Last Thursday, a van barrelled down a busy section of Las Ramblas district in Barcelona and, with murderous intent, mercilessly mowed down tourists and residents, killing at least 13 people and injuring 100 others.
The bloody attack happened barely a month after the anniversary of the July 14, 2016 attack during Bastille Day in Nice, France, where a 10-ton cargo truck mowed the crowd which resulted in the death of 86 people and injury to 458 others.
In both these deadly attacks, the Islamic State (ISIS) group claimed responsibility.
We are also fighting the scourge of terrorism in Marawi City, where remnants of the Maute Group—a local affiliate of ISIS—are waging fierce resistance against advancing government troops. By all indications, however, the remaining Maute terrorists are likely to be wiped out and the war will be over.
Nevertheless, the recent Barcelona attack is a grim reminder that despite the advances against ISIS by the international community, the extremist group remains a potent threat to any country in the world.
Once the shooting in Marawi stops, the government must begin earnest reconstruction efforts as well as programs to rebuild the lives of the people of Marawi.
Likewise, Congress must work on the new version of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law and ensure the law will truly address the root causes of Muslim rebellion in Mindanao to deny fertile ground for the terrorist thugs of ISIS to grow.
But more importantly, the government and the people should work together and remain vigilant. We must not let our guards down after the Marawi crisis is over. Otherwise, we might suffer the same fate that befell Barcelona.
To paraphrase Napoleon Bonaparte: Success is like a sword. You can do anything with it except sit on it.