The Peace Plan: Policy, Representation, and Security

In theory, the occurrence of terrorism in a country could be brought about by the repression of certain groups or collectives that intend go against the pressure imposed upon them. There is a sense of political motivation that pushes perpetrators of this form of violence to take certain courses of action in order to address their objective. Given that struggles and conflicts are inherently part of what makes up society, there is no doubt that the chances for terrorist action is within reach. This highlights the need for specific changes, and even contingencies, in order to uphold and establish peace in the community. This peace plan seeks to improve policy, enhance the effectivity of representation, and provide security.

Firstly, the primary goal in this peace plan is to better define the term terrorism in the country. In the work of Schmid on terrorism’s definitional problem, a person will be able to fully understand the complexity of defining the issue, and how important it is to be able to do so for effective legislation. It is presented in the article how the definition is difficult to obtain because putting in so much details causes countries to disagree what it is globally, while reducing the details will now cause the word to lose its essence. In fact, even highlighting how reducing the details can eliminate the idea of actions, strategies, methods, and perpetrators involved in terrorism. More so, culture and historical background plays a dramatic role in the process of defining because certain contexts may be different for certain nations, depending on what was placed upon them in history. For instance, there are countries, like Israel, who would see acts of violence or fighting against the state as an act of liberation from repression. Surely, the Philippines is a country that would understand such sentiment provided that the rich history of the country has involved a lot of oppression, and fighting against the people in control.

The bigger question is; how was this present in the Philippines? Most recently, the Philippines, particularly in Marawi City, experienced a skirmish and multiple assaults that involved the terroristic actions of the Maute group, which have even linked their objective with the notorious ISIS. As muslims, there were multiple confusions as to understanding the motives of the Maute; were they oppressed by religion? were they deprived of resources? were they merely acting upon the “mandate” of the ISIS? There was large confusion about the Maute’s objective, provided that even an elected senator was confused and misguided into deeming the situation as non-rebellious by alienating the idea of terrorism from rebellion. Basically, the big picture here is that there is confusion when it comes to naming these events, to the point that even elected leaders are misguided into thinking that it is one or the other, and failing to even distinguish whether what they are saying is the same. It is in these circumstances that fails our institutions to effectively tackle the issue for the simple reason that the country does not know what it is exactly approaching. With that, it is clear that the people who will be responsible in tackling this issue and objective in the peace plan is none other than our elected legislators. The legislators must be able to effectively come up with a policy or even a statement, that properly distinguishes different forms of violence, in order to other institutions (national authorities) to respond in precision based on their mandate on the identified issue. In pursuit of this objective of effectively placing a clear cut definition or terminology for the matter, it is valuable for legislators to consider the country’s rich history and culture when discussing the matter, because it can place the state in a different disposition when it comes to understanding certain actions, whether they are for the purpose of mere terror, or driven by the force of revolutionary change.

The second phase of the peace plan involves increasing the participation of different groups, the minority especially, when it comes to the creation of policy and programs in the country so as to cater to the specific needs and objectives of these people. By increasing their participation, through effective and proper representation, they will be provided with an avenue to address their concerns, interests, or takes on certain matters involving the country’s legislators. Specifically, the second phase of the peace plan will move for two sub-objectives. the first objective is to allow more party lists or groups to join the Philippine congress. It is a cause for concern on whether or not minority groups are being offered the right representation, and so more should be allowed to take part. In the country, there is currently only a percentage that allows those party-lists to be part of Congress, and so this proposes an increase of that percentage to go beyond twenty percent. The second sub-objective is for the country to create a policy, that involves creating a standard process as to how party or group representatives are elected. It so happens that certain representatives may not be as effective as others who might understand the group’s sentiments more over the existing representative. These two sub-objectives will pave the way for our countrymen, especially those part of minority groups, to be able to have a voice in the country’s policy-making process.

