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Politics

The Blast that Rocked Davao Sep 2, 2016

The Blast that Rocked Davao

GPS waypoint: 7°03'51.7"N 125°36'27.8"E
Location: Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines

Abu Sayyaf
After ascending to the presidency, Davao's former mayor, Rodrigo Duterte, loomed big as the tough guy uniquely qualified to unite the country with rebel groups willing to sit down for peace talks in Norway - CPP, NPA and NDF. Likewise, there is a standing truce with the MILF and MNLF. Peace talks in Norway were ongoing for unification. Then on Sept. 2, at 10:17pm, a bomb exploded in a crowded night market in Davao killing more than a dozen and injuring 70. The renegade Islamic group, Abu Sayyaf, claimed responsibility (and later denied). Outraged, Duterte unleased his fury - all hell broke lose in the rebel camps and hide-outs.

Objective: complete, absolute and total annihilation of the Abu Sayyaf.

The Blast that Rocked Davao
the carnage after the blast

Aftermath
The immediate effect in Davao was chilling. People stayed at home. Hotel bookings were canceled. Visitors and tourists made other plans. Restaurants and public places were empty. No traffic. Friends messaged me to leave Davao. Military check-points scattered across the city. Increased visibility of the military with their battle gear. There was public panic when a suspicious package was left in a supermarket. Alert messages from the authorities discouraged going to popular places. Mall security was tight and searches were thorough. The city was paralyzed with fear.

The city is gradually normalizing as I write this. It won't take long until things get back to normal. Davao is strong. Dabawenyos are resilient.

Immediate Background
The most widely accepted cause of the bombing was a beheading. In August 22, 2016, the Abu Sayyaf beheaded an 18-year old boy after the parents failed to come up with ransom money. Outraged, President Duterte ordered the military to attack and destroy the Abu Sayyaf. The blast in Davao is speculated to be the retaliation of Abu Sayyaf.

Ending Thoughts
I don't know how long the siege will take place until the Abu Sayyaf is stopped - and it's high time they are stopped. There have been too many kidnappings, bombings and beheadings to their credit already. With Duterte's presidential might and his unwavering resolve to put an end to this, it is conceivable that the Abu Sayyaf will be wiped out of the map.

I've just been to Malaysia and Singapore where 3 racial and religious groups live side-by-side in a give-and-take social mix that practice tolerance, consensus and respect. The Muslim Malays, the Hindi Indians and the Chinese. It would not be unusual for a lone fair-skinned Chinese to be eating alone in a sea of dark-skinned Hindus in an Muslim kedai - no big deal and no one gives a second look. Same thing for all the other ethnic neighborhoods - Chinatown, Little India and Muslim enclaves. They have all learned to live with one another. It wasn't always that way. There used to be racial unrest back in the 50s that led to race riots that killed hundreds - they burned and butchered each other. The government was quick to respond by breaking down secret societies, jailing the culprits and cracking down on hate groups. Now, they have all learned that they have to live with one another, whether they like it or not. It's not necessarily a harmonious, seamless racial integration - but it's a viable co-existence. As one Hindu told me, it's a "give-and-take".

My point? If they can do it, then we know it's humanly possible to do it - so we can do it. Living with people who worship a different God or who look different from us shouldn't mean we should be at war with them. I had been homeless now for 4 years, interacting with people in Southeast Asia from all colors, faith and walks of life...and it's ok! It's better than ok. It's enriching, it's productive and it's synergistic. There is always something to be learned from someone who comes from a different background.

I can only hope that after this dark episode, the Philippines can be united again...where everyone is safe to explore the vast interior of Mindanao without fear of being kidnapped, beheaded or shot at. Right now, only one person is uniquely qualified to do that - Rodrigo Duterte . Marcos couldn't do it in his time, the Aquinos failed to bring about unification, Estrada, Ramos and Macapagal Aroyo came and went without solving the problem. Now there is the controversial mayor-turned-president-now ASEAN chair, Rodrigo Duterte. Sure, he is far from perfect, but as far the reunification goes, he's the only one we've got. And we need to be a part of this nation-building process. One man cannot do it alone.

The common people - you and me, we don't want war. Nobody does. War is decided on by only a few powerful people who influence other people's thinking. Let us be more mindful if we are being played by clever media bytes with hidden agenda*.

--- TheLoneRider

* other countries, notably the US, bomb other countries out of the map in the pretext of freedom and democracy. They are able to do this by selling war to the American public and the international community through their media machinery - CNN, FOX, etc. As a de facto satellite of the US, the Philippines is not spared from the "US war-effort disinformation". WMD? Tell that to the Iraquis whose civilization was wiped out of the map. At the end of the day, there was no WMD (weapon of mass destruction).

Google Map Davao City, Philippines

tourist attractions in Davao City tourist attractions hotels in Davao City - hotel van rental in Davao City van rental
  • Apollo Van Rental Apollo Van Rental - Davao City tour, Samal Island tour, airport transfer
    0925.500.3211 | suki_tac@yahoo.com
yoga in Davao City yoga | health | fitness food tour in Davao City tour food in Davao City resto | cafes in Davao City cafe autism in Davao City advocacy

Great Things Going for Davao City

  • one of the cleanest potable water in the country
  • smoking is banned from commercial establishments
  • pineapple samurais are endemic here and nowhere else in the country (pineapple vendors who cut-up whole pineapples into chunks with just a few strokes of their carving knives)
  • public utility drivers conspicuously display their IDs
  • durian Mecca of the Philippines (not to mention Marang, Mangosteen and Sweet Pomelo)
  • you want to add some more? please submit on the form below

Not So Great Things Going Against Davao City

  • the weighing scale of fruit vendors specially the durian push cart vendors are a blatant cheat - showing almost twice the actual weight

Rodrigo Duterte Blogs on TheLoneRider

Davao Related Articles

Davao City Travel Information



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Sep 2, 2016

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T 0917.660.9529


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a home for 13+ with Autism, Down Syndrome, Mental Disorders and Disabilites

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venue for classic and contemporary Filipino films
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