Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Martial Law: It’s Also A War Inside the Basketball Court

The Battle for Marawi continues with the AFP bombing enemy locations and slowly closing in on the last few remaining fighters.
From the air, a P3 Orion guided bomber planes as they dropped explosives on the remaining battle zone measuring about a square kilometer, where some 70-80 gunmen were holed up, while helicopters also fired rockets towards it.
70 - 80 gunmen?  That's not the estimate the AFP gave at the beginning of the week.
Members of the Maute group holed up in Marawi City are down to about 20 to 40 gunmen, the military said yesterday as government troops continue to close in on the remaining strongholds of the terrorists. 
Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the remaining Maute terrorists continue to pose a threat since they are still holding hostages in two barangays.  
“Based on the ground commander’s estimate, their number has decreased to less than 40. So maybe their forces have been reduced to between 20 and 40. The force is getting smaller,” Padilla said in a press briefing yesterday in Malacañang.
The AFP does not know how many Maute members are still in Marawi.  The estimates in both of these articles runs from 80 to 20.  That's a large enough spread to verify that the AFP is simply making a guess.

The AFP has a serious intelligence crisis.

The AFP remains one of the region’s weakest militaries despite some improvements, and Marawi has been an uphill battle for it because of various factors including the fact that it is a densely populated city with dense, forested terrain outside of it, and the reality that the allegiances between various insurgent groups and foreign fighters can be much looser than the headlines often suggest. 
During his remarks over the weekend, Lorenzana touched on this point again. He noted that one of the lessons of the Marawi crisis was that the Philippines needed to improve its intelligence capabilities. In addition to welcoming Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to boost intelligence funds available for the government, he also pointed to other efforts either underway or being mulled, such as improving urban warfare training and increasing reserve forces to back up regular units in the Philippine military.
The AFP needs more training and more equipment and a government that will not turn a blind eye to the activities of terrorists.  Never, ever forget that Duterte admitted he knew about the arms flowing into Marawi and did nothing about it because of the peace process with the MNLF and that Calida and Bato both admitted the government had prior knowledge of the Marawi attack lacking only a date.  It's not that the AFP is completely devoid of intelligence.  The problem is that the government has a tendency to dismiss the intelligence that it gathers and that is given to it by foreign agencies. When foreign embassies issue warnings based on their intelligence the Philippines pridefully scorns and dismisses these moves and ignores the information. This is what happened in Bohol in April 2017 and as a result people ended up dying.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana admitted that there was a lack of validation on the government side regarding intelligence reports on the siege in Marawi City. 
"The time of blaming somebody or pointing somebody is past that, ito na nga nangyari. We can no longer bring back the lives of those 110 people killed, 900 wounded," Lorenzana said.
Actually fingers must be pointed and blame must be doled out to the appropriate authorities. That would be Año, Lorenzana, and Duterte. Without a thorough investigation into this lack of intelligence, which was really a turning a blind eye since the government knew what was happening, nothing will change. Lorenzana wants to sweep this all under the rug because he knows he will be forced to shoulder much of the blame. The public must know who knew what, when they knew it, and why nothing was done about it. There must be an inquiry before the Senate.

As the airstrikes continue in Marawi
local Muslim clerics call for them to stop completely.

Muslim scholars and religious leaders are calling for a stop to airstrikes in Marawi City, which they said have caused damage to lives and properties. 
“That while we support this action and other programs of the government for peace and development, we are earnestly requesting the President of the Philippines to find other ways to purge out of Marawi the extremists rather than the aerial bombings which have caused is continuously causing damage to lives and property,” the members of an Ulama conference said in a statement. 
The group also condemned the violent extremism in Mindanao 
The group also agreed to ask President Duterte “to fill up existing national offices intended for Muslims which remain vacant although there are qualified Muslims who can truly perform the functions of said offices like: the Presiding Justice and two Associate Justices of the Shari’ah Appellate Court, and the Jurisconsult in Islamic Law and Jurisprudence. The Ulama also appeal for the appointment of a Muslim Justice of the Supreme Court.”
The AFP is causing damage to properties and lives while trying to liberate the city from Islamic terrorists? Who's fault is this? Don't lay the blame solely on the Maute Group. If these clerics really did condemn violent extremism then they would have been helping put an end to it by speaking out against the terrorist groups in Mindanao. But the fact is all the Islamic terrorist groups in Mindanao (Abu Sayyaf, MILF, BIFF, MNLF, Maute, etc.) receive both moral and financial support from the local Muslim population.  They would not be able to operate otherwise.

