Taho, bombs

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There had been grunts and complaints against the ban on liquid materials in the Metro trains. At most, they speak about some Filipinos’ lack of discipline and ignorance of the laws and rules.

“We need not wait for another incident like the Rizal Day bombing on 30 December 2000 in the LRT line to receive the jolt.

But that it would take an incident involving a foreigner to make us all look into the reasons that impelled the strict implementation of the prohibition is something worthy of re-examining ourselves and our priorities.

Eating and drinking in the train coaches have long been banned.

We could not be sure if most commuters know about these, or if they even cared to read the posted notices in the designated areas that once competed with the advertising materials which have either been eye sores or were inspiring to look at.

But yes, these have long been banned even since the start of operations of the Light Rail Transit system, the first modern elevated train that encompassed four cities in Metro Manila.

Lax security and poor or non-implementation of this order may have contributed to the breakdown of discipline among the train commuters that, at certain points, the Metro trains have disintegrated into just rolling boxes that stop on a whim.

Changes in management and managers and the rise of new train systems of late, however, required a second look at the rules and orders imposed to make the LRT and the MRT safer for the commuting public.

The train tracks are the Metro Manila cities’ economic blood veins. The trains are critical to the country’s daily social and business affairs that safety and security should be foremost in the round-the-clock operations of all the train systems, old and new.

The National Capital Region will no longer survive without the trains. In fact, we need more of them badly. And we need them now.

So, why grunt and complain when you are ordered to consume or throw away that bottled water before boarding the LRT or the MRT? The answer is simple: It’s for your safety.

There is a threat to our lives that government and its security forces could not emphasize in simple words.

Actions, however, speak louder. And we should know when threats are real by looking at events, reading the newspapers for additional information, hooking up to radio and television news whenever possible and we will have a citizenry that is aware of events and happenings that concerns the populace.

That it took a foreigner to figure in a taho-splashing incident to highlight the very strict implementation of the liquid ban on trains is a blessing in disguise to make the security measure talked about in neighborhood and several certain circles.

We pity the policeman who was at the receiving end of that taho spray. We also would like the police to press charges against the foreigner who disregarded the ban. Serves her right to receive a penalty. Serves us right also to be reminded about the order against liquid substances on trains this way.

We need not wait for another incident like the Rizal Day bombing on 30 December 2000 in the LRT line

to receive the jolt. The taho-splashing incident at the MRT did just that.

There were 22 fatalities in that bombing incident. There had been two explosions which occurred that day. But five areas were targeted by various religious extremists, including the Jemaah Islamiyah, which have now warped into many and even more extremist groups that receive foreign funding and bomb-making expertise lessons and support.

Fathur Rahman Al-Ghozi, an Indonesian religious extremist who also operated in the Philippines, was arrested in relation to the bombings. In 2003, he managed to escape from Camp Crame along with several other accomplices. He was later killed in a firefight on 13 October 2003.

Also nabbed were Saifullah (Mukhlis) Yunos, Abdul Fatak Paute and Mamasao Naga — all locals who were among the earlier recruits of the JI.

It was not a coincidence that the Indonesian government had alerted President Rodrigo Duterte about the possibility of the suicide-bombing couple who was responsible for the Jolo cathedral blasts.

Southeast Asia, including

the Philippines, is teeming with terror groups and personalities who can easily weave in and out of the SEA-member countries using their vast network of support that is complete with arms, big and small boats and a ready army of fighters when needed.

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