I was scanning the text messages on my phone at around 6:00am today when I discovered the most startling event: Gunmen ambushed Lanao del Norte town mayor's convoy, 12 dead.
Again, some people in Mindanao are killing each other for an elective post. Patayan para sa pwesto ng Lingkod Bayan na kapiranggot lang naman ang sweldo.
"No change," I said. In the military, we refer to events like this as 'parang Morning Report', referring to the daily report reflecting the accounting of troops where we sometimes reflect as 'No Change'.
Mayor Abdulmalik Manamparan of Nunungan town was among those 8 people who were injured in the ambush of his convoy of supporters in the vicinity of Malaig village at around 6:30pm on Thursday (April 25).
Twelve of his supporters were killed in the deadly ambush perpetrated by unspecified number of gunmen. Say again? Twelve. Dose. Labindalawa.
Twelve lives lost in a senseless grappling for an elective post which is best described as "Public office is a public trust".
You might want to ask the most intriguing question: Is it directly related to the hotly-contested post of the town mayor? Like you, I can only make speculations from my air-conditioned office. Just make a wild guess. ERVI or not?
Well, who could forget the infamous Ampatuan massacre, the bloodiest election-related violent incident in Philippine history? Fifty-eight people were mercilessly murdered in that incident. Say again? Yes, 58. It is almost the same as the size of two platoons of infantry soldiers.
In the past days we accounted several victims of atrocities that can be associated to poll violence including the recent ambush on Gingoog City Mayor Ruth Guingona's vehicle convoy by the NPA bandits that claimed the lives of two people.
The recent incident shows that the 'peace covenants' signed by rivals who are vying for elective positions a few months ago, are not enough to prevent bloodshed. Obvious naman na ang iba sa mga pumipirma dito ay pang-photo ops lang. If they are serious, they must also turn-over all un-registered firearms of their supporters to the local police.
Illegal guns and armed groups
To eradicate violent crimes, every Filipino must say 'no' to illegally acquired guns which go to the hands of the criminals. Obviously, these criminals do not use registered firearms in carrying out violent attacks, tama po ba?
Supposedly, only law-abiding citizens must be allowed to own guns. Look around, why are there guns in the hands of criminals?
The blame game might be endless, and 'finger-pointing' is quite normal. Sabi ng iba, "Kasalanan ng militar at ng pulis". Teka, san nakaturo yong ibang mga daliri kapag mag-finger pointing?
When we say 'law-abiding citizens', we do not include criminal groups like such as the New People's Army, Abu Sayyaf and gun-for-hire elements operating as 'Private Armed Groups' (PAGs). Kailangan pa bang i-memorize yan?
Yes, there were cases where licensed firearms were seized from these criminals but most of these were stolen from licensed gun owners. Also, some were recovered from attacks against government forces.
Then, we also need to fully cooperate with our state forces (police and the military) to flush out or neutralize the armed criminals in our communities. We can do this by reporting the presence of armed men in certain locations.
By providing your police with reliable information, these armed thugs have nowhere to hide. Gradually, they will be trapped in the well-coordinated actions during law enforcement operations. Mamamatay sa engkwentro ang lumalaban sa pulis at militar.
Solution? No finger-pointing. Please do your part and we will also do our part. Pagtulungan nating sugpuin ang kriminalidad.
Let us not tolerate anyone who are possessing unlicensed firearms. Let us not condone the presence of armed thugs in our communities like the New People's Army and any political armed groups.
Our law enforcers need our help in curbing violent crimes. We must report these armed criminals to them. Isang text message lang yan kay Sir Chief na nasa presinto, o kaya kay Sarge sa military camp na sumusuporta sa ating kapulisan.
Kapag magkaisa, kaya natin ito!