This collusion among the Muslims is exactly why Muslims are being profiled in Mindanao. The terror problem in Mindanao is 100% a Muslim problem. Not a Filipino problem. Not a Christian problem. A Muslim problem.
Muslims on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines are being profiled by President Rodrigo Duterte’s security forces as the government battles pockets of Islamist militants that have pledged allegiance to Isis. 
“We have to profile the Muslim areas,” said police superintendent Roy Ga of Iligan City in the north of the island. 
“This conflict in Marawi, unfortunately, it is being committed by Muslims, so we have to make sure there are no sympathisers with the terrorists in this area.”
What good would appointing a Muslim to the Supreme Court do?  The law is blind right? So it should not matter if there is a Muslim on the bench. But it does matter because sadly law is interpreted ideologically and not by the letter.  We see this in countries like the USA where the left and the right vie for their own appointees who ideologically shape the court and its decisions. What is it that these clerics are hoping a Muslim justice would do for them? Uphold the constitutionality of the proposed BBL even if it is not constitutional? 

These Muslims clerics who view non-Muslims as kafir (infidels who may be deceived, plotted against, hated, enslaved, mocked, tortured and worse) and employ the tactic of lying such as taqiyya (gaining the trust of non-believers in order to draw out their vulnerability and defeat them) are not to be trusted. They are more concerned about preserving the buildings than in ridding the city of terrorists.

And not just buildings but also priceless cultural treasures.

Adding to the residents’ and the regional government’s fear is the massive loss of priceless pusaka (heirloom) objects such as baur (storage chest), brass ware, langkit (malong), which form part of the city’s rich cultural heritage. 
She added that while the damaged structures could be rebuilt, the documents that Muslims considered sacred could no longer be brought back. 
She said that whatever was lost culturally would be even more than the initial P20 billion pegged by the national government for the rehabilitation of Marawi, “because our cultural heritage is more than that amount—it is priceless.”
Is it ironic that priceless objects relating to their cultural heritage are being destroyed by Muslims who are practicing the most integral aspect of Islamic culture, violence? Since 630 AD when Muhammed conquered Mecca violence and bloodshed have been a fundamental part of Islamic culture. The message of Muhammed has always been spread by the sword. Today it is spread by the machine gun. Weep all they want the blame lies squarely on these Muslims who tolerate terrorists in their midst.

For all their concern about property damage the Muslim leaders of the area can rest assure Duterte wants to rebuild quickly and immediately.

With the fighting in Marawi City expected to be over soon, President Duterte has directed government agencies preparing the rehabilitation plans for the war-ravaged city to pick up the pace to ensure these would be ready for implementation.
Mr. Duterte told the officials that once the fighting between government forces and pro-Islamic State (IS) extremists was over, the recovery efforts for Marawi would be a purely “civilian endeavor,” according to a Malacañang statement.
Civilians play a crucial role in the battle against ISIS and the other Islamic terrorist groups. Civilians will be rebuilding the city and even now civilians assist in the fight against Islamic terrorism. The battle against terror cannot be won without the assistance of common men and loyal patriots.

"We always keep that in our minds. We’re also soldiers in a different battlefield. This is our small way of serving the people of the Philippines," said Kiefer Ravena, who is set to play his fourth straight SEA Games and looking to cop a record fourth gold medal at the biennial meet. 
"Our real soldiers are into a warzone or into a battlefield where you see guns, bombs, people dying. With basketball it’s also a war inside the basketball court. As a basketball country, we want to unite the country even for a few hours every time we play. For two hours, everybody’s one as Filipinos."
Such a stupid and asinine comparison of basketball players with soldiers and the basketball court as a war zone or battlefield which intends to honour the sacrifices of the military while actually trivialising  and mocking them deserves no comment as it speaks for itself.  

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