Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘justice’

Silent Wildfire

I am a wildfire
Filled with passion
Burning with intensity
Receiving heaven’s flame
Fire never quenched
Rising from the ashes
Keep me in a basket
I’ll burn with rage
Lock me in a cage
I’ll wreck it with bare hands
I cannot stay silent
To watch justice crumble
Morality deteriorating
Truth dying
And the road twisted
Let me go as I am stirred
Let me run as I am ready

I am a wildfire
Let me shout a war cry
That destroys the destroyer
And burns the deceit of the deceiver
Let my passion
Burn the blindfolds of the slaves
And the bridges that bring them to death
I cannot stop
To keep this wildfire in me
For I will pass this
To the thirsty for justice

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Behind the Yellow Confetti

I know it’s a week late but let me share how memorable it is to be a part of another historic moment.

Twenty seven years after the first EDSA People Power Revolution, a law to compensate every human rights victim under

Pres. Aquino signing the Human Rights Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 at the People Power Monument at EDSA last Feb. 25, 2013

Pres. Aquino signing the Human Rights Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 at the People Power Monument at EDSA last Feb. 25, 2013

the Martial Law has been signed. The Human Rights Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 has been signed by President Aquino at the very People Power Monument last February 25.

To give a brief description of this law, this enables the compensation of the human rights victims under the Marcos regime between 1972 to 1986. This is for thus to restore not only their memory but to recognize the agony they endured and for the later generations to remember the ordeals of this era. A more detailed description of this law can be found under the Official Gazette website: http://www.gov.ph/downloads/2013/02feb/20130225-RA-10368-BSA.pdf

I have heard various accounts of when the state was under the Martial Law. Some claimed tough and terrible times. Others said it was just as normal as it was. While there were people who claimed that being under the Marcos regime was peaceful and generally did not want to take into account the horrible part. I wouldn’t conclude at this point who’s right, though. But it was a privilege for me to have had a short encounter with the Martial Law survivors last Monday.

One of them was Boni Ilagan, vice chairperson of the anti-human rights violence group SELDA (Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detention at Aresto). For a short moment, I asked him to recount a bit what he experienced during the Martial Law. By 23, he was arrested, tortured, and kept in a secluded place in almost a year. He cried injustice on what was done, as he was not put in a regular detention facility, being an activist against the regime. Yet, what happened to his sister, Rizalina, was more tragic. After being arrested with ten others in Southern Tagalog, her body was never found. Some of those with her were found dead in separated areas in Luzon.

An army tank at the reenactment of the "Salubong", when civilians and soldiers "met" in a peaceful clash that made the 1986 revolution a memorable and a historic one.

An army tank at the reenactment of the “Salubong”, when civilians and soldiers “met” in a peaceful clash that made the 1986 revolution a memorable and a historic one.

Twenty seven years lapsed; the signing, Ilagan said, was a success. After the Marcos regime, four administrations passed and yet no such law was taken into effect. Ilagan mentioned to me that this act was filed in the legislative for more than a decade and only until now it was a dream for those who yearned justice. Yet, it was only the beginning, he said. There’s more to battle. This is just one step to end impunity and human rights violence.

Commission on Human Rights Chairperson and also former human rights victim Etta Rosales agreed with this statement. The Philippines is the first in Asia to sign such a law in recognition of human rights victims. She hopes this would become a model for the world to push through to end impunity.

As I then talked to young people after the celebration, I observed how most of the younger generation do not understand the ordeal that these older activists must have gone through. I asked a few (rowdy and pretentiously shy) students how would they fare if we don’t have this freedom we’re getting. I got generally general answers: we’re not free. They tried to get details on how it would have been but on the general note, they can’t move the way as they do now.

I don’t blame them. I don’t understand the Martial Law ordeal either. I was already existing on the face of the earth for only a year when the sea of yellow fighters stormed the streets ready to sacrifice their red blood for freedom. These young people are decades apart from the time a renewed constitution was forged for them.

I remember how bleak it was to “witness” history through textbooks (that keep on being updated) alone. Museums try to recreate accounts dramatically to make sure we will not forget. Survivors would tell us in pain and tears for us to feel what they felt then. But if we take our present for granted, we will never remember. It is up to our generation to remember and recount the ordeals of history.

History never repeats itself. It is up to us to repeat history. Most of us find this subject in school boring because we were not a part of it. Yet, we don’t realize that we are living in historical times. Historical accounts became legend because it was either destroyed or was totally ignored. If there’s one way to warn the younger generations of the mistakes of the past, it is only through a re-account of history. But it is up to us, and for the younger generation, to heed the cries of the past and those who lived in the past.