Another question to be concerned about is how exactly is this issue manifested in the country? Just recently, CNN Philippines released an information graphic that reports the top 10 wealthiest member of the country’s House of Representatives based on their 2016 Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN). Based on these documents, it reports that the top 2 richest in the House are found in Michael Romero (1-PACMAN) and Emmeline Aglipay-Villar (DIWA). The two are coming from the said party-lists. Ironically, these party-lists that are represented in congress only take a percentage of the sitting congressmen. Beyond that, it is the representatives who sit down as ‘elected’ congressmen. Now, the party-list system in the Philippines is initially to pave the way for representation of those who are marginalized, as mentioned. However, it is very ironic to fathom that the party-list, which are supposedly for the marginalized and under (or not even) represented, are represented by an elite. This reveals the cause for concern that there may be under representation occurring in our existing system. More so, there may be a flaw in the actual system in which these representatives are agreed upon to stand for the party-list or collective. And, beyond this, there is even a limit to the number of party-lists elected which means that there are those collectives that are not brought ‘into the fold’ for policy-making process.

From the points given on this second phase, it is comprehensible that it is an issue that will be addressed, once again, by the country’s legislators. The legislators must create a policy that will, firstly, pave the way for more party-lists to be considered and qualified to take part in the policy making process. And, second, a policy that will mandate party-lists in the country to elect leaders based on specific standards that will actually allow them to serve as the epitome of the organization or collective. The heart of this phase in the peace plan is to be able to allow more minority groups or different collectives to be given the avenue to voice out concerns, initiate dialogue, and make a stand in the country’s legislature. This, specifically, solves a part of the issue of under representation or misrepresentation recurring in our country’s lower house.

The third phase of the peace plan concerns highly of the lapses and flaws that exist within the country’s law enforcement agencies. This part of the peace plan has the objective of improving those lapses, in order to pave the way for better intelligence operatives that would prevent uprisings that will cause the destruction of properties and the killing of innocent civilians. This issue is manifested in the country with the multiple cases of failed intelligences. For example, most recently, in the Marawi incident, the country’s operatives failed to intercept any information that would have prevented the entry of armed men. In fact, Abu Sayyaf Isnilon Hapilon, who was being actively hunted down by the country’s national police, was still even able to participate in the Marawi skirmish. Supposedly, provided that he was under a lot of heat with the national authorities, he wouldn’t have been able to initiate any operations for himself. Ironically, he was still able to do so in successfully participating in Marawi with the Maute group. It’s a clear cut case of failed operatives, and transfer of intelligence information that could have prevented a big disaster that destroyed a large portion in Mindanao.

This phase of the peace plan pushes the country’s administration to grant ample budget for different law enforcement agencies to afford better training, higher officer education, and purchase of equipment and gear. Less on the part of granting a budget, this peace plan also puts pressure on bureaucrats to make sure that the different agencies are able to efficiently use the available financial resources. The issue on being able to prepare for these kinds of events, and these type of people in the country, entails the improvement of the national authorities’ capacities. And in this objective of improving, intelligence operatives is a significant factor to consider which can be answered if our country’s authorities receive the proper paraphernalia.

As a whole, the three major phases in discussed in this peace plan covers different aspects that concern the effectivity of the state and its institutions when tackling the potentiality of terrorism in the Philippines. Firstly, there must be effective approach as to identifying its occurrence, hence the need for specific measure and conventions that will tackle the process of defining terrorism effectively in the Philippines. Furthermore, to increase the capacity to avoid the issue, more groups, especially minority, must be given priority to partake in the policy making process. Marginalized and concerned groups of individuals must be a given an avenue to be able to penetrate the legislation system, in order to avoid rebellion against the country in the form of terrorism. Lastly, despite all efforts to increase better enforcement of laws, there must always be an increased capacity in security. The goal of this sub-phase is to be able to increase the intelligence capacities of the country’s authoritative agencies in order to be efficient and effective when preventing the occurrence of tragedies in the country. Altogether, the proposed peace plan takes course on multiple aspects that cover policy, representation, and national security; all of which that have strong relation with the occurrence of terrorism in the Philippines.

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