We live in the killing fields
First comes the thought of the nine-month-old boy, now fatherless because his daddy, Christopher Tangag, 23 was shot dead last week.
What would become of the boy when he grows up? How has having lost his dad scarred him? We hope that the unimaginable loss visited on this boy will lead to his growth in resilience, not in melancholia.
We then think of Christopher’s parents. They did not speak to this paper following the slaughter of their young son. The bullets that felled him have compelled them to fall silent, too.
Who would not be at a loss for words when a loved one is so violently snatched from him?
We think of Christopher’s older sibling and of his wife, Jessel and hope that their loved ones rally around them and support them through the mourning that is hollowing them out.
Christopher is one of five young men who were shot dead midweek last week in upland barangay Malubog, Cebu City.
The others are Rolando Tayor, 29; Leyster Abella, 26: Diover Van Sarijorjo, 22 and Carl Cabahug, 20.
Christopher had just become a father. He had worked as both a call-center agent and motorbike-for-hire driver to make sure he earned enough for himself and his family. The sideline led to his death.
Like Christopher, Rolando, Leyster, Diover, and Carl have their own stories, their own families. They are not mere statistics in this shameful, sorrowful time.
How clear is this to tourism officials rushing? While blood taints the land, to assure tourists they are safe?
How clear is this to law enforcers who, to take Shakespeare’s line, “doth protest too much” the possibility of their involvement in the carnage?
Will there be official expressions of sorrow for those cut down in these killing fields called the Philippines, of sympathy for those left feeling amputated as they weep over their beloved’s remains?
People have been killed.
Claims have been made that the perpetrators were policemen.
Officials like Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat of the tourism department are in no position to assuage alien tourists with security concerns, be damned everyone else nevermind that they, too, travel every now and then.
In the United States from 2008 to 2009 alone, more than 300 people were hit by stray bullets in shootings unconnected to them. Who has the crystal ball through which to tell Filipinos and foreigners in their country that they are definitely bulletproof?
Police do not suddenly look trustworthy by making denials as if citizens forget that their first task is not to claim immaculate status by swiftly insisting they had no hand in summary executions.
Show probity, sirs and mesdames. We have grieved over and honored the heroic among you who have died in the line of duty. Please help us believe that you do not count as a weakness if you admit that your ranks need cleansing: Find and arrest suspects, be they policemen, plain criminals or oxymoronically, criminal policemen.
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