Davao Blast: There’s More to It Than Meets The Eye

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Sanlakas condemns in the strongest possible terms the bombing that rocked Davao City last September 2, 2016 snatching the lives of 14 and wounding 67 others. The Davao blast is an affront to humanity, a barbaric assault that should prod us to mobilize against the killing of peoples for whatever cause. Justice should be served to all victims.

We should tremble with indignation against such dastardly acts committed to sow terror. But we should not lose sight of the forces at play. The Abu Sayyaf Group, whose radical Muslim members were trained by the Central Intelligence of America (CIA) and enlisted in the Afghan War of the mid 1980s side by side with Osama bin Laden, was formed in 1989. It has since then been tagged as culprit behind attacks and bombings including kidnappings.

Then former Senator Aquilino Pimentel in his speech before the Senate in 2000 was correct in pointing out that the CIA has sired a monster. The monster is now being played up as one would a bogeyman in reminding Philippine administrations of the country’s vulnerability to “terrorist attacks”.

In 2003, the Philippines threw its support to the US-led War of Terror. Sanlakas cannot but help but surmise the location of the “bogeyman” in the upcoming meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and US President Barrack Obama in Laos – to secure the unwavering commitment of the Duterte Administration in the War.

At the Laos meeting, Sanlakas expects that the two leaders would also talk about the territorial dispute in the South East Asian Seas where despite the recent ruling recognizing the Philippines’ claim against China, no aggressive pronouncement has been issued by the Duterte Government against the latter.

There is more to the blast than meets the eyes. And in the context of the on-going peace talks between the MILF-MNLF and GRPh, there is more to lose than gain by stoking anti-Moro sentiments or attributing blame on the Moros. This may not be the case now but given our collective stereotypes and historical biases against our Moro brothers and sisters,

Sanlakas cautions the public against the evils that paranoia can create that could blind reason, that could derail the fragile peace process that seeks to reaffirm the right of the Moros to self-determination.

Sanlakas likewise cautions the Duterte Administration in approaching the Davao blast sans the overarching realities that have defined the country’s geopolitical landscape. While the calling out powers of the President has been deemed the most benign of all powers under the Section 18, Article 7 of the Philippine Constitution, its execution leaves much room to fret.

The state of lawlessness allows the president to call on the mighty Armed Forces on the pretext of assisting law enforcement agencies to address lawless violence. This in itself could result in the militarization of our cities, of our neighborhoods, of our barangays to ward off the proverbial bogeyman.
This could result in the militarization of the President’s War on Drugs. Like skating on thin ice, this could open the floodgates to more human rights violations as a consequence of the excesses in resorting to a military solution to the Davao blast.

We call on President Duterte to be mindful not to fall into the trap of the War of Terror which has in many ways than one invaded the rights of peoples yet failed to stamp out acts of terror. We urge the President to hold the perpetrators of the Davao blast to account and serve justice where it is due.

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