I woke up to the news that the president had just declared martial law in Mindanao because of a band of ISIS sympathizers who had apparently seized control of Marawi City.
Social media was abuzz with different reactions from different friends I had. Since I’ve made it a personal policy not to unfriend real-life friends over differences in religion and politics, I saw all sorts of reactions from left and right and everything in between.
The anti-crowd said they already saw this coming, that it was staged to pave the way for martial law and authoritarian rule, or that it was not the correct solution.
The pro-crowd said they trusted the president, that it was the right move, and that there is nothing to fear, and that this was different from the Marcos years.
The in-betweeners tended to chastise the bashers on either side and saying why don’t you just find a way to help the victims or pray for them instead.
And then there were the grammar and spelling nazis laughing or mocking those who said “marshall law,” “marshall arts,” and even “marshmallow.”
I honestly don’t know how to express what I am feeling or thinking about this. There is a part of me that sides with those who are thinking that there are better solutions than martial law. Yet, there is also a part of me that accepts the president’s prerogative and decisiveness in this action. Only time will really tell if he was right or wrong.
I am neither a political nor history expert, and I rarely make long commentaries on politics, so whatever I say here I speak for myself only and impose upon no one these beliefs. I have decided in this matter to simply trust the president I elected. It is not a trust based on empty promises, but a trust based on witnessing how he has led my city for almost 3 decades — a city that has grown to love him.
In my line of work, results matter — not motivations, nor opinions, nor ideologies, but results. And Duterte’s results over the years have compounded to such a degree that I have a huge amount of trust in him — just as that kidnapped businesswoman from Luzon had a few years back when she told her kidnappers to go to Davao, trusting that she would be saved because the city was under Duterte’s care.
It is funny how this trust is bordering on faith — that most freethinkers like me shun.
Although it goes beyond logic, but I’m going with my gut on this one. I hope that the trust I and many other Filipinos have in him is not in vain.
Oh, and don’t just pray for Marawi. Find a way to help. Like I said, results matter.
Originally published in Sunstar Davao.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. View previous articles at www.freethinking.me.