Relocate Muslim residents in Quiapo
The growth of the Maute group, founded by brothers Omar and Maula Maute, is due to failure of intelligence and the support of the local population in Lanao del Sur province.
The Maute brothers are former Middle East overseas contract workers who studied fundamentalist Islamic theology while in Syria and the United Arab Emirates, according to reports about them now coming out.
If they were only doing their job, government security forces would have detected the Maute brothers’ preaching of hatred for non-Muslims.
Most Maranaws (Moros of Lanao) are unschooled and easily fell for the hate-Christians sermons of the Maute siblings.
It’s high time government agencies which have intelligence funds were made to explain how they had spent the money.
Intelligence funds, especially in the military, are not subject to accounting and therefore subject to abuse.
Instead of being spent on people who would spy on the local population, intelligence funds line the pockets of top government officials.
The military should conduct periodic checks on the Islamic Center in Quiapo, Manila, which is home to hundreds of thousands of Muslims living near the Golden Mosque.
The edge of the Islamic Center is within striking distance of Malacañang, the seat of government.
Mortar rounds from the Islamic Center could wreak havoc on the Palace grounds and cause many casualties.
During the Marcos regime, the government planned to relocate the Islamic Center far from Malacañang because of possible threat of attack from the thickly populated Muslim area.
There’s a saying, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.
A counterattack by the Presidential Security Group on the Islamic Center would not count for much after casualties had been inflicted on the Palace from an attack coming from the Islamic Center.
The plan to relocate the residents of the Islamic Center, a hideout of criminals and drug dealers, did not push through.
Why? Because the Marcoses volunteered the area, where the Golden Mosque now stands, to Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, who was supporting the Muslim rebels during the war in Mindanao in the 1970s.
Then first lady Imelda Marcos personally went to Libya to appease Gadhafi.
The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will put to use all its air assets as its contribution to the intense fighting in Marawi City between government troops and the terrorist Maute group.
Let’s hope the PAF doesn’t make the mistake of using the UH-1D helicopters which have been grounded after two of such choppers crash landed as they caught fire in midair.
The Air Force might fly the UH-1D choppers, scavenged from a German military junkyard, as a force multiplier to its limited fleet.
More soldiers might die not from the fighting but as a result of the junk choppers going down due to engine trouble.
The latest crash of a UH-1D resulted in the death of its pilot and two crewmen in Tanay, Rizal. The first mishap took place in Sarangani province late last year.
There was an investigation by the Senate into the acquisition of 13 junk choppers for P1.2 billion, but nothing came of it.
Sen. Tito Sotto has filed a resolution reopening the investigation.
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