Home at Last

President Benigno Aquino and Vice President Jejomar Binay witness the arrival at the Villamor Airbase in Fort Bonifacio of the slain seven Marines. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ/INQUIRER

 

Perhaps the whole country is busy dealing with Juaning and Kabayan. Or about the alleged ballot switching at the Batasang Pambansa. Or too occupied praying for Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (whether they pray for her safety and recovery or the opposite, I don’t know). Or still mourning after the loss of the Azkals for their 2014 world cup bid. Or celebrating Eat Bulaga’s 32nd anniversary. Or just doing some other stuff that we failed to notice this another gruesome event at the southern part of our country.

Our marines had an encounter with the Abu Sayaff last Thursday at the jungles of Sulu and five (5) of them were decapitated.

Beheading is not something new for these bandits. Most of us would still remember how they decapitate their kidnapped victims and how they dehumanize our troops by beheading the soldiers they kill in the battle.

Maybe the Abu Sayyaf is making their presence felt. For the past few months, we barely hear a thing about them (or maybe the news agencies are just too busy covering and showing us the other important issues? I don’t know.). This just shows that the violence in the south is far from over and the government has still a lot of work to do to attain the peace in the south.

I can still remember a Catholic priest who was assigned in Basilan who told us his first-hand experience with these bandits and their victims. He was the guest speaker on the (Lipa) Clergy’s monthly recollection when I was still in the seminary. He told us his story when he was assigned to bless the mutilated corpses of the 10 soldiers who were slain and beheaded in Basilan in an encounter in 2007. He could not believe how barbaric these bandits were by doing this hideous crime.

After hearing his story, I was moved and I felt that I was also in front those slain heroes. But he also left a challenge in me if I have the courage to be assigned in a far-flung place with all the perils and dangers accompanying the mission.

Courage. I admire these courageous heroes who sacrificed their lives by defending the country. It is just sad to hear these sad tales about our soldiers in the field amidst these controversies involving the high-ranking officials of the military.

To our heroes in the field, to the thousand nameless and ordinary soldiers who fought to defend our country, thank you for a job-well done. You may have gone but your contribution to the country is priceless and may it always be remembered by the generations to come.

I give you my snappy salute.

Mabuhay ang mga sundalong nagtataya ng kanilang buhay para sa bayan. Viva Filipinas! Padayon!

Elsewhere: 5 Marines Beheaded by Abu Sayyaf, Aquino Mad

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