Marawi on My Mind

"If you want to know your state of health, get a good diagnosis, instead of being afraid of the medicine."

 “It’s been four weeks,” an opposition journalist declares her exasperation on Facebook over what she perceives as the slow resolution of the Marawi Seige by the Maute Group associated with ISIS. The siege started on May 24 at the start of Ramadan.

This is a predictable reaction from the opposition, which holds the view that the siege is just an “act of terrorism not an invasion” (Rep. Edcel Lagman), in a confused mixing of method (terrorism) for purpose (invasion). Or that it is an invasion, yes, but not one requiring Martial Law (Sen. Risa Hontiveros), although in her interview with Daniel Razon,
she could not identify the conditions that would be needed for martial law to be declared.

The Marawi Seige has taken so long because it was prepared comprehensively as the conquest of a city, as video footage of its planning showed. The video showing Isnilon Hapilon, the Maute Group head, leading the plan, area by area, on a map, was initially shown in an executive session of senators, swaying majority of them to support the administration’s decision to declare martial law for the entire Mindanao island group.

I think the opposition senators could not get over their experience with martial law under Ferdinand Marcos, and that is why they opposed martial law in Mindanao, no matter what the real situation was in Marawi. In their minds, the siege was minor, “not an invasion,” manageable, with a predictable calendar for its resolution. Hence, their impatience at how long the siege has taken.

If you constructed the myth in your head that the situation does not warrant martial law, surely you would also expect that it be resolved quickly. And this is where the opposition’s posture falls apart: because it was built on the fear of martial law, rather than the facts on the field.

Moral of the story: If you want to know your state of health, get a good diagnosis, instead of being afraid of the medicine. 

About the Author
Mr. Oscar F. Picazo is a retired specialist in health systems, health economics, and social policy. He has worked in 24 countries for the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and as an independent consultant. He returned to the Philippines in 2009 and became a senior research consultant for the Philippine Institute of Development Studies.
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