Like US President Donald Trump’s border wall, placing Mindanao under Martial Law
can never be a guarantee that terrorism such as the twin bombings in Mount Carmel church
in Jolo, Sulu Sunday morning is already a thing of the past.
At best, what Martial Law achieved proved by that bloody twin bombings is for
everyone, including state security forces, to let their guard down on the belief martial rule
can deter terrorists from engaging in terrorist attacks.
It is not farfetched as well that in the case of America if Trump will have his way,
border troopers and other state agents tasked with securing that country’s borders will
likewise let their guards down on the belief the border wall will prevent bad elements from
other countries from entering the United States.
This reminded me of the debate whether a motorcycle helmet could secure
motorcycle drivers from tragic accidents thus prevent deaths in such accidents. The anti-
helmet advocates argue that the best that a helmet can do in a motorcycle accident is
prevent the biker’s brain from splattering all over.
But the worst it does, it is argued, is give the motorcycle biker false sense of security
that his helmet will prevent him from becoming a fatality in an accident he may figure in.
Mindanao was placed and is still placed under Martial Law when terrorists identified
with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS staged the bloody and destructive Marawi
One of the reasons put forth to justify the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao was
to suppress, deter and avert any terrorist group from carrying their nefarious activities after
the Marawi siege. Sadly, despite the intention, bombings still happen in Mindanao the latest
of which was Sunday’s twin bombings in Jolo, Sulu.
Terrorist acts, as what President Duterte had been saying, should be denounced by
every peace loving citizen. No question about this. But reality stares at us that even Martial
Law cannot prevent or deter acts of terrorism by lawless elements.
Let us be reminded that acts of terrorism is not by itself the end. It is simply but a
means to achieve an ultimate objective, which is, more often than not, political, to take hold
of the reins of governance, anchored on economic grounds, which is the economic injustice
prevailing in society be it in our country or elsewhere.
This point just reminded me of John the Baptist’s message enjoining his listeners to
change their ways because the situation where a few have more in life while the majority
have less is an abomination to God’s intention for his prized creature.
We have to understand that now as in the past, even during the Biblical times,
economic injustice had always been the underlying reason why people, individuals or as a
throng, pursue political objectives such as electing leaders through the ballot, as in our time.
The purpose is to find leaders who could bring them to their Promised Land where “milk and
honey flow freely.”
This thought may be Utopian, but it can’t be denied that political actions are always
meant to address societal economic woes such as in our time where only one percent of the
world’s population control more than half of the world’s wealth. Unless this huge economic
disparity between the rich and the poor is effectively addressed, Martial Law or not,
terrorism will forever be a societal threat.