The recent contradiction in statements given by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police that Amin Baco, alleged new leader of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia, is still alive may create confusion that may stall – rather than expedite – the reconnaissance in Marawi City.
I don’t mean to demean the capacity of our police force, but I think it should defer divulging any terrorism-related information until the same has been coordinated and counterverified with the military.
This is especially so when the information it gets may be considered hearsay for having been obtained not through validation of actual facts, but merely from the mouth of an Indonesian terrorist of questionable credibility.
Having conducted military operations that put an end to the five-month-long armed conflict in Marawi, and being in touch with intelligence sources on the ground, it is believed that the armed forces are in a better position to speak about this issue. Let us allow the military more latitude to verify the matter.
At this crucial point, we cannot afford to have any form of disparity. Instead, the better view is to act with utmost interdependence notwithstanding the differences in our views or affiliations.
Thus, in the face of current atrocities brought forth by actual threats of terrorism, the only power and edge we have against the enemy, more than anything else, is our solid will and movement as a unified country. If we have this, no one – not even an IS emir – can tear our people apart.
Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN