Philippines Daily Inquirer, December 28, 2020
What happened to Nanay Sonya and Frank Gregorio is horrendous, but admittedly (and whether we admit it or not), many of us are used to it. It jolts us, shocks us, angers us, but we move on after a while — a bothersome thought considering the more than four years of waking up to headlines of killings.
It happened to Winston Ragos, to Kian delos Santos, and to countless faceless and nameless others whose lives were reduced to statistics, which increase or decrease depending on whom you ask.
The uniqueness of this latest killing was not in the piercing cries of grieving relatives or the protracted scream of traumatized neighbors. It was the relative nonreaction of the minor in the background.
Any human being with an ounce of humanity, of sensitivity, regardless of age, will be moved when head shots are fired and when people fall to the ground lifeless.
There was no such flinching, no such surprise, no such horror.
I fear becoming a parent who creates an environment that engenders such a reaction, and I hope that interventions can be made. It is downright worrisome that real-life murder can be stared down by minors who do not even bat an eye.
Ultimately, it goes back to how the elders — first the parents — do their job of formation.
What is happening? When will this end? #StopTheKillingsPH
Hernandez is a professor at the University of Santo Tomas, who conducts webinars on parenting issues. He holds a masters degree in English and is the assistant director for online of the UST Communications bureau.
Manila Times, January 1, 2021
I read this opinion piece by a certain Philippe Jose Hernandez titled, “When will the killings end?” I thought I should write about why we often hear about this.
The question begs an answer indeed. Who wants all these killings? Cui bono? Yet the framing of the narrative is suspicious and is typical of individuals, journalists and writers familiar with agitation and propaganda? It casts a seed of doubt on the intent of the piece. Why?
The author’s lens is limited to 2016 to date so, obviously it is politically slanted to pry into the killings, controversial or not, during the specific term of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (PRRD).
Killings have been happening all over the country across several administrations. Most of these were perpetrated by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and this has placed the Philippines among the Top 10 dangerous places in the world.
Are we outraged by all these killings of Indigenous Peoples’ leaders by the CPP-NPA? Are we touched by the stories of missing children recruited by Anakbayan, Kabataan and Gabriela-Youth to the NPA and later killed?
No, because many of these are kept from us by (mainstream) media. We knew these killings, but we chose to close our eyes and shut our sensitivities to it. We knew of these victims of the CPP-NPA kangaroo courts, but we chose not to pay attention.
In the CPP Anniversary Statements Compilation (1992-2017), page 27, Philippine Revolutionary Web Central (PRWC), they admitted to “Kampanyang AHOS, resulting in the prejudgment, torture and murder of more than 950 DPA suspects, including party comrades, Red fighters, mass activists, and other people.” (https://cpp.ph/category/anniversary-statements/)
By 1986, the party membership lost around 6,000, the statement said. What about the thousands more killed during Oplan Missing Link, Olympia, Kadena de Amor, VD and Zombie, during the purging years from 1984-1992?
Incidentally, it was the same period in which most of the 635 “Desaparecidos” happened, declared missing by the Commission on Human Rights and Karapatan to the United Nations CHR Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappeared. For the longest time they kept on blaming the security sector for these missing persons. Those lies were no big deal and because of our apathy, we now have CPP representatives in Congress calling themselves “Makabayan.”
Hernandez then shifts from the Gregorio killings in Tarlac, undoubtedly gruesome and shocking, to the controversial death of two others, one drug-related. They were human beings killed, all right, and so are the thousands killed by the NPA.
These drug-related killings have been happening ever since.
Did we know about the killings in Batangas of drug syndicate members in 2003-2012? An incident included the hanging of five people on a bridge, but were we outraged?
Did we know about the killings done by Mayor Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte, in his own backyard for drug money not remitted to him? Of the drug-related Parohinog killings in Ozamiz and Misamis Occidental?
What about the killings in Quezon province in 2009 to 2013? How many of these were related to the 400 kilograms or 600 kg of shabu/cocaine shipments intercepted in Sariaya and Real, or washed on the shores of Polillo Island and even Catanduanes in Bicol? Politicos were linked to it but were we outraged?
Yes, those killings existed. Many were unreported probably because it was plain business, and some media chose to sell out than meet the wrath of these rich, highly connected criminals at that time.
The drug-related killings were not classified by then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima as human rights or extrajudicial killing (EJK) cases because “they were not politically motivated killings.” In a sudden twist of fate, all these killings have become human rights and EJK cases during PRRD’s time, so declares Senator de Lima from jail.
But wait, why does it seem that the CPP-NPA killings are exempted still? In a recent Senate defense committee hearing, Teddy Casiño and Neri Colmenares refused to treat these killings by the NPA as acts of terrorists. In their own communist perception, these are acts necessary to pursue social change, even invoking UN policies for the protection of “activists.” Huh?!
Why are we back to these activism issues when we are talking of CPP-NPA terrorist violence? It’s called revolutionary dual tactics. In short “lokohan.”
Yes, 52 years of a killing spree by the CPP-NPA-NDF, with the involvement of their conspirators in Congress, made us callous on these inhumanity we see every day. “No more flinching, no such surprise, no such horror,” as Hernandez states it.
When will these killings end? The moment we stop being selective at what we perceive as violent or non-violent killing, these will stop. As soon as we start acknowledging that killings done by the CPP-NPA are not politically motivated, are murderous, and are against our democratic ideals, the killings will stop. The moment the Kamatayan bloc starts denouncing the atrocities of the CPP-NPA, the people will stop believing they are legitimate.
They already do. Then there will be outrage and we as a nation will flinch. Maybe the church, and Sister Manazan, can join us in this outcry.
Only then shall we see our children and families safe again.