Trump’s gambit and the signal shutdown

OPINION
By SUSAN PALMES-DENNIS
January 9, 2020

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AS I write this, US President Donald Trump has signified at least publicly that he won’t order retaliatory strikes against Iran which launched missiles at two American bases in Iraq after a Jan. 2 US raid that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and for now I join the rest of the world in breathing a collective sigh of relief for now.

Like a lot of people, my husband Ronnie and I were convalescing/relaxing with family and friends in Cagayan de Oro City and Tagoloan town, Misamis Oriental when we were stunned by the news of the US raid which took out the general that was blamed for a lot of attacks that claimed the lives of American troops.

And while I know that it will invite derision from a lot of Trump critics, I do support Trump’s decision to order the US raid and based on what I read online,  Trump’s statements are both measured and firm, signifying that his administration won’t contribute to escalating tensions with Iran but neither would he back down from any further aggression.

Much as a lot of Pinoys are joining others across the globe in calling for peace in the Middle East, we have to admit that we can contribute little if at all in easing the ongoing tensions between the US and Iran other than daily prayers.  And Trump knows that the missile attack won’t be the last reprisal from Iran for Soleimani’s death.

Then again, life goes on for the rest of us ordinary people and amid the unease created by these global incidents, Filipinos especially the government should take stock of these developments and institute safety nets that would cushion the obvious fallout such as rising oil prices.

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I also take note of the signal shutdown implemented by the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the Jan. 9 Black Nazarene procession in Cagayan de Oro City that drew hundreds of Catholic Kagay-anons in the streets and I wonder, owing to my infrequent trips back home to my land of birth, whether this is now official policy for the country’s law enforcement agencies for major events.

The official explanation as far as I can read online is that the signal shutdown is a preventive measure against any terrorist bomb attacks which can be triggered by phone. And I understand that this is also being enforced for the Sinalog Grand Parade in Cebu City on the third week of this month.

Am not really that familiar about the latest security developments around the world but I can imagine that signal shutdowns are not being enforced in First World countries like the US which had its share of terror attacks however infrequent in both pre and post 9-11 eras.

Which is why I question, however well intentioned, the effectively of signal shutdowns in stopping terrorist bomb attacks.  There are those who even made derogatory remarks about it, saying that the PNP is being lazy by relying on signal shutdowns to stave off any bombing attempts, however high tech, crude or remote these may be.

But based on my reading of public sentiment, a lot of city residents may be pissed off  by this but they are supportive, however grudgingly, of the signal shutdown despite the temporary inconvenience it may cause to them.  And I trust that, as I write this piece, that the shutdown was lifted not long after the Black Nazarene procession.

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By the time this piece comes out, all of us would have marked the first week of 2020 and there are still so many stories I hope to write to you my dear readers while I’m still vacationing in Cagayan de Oro City with husband Ronnie and the rest of my family.

Of particular interest of course—and knowing Pinoys especially Kagay-anons to be quite fond of this aside from showbiz and basketball—are the political developments in both the local and national fronts.  I’ll try to keep both eyes and ears open for any that would be of serious consideration for discussion now and in the future.


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