One gets a massage to relax, not to kill people. Apparently, someone decided it was a good night to rip bodies apart. And so his group did, right in the President’s backyard.
Davao City is our postcard of progressive tranquility. People obey rules. They walk safely at night. We elected President Rodrigo Roa Duterte because of Davao-envy. The message behind the explosion was directed at all of us. The terrorists were saying, “We are here. Do not doubt our capacity to hurt. No one is safe.”
President Duterte is Davao City, and vice-versa. In taunting the President, they are bragging to the international community: “We are here to teach this tough-talking President a thing or two about violence. We are his opposition.”
What then is the message of our government? The President drew an untested weapon of choice from the scabbard of the Constitution. A state of lawlessness has been declared. However, the specifics have yet to be drawn. What does this mean for ordinary commuters? How will this affect our uniformed personnel? For how long are we to be in this state of lawlessness?
In times of crisis, clarity is king. We, the people, are prepared to cooperate with government authorities especially because the terror group behind the Davao City attack intends to do more, hurt more, kill more. Our safety is just as reliant on the alertness of our armed forces and the national police, as it is on the release of speedy, relevant, and authoritative information. It is time for Secretary Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Office to remind his colleagues in the Cabinet: “Don’t talk to the media unless I say so.”
In times of crisis, unity moves mountains. As we straddle between lawlessness and peace, we cannot afford to appear fractured and feudalistic before the world. We have our own backpacks of peaceful coexistence to bear. This is not the time to hit back at President Duterte for partisan reasons. This is not the time to call for investigations, left and right, leading to the distraction of our heroic men and women in uniform. We all have to unite behind the President.
In times of crisis, humility leads to agility. When I was a foreign student at the Kennedy School of Government in Harvard University, our professor told us to check our egos outside the door. You will learn more and think better if you think less about that nameplate on your desk. It doesn’t matter if you are a congressman, senator, or justice of the Supreme Court. We are all in this together. For a politician to grandstand at this solemn time marks him or her as the “Pokestop” of idiots. Our leaders must be humble. At this time, they don’t know enough. When people are humble, ideas become bigger than egos.
In times of crisis, prayers lead to love. Peace from within comes from praying to the One Above. These terrorists have attached their souls to the darker power. We free our souls through the lightness of prayer. By embarking on the road to mayhem, these terrorists already face defeat. But they don’t accept that, because to them, killing is an ideology. If we hate more than the usual, then they become gleeful. If we start fighting amongst ourselves, their jubilation becomes complete.
When terror strikes, we rise above it.
When terror strikes, the opportunity to unite comes with it. When terror strikes, we fill the bloodied space with the love of a million prayers. When terror strikes, we push back by going on with our lives. When terror strikes, real leaders become heroes, and real heroes become leaders. Character shines through.
Terror struck Davao City when someone sought a massage for the kill.
When terror strikes, justice must step up and show the might of right.
We are Davao City, and Davao City is in each of us.