I was shocked when I saw the news yesterday about the bombing in the perimeter of the cathedral in Cotabato City. It killed five persons and wounded at least fifty others! As I have pointed out in previous blog entries, this act is becoming frequent and a pattern is emerging: the explosions are designed to sow terror among the public.
The military is quick to blame the MILF and its so-called “special operations group”, which the latter denied. In this situation, who is telling the truth, whom should the people believe? This query seems to b e the logical consequence of the unfolding events.
But a dimension that must be explored with equal interest is the question of the impact and consequences of such events. A patterned, systematic bombing gives the impression that there is an organized group capable of launching a national terror campaign. Further, it polarizes the country: the suspected bombers as the bad guys who must be chased down and the military as the good guys who must get these terrorists all cost. At the same time, it legitimizes the use of police powers by the state to protect public interest.
In any other context, this will be a widely acceptable move. But in a situation wherein democratic institutions’ legitimacy are quite low, these events tickle peoples imagination! One is reminded of the circumstances used by former President Marcos in declaring martial law then. Is it a strategy being employed by adventurist armed groups today?
Whatever is the emerging agenda in these bombings, violence is to be condemned and abhorred. Not only because it diminish the person’s dignity but also because it always hurts beyond the physical aspect. Violence is a total violation of the person.
Thus, as we condemn these bombings killing innocent persons we will also readily condemn any group who intends to use these events to legitimize further violence!