The nerve-wracking stand-off at the Marines HQ yesterday was the subject of our usual morning chit chat at the Volunteer’s workroom today. Bitoy, was ecstatic and expressed his dismay when the stand-off did not escalated into a full blown cuop or withdrawal of military support for GMA. I shared his sentiments but it seems that the marines did not. They said that they caused all of that commotion simply because they did not liked their new commanding officer or something related to that. No wonder their calls to the public for protection and support became fruitless, they were doing it for themselves. A mistake clearly demonstrated to us by the Oakwood mutineers when they took over a hotel from which they are now named after last 2003, and cried to the nation that they have been done wrong. It wasn’t all bad, but is just that they cried only for themselves, a trait common to Filipinos but ironically, the same trait they detest by word.
Going back to our morning chit chat, all us who were there at the time, my friends from the volunteers, and later a good friend and mentor all agreed
that yesterday’s drama at Fort Bonifacio was just another frustration for us who on the other side of the pro-GMA fence. Frustrating as it may, yesterday’s commotion was a clear indication that the squatter in Malacañang’s days are numbered. Call it day dreaming but as Jose Marti once said, “Today’s dreams are tomorrow’s realities.”
‘I wonder when will that tomorrow come?’ I asked myself, and as if our old friend heard me talked to my self he said, “Wala, hindi talaga magkakaroon ng People Power hangga’t walang namamatay.”(It seems that People Power will not take place again until someone would be martyred.) He said this an observation and as a reference to Ninoy Aquino whose death triggered the acceleration of events that climaxed to the first People Power in Edsa twenty years ago.
Those who are pacifists or the non-violence types will strike me for this, but I partly agree with what Sir Lucky said. “Ugali na ng mga Pilipino na kung kailan may nasaktan, o nasaktan saka lang kikilos. Parang kailangan mo muna siyang batukan para mapakilos.” It seems that it is inherent to the Filipinos that they would wait until someone has already been hurt or they themselves be hurt before finally doing something about it. Masochism it what they call it, I’m not sure about the term but I’m positive about the observation.
Prime examples would be the countless disasters and calamities that have dotted our history both past and recent. The Ozone disco fire led to the stricter enforcement of building safety measures, the recent Wowowee Stampede led us to rethink about how we conduct noon time shows, plan, organize and manage big public events and actually apply these thoughts afterwards. Most recent is the tragic Leyte landslides wherein an entire town was erased off the map before we actually took second notice of our mining activities and come up with the idea of drawing up new maps that would identify potential landslide areas as means of preparation and prevention of another similar disaster. All of these were done after all is said and done, after lives have been lost and dreams shattered. “Aanhin pa ang damo, kung patay na ang kabayo.” (What good would the grass serve when the horse that would graze on it is already dead.)
Going back to our morning chit chat about the brief restiveness of the marines at Fort Bonifacio and how we viewed it as the newest frustration of the hopes of ushering in People power or some other means of enforcing change in the present administration we apply the same idiomatic expression, and ask would it take another Ninoy to awaken the people from its slumber of apathy and indifference and finally put an end to the new – as Conrad de Quiros says – ‘dictatorship’?
The tell-tale signs are now here, the pirated Proclamation 1017, the crackdown on the media, the arbitrary arrests and detentions of those who are suspected of going against or just being critical of the government and of course, the suppression of some of our most fundamental rights and freedoms.
Must we wait for another Filipino to put life – literally – to Ninoy’s phrase, “The Filipino is worth dying for.” before we act and put an end to this calibrated and pre-emptive martial law? Marcos they say has been resurrected, and it’s still a long time before August but I’m not that willing to wait any longer, as Conrad de Quiros puts it, “Protest. Defy. Fight back.”