Achieving Happiness

March 23, 2009

Easier to blame Azazel

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ina Alleco @ 6:03 am

Every time I troll through the various local news sites, I remind myself that I will not, I repeat, will not read the crime stories or the ones that describe children being hurt or maimed because of the stupidity and/or viciousness of adults.

I always fail. Somehow I always end up reading about depravity, gratuitous violence, and heartbreaking tragedies, and for the rest of the day I feel worried and unsettled and sometimes even depressed.

Is it just me or are the crimes getting worser and worser as one of those fantastic creatures in Alice in Wonderland (or it Through The Looking Glass? Whichever)? Family members butchering each other, friends hacking or shooting each other to death, children being raped by neighbors, police executing suspects of carnapping. I cringe everytime I read the reports, but gad, my eyes seem glued to the webpage and my right hand seems to have a life of its own as it manuevers the mouse to scroll down.

The contents of the tabloids are the stuff of nightmares, and so many people are living them. It’s a wonder that the human race continues to thrive (if this state we’re all in can be called  ‘thriving’, nevermind the advancements  in science and technology); we all might as well go back to living in the stone ages with the way we all deal with one another.

I myself confess to having a mercurial (read: hotheaded and impatient) temper. I  sometimes fear that one day, in my impatience with other people who are severely lacking in commonsense or are plain stupid/who take advantage of their badges and so-called positions of responsibility in government, I might just end up whacking someone on the head with the business end of an umbrella.

Years ago I saw this movie starring Denzel Washington called ‘The Fallen.” In it, a devil named Azazel goes around the world doing insane and vicious mishief: he touches one person and the indivual commits violence to other like shooting grandmothers crossing the street or throwing babies in the river (I forget specifically the cases Washington – a cop – handled); then he jumps to another person, leaving the previous individual whose mind he occupied completely unaware that he had become a cold-blooded killer.

Two weeks ago my friend Reginald ‘Chi’ Brotonel visited from Hong Kong, and over dinner we talked about the insanity of the violence that takes place in Philippine society day in and day out. Of course we talked about structural violence and its proponents in this unblinkingly despicable government; but what struck both Chi and I is how random the smaller crimes are, and in the same stance, how mind-numbingly violent.

Maybe it’s Azazel, we mused.

But not to put the blame on imaginary devils, the truth is that the kind of culture and the kind of values this society creates is not one that will allow people to respond, live up to and act on the more altruistic, kinder, gentler side of their natures.  The sins condemned by the Catholic bible and other sacred texts of other world religions (including the New Age ones) proliferate because we have a society that allows worse sins continue unpunished; impunity reigns, and everything that spits at the face of goodness  follows. It’s a deeply flawed world where the godless and selfish walk without shame.

I believe that people can be  be kinder, more compassionate and less selfish if most of us did not suffer hunger and see our own children fall prey to sickness and disease.

I believe that people can react immediately and automatically to injustice if most of us did not suffer injustice daily at the hands of those who promise with forked tongues that they would protect us and our rights.

I believe that people can   be less selfish if not most of us did not have to fear that that there would be no next meal; that the humble shelter we call home will be torn down and destroyed; that the jobs we hold will not be taken away from us because of calulated greed.

I believe that people can be taught to drop all their petty but potentially destructive vices like drinking alcohol if they were given other venues to exorcise their personal demons or to simply relax (hey, a state-of-the-art  movie theater in every home!).

Hay, to be good. Naka-kabit pa rin yan sa lipunan, kung paano tayo pinalaki at kung anong klaseng lipunan ang ating kinalakhan. The rich and well-off  have all the material resources and the opportunities to help others, but they don’t. Many (o sige, most – seeing how Philippine is) opt to live their lives in a bubble, oblivious to the pain and suffering around them, indifferent to everything else but their shallow little pursuits and empty ambitions that serve no one but themselves. When they die, no one will mourn them but their families; and their lives carried the worth of paste jewelry.

I know am writing in generalities here, and I might be being unfair to  many rich people who do help the poor in their own way; but am writing in broad strokes, so to speak.

