Rough Cuts: No Davaoeno should be a fence sitter

We appreciate the move of government security forces in Davao City for heightening their security precautions in connection with the week-long celebration of the Kadayawan Festival.

One area where security measures are intensified is the Davao International Airport where, according to the police, tourists and other visitors from areas outside of Mindanao are likely to come in. Such focus is understandable. What with the bombing experience the city had some years back which caused the death of more than 20 people and the maiming of bodies of several others.

But let that incident — and the Roxas blast almost two years back — be lessons to the intelligence community of the government security organizations. It was apparent that the perpetrators in both attacks just mingled with the crowd. They did not come to the city using the airport facility. In the case of the airport bombing — and months later, the Sasa pier attack — the terrorists were among the crowd of welcoming relatives and friends.

On the other hand, the Roxas bloody carnage had perpetrators freely joining the revelers that patronized the street foods and other night amenities businesses that were starting to burgeon in that part of the city’s downtown area.

In other words, the attackers were all but harmless looking individuals who were just waiting for the right time to undertake their heinous crimes victimizing innocent civilians.

So, we believe that if government security forces are intensifying airport security measures during the week of the Kadayawan festivity in the city, they should even be more stringent in putting in place security precautions in areas where people — locals and outside visitors — would likely be converging to witness or be part of certain festival activities.

Of course we have no doubt that the government law enforcement organizations are already enhancing their intelligence gathering operation and that every raw information that can be connected to possible terrorist attacks are being thoroughly processed and validated. But people affiliated with terrorist leaning groups are as trained as the government intelligence authorities in gathering information on the movement and activities of their nemesis in the authorities. And they are so committed to the ideology their group is espousing that they do not having any iota of hesitance to give up their own life just to accomplished their assigned mission. So they carry their task even at the risk of losing their own lives as well as those of their immediate family members.

It is on this context that we believe police visibility in areas that can be potential targets of terrorist attacks during the Kadayawan festival is still the best antidote to attempts by some extremists to disrupt the revelry of Davao City’s Kadayawan Festival.

Of course every Davaoeno must assume his/her primordial duty as a responsible resident of the city. They have to act as the city’s first layer of intelligence gathering network. They have to tell what they see and observe in their community to the first policeman they meet after noticing unusual and suspicious individuals. In doing so they may not know that the lives they save include their own.

Yes, in occasions like the Kadayawan Festival in Davao City no single Davaoeno must act as fence-sitter, enjoying the good things offered by the festival but neglecting a critical role of being protector to his fellow Davaoenos and the city’s visitors.

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Should President Rodrigo R. Duterte fire his economic managers for what appears to be their “indiscretion” in issuing statements that seem to be in strong contrast to the President’s heavy push for Charter change that will pave the way for Federalism?

Our hunch is that the President will simply replicate his position on the Assistant PCOO Secretary Mocha Uson’s seeming “misadventure.” Yes, he will not, even if there will be noisy protestations from some members of the Commission that prepared the draft of the new Charter, from those in the other side of the political divide, and from the clearly anti-Charter change media groups, and from those who feel their business and political interest would be badly affected by the shift to Federalism.

Uson’s trick appeared to have hit its primary objective — for people to talk or care to listen on the issue of Federalism. Uson’s approach was as controversial as it was unconventional. But look now, People from all walks of life — from the kingly businessman to the Godly clerics, to the pro and anti-Federalism politician, to the people in high society, to the ordinary man on the street, to the market vendor and even members of households. All of them talk about how Uson could have bastardized the Federalism and Charter change issues. They now admit that these are serious issues and its explanation to the people should not be left to those whose language and actions are characterized in vulgarity, the likes of the ASec.

A simple interpretation of such reaction is that the people are willing to listen explanation on Federalism if done by the learned, the experts. So, in successfully drawing out such reaction Uson’s tricks may have provided the government one important guide in adopting approaches for an effective campaign for Federalism.

On the same manner, the President may have also realized that the open manifestation of his economic managers of their apprehension on the potential negative impact of Federalism on the country’s financial position is one bitter pill that must be taken without hesitation.

They are merely pointing out a component in the draft Charter that they see is a weakness that must be addressed before Congress sitting as a Constituent Assembly, or a Constitutional Convention called for the purpose, deliberates on the same and recommends for its adoption.

Yes, those economic managers of the Duterte administration who risked their position by boldly coming out with their negative observation on the draft Charter deserve the President’s pat on the back, not kicks on the ass.

Posted in Opinion