Nowadays, I dreaded hearing or watching news from whatever source about the total destruction of Marawi City. In our younger days, even during that despotic Marcos regime, we used to go and learn with fellow campus writers to that beautiful place, who were then studying at the Mindanao State University (MSU). During that time, I fell in love with Marawi and its people.

Thus, today, it is difficult not to be drawn on updates about what is going on there, not only because there’s no chance that we do not get updates from all sorts of media, a part of me cries out for Marawi and its people.

Then I cannot help but ask myself why are we allowing these things to happen to us here in Mindanao? Quo vadis, Mr. President?

But we cannot play naïve forever, or let so-called leaders of this wretched land lead us to our destruction. We simply cannot close our eyes and ears and pretend that all is fine, that the Marawi crisis will soon disappear, or that Martial Law is ‘good’ and that nothing has changed.

Like it or not, it hurts to admit that we are again hoodwinked into believing that we Filipinos are now better off than we were before.

Have we really changed at all for the better?

On hearing and seeing on television the news about American soldiers coming in to “help” flush out the Maute terrorists, I felt an acid aftertaste rising from my belly, and suddenly remembered the slaughter of the Special Forces in Mamasapano. The US at first denied their presence there but it was later on proven to be true.

Still looking back to our wretched past, there were countless historical facts that would show how Filipinos became victims of America’s “benevolence.” Our collective memoirs as a people cannot forget the massacre perpetrated by the Americans in Bud Dajo.

No less than President Duterte himself chided then President Barack Obama in September 2016 when he was quoted by a local tabloid as saying “Who is he? When as a matter of fact at the turn of the century, before the Americans left, the Philippines, in the pacification campaign of the Moro in this island, there were around 6 million Moro (at that time), how many died? Six hundred! If you can answer this question and give an apology, I will answer him,” Duterte have said.

That tragic event that he was referring to took place a century ago in 1906, when, “on “hearing words that the Americans were going to invade, the Jolo people fled to the 15-acre wooded crater of Bud Dajo, an extinct volcano, believing that the spirits of the volcano will protect them.

On March 5, 1906, Woods ordered his officers to gather 800 of his men from the 6th and 19th Infantry, the 4th Cavalry, the 28th Artillery Battery, the Sulu Constabulary, and sailors from the gunboat Pampanga, led by Colonel Duncan, to Jolo. They were armed with mountain guns, rifles, bayonets, fast-firing pistols and grenades.

When negotiations for the Moro people who sought refuge in Bud Dajo failed, they attacked. The Moro warriors were armed with kris, barongs, and spears. The attack ended on March 7, 1906, with not one Moro standing; women and children among them.

The Americans lost two dozen men and some 70 wounded. It was a complete massacre. The “victory” that was earlier celebrated in the US was immediately tainted with shame after the US Congress realized there were women and children among the dead.” (Read: Duterte reminds US of Bud Dajo massacre)

President Duterte was so incensed at that time with the US that he further said “America has one too any to answer for their misdeeds in this country.”

Quo vadis now Mr. President? It seems America is cooking up something now without us being aware of it.

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