I wrote an article in response to government’s plan of deploying special marine troops in Eastern Visayas, Philippines to fight against the alarming trend of insurgency there.
A friend whom i met in an email exchange informed me that they published my article in an newsletter for Fil-Americans.
When i surfed the net, i found out it was also published in Samar News: “More social services instead of troops”
I had mixed emotions writing this article. My experience of meeting people in Pikit, Cotabato, Mindanao, and do some work with fellow peace and human rights activists after the 2003 war just flashes back.
It reminds of the July 2003 fact-finding team’s boat ride deep into a house where the late Hashim Salamat of the MILF and his comrades took refuge. It has been occupied by marines troops when we get there. It’s sad to see for yourself houses, mosques and farm lands being ruined by bombings. We were even warned by soldier to watch out out steps as we might stepped-on unexploded ordnance.
We heard stories of people abducted and disappeared, frigthened of being caught in cross-fire or suspected of being rebels, disellusioned of what awaits them, starve and gets hungry because of limited relief, worsening health condition, among others.
Two years later, there may be a relative peace in Pikit and nearby areas now, but still most of people haven’t recovered yet, and still in desperate condition until now.
Just like what Fr. Bert Layson has said: “I war, the real enemy is war itself”. When these things happened, and we haven’t learned of our lessons in the past, it’s Paita oy…