(written last October 25,2011)
So many words are floating on my head. We just got from the burial of Fr. Pops. I am exhausted by the heat but at awe with an estimated 3,000 people who came to pay their last respects. This is the man,a priest,an Italian who choose to serve the Manobos of Arakan.
I need to sit down and catch the words I have for Fr. Pops. No I don’t know him personally. I haven’t met him. I was even thinking of another Italian missionary who could be in his place. His death, is another manifestation how life and justice here works. Impunity reigns. Justice is slower than the turtle.
This is a country that professes to pursue peace process but disregard ceasefire agreements. This is a country where politicians on their posh condos and Wack-wack Hills mansions show their love for the country by declaring an all-out war in Mindanao. Here is the moment where Erap and Lacson are agreeing on one thing: All-out-war. Forget how Erap, Lacson, Enrile and Biazon flaunt their machismo and myopic view of the problem, Forget about peace. Forget about the bakwits, the internally displaced persons (IDPs) that has been eternally in struggle to live a peaceful life. After all, IDPs do not exist. Officially. They have returned to their homes, the government said. No more food coupons. No more IDPs, you see.
An eye for an eye that made the whole world blind. As if this government is not yet blind to the reigning injustices in the countryside. Fr. Pops is not the first and will not be the last victim of atrocities committed against IP rights advocates. Welcome to the 21st century where communism is still terrorism for our military’s vocabulary. That being vocal and fighting for land and resources of people in rural communities make one a NPA or a sympathizer and must be obliterated. Welcome to the 21st century when their analysis is easy and linear. Activist=communist=NPA= terrorist= enemy
Forget how the State especially the previous administration pushed for extractive industry and ordered military as Investment Defense Force (IDF). Forget that the yellow ribbon who scorned the previous admin’s atrocities are committing the same act- pushing for paramilitary and more military troops. Investments from multinational companies especially mining, after all are the driver of our national development rather than agriculture. Foget that we have sold patrimony wholesale- giving them everything, fingernails and all.
Forget that most of these areas are Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) and downstream communities are agricultural and coastal areas. Let us forget that we need water. The money we get from these investments will be enough. For how long, we do not know. We need to give them all the freedom and auxiliary rights for utilizing our resources. Let us forget that the mineral resources are finite, that no value adding to the materials are done, we just have to export it all unprocessed. What the government needs to do is to assure these investments to stay. Forget about human rights violations. Forget those concepts.
Let us not frame mining as the sole reason for the demise of Fr. Pops. Of course! Aside from mining, monocrop plantations, militarization are just one of the things there.
Let us forget our justice system here. We only have a legal system. It is not a justice system anyway. Let us forget how our Supreme Court, the highest court in this land can easily reverse its decision. While it takes decades for other cases, languishing with dusts, expect some controversial law to have shocking decisions (and diversions!) When Mining Law was questioned on its constitutionality, it favored the B’laan Tribal communties at first but overturned its own decision 11 months after. No GMA has nothing to do with it. The same way with the case of Philippine Airlines Employees vs its management. After 3 decisions favoring the employees, it takes only one letter from certain Atty. Estelito Mendoza for the SC to overturn its decision . No. don’t ever think about Bribery. Maritess Vitug in her book had a better way to describe that.
Forget that I wrote these in ramble and shambles, that I have been ranting in circles, tying words, finding coherence, but I cannot. This is how I see it. Welcome to chaos.
Friday, October 28, 2011
(written last October 25,2011)