Monday, 19 September 2011 13:27
Cotabato City, an urban community largely inhabited by Muslim Filipinos, have been rocked by series of bombings. Like in most terrorist attacks worldwide the victims are innocent civilians and over 85 percent of these, statistics show, are Muslims.
Terrorists, contrary to popular but uninformed perception, have no regard for any religious beliefs. The fact that they detonate improvised explosive devices in soft targets and victimized innocent Muslims only proved that religious faith is hardly of any consequence in their agenda.
It is unfortunate however that separatist fronts have accorded these diabolic elements sanctuaries especially in the conflict areas in Mindanao. It is even more disturbing that government forces cannot pursue them in MILF-held territories because of some provisions in the existing ceasefire agreement. This aberration in the agreement exacerbates the problematic conditions in that Al Qaeda for example freely establish cells and training camps within the camps of the separatist fronts. These explains why intelligence records invariably show that many of the top operatives of Jemaah Islamiyah and, for that matter, Al Qaeda have one time or another traveled to Mindanao and specifically in territories held by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Abu Sayyaf. These terrorist operatives are not there to preach for as we knew later, they were there to teach the art of making improvised explosive devises for mass destruction.
The fact that bombings have been carried out unabated in Cotabato City and in Tacurong among others attests to the presence and continuing operations of terrorists. For as long as they move about town sowing terror, the atmosphere of instability will prevail and the community will never be at peace and secured. In the end poverty and loss of opportunity will preside over the fate of the people particularly those in the conflict areas and adjacent areas like Cotabato City. No investors will gamble in a place ravaged by conflicts and terrorism. It is the future of the present generation that is at risk.
By Menardo Wenceslao
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