After the "salubong" took place.

After the “salubong” took place.

My heart felt bad for some of the young students who kept on picking flowers from the army tanks and taking pictures while Pres. Aquino was speaking. Perhaps, they were not briefed about protocols and respect to the leaders of our nation. I wonder what would it be if we were threatened by nearby soldiers to shut up and listen to the president? They must not have understood that this freedom should never be taken for granted to the point of showing nonchalance to figures of authority. I wonder what difference one would react if he came from a threatening environment to a freed atmosphere. What character he must have exemplified!

As the yellow confetti showered the streets of EDSA, I hope everyone would not think of the People Power as merely a celebration or a sensationalized propaganda. Behind the yellow brand that is being blasted in public every February 25 are stories doused in red blood. We celebrate so as not to forget. We celebrate so as not to repeat the mistakes of the past anymore. I hope every young person would realize this. I hope every young ones in my generation would remember and listen to the voice of the past.

Empowered and Broken to Conquer

Right in the middle of the night, I fight against a running nose and a sore throat that was caused by restless screaming and loud worship and praise for the past four nights and three days. For those moments, I was deeply empowered with fresh revelation and an overflow of His Spirit, despite of this physical circumstance I’ve endured just today.

But that’s not where my real battle lies. After the convergence, I welcomed myself into the realities filled with brokenness…the realities I am to conquer.

If I can sum up the message of the past JRev (or Jesus Revolution) Convergence, the bottom line is the call to conquer the cultures of society. Imagine, we are not called only for church, but we are called for Christ. It’s a revelation of spreading His love to the other spheres of culture: family, education, business, arts and entertainment, government, media aside from church.

I was very much empowered, encouraged, and moved. The worship was intense and the Lord’s presence was so tangible, I wish I could stay here forever. But I have to go out.

Every night I’ve left the place, my eyes were once again opened to the poor and the needy sleeping in the streets, the broken and the homeless wandering on the sidewalks, and the places filled with filth and trash. Where’s the glory that I’ve basked myself into? Not in this place. And yet, for a weird instance, I felt moved at the sight.

For those three days it was empowering, but those four nights were heartbreaking.

I’ve seen that there are many people…a whole lot more in exponential numbers in such a broken situation compared to those who attended the convergence, or even those who have experienced God’s glory. And then, I remembered other people who have not even known the Lord in the places I work, much more in the field I go out to.

But I’m just one woman. What am I to do?

What I did not realize, the promise that I kept on claiming over and over is going to be a my tent peg in this upcoming war: “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

This brokenness is just the beginning. The moment the convergence ended, I knew that the real battle is just to begin.

There’s so much justice to be attained. These people I saw are just a remnant of the majority wallowing in deceit and poverty. I am called to be a voice in this mountain. But I need strategy. I need people to partner with me in prayer. And I need to keep a close walk with the Lord to know His heart and to be kept in realignment with His leading.

I knew bigger storms are coming. But these are for no apparent reason…these storms are just trying to hinder me from the inheritance that I’m warring for.

“Sometimes, your worst warfare is happening because the devil knows you’re approaching your biggest breakthrough and he’s trying to stop you from staying or getting to where you should be!” said Dr. Lance Wallnau, as he shared how to conquer the mountain of culture. Deep in my heart, I choose the mountain of media (government as second but not the main) and knew that with this commitment, I can not turn back.

I have to stand firm, be sensitive and be willing to be molded. I’m but a voice. I’m but His hands and His feet. I’m but a forerunner. I’m but a small man. But what is this huge mountain if I have a really big God to back me up.

Am I ready for this? I’m watching out for the arrows, but I knew I already have the victory through this war for I am a co-heir with the mighty King who had already sealed the war in victory!

Casting the First Stone (and a bit of a movie reflection from “The Mistress”)

I find that my movie night out with a friend last Friday was so unusual. I’m no cheezy romantic, but for the sake of destressing from our normal reality, we watched “The Mistress”. Believe me, this is the first time I watched a Pinoy romance in cinemas. 🙂

The story begins with the pretty tailor Sari meeting the architect JD. And in order not to spoil the rest of the story, I’ll just run through to say there was an attraction, a pursuit, a surprise, a conflict and an ending (haha…because the point of this writing is not the John Llyod-Bea pair up).

The movie though, reflects one slice of reality. It made me think a lot on judging others and ourselves.

