“Araw-araw, binibilang ang mga nabubuwal… Sa gutom ay natatakot yaong nag-aagawan, Kinakalas na ang batas, pumapalag kung masúkol. ” – “Luwalhati” ni Rebecca T. Añonuevo
Maiging maunawaan na hindi mahika ang agham. Lohika ang wika nito, batay sa masusing pagmamasid, paghahanap ng mga kaugnayang madalas hindi inaasahan.
May sukat na limitado ng panukat, may panghuhula, ngunit may materyal na kinahahabian, tila sapot na kay dali ring mapigtal kung mapapatunayang may ibang posibleng paliwanag.
Kaya dating makatang bula na ngayon ang lohika, bakit mo tinutuya na tila kakilala ang Kamatayan? Sa ibang panahon, mapapalampas sana ito, parang ingay sa perya na naghahatid ng panandaliang paglimot sa pang-araw-araw na pagod.
Maaari mo pang mala-Hamlet na hawakan ang bungo ng kung-sinong estranghero, magyayakyak ka’t magtitili hanggang umusbong ang lahat ng litid mula leeg hanggang kilikili.
Ngunit sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang rehimen na iyong sinasamba, katawa-tawa. Hindi tawang may tuwa, kundi matinding kapaitan.
Gamitan mo kaya ng agham ang pagbibilang sa iniluwal na kaban ng bayan? Hanapan mo kaya ng mga materyal na patunay ang landas na tinahak ng bawat piso sa bilyon-bilyong ipinagkatiwala sa tuliro- kung-magsalita mong poon?
“Tahimik ngayon ang paligid, ngunit di lubhang tahimik,” ang wika mo. Ang tugon dapat ng Kamatayan, mula rin sa iyong salita: “Traydor ka mula’t mula, hindi patas kung lumaban.”
“Magkikita na lang tayo diyan sa Rizal Park. Diyan mismo sa flag ni Rizal magbigti na lang ako.” – Rodrigo Roa Duterte, 6 Abril 2020
May bunganga ang basurahan. May bunganga ang imburnal, ang inidoro, ang halimaw na gabi lamang kung mag-iingay. Samantala, nais magpahinga ang mga may kaluluwa at pagod ang katawan.
Ngunit kaya nga halimaw ang tawag sa halimaw. Nanghahalina, nais mangibabaw sa paraang kanyang-kanya. Maging ang bandila ng bayani na malaon nang yumao, gagawing pambigti. Akala mo may kakawalang kaluluwa
sa kanyang kalamnang pumipintig lamang habang nagpapakahayok at nagpapasasa sa karimlang kinasalampakan. Kung maaari lang, kumilos sana
ang estatwa ni Pepe, sipain ka sa bayag. Ngunit wala ka, eh. Ay heyt drags.
Apologies for those who cannot read Filipino. I’ll try to work on a translation when I get a chance.
Today, in my country of birth, the current president appears before the lawmakers of the land, and before the entire nation. This is the same president who vowed to defend and protect the citizens of the country and adhere to the constitution. This is the same president who, soon as he took to power, violated the most basic rights of the poor and defenseless. Today he speaks as if he were the hero of the land. Each of us, in our own minds, try to be the hero we dream of. Duterte’s greatest hero, as he has declared and proven by his actions many times over, is the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos who silenced critics by sending them to prison, if not to the grave. Duterte’s so-called war on drugs, in a mere three years, has gone way beyond what Marcos himself managed to do. I wrote the following poem last year as a first draft. The second draft did away with all that is so blatant in the piece and, in a way, turned out to be a better poem. But it didn’t retain the anger and condemnation I wanted to convey. That poem is due to appear in a South African journal, the New Coin. Today, as I cannot join any of the protest rallies in my country of birth, I decided to share this poem here, and perhaps on my Facebook author account.
We Cannot Allow the Dead to be Silenced
The man who curses shall be cursed
to live forever in the stories we shall tell
our children. They will not fear him
or his twisted reincarnations.
Our children shall not be shaken
by his threats. His attack dogs
with teeth of bullets cannot make us
turn away and flee.
Though the dead may be left
unclaimed in morgues
or dumped on the side of the road,
their faces bound with packaging tape,
they will never be silenced.
The veins on their exposed necks
and stiffened arms will turn to roots.
And we who fight to remember
the cruelty inflicted upon those
we can no longer hold shall bear
bitter fruit to be shoved
down the tyrant’s throat.
The title of this post may look odd to those who are not familiar with the play on words Filipinos like to employ by borrowing from another language. A rough translation would be – aside from SONA (State of the Nation Address) – “Done in by Duterte.”
9 Farmers massacred and burned in Negros Occidental, the Philippines
On Saturday night, nine farmers were killed, including two teenagers, in Negros Occidental in the Philippines, my country of birth. News that isn’t news. This massacre isn’t unique as so many previous killings had taken place under previous presidents. But none of those presidents were as blatant and brutal about wiping out groups of people as the current one, Rodrigo Duterte.