I was shocked to hear the news last night that my uncle, Mayor Alex Aranas, was abducted by NPA guerrillas after engaging them in brief gunfight in a faraway barangay of Matula-tula in our hometown Pola, Or. Mindoro. Today, the news is that as a condition for his release, Mayor Alex Aranas has been ordered by the NPAs who abducted him to leave the town. Mayor Alex appears to have resolved to leave, in spite of his re-election campaign, for his safety and his family.
I don't know what the Commander-in-Chief is thinking about this situation, if she is thinking about it at all, but I hope she realizes this shows that the NPA's have effective control over my town. By showing their ability to abduct an incumbent mayor -- not once but twice! -- they have also shown that their power over the town is uncontested. The NPAs could take anybody they want, tell anyone what to do, and turn the town into a showcase of communist rule.
The last time I was in my hometown was in November 1, 2001 when NPA amazons raided the Pola police armory and sped away with all government issued guns on board a rented van. My family was so terrified, I haven't gone back since then. In 2004, the same group of NPA guerrillas abducted Mayor Alex Aranas for his failure to pay permit to campaign fees. He was only released after promising to pay (I don't exactly know if he did).
I was planning to spend election day next week in the beaches of Pola with my kids, but with this disturbing news that not even my uncle, who is the mayor of the town, is going to be safe there, I guess I have to put off the plan.
Pola is the hometown of the Vice-President, Noli de Castro, who happens to be a good friend of my uncle, and the President herself has been to our town twice, the only President to have ever visited our town. It is also the only town in Or. Mindoro where she won fair and square in the 2004 elections. But with this town turning into an NPA haven, civilian authority no longer matters there.
The Vice-President's town should never become an NPA haven. The President should take decisive action and restore the rule of law in our town. Declare martial law in Pola now.