Taking threats—seriously

Posted on Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 and is filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

ZAMBOANGA CITY/25 February 2014 by Pristine Janielle F. Padua–The greatest problem facing Zamboanga is how to relocate, rebuild homes, and provide for the basic needs of all the affected families.

But prior to doing so, there should be a systematic identification and assessment of the intended beneficiaries of government aid. This is important to preclude the misuse or abuse of all resources, be it financial, material or technical. As history has always proven, “vultures always hover over a battle zone,” just waiting for the opportune time to scavenge.

Another set of ‘monsters’ that would rear their ugly head are criminality, mendicancy, outbreak of diseases, and the distortion of the social order that once existed. Relocation always leads to deprivation of access to resources vital to the affected individuals’ source of income. Seaweed growing, fish and shellfish farming, and traditional mangrove by-products processing cannot simply be repositioned to other non-viable areas. Most of the evacuees come from these areas. Thus, simply put, it will be an uphill climb for the government to alter the affected communities’ means of livelihood, new methodologies and technologies notwithstanding.

Sun Tzu, the famous Chinese general, military tactician, and philosopher once said that all warfare is based on deception; military spies are vital to the security and welfare of the state. In August, before the September 9 siege, Misuari came to Zamboanga on a supposed “peace caravan” to consult with his local leaders regarding the peace accord signed in 1996 with the government. He talked of peace yet warned of the prospects of war, reiterating that he was declaring independence at all costs.

Everyone thought that he was talking through his hat, that he was incapable of walking his talk, and that he was bluffing. Even the OIC ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman was quoted in the August 27 issue of Daily Zamboanga Times as saying that Misuari’s demands were not the solution to the Mindanao problem and that the government was prepared to meet his threats. Well after the September 9 incident, we can say that government intelligence, with its vast resources and funds, utterly failed to predict, even prevent or preempt the MNLF’s moves.

There was a failure of the intelligence network to predict Misuari’s moves owing to the fact that he was effective in creating a feint, a pretense meant to mislead an opponent in his decision-making, as to perceive an act as true, but in reality is false. Misuari was talking about war and everyone including the intelligence commonly took him for granted, misjudging his words as that of a maas or old man who was talking through his hat and no longer capable of walking his talk. He effectively created the ruse or notion that what was obvious in clear broad daylight was not true and his words were pure hoax.

Thus, government should reevaluate its intelligence and information gathering methods and institute new measures to forego an incident recurring in the future, something like the September 9 incident. So all threats whether imagined, perceived, real or unreal, should be taken seriously.

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