Sunday, September 04, 2016

159. Davao

Every bombing is a repetition of another. In June 12, 1978, there was a fire at the market of Bankerohan, Davao City. As people came to help put out the fire,  a grenade exploded, killing a number of those who came.  This much we learned from Joey Ayala's song,  “Bankerohan,” which came out in his 1991 album, "Panganay na Umaga." In March 4, 2003, the airport terminal in Davao City was likewise bombed. At least 21 people were killed and another 148 were injured. Yesterday, I woke up to hear of another bombing in Davao, this time at the Roxas night market. I'm familiar with his place as often I stayed at the Marco Polo Hotel right across Ateneo de Davao, near the site of the bombing, which killed at least 14 people and injured at least 61. The logic of these bombing attacks were obscured, but I gathered it was often politically-motivated, a vicarious attack upon an authority channeled through  the helpless civilians, whose fault it was to be at the wrong  place at the wrong time. During martial law, the Light-A-Fire Movement was notorious for bombing several establishments. I found a book by one of its leaders, Ed Olaguer, in a book store, read some chapters, and set it aside for good, regretting the time I wasted reading that book. Olaguer was never made a hero of the Marcos years, even as Olaguer tried peddling his exploits. Digging further into our history with bombers and terrorism, Jose Rizal knew how history would judge terrorists like Olaguer. In Rizal's El Filibusterismo, Simoun's plan to bomb the wedding reception of Paulita Gomez and Juanito Pelaez was foiled by Isagani, Paulita's erstwhile love interest, who threw the lamp where the bomb was hidden to the river, after a tip from Basilio. Rizal could have changed the plot, and let the bomb explode instead, which would have been the first terrorism scene in Philippine literature, but he did not do so. Rizal knew it then as we know now,  the bombers are never endeared to the authority they seek to overthrow or to the society they seek to change, or to the human race for that matter. History would always be unkind. Nobody would get a monument for killing helpless innocent people, regardless if the bombers succeed,  and no matter the nobility of the cause. The means, not the ends, is how all will be justified. Every bombing is a repetition of another. But the bombers -- they never learn.

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