We Want Home

Photo from Tindeg Ranao

The extension of Martial Law. The wish of the administration to extend Martial Law is granted. The Congress voted to extend the ML.

The question is, for what reason? The soldiers of the country keeps resounding that they have the control to the situation in Marawi. Then what’s the extension for? Is it to totally eliminate the Maute Group or The ISIS? Or some other reason? But whatever the reason is/are, the victims are always at risk.

“Higit kanino man” the Moros are the most affected.

The Moros’ livelihood, their sons, their daughters, and their homes. Does the country value its minority people—Moros? Is the country trying to choose the extinction of its strongest tribe to the fictitious mantra “end terrorism.”

We want to go back home. This is the scream of the Moros. They want to go back home. Who wants to live like a stranger in a place where you always have to compromise your belief, tradition, and religion in order to fit in, in order to belong?

Simultaneous protests were made against the extension of the ML and to stop the aerial bombing on July 22, 2017. In Iligan City the evacuees joined the protest. Many were students from MSU-Main. Their greatest fear is what will happen with their education. The youngest who joined the protest is a 4-year-old. Maybe he was joined by his mother but this is an actual example of what the country could be losing if the war continues. It could lose its children.

What is left is hope. Smile is a symbol of hope. Filipinos are always happy. We are always hopeful. The evacuees’ smiles when interviewed is not a sign of passivity but of hope. It may be a sign of despair because only a smile is left when the eyes are tired of crying. But they are optimistic that soon it will be ok. There is hope when the child from evacuation centers draw their house and say he wants to be an engineer to rebuild their house. There is hope when learners from Marawi write in his essay “I wish to end the Martial Law so that my family will be happy again.”

We do not discriminate. Wanting to know the point of view of the soldiers of the country to the protest against the extension of ML and against the aerial bombing, my audacity dominated me, and asked Mr. Police (I did not ask his name because I was afraid he will ask my name too which could be a barrier with our communication).

He answered with a question, “What is the purpose of the ML?”

For a moment I paused, not because I do not know the answer but because until now I do not get the idea of the declaration of ML in Mindanao and now its extension. Then answered, “To control and suppress the lawless elements and to stop if there’s a home invasion.”

“Why are they against the extension of ML?” he questioned again.

I said, “The ML by context is very good but can we entrust our human rights to the soldiers of the country who once betrayed us?”

He defended their pole and said we treat each equally under the constitution be it Meranaw or Muslim or Christians. That there is no discrimination happening. Well, good for him. I think he is saying the truth, I believe him, but I do not believe the soldiers from the Northern part of the country whose prejudice is still with them.

The statement of Samira Gutoc  from the congress session that “your honors ask us,” which means hear us, resembles that the Moros have the first eye view of this incident why can’t the government hear them that they do not like the extension. They want to go back home before home could not be rebuilt. She even cited many incidents that the Meranaws, their rights were violated. Now I will go back to the Police I once asked. “Sir, you lied.” Discrimination is very evident.

Photo from Tindeg Ranao

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