How do we fight evil in all its forms but to first begin to look beyond ourselves and our concerns? To look up from whatever it is that we’ve been doing in service of our own whims and wants, and then to take notice that others around us do not have the same chances and opportunities as we do: they’re all to busy trying to survive and to maintain whatever sense of dignity their poverty and lack of education allow them to. We could be less prone and susceptile to our human frailties and weaknesses that make some of us act and think less than human. We could embrace the godlier side of our natures, and help others embrace theirs and build a society where evil cannot exist and flourish.

Hmm, am thinking about socialism now.

Anyways, just writing down what’s been bugging me all morning. Crazy tabloid stories that speak so much about the kind of country and world we live in.

March 11, 2009

In anguish and in anger

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ina Alleco @ 9:31 am

candlelightPaanyaya para sa mga nakikidalamhati: To give tribute to the life sacrificed by Rebelyn Pitao, her remains will be transferred in Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), F. Torres St., Davao City on Friday, March 13. The last mass and eulogy will be at 7:00 – 10:00 pm. On the day of her interment, an ecumenical mass for her wake will be held at 12:00 nn of the same venue. A funeral march will follow at 1:00 pm before she will be brought to her interment at Davao Memorial Park, 5:00 pm on Saturday, March 14.

How enraging and insulting is it that the Macapagal-Arroyo government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are denying involvement in the brutal slaying of Rebelyn Pitao? And the idiots in both the regime and the AFP are saying that it must have been other enemies of Rebelyn’s father and the entire New People’s Army who took her life out of the thirst for vengence. Hell-o! Wala nang iba pang kaaway ang NPA kundi ang mga bulok at kurakot sa gobyernong ito, at silang mga berdugo sa AFP!

Just when you begin to think that the AFP and the Arroyo government’s atrocities could get no worse (dahil sobra-sobra na ang kawalanghiyaan at tumataghoy na maging ang mga bato sa lupa dahil sa agos ng dugo ng mga inosente’t walang muwang), here they commit yet another act of evil — killing the daughter to get back at the father, and all in the name of a government that the people wishes to end; in adherence to a code that reeks of inhumanity and brutality.

Would it still be possible to appeal to the AFP? For the institution and its members down to the CAFGUs to adhere to the principles of International Humanitarian Law, to be humane even in their conduct of war, to respect the rights of civilians and those who have nothing to do with the armed conflict?

Leave the innocents alone; do not harm those whose only weapons of dissent are their voices: their rights are guaranteed and protected even in the very Constitution the soldiers swear to defend and uphold.

Sana hindi na lang nagsalita ang gobyerno. Mas mainam pang nagsawalang-kibo na lang ang Malacanang kaysa sa ginawa nitong paghuhugas -kumay at pagtatanggol pa nga sa AFP at pagsabing wala silang kinalaman sa sinapit, sa ginawang kahayupan kay Rebelyn. Wala namang nagdududa kung sino ang nasa likod ng pagpaslang sa kanya; wala namang ibang pinagsususpetsahan kundi ang mga elemento at ahenta ng militar at ang gobyernong kanilang sinusuhayan.

It is simply not possible to rest easy in this country. How can sleep comfortably at night knowing all these horrors? Each day is lived in anger, and in fear for those one loves.

This government knows nothing but death and destruction; bringing both to those who only seek to live life in dignity and peace and to be assured that justice is not blind and that it goes after those who dare violate the sanctity of life for the sake of protecting their greed and their consummate corruption.

The deep anguish Rebelyn’s family is shared by thousands of Filipinos. Their anger is also mirrored a thousand fold. Her killing is yet another reason to continue the struggle to change society, to fight against the oppression and violence of those who fear a transformation based on the demands and needs of the majority. Ang sakit na dinadanas ng pamilya ni Rebelyn ay hinding-hindi mawawala; pero tiyak din naman na ang hinagpis ito ay palagi ring tatambalan ng taimtim na pagnanais na ipagwagi ang sinimulang pakikibaka para sa tunay na demokrasya sa lipunan.

