Once again, the Philippines have made her mark in the international scene. Not only has the country witnessed the most brutal massacre connected to political rivalry but she has also been able to oust Iraq as the most dangerous place for journalists.
It is really appalling how such a heinous crime can happen in our country. It makes one doubt whether there is really hope for the nation or not. I know I love my country but how come my countrymen can do such brutal things to their fellowmen? How can men commit such atrocities to his fellows? I can understand other races declaring war against other races but not the same nationality versus the same nationality? Have they got no conscience?
As I read the reports, both official and personal, I cannot help but feel a rage slowly burning inside of me. Is this what our country has ended up to become? A place where journalists can put to test their love and commitment for their profession in the face of grave danger? A place where women rights are violated as mercilessly and heartlessly as possible? A place where change and good reform is no longer possible and is even gravely challenged?
Mangudadatu realized that if it was he who filed his COC by himself, he would certainly meet a certain death given the fact that he had already been threatened and his requests for security both from the ARMM police and the Philippine Army were denied. A convoy of journalists and women were suppose to be a safe delegation. Apparently, he thought wrong. Journalists and women are no longer immune to the evil plots of the enemy. They are as much targets as men and security personnel are. I wonder if there would have been any difference had the convoy been a busload of school children travelling the dangerous road to file the COCs.
And even innocent motorists were included in the onslaught. How can they be so cruel? Are they this blood thirsty for power?
To think that there have even been speculations that this may suspend the 2010 presidential elections. The upcoming elections already promises to be a brutal one – with the introduction of a whole new scheme of voting and the number of candidates running seemingly endless. Now, even before candidates can file the COCs, bloody events are already happening.
Sometimes I cannot help but make speculations over the entire events. Can it be that this is part of a much larger scheme than just mere political clan rivalries? I know I am not the first one to make such speculations. I don’t know if I am the first to publicly admit them. I sure hope that I do not get abducted just because of this. After all, I am no longer in UP and I am just a mere writer writing inside the confines of her home with only the Internet as her portal to the outside world. I think that hardly qualifies me as an activist worthy of abduction and execution. But with the current administration we have, we cannot really be all too sure.
GMA’s administration has been tainted with blood and gore. There are reports that during her term, there had been mass killings of journalists, abductions of reported activists and many other political killings. Her term hasn’t even ended and already the most brutal killing in recent history has taken place. The Ampatuan clan has been political allies of the current administration. Even if GMA has declared the region a state of emergency and even if their actions have been condemned and they have been expelled from the Lakas-Kampi-CMD party, the fact that they were allies still remain. Could all this then be just a ploy for an extension in power of the person with the highest position in the country?
Even a state of emergency, which would deploy armed men in the region to prevent retaliation can have grave consequences. It may increase the tension in the area and even encourage further bloody combats.
I can’t imagine what would happen next. I certainly pray for a much better future for our country; a peaceful election and elected leaders that would be able to bring a more sustainable future to our country. I agree with my friend when she said that she wouldn’t want a candidate who would promise the stars – a candidate who would promise to give employment to all unemployed and eradicate corruption from the system. What we do need is someone who can give us hope for a better tomorrow through sustainable plans – plans that would indeed be plausible.
More than that, what we need to do is go out there and vote. Well, not just vote but guard our votes as well. If each and everyone of us would show just an ounce of care for the country that we are in now by going out and exercising our political rights, then perhaps there would be some change in this country. It is easy to be apathetic especially if you live in a region far from the tumultuous regions of the country, but we must start having a nationwide vision – a vision that is not merely limited to the confines of our region or worst the small world we move in. We may not know these people who were killed; we may not even give a damn that such monstrosity is happening down south. So long as we are safe in our little niches, we can afford not to care.
But how long will our little niches remain safe? The Maguindanao massacre has far flung consequences that if not addressed properly might lead to the whole country being severely threatened. How long will it be before other political rivals started killing each other? How long will it be before a civil war borne from all this possible political rivalry killings ensue? We must not allow such mindless killings to perpetuate our society. We may not be journalists, nor law enforcers, nor security persons – we may just be simple and ordinary citizens living simple and ordinary lives. Yet there is a lot that we can do to ensure that this country of ours does not fall into the likes of people who value power above common good; who resort to evil for the sake of personal ambitions.
And one of the small but high impact things we can do is go out there and vote in 2010 – and be vigilant about it. If you are not sure who you will vote for, then research about the candidates. Find out for yourself. Create your own opinion and do not merely ride with the popular majority. What is popular may not always be what is right.
I know who I will vote for and I am confident of his skills and capabilities. What about you?
The Maguindanao massacre, or Ampatuan massacre happened in the morning of November 23, 2009 when the members of the political party of Esmael Mangudadatu comprised of his wife, two sisters, lawyers, aides and several journalists who were out to file his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) as governor of the Maguindanao province were ambushed as they pass the town of Ampatuan. The convoy, together with several innocent motorists who were mistaken to be part of the convoy were abducted, killed and buried. Andal Ampatuan Jr., Datu Unsay mayor, has been formally charged with multiple murder and will be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole if proven guilty.
These are all just my opinions and speculations. I am not submitting personal observations or speculations as facts. In other words, please don’t abduct me. 😀