Posted by: luvin | August 28, 2008

The Rat and the Mice

Today, Aug 28, 2008, a national daily run a story about the resurgence of the ilaga movement. It tells of the past atrocities of the group. Of houses being burned, of people being killed without remorse. I know of those things but I always avoided writing about it because I don’t seem to have the stomach to discuss it.

I avoided it because I feel bad going back to the times when a tooth for a tooth is the law. In the late 70’s, I was already in highschool, and I experienced this kind of scenario. Everytime a christian died, his/her relatives would kill a muslim in retaliation. It reach a point when most of my muslim classmates have to transfer to muslim dominated localities for survival. When the body guard of a prominent politician was killed by moro, entire muslim village was attacked and civilians were massacred (these are undocumented massacre, and there are many of these kind). When a grenade was thrown at a christian gathering, the christian militias (often the ilagas) would retaliated by throwing a grenade at the mosque. I have seen mutilated bodies. I have seen dead bodies lined along the road, some lumped together in a ‘carosa’, to be buried together in one big hole.

This is the scenario of my teens. The very reason why I don’t want to write about this gruesome past.

The ilagas, is not to be blamed entirely, for those killings. Many of those killings are by military personnel, and some by the civilians themselves. The civilians could also kill when provoked. This is the reason why I wrote in my previous post, that the government,  has stepped on a land mine, when it initialled this  MOA-AD.

The notoriety of the ilagas is partly due to media coverage. A case in point is that of the Manero brothers. They are not senior members of the ilaga movement. Although kumander bukay (Norberto Manero) was said to be a bata-bata of Kumander Toothpick, his rise to notoriety came only during the 80’s. His killing of father Favali was a case of a mistaken identity. Their real target was Father Peter Jeremiah, who is known to sympatize with the struggles of the lumad, which is also manipulated by the communist to work for their cause. The Manero case was used by politicians and communist as a propaganda event, thus it was blown out of proportion. These people happen to be from the same place where many relatives of Kumander Toothpick came. They reside in barangays in between the towns of M’lang and Tulunan in Cotabato.

If Feliciano Losis is the head rat (ilaga), Norberto Manero is a mice.

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