October 20, 2017, 2:23 am
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More security threats

THE leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives, both majority and minority, have been notified by President Rodrigo Duterte that new threats to the security of the nation are imminent.

Sen. Tito Sotto who was at the Palace meeting said the President specifically mentioned three more cities in Mindanao as in danger of being attacked by the Islamic State, the most visible operatives of which are the radical Islamist fighters of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups.

The main purpose of the top-level meeting is for the President to get the cooperation of Congress in passing additional budgetary allocations for ten more battalions of policemen and 20,000 new soldiers who will be hired, fed, clothed, and trained to fight the Islamist rebels.

This also means the President is pressing for the early passage of the Department of Finance’s tax reform package to “fund the military.” (The quoted phrase is from Duterte himself).

Senator Panfilo Lacson and minority leader Sen. Franklin Drilon are both convinced that the President was not joking when he divulged the danger of more Marawi-style attacks on Philippine cities, an information heretofore known only in the intelligence community. Budgetary support for the emergency the President talked about is thus in order, chorused Lacson and Senator Gordon. Drilon meanwhile reserved the right to scrutinize whatever money proposal the Palace will ask the Senate along these lines.

By all indications, the President and commander-in-chief is looking at a military solution to the problem started by jihadis in Marawi, in Basilan, and other parts of the south.

This is the reason for martial law in Mindanao, the daily bombardment of Marawi to flush out the remaining Maute operatives, intensified sniper operations by the Armed Forces, the use of drones and spy planes lent by Australia and the US, and the use of missiles, artillery and ammunition from China.

Having a strong military with state-of-the-art equipment and tools of war is desirable for nations trying to survive in the highly competitive international community. In fact, the conduct of war has evolved tremendously since World War Two some 70 years ago. Remote controlled missiles, aerial vehicles that fly without pilots, smart bombs, satellites, GPS and computers are swiftly replacing the conventional rifles, artillery and handguns. The nation has to double time just to keep up with the pace.

Given this sad reality, Filipinos are asked by the government to sacrifice some more by paying new taxes and giving up some freedoms to strengthen the martial law administration.

Many are willing to do so, but more explanations must come from our officials for them to understand and acquiesce why these sacrifices are indeed needed.
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