It’s my usual practice every time I log in to the internet to first go to the Philippine Daily Inquirer for the latest news from home and this morning was no different and what caught my eye is the breaking news about a former broadcaster slain in Albay by suspected NPA members, his former comrades in the movement.
Another killing in the never- ending cycle of violence in the Philippines where both protagonists (read: AFP and NPA) have added another dimension in their war of attrition by shifting to another front and away from their traditional battlefield by killing or liquidating people perceived to be unsympathetic to their cause or unarmed supporters of each side reminiscent of the Philippines in the waning years of the Marcos dictatorship in the 1980s.
The spate of killings of perceived Leftist supporters and Military assets done treacherously by elements of both sides is not only sad and lamentable for it only shows that the decades- old war which has claimed thousands of lives is far from over- a war that has destroyed the lives and extinguished the dreams of so many young and brilliant Filipinos.
The list is endless and their potentials could have been immense and at what cost to a nation that has been dubbed as the sick man of Asia?
You can only imagine of what a difference those young people could have made to our nation’s present situation and the future.
No matter what their spin- masters will concoct to justify their actions, it still leave a bad taste in the mouth and an uneasy feeling in the gut.
The war has gone on for too long now for an ideology that has been proven to be a bust by the rest of the world with just a few holdouts like North Korea and Cuba. Some people with ties to the left have even shifted their approach by participating in the elections and having them in Congress have shown that the people have spoken that they welcome their cause to be fought in a peaceful manner.
But some of them have other designs on their minds for you can't talk about justice and peace on one hand and have a gun on the other. This smacks of a Jekyll and Hyde strategy which has no place in our society.
If they want the people to believe in their cause I think it is about time to abandon the armed struggle and participate in the democratic process no matter how we perceive the system to be imperfect but it has to start somewhere if we want change to happen and in the process rendering the Philippine military and their well-publicized abuses against civilians unjustified. Their relevance will become moot for most of the military abuses stemmed from the fact that it is usually committed in the guise of their search and destroy operations against the communist rebels especially in the countryside.
Too much blood has been spilled and too many lives have been taken in years of fighting between blood- brothers that in the end the only loser is the Filipino nation and its people from whatever angle you look at it.
I have been to the mountains of the Cordilleras and far- flung barrios in the Visayas as well as to the remote parts of Mindanao on a Medical Mission with some NGOs and other well- meaning Organizations during the time of my youthful idealism years ago and I admit that the fire is still there burning and the dreams of serving the people and the common good will always be with me.
I have experienced being asked and questioned by armed men in those places regarding the purpose of our presence there; one group asked us if we were leftist sympathizers while the other group asked us whether we were government spies.
I have met and talked to people in those places and have understand their situations and predicaments of being in the crossfire of two opposing forces that they have to contend with in their every day lives. It is a choice between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea if you ask me. It is really an irony for it is always the people who suffer whenever these two contending forces clash in spite of the fact that both sides have sworn and uphold to protect them.
I have once upon a time believed in the cause that our brothers in the mountains espoused and I still believe in them. I have once upon a time sympathized with the plight of our brothers in uniform and I still support them. I have lost some really good friends on both sides through the years which to this very day I still rue the loss of their young lives to an unjust war being fought between brothers.
Let us stop the killings. Let us stop the senseless war.
Let’s us give Peace a chance.