BATANG MINDANAW: Thoughts on the recent Mindanao bombings

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/20 Aug) — As the news about the recent spate of bombings in Mindanao circulated once again, I was upset. We’ve been experiencing this for years now and authorities find it difficult to capture the culprits behind these bombings. Unfortunately, our brothers and sisters in Islam often get stereotyped: They are often the ones who are blamed, though not all of them commit this kind of crime. I know because I have friends who are Muslims and just like the others, they also want to have peace in Mindanao and they want to put an end to this.

I come from a municipality where bombings are mostly committed. Bombs planted on buses, establishments, even in schools. Some exploded but mostly, these were only used as a threat. One incident happened recently —  at around 2:30 a.m. on May 15, 2013  —  when a grenade was thrown into a house and