The 18th year of the 11 September 2001 attack on the World Tower and other symbols of the American way of life was a stark reminder of the ever-present threat of terror in any place on earth and in which the Philippines is always at the center of.
New York marked the tragic day by honoring the almost 3,000 people killed in a solemn ceremony at Ground Zero where hijacked Al-Qaeda planes brought down the Twin Towers.
The brazen assault in the United States had its roots in the so-called Bojinka plot hatched in the country and which was a large-scale, three-phase attack planned by terrorists Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed slated in January 1995.
The plan included the assassination Pope John Paul II during his visit to the country, the blowing up of 11 airliners in flight from Asia to the United States to shut global air travel and crash a plane into the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Despite careful planning, the Bojinka plot was disrupted after a chemical fire drew the attention of the Philippine National Police-Western Police District (PNP-WPD) when the plot was about to be launched. Yousef and Mohammed, thereafter, failed to stage any of the three attacks.
The relocation of the terror group Islamic State (IS) to Asia from its nesting place in the Middle East to flee the multinational forces fighting it also found its way to the Philippines.
The five-month long Marawi City siege was an attempt at putting up a Southeast Asian caliphate of the IS that would seek to draw energy from the huge Muslim population in the region.
It was thwarted with the determined effort of state forces and President Rodrigo Duterte who imposed martial law on Mindanao the moment that the IS launched its offensive.
After putting down the terror plot and liberating Marawi City, Mr. Duterte said “I can confidently declare that ISIS will never gain a foothold anywhere in the Philippines.”
Terror, however, will always probe weaknesses in the resolve of nations in its effort to keep coming back.