On this day, on this very hour, I am nursing an aching wound in my soul. I am sad and unusually depressed. My mind wanders to that long long night of terror in our land. . .to that nightmare in history called Martial Law! And it makes me sick. I open the Youtube, hoping to find solace. And I come upon Joey Ayala and his song “Wala Nang Tao sa Sta Filomena”. And the song summons living memories that weigh me down even more. Until I feel my soul in my eyes.
More than forty years have passed. And the wounds on our land have not healed. I feel anew the pricks of the makahiya on my soles…on the soles of thousands of my countrymen who fled their homes and their farms . . .from Sta. Filomena. . .from San Vicente, Laac — from countless other villages unsung , but somehow touched by the ripples of air from the wings of the langay-langayan in their lonesome flight across the wounded land.
Today, my mind joins the langay-langayan in their flight above the hamletted barangays in Kapalong – Pantukan area. And there’s no doubt in my mind these are the same langay-langayan that flew above Sta. Filomena when the gunfires of Marcos’ soldiers rang in the air. It makes me wonder if these are also the same soldiers now hamletting the mountain villages as those who hamletted innumerable villages across the country during Martial Law.
Do I wonder if this current incident of hamletting in Mindanao countryside is yet a prelude to Martial Law Ninoy style? No, I don’t. In my heart I am most certain that martial law is already obtaining in the countryside. Kaluoy sa mga Lumad ug mga settlers ug mga molupyo sa kabaryohan! [How pitiful the indigenous peoples and settlers and residents in the countryside!]
And all because Commander-in-Chief Noynoy has to militarize the mountain areas where the foreign mining companies are operating. He has vowed to protect them, He has vowed to ward off any opposition to these foreign companies’ mining operations. He has commanded all his military minions to drive away all Lumad inhabitants in the vicinity of the mining concessions even if these lands are part of the ancestral lands of these Lumad peoples. And he has ordered his soldiers to kill, and maim and torture them if they resist his standing orders.
And all those who can be cajoled and bribed into abiding by his orders shall be organized into para-military armed groups to give them license to kill and terrorize their tribal kinsmen – elders , women or children . And they must be taught the art of slaughter and massacre or simply the privilege to kill with impunity. The military establishment must coddle them and provide them all assistance so that they learn how to shamelessly trample upon the people’s human rights. They can be organized into Alamara. Pulahan or Bagani. But they can be called by any name as long as they are armed and willing to kill their tribal kinsmen.
And so, the Kapalong –Pantukan villages which are in the areas close to the Tampakan foreign mining companies have to be hamletted, hamletted, hamletted! And the LGUs in these areas must be cajoled and bribed to become partners in the violent rampage against the people, all for the benefit of the foreign mining companies. For they know not the consequences of these vicious acts and deeds. For they are not aware that these are acts of treachery and sordid evil ways.
And so I weep silently inside of me, albeit my eyes are dry and my lips quiver as flooding anger start pulsing in my veins.
Forty and more years. And the lessons of martial law have been well grasped by President Noynoy Aquino. But the lessons he choose to hold contravene what freedom-loving peoples of the world have learned. He even contradict the very lessons learned by his parents from the Marcos Dictatorship.
One would ask: But does Noynoy have different genes from his father and mother? Is he made of tyrannical stuff?
No. Not necessarily. Have in mind the tales of puppetry in government history. The Philippine government has always been under the wings of the American Eagle since the start. Noynoy, just like his mother in her own time, does not want to veer away from the tradition of puppetry exercised by Filipino leadership to US Imperialism.
Under this system of puppetry any President in our country must continue serving American interests economically, politically and culturally. The US imperialists are like saying, “Try to jeopardize our interests in your country, and we will deal with you in the most suitable way we know”. Or to put it in a tele-serye phraseology, “Talk back, and you’re dead!”
What this impliedly means is that there has not been a leader in our country who is principled and brave enough to show he has “balls”. In that light, Noynoy is therefore the most unprincipled and the most coward of all the Philippine Presidents in the line. Why? Because he is the most accommodating to the US demands and most obedient to his master’s dictates. And in his canine loyalty to US imperialism, he cannot but be a traitor to his country and people, a tyrant and a prospective dictator.
As commander-in-chief of the Philippine armed forces he is accountable to the criminal acts of his soldiers. He is the one who orders the hamletting of the country people in Kapalong – Pantukan areas. He commands the Alamara and all other paramilitary units in the country. He has the people’s blood in his hands.
The langay-langayan in Joey Ayala’s song will continue to be in flight over hamletted villages under this administration, unless the Filipino people take their destiny into their own hands.