March 6, 2009

Batang guro

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ina Alleco @ 8:21 am


Namatay ang sikat na rapper at artistang si Francis Magalona kaninang tanghali dahil sa sakit na luekemia. Marami ang magluluksa at nakikidalamhati sa kanyang iniwang pamilya. Napakabata pa kasi niya — 44– at marami pang maiaambag sa mundo ng sining at musika.

Samantala, pinatay naman ang isang hindi kilala at karaniwang guro  sa Toril Davao City. Bagamat hindi siya sikat gaya ni FrancisM, maraming-marami din ang nagluluksa dahil sa kanyang pagkawala, ngunit higit pa dito, maraming-marami ang nagagalit sa mga pumatay sa kanya.

Noong isang araw, Marso 3, pauwi na mula sa kanyang pagtuturo sa St. Peter College sa Toril, Davao ang 20-taong gulang na si Rebelyn Pitao. Marahil pagod siya dahil sa maghapong pagtayo at pagsasalita sa harap ng klase; maaring nakadama din siya ng kaunting pagka-inis dahil may makukulit siyang estudyante (likas na sa mga batang nasa elementarya ang maging pilyo at pilya; at elementarya ang noong tinuturuan ni Rebelyn mula nang pumasa siya sa eksam sa pagiging guro noong Nobyembre 2008). Kung ano’t-ano man, ordinaryo na sa dalaga ang umuwi sakay ng tricycle sa kanyang bahay kung nasaan ang kanyang nanay at iba pang kamag-anak.

Ano’t-ano pa at hinarang ang kanyang sinasakyang tricyle. Hinablot siya ng mga di kilalang kalalakihan  mula sa kanyang pagkakaupo sa likod ng drayber, at sapilitang isinakay sa isang puting van.

Iyon ang huling panahon na nakitang buhay si Rebelyn. Kagabi, bandang 6:30  nang matagpuan ang kanyang katawan: lumulutang sa ilog, hubad, may tinamong limang saksak sa dibdib, at maraming marka ng tortyur sa iba pang bahagi.

Sino ang mga halimaw na gumawa nito sa napakabatang guro — sa isang inosenteng walang ninais kundi ang magturo  sa mga bata na di kalayuan ang edad sa kanya at makatulong sa kanyang pamilya? Bakit ganun-ganun na lang ang kahayupang ginawa sa kanya, na puno ng galit at puot na sinaksak siya at sinakal, at parang basura na tinapon ang kanyang katawan sa ilog?

Si Rebelyn, dalaga, batang guro, sibilyan, ay anak ni Leoncio Pitao o Kumander Parago ng New People’s Army. Siya ay dinukot at walang awang pinahirapan at pinaslang ng mga miyembro ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas.

How can this government and its representatives even dare to assert that they respect and abide by the principles of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) or even plain human rights? The AFP and other mercenary troops of the GRP regularly attack, maim and kill civilians in their fruitless campaign to defeat the NPA.

Because they continue to fail in defeating the NPA, they resort to harming, hurting and killing civilians — burning their houses, terrorizing their children, abducting them, killing them and mutilating their remains.

Because they continue to fail capturing Kumander Parago, they abducted and brutally killed his daughter who held nothing in her hands but chalk and writing paper.

This government and its armed forces know a million and one ways to devastate the Filipino people. It holds nothing sacrosanct, it is coldly apathetic to the tears of anguish of children traumatized by the sight of their bloodied parents. It is indifferent to pleas for help, or at least an end to the suffering it brings to the lives of millions because of brutal economic policies; ruthless political strategies; relentless corruption and vicious military operations.

Rage, we must — we owe it to the countless innocents lives lost. We must use our voices to speak out against this unjust and inhumane violence and those who inflict it on us. We must use all our strength and will and might against that and those who make it impossible for the rest of us to sleep soundly at night, free of fear that the darkness will bring death, and that the coming daylight will mean more suffering on and on and on until death becomes something to long for and embrace.

Para kay Rebelyn — ituloy ang pakikibaka para sa karapatang pantao, katarungan at isang lipunang ganap na malaya!

March 3, 2009

Go, Miko, Go!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ina Alleco @ 3:46 am