Bea Alonzo’s character, Sari, is not the typical selfish, villainous-type of mistress that was usually portrayed in traditional media. Her family’s breadwinner, she makes sure she could provide everything they need to survive. Despite of her simple and giving nature, no one would think of her as a mistress of Rico Torres, a rich, old tycoon and CEO of a huge telecom company…this one, of course, disappointed John Lloyd Cruz’s character, JD. Yet, after five years of being the other woman, she did not abuse the old man’s kindness, more so being spoiled.

So, who the victim here? Actually, all of us can be like Sari. It’s surprising how good people can hide some dark secrets. Shocking, but true. It’s easy to condemn the bearer of the closet when the skeleton inside jumps out. In this world though, we’re all prone to fall into deep sin…even the most “righteous” of people.

When JD asks Sari what if she had never met Rico Torres, and everything on earth is OK. When they close their eyes, it made them see themselves ending together. But then, Sari asks, “Pwede bang magkatotoo ang kunyari lang? (Can something we have pretended become a reality?)” That one choice she made turned her away from that one thing that she could have been hoping at that point in time.

We all have choices and no law stops us from picking the path we take. However, the consequence arrives at the end of the road. We can’t judge Sari for choosing to be a mistress just because she wanted to gain something. But she was trapped in the choice she had made. In the end, after all the conflict, she had to let go…as her affair ended in a tragic turn.

I find that there’s a little of Sari inside of us. We might be seen as good people and yet there are bits of secrets so dark that can turn off anybody when found out. We can be trapped in the choices that we make, no matter how we are taught to obey these rules and laws. One fatal attraction can become a deadly blow, if not to us, to the people around us. We can all be victims of our choices. And yet, who are we to judge others who try to keep their skeletons in their closets?

When the Pharisees brought an adulterous woman before Jesus (John 8:2-11), He did not decide just like the rest of the crowd. As he was challenged to answer on what to do on her since the Law of Moses says that such a person be stone, He gave them an equally challenging answer instead, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

I wonder how this present day society would react when the Lord Himself would tell us the same. We’re used to social media bashing, vengeful reactions, and negative speculations when we have not seen the other side of the story, at all. Are we that “righteous” to think that we are above the rest of the condemned? Aren’t we condemned along with the rest of the sinful society, too?

And yet, in His grace, Jesus told the woman “Go, and sin no more”. That’s grace. She did not deserve it and yet He gave it.

In all of us, there is both goodness and wickedness. We are all victims to a fallen world and to our condemned selves. Yet, we can’t just point a finger to a fellow brother who is just as filthy as we are. And yet, here’s a God who gives His grace to wretched man. It’s just up to us to go for it and to give up our wretchedness. And yet, our fellow man needs help, too. Who, then, would be willing to cast the first stone?

Gagging the Truth Bearer

For the sake of truth, we journalists know the risk of it. But I never thought such danger would happen to one of us at these times.

Most of us in MPC were shocked to know that one of our colleagues, Fernan Angeles of The Daily Tribune, was a victim of an attack Sunday night. As said by his wife, before he became unconscious, he knew who his attacker was…and this was someone influential. We’re hoping for the best that he would completely recover and that justice would be brought upon his assailants.

I myself spurred thoughts after hearing much of this incident. Though we’re been rallying against impunity and injustice, made much awareness to the expectant public in incomprehensible speed through social media and other means, and did all the means to make sure that tragic deaths of media men will never happen,  there are still many who would dare shut up the mouths of these truth bearers – I, as one of them. But this was not a reason for us to be afraid of what we’re doing. This is our job…and we’d rather stand by telling the truth rather than closing our eyes to it.

Ok, let’s admit that most of us are really dared to go beyond the expected thinking, are very loud and even provocative. But we do it to make the public think and rethink. Once the public dig deeper into the obvious, there’s much exposure and it would not be pleasant. This is what they are afraid of…and would dare to stop the quarry before revealing the murky part of their palaces.

We, of course, are reminded of the weight of our responsibility. We stand by a code that makes us unbiased. Some of us won’t, though. But, this does not mean that all of us should fall because of who we are and what we do.

There are still many cases of media killings that are not solved…forgotten, actually. What are we to do? We are doing our best to let the world know – and remind not to forget my fellow colleagues who had fallen and who are struggling for justice. This is a fallen world, I can say, and for sure more arrows are set out to attack our kind. But it will never stop us…and they’ll never will.

Let not these attacks completely gag the truth. They might silence the reporter, but never silence the truth.

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