During the last days of the five-month siege of Marawi City, when it was known that government forces were winning against Islamic State-inspired Maute and Abu Sayyaf Groups, there were already reports that the terror groups were not giving up their plan to set up a caliphate on the island of Mindanao.
We already heard about jihadist recruiting young Moros and offering them P20,000 to P30,000 each, plus firearms.
Just how the jihadists got hold of so much money is no secret. The terrorists also robbed homes when they entered Marawi City.
Of course, there is funding coming from the Middle East, coming through Indonesia and Malaysia, carried by jihadists both Moro and foreign.
The reported target cities were Cotabato and Iligan.
Now comes the chief of the country’s main Muslim rebel group, warning the government that jihadists loyal to the ISIS will target another Mindanao City.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Murad Ibrahim, who must know what is going on, said conditions are still ripe for another siege.
According to my source from Cotabato City, the recruitment takes place in madrasas, or the theology schools for young Muslims. They get indoctrinated on fundamentalism and radicalism.
This is the real reason the President insists on extending martial law in Mindanao.
Just when and where the jihadists will strike is anybody’s guess.
* * *
The Duterte administration has finally awakened to the fact that the island paradise of Boracay has degraded the environment.
Now there is an attempt to revitalize tourist sites like the Subterranean River National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Its ceiling and caves are said to have darkened from the presence of too many tourists.
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu said this was because of the carbon.
DENR warned that El Nido would go the way of Boracay because it has exceeded its carrying capacity. The number of tourists hit 200,000 last year.
The DENR is now cracking down on establishments that do not comply with regulations. But this did not start yesterday. The situation was due to the utter negligence of government over so many years. I blame the local government of Malay, Aklan and the DENR itself.
Establishments in other tourist destinations better shape up.
* * *
I can understand President Duterte’s frustration over what our overseas Filipino workers go through when they leave their families only to face risks in other countries.
But Mr. Duterte should also remember that abuse happening to OFWs is the exception, not the rule.
It is also the fault of our embassies and labor attaches who neglect our OFWs. The Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Labor and Employment should do something about this.
In the first place, there is a reason Filipinos go out of the country and look for jobs elsewhere.
* * *
As a lawyer, I cannot agree with the Supreme Court decision that there will be no more Maria Clara stereotype in rape cases.
The Supreme Court made this observation as it acquitted two men accused of raping a woman in Davao City in February 2009.
“Today we cannot just be stuck with the Maria Clara stereotype of a demure and reserved Filipino woman. We should stay away from such mindset and accept the realities of a woman’s dynamic role in society today, she who has over the years transformed into a strong and confidently intelligent and beautiful person willing to fight for her rights,” said the decision.
“More often than not, where the alleged victim survives to tell her story of sexual depredation, rape cases are solely decided based on the credibility of the testimony of the private complainant,” said Justice Samuel Martirez.
This decision of the Supreme Court is viewed as an abandonment of the women’s-honor doctrine established in the 1960 rape case of Herminiglda Domingo.
The Martirez decision effectively reverses the ruling of the Regional Trial Court and the Court of Appeals which found the two guilty.
I disagree because there seems to be no correlation between the fact that the prosecution failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused and the women’s-honor doctrine.
No doubt, if only to protect a woman’s honor, complainants often do not tell the court openly that they were raped. This is the “Maria Clara stereotype.”
I cannot follow the logic why Filipinas openly admit that they had been raped with the failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
I maintain that the stereotype prevails.
* * *
President Duterte says he would stop swearing. Actually he promised this some time ago, but he kept on cursing just the same.
Actually, many people love him for this. That’s his style.
I like his style. He is so different from the other presidents we knew.