mga lakad ako na hindi ninyo dapat malaman. Pagkatapos na siguro [I have trips that you don’t need to know. Maybe afterwards]. When I am through with this job, then I’ll tell you everything,” he said after the ceremonial turnover of China’s military equipment donation in Clark.
“There are things that I have to do, which are not good for everybody to know. ‘Yan lang ang explanation ko ngayon muna [That’s my explanation for now],” he said.
Government troops have been trying to flush out IS militants in Marawi for more than a month. At least 303 terrorists have been killed in the conflict with 362 weapons recovered by the troops.
Casualties on the government side have reached 75 as of June 28.
The President declared martial law for 60 days in the Mindanao in a bid to suppress lawless violence and rebellion. But hinted he might extend the rule if security officials decide that country is not yet safe from terror threats.
In the battlefield, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said the country’s first microsatellite — Diwata-1 — is helping the troops track down the enemy.
“In the field of imagery and satellites, we used Diwata-1 in fighting the terrorists. (It is a) big help because we must incorporate in our ground leaders that we can fight better,” Esperon said at the seventh anniversary celebration of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technologies (PCIEERD).
Esperon said 52 drones are positioned strategically to help them monitor the movement of the government troops and the terrorist.
“Each of these drones can see up to 500 meters and they can zoom in. Hindi naman sa dini-discourage ko ang paggamit ng malalaking (equipment) galing ng ibang bansa pero I already have something in my hand, the Diwata-1 and the drones,” he noted.
“Imagine, I have under my control with my cellphone or iPad something that is above the company commander, the brigade commander and I see what’s on the ground. Oh ‘di ba mas maganda ‘yun?” he added.
Bangon Marawi fund
At the Senate, Senator Sonny Angara who chairs the Senate Ways and Means Committee yesterday pushed for the creation of a “Bangon Marawi Fund”, a multi-year appropriation to support the reconstruction of Marawi city and rebuild the livelihood of its displaced residents.
Angara said Malacañang needs “to factor in the needs of Marawi” in next year’s proposed 2018 national budget.
“I hope that someone is doing a needs assessment right now. This early, there must be a group running the numbers, no matter how sketchy, on how much is needed to bring Marawi back on its feet,” Angara said in a statement.
Angara said the “Bangon Marawi” fund can be bankrolled from the P21.8-billion Calamity Fund in the 2017 national budget.
Government, her said should start planning for Marawi City’s long-term rehabilitation this early.
“The government should start planning for a post -conflict scenario which is the toughest mission,” the senator said.
“Easy to bomb. Harder to build. This may sound trite, but winning the peace is the greater challenge. After we plot bombing grids, ano gagawin natin? Eh di syempre buhayin ang Marawi block-by-block,” he said.
Furthermore, the government should tap the P6-billion Quick Restoration Fund (QRF) lodged in the budget of six disaster-response agencies to address the needs of residents crammed in evacuation centers.
Based on the provisions of the 2017 national budget, Angara said the QRF should be downloaded early on the fiscal year so this can be tapped immediately “when disaster strikes.”
On top of the P6-billion QRF is the National Disaster and Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF) – the Calamity Fund’s official name which has a budget of P15.8 billion this year.
Marawi master plan
Public Works secretary Mark Villar said the master plan for the rehabilitation of Marawi City is now ongoing with experts utilizing the latest urban planning measures.
Villar said the rehabilitation will not only be short and medium-term recovery, but a longer-term objective of full reconstruction.
“We are ready to mobilize the resources of all agencies so that the rehabilitation of Marawi will be done at the soonest possible time,” Villar said.
“We’re already implementing the upgrading of the evacuation centers. Since hindi pa kami nakakapasok sa city proper, sa ngayon ang priority is to upgrade the evacuation facilities,” he said. (With reports from Martin A. Sadongdong, Hannah L. Torregoza, and PNA)
All Credit Goes There : Source link