One of the key indigenous values the pre-hispanic society has bestowed upon the Filipinos is damayan. Damayan speaks of the many dimensions of the Filipino character distinct from Asian neighbors. When in pain, grief and sorrow, Filipinos cling to the “nakikiramay” who immediately appear to assist in many ways.

Whatever form of assistance constitutes the element in damayan. Damayan transforms into a mutual aid and when visiting a wake, especially, when one’s presence is meant to express sympathy to convey the sincerity of being one with the family or the clan at such a grief process.

Damayan becomes a solidarity action with the affected. It makes one who is in grief feeling better as people converge informally to listen to the stories not only of loss but of celebration of life.

At this moment of mourning one can just peep into the realities of care. But care is not limited to the individuals as it is now the entire nation which is in grief again.

The Mamasapano bloodshed reveals how the community of people look into the situation – as various lens emerged with interests touched. But how many attempted to see all sides of the incident? How about the community of Mamasapano? What did their senses uncover, rediscover and recover?

How many of them directly became witnesses and victims to the scenario that adds into the life events of the Moro land and the people seeking for a resolution of the historic injustice committed against them? How do we really care for them as belonging to the Moro people?

While the immediate and long term effect of this disaster on the Mamasapano town is left to the locals, the 44 fallen among the police Special Action Force get a broad network of support nationally and globally as their dead bodies spread in all media forms. This alone mounts sympathy that builds up to empathy and generates overwhelming support, materially and morally.

These police officers accorded with honors, but no thanks to the insensitivity of Pres. Aquino, their families may have to contend with the very limited benefits guaranteed to this type of end of service. Theirs is not a retirement where the police organization maintains a savings scheme for those who are set to complete their cycle – of being retired from government service. There is less to expect from the state in terms of real benefits to the pawns that today is unfurling.

There goes the opening of bank account as created by the Department of Social Welfare and Development in response to President Aquino’s national address three days after the incident “I also take the opportunity to appeal to the public: If possible let us extend our utmost support to the bereaved, and maximize the help we can give to the families of those who fell, in recognition of the valor of these heroes who gave their lives for the realization of the peace we have long desired,” Aquino had said.

Disturbing more than enough, the government collecting financial assistance and opening an account exclusively for the donations further reinforce the statement of fact that there is not much to speak of security at all. His address notably was contradictory. He said the government will give the families of the victims “maximum assistance.”

This goes to show that both victims, in government service function and the Mamasapano (and other similarly situated all over) villagers do what they could do on their own. Damayan in a face to face encounter with the real people from the grassroots operates and remain the value Filipinos have to rely on. It is damayan that the organized people carry with them in the midst of struggle to achieve a just peace. Like those super-typhoons Sendong, Pablo and Yolanda survivors’ concrete experience, the state’s accountability and responsibility is questioned. Let all forms of assistance flow directly and conveniently to the affected families including those Mamasapano community people on the basis of trust and empathy as damayan indigenously and creatively prompts us.Damayan brings us to a national scenario to cry for genuine societal change as Pope Francis’ concept of crying instructs.

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