Little One

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By Arnold Alamon

Wrapped in Grey

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


WHAT is your sin little one that they should make you suffer?

That you are born to a family of revolutionaries could be one. Your mother Andrea, after all is the daughter of Ka Roger Rosal. He died in the field of battle sadly under the same circumstances of your death. He was far from the health care he needed having been at the military cross hairs for decades as the spokesperson for the revolutionary movement in Southern Tagalog. But it was a kind of death that was accepted and honored for a life spent in bravery and courage.

But you, you barely had a day in this world. But you have been the subject of so much hate and villification by virtue of your courageous bloodline that the natal care you needed while inside the womb was kept out of reach by the enemy. There was your mother, well into the last months of her pregnancy, captured and tagged as a common criminal, with thirty one other women in a cramped cell.

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Remember public school teacher Rebelyn Pitao, daughter of renowned NPA commander Parago. Last March 4, 2009, she was abducted by armed men while on her way home in Davao City. Her body was found in a ditch the next day with marks of torture and sexual abuse. She had no enemies except for those that her own father had made as a revolutionary. Just like you, little one, Rebelyn was a fair target of this unprincipled war perpetrated by state forces.

How many more nameless sons and daughters have been tortured in the name of state-sponsored peace so that they will reveal the whereabouts of their loved-ones in hiding? How many parents have been threatened with the power of the state to expose their courageous sons and daughters? How many innocent lives have been sacrificed in the indiscriminate hostilities waged by the state against non-combatants?

For counterinsurgency operations to target family members of revolutionaries is not new. It is a system that has been put well into place by American occupying forces since the time of Taft and then adapted by the Philippine military for their own internal security operations against their own people a century hence.

One wonders what kind of state killing machine this is that target innocent civilians whose only fault is to be born into families who resist against injustice. It is not hate and passion emanating from a human impulse but a kind of soulless imperative of a military bureaucracy driven by machismo where body count, civilian or otherwise, is a basis for glory and promotions. This madness is also the kind that emanates from the irrational fear of an occupying force that treats everyone – men, women, and children as likely enemies.

This same fear of a resisting people ironically emboldened the likes of General Palparan to transform Eastern Visayas and Central Luzon into a howling counterinsurgency wilderness during his reign. The general remains in hiding to this day fearing the people’s justice that is sure to come.

However, it is the unflinching courage of those that have been victimized by the impunity of the system that has served as the strongest counterpoint to their message of fear.

It is the relentless and persevering efforts of mothers like Connie Empeño, Linda Cadapan, and Edith Burgos and other family members of the desaperacidos that have placed the likes of Palparan at the pedestal of infamy. After losing her daughter Rebelyn in such a gruesome manner, Evangeline Pitao stepped up and became the spokesperson of Hustisya Southern Mindanao, the organization of relatives of extrajudicial killings. It is also the organized and peaceful resistance of the indigenous Manobo tribes in Talaingod, Davao against mining and militarization in their ancestral land that strikes fear into the hearts of the occupying forces.

So they fear you, little Diona Andrea. They fear all that you represent even when you were in your mother’s womb. So they had to curtail your young life by nipping you at the bud and preventing you to blossom as a human being and bear witness to the injustice in this land just like your grandfather did. That is your sin and that is why they made you suffer.

But just like the mothers who have stood up for their missing and murdered daughters and sons, the tribes who have resisted the encroachment of opportunistic military and business entities, we are marked by the same sin of being witnesses to the same national suffering.

We stand by your mother in mourning, in our lips the promise that you, little one, did not die in vain.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 20, 2014.

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