The dictator

We are told we are on the verge of open war. The generals are mounting their cavalry; the defenders of the faith are mustering their troops. This war did not spring from the deaths of the 11 members of the New People’s Army killed in a June encounter with the Army’s 85th Infantry Battalion. Neither was it a result of the hostilities in Basilan, whose terrorists shattered the bodies of the 10 soldiers whose coffins arrived yesterday at the Villamor Air Base. The war does not involve the Chinese garrison at Scarborough, or the families of the victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, or even the millions whose lives we are told are at stake at the center of Edwin Lacierda’s metaphorical war against poverty. The battle of 2012, we are told, was declared on July 23.
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Jul 28, 2012 under Health, Opinions, Politics | no comment

The falling sky

My father is standing outside our garage again. The bags have been packed, the cables unplugged, the grandchildren dressed and waiting to be plucked from their beds. The waters are at the gates.

The windows are frosted; the sky is going gray in the morning. There is three feet of water along Magallanes and Gilmore, Bangkal’s creek has overflowed. At 8 a.m., National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council head Benito Ramos reports that “so far, we have had no reported casualties.”

It is July 21, 2012, the date that will mark the graves of the two who have already died in the wake of a tropical depression’s short visit. The first is Jonathan Sagodaquiel, 31, a man who, Ramos claims, was drunk while he was crossing the Lumban River. He drowned in Wawa Village, Laguna, “swept by the strong current.” His body has been recovered. The second is a 35-year-old from San Isidro village in Naguilian in La Union. His name is Wilcor Rellera, and he drowned in the Pandanga Creek.
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Jul 21, 2012 under General, Opinions | no comment

The scream

It started with the reindeer. You’re three, maybe four years old, and it peers down your bed through the mosquito netting, bright eyed, with shiny, sharp teeth. You scream for mama and can’t. And forever and after, you discover watching “The Jungle Book” gives you nightmares, and so does “Bambi.”

Then there were the witches. They ride broomsticks, giving chase through a warren of hallways, whipping into a fluorescent-lit bathroom to cackle and bang outside a locked wooden stall. You’re 23 years old and you open your eyes and you’re lying on a couch and you hear them, still cackling and banging, outside the windows of the room where your director sits editing and the television is playing. Bang and cackle. Crash and babble. And you try to move, to say look out, they’re outside, and when you finally make a sound, when the scream comes out a croak, you pull yourself off the couch and to the floor, pleading that the curtains be covered because they’re here, they’re coming, keep them away please. And because the director is a friend who believes in aliens and spaceships and the awesome powers of the Tazmanian devil, he will hold your hand, pat your head, and drag a blanket over the window while you take over the editing with your back turned away.
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Jul 14, 2012 under Opinions | no comment