Prints and Traces

Here is my good friend Lito again. This time his questioning mind wanders into the shores of Samal Island. His left foot, he said, got caught in a heap of trash that bore the marks of a sad incident that occurred a couple of days past. The houses of long longtime residents of a fraction of foreshore land in the Garden city were “demolished without mercy” [Wala gyuy ku-kaluoy nga gipangguba,] he said.

“Pero way mahimo ang mga lumulupyo sa maong luna, kay illegal man kuno ang ilang pagpuyo didto!” [But they are helpless, because their occupancy on said piece of land is allegedly illegal.]

“Unya, ang dakong baligho, kay pulihan man diay kuno nig legal nga istrukturang pangnegosyo! Malagmit usa ka beach resort?” [And the great irony is that the place will be the site of a legal commercial structure! A beach resort perhaps?”]

Yes, the catch phrase there is: the demolition has gone through procedures according to the law. In other words, “the legal way”.

“Grabe! Kadtong mga molupyo diha na god anang hinatag-sa-Dios nga luna sulod sa dugayon nga trayenta ka tuig na. Unya sa kalit lang taliwala ning mainit nga panahon, gihulbotan kuno silag tinai!” [It’s unthinkable! Those poor residents had been on that “God’s little acre” for as long as thirty years.Then suddenly, on one hot summer day, they were in all likelihood being disemboweled, they say!”]

           Everything that happens in this country in pursuance of the interests of the rich and powerful—of the ruling classes—is always done in the legal way. A logging concessionaire from somewhere in the North or from Nowhere comes to Mindanao and cuts the trees in the forestlands, making incalculable profits out of our rich timber products, displacing thousands of Lumads and wreaking havoc to the environment, is irreproachable because he invariably does it the legal way.

Hordes of foreign mining companies come to the untrodden frontiers of our Islands and flatten the mountains and cart away our gold and copper and nickel and what other pricelsss treasures we have beneath the vast mounds of our lands, leaving unspeakable devastations to our dear flora and fauna. And in flambouyant cavalierly fashion they brandish certificates showing how they can rob our country of our national patrimony the legal way.

And these mining companies are even more privileged than our own nationals because the Government protects them with our own Armed Forces—the same Armed Forces who kidnap, maim and kill with impunity the Lumads who merely question the exploitation, utilization and destruction of their Ancestral Lands!—the same Armed Forces who deny and deny and deny their rampant violations of the human rights of the poor masses of our people!—the same Armed Forces who invariably claim that they are doing all their acts the legal way!

As a matter of fact, the impending “omnibus sell-out” of our country to the foreign imperialists is now being cooked up the legal way through the Cha-Cha in the Congress of the Philippines. And in the same legal way, the current President of our god-forsaken republic has allowed the use of the facilities of our Military camps anywhere in the Islands by the American troops through the so called Enhanced Defense Cooperation (EDC)—to the utter chagrin of our Nationalist Senators who made history by victoriously abolishing the US Military Bases on Philippine soil—this same salutary historical act was, in fact, staunchly opposed by Noynoy’s motherduring that historical moment!

And that historic act of the Nationalist Senators was a rare exceptional phenomenon by which the Filipino people’s interest, welfare and well-being is advanced the legal way. Now all the greatness and righteousness of that historic act shall be reduced to nullity by virtue of the unbridled puppetry of President Benigno Aquino to the American imperialists. And he is doing all his treasonous acts in his own usual legal way.

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