Community solidarity beats terrorism

THE ABU SAYYAF TERRORISTS, will think ten times now before  coming back to Bohol again.  Boholanos have proven to be rock solid patriots – and cared for their place of birth-ija-ija, aho-aho,  no more. 

A small boy unmasked them in Inabanga and a lowly habal habal driver who brought them to buy bread in Clarin- reported them to the cops. Long after the navy blockade is gone away from Bohol, ordinary fisher folks are now  organized as “sea detectives”- coastal law enforcement agents in Bohol’s 29 coastal towns.

Unless under severe duress, Boholanos are now trained not to harbor terrorists.. Will not provide them  shelter, food and guidance . In  a matter of days here – the terrorists will die from hunger, exhaustion and psychological isolation. 

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Not to mention  their uneasiness seeing the images of the crucified Lord, the Santo Nino or the rosary that  they will encounter even  in the humblest of nipa huts that  the terrorists will try to desecrate with their unholy presence. 

Of course, we are awed by the ASG’s recruitment and business process. They have earned millions making a cottage industry of kidnapping for ransom. With that money they are able to recruit young and old-paying the family left behind with P15,000 monthly stipend for every family member recruited to their folds. A homely resident of the mountains of Naga Cebu told the Chronicle so. 

Sure, they set us back temporarily with some tourist cancellations at the height of the Inabanga Encounter.  Sure, some American investors backed out of a P15o-million investment project  in Anda and Panglao.  Sure, some Japanese group backed out of a P30-Million possible tour package landing in Manila. And South Korea issued a negative travel advisory  against Bohol. 

But believe you us, these are  interim setbacks.

The last plane flights we witnessed were back to fully booked to the deck-full of foreigners. Googling the Inabanga and Clarin towns, tourists saw they were miles away from fabulous Panglao, the engaging city and the famous day tour to Loboc , tarsier and the Chocolate Hills.  A Manila-based couple will continue with their wedding plans scheduled in Panglao for January 2018. They told us so.

Besides, it was not as if the ASG attacked and hostage people in the province,, Their evil design was busted in time- and all they did here was run for their lives- than to inflict mayhem and murder on the innocents. 

In less than 12 days, their main actors are dead- the chief beheader and heir apparent, the bomb maker and the local traitor who guided the ASG in Inabanga.

Sure, (as of press time)  the  few remaining ASGs are still running like rabbits with 4,000 government troops acting together pursuing them with their best arms in usage. They can run but they cannot hide. And they cannot run forever.

Who do you think won this war?

For comments: email to dejarescobingo@yahoo.com or bohol-rd@mozcom.com

 

THE GOOD OF BEING AN ASEAN BLOC

 

THE BEAUTY OF BEING AN ASEAN BLOC  should not remain abstract to our people. 

Let us be proud that Bohol successfully held a 3-day intercessional meeting touching on RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) hosting 120 representatives from 10 ASEAN member nations- without any untoward incident.

Trade and economics are  important facets that can radically alter the future of many Filipinos.  Could  it not be ominous that on the 50th anniversary of the ASEAN, the 2017 meetings ( ending in November this year) is hosted by  our country? 

Just what are the benefits that will elicited from the future ASEAN integration?

Foremost will be the settlement of the raging controversy touching on the South China Sea. Facing a Goliath in China becomes less formidable when we speak as a region, not just a small speck of a country. As a robust  region- not even a China can swat us away like a fly. 

South of  the Philippines, the many aspects of smuggling backdoor,  sea piracy and criminals seeking refuge in  other ASEAN nations will be clobbered by regional security partnerships. 

 With Tax-free treatments, goods and services where RP has comparative advantage will have a wider market to penetrate with little impediment. Highly skilled labor and technology from the region will come freely to us  to help boost our lack in physics and digital engineering. 

 RP, though a fast growing country )GDP growth rate)  is still small in absolute terms. Being part of ASEAN enables the country to participate in large trade deals (without the burden of being small individually)  with big nations.  At one time, briefly, in 2007, the European Union (EU) became the richest region in the world- we must recall. 

Currently, ASEAN has 630-million people, the  world’s most populated region-wise with a combined GDP of $2.55 Trillion – a 76% growth in the last seven years. 

Filipinos will become not just proud citizens of the country but of the ASEAN community without losing our own character  and cultural identity.

Because we have a big population of 120 million, joining ASEAN will raise our individual per capita GDP.  This would also strengthen our financial stability as at its peak integration ASEAN will have a common currency.

Except for Greece , all of the EU nations profited from higher GDP growth than they were  if they were  rated individually. 

 Financial growth could ensue after trade openness and peaceful resolution of disagreements as regional partners of the nine other ASEAN nations. 

Despite all the distractions and bad PR we suffered before and after the ASEAN meeting here- let us still all be proud. It is perhaps a small price to pay for a greater good .

 We have been  a part in the process of converting the ASEAN into “One community with one shared identity, one vision.” towards a larger slogan of “Partnership for Change: Engaging the World.”  That’s the real ASEAN for you.

For comments: email to dejarescobingo@yahoo.com or bohol-rd@mozcom.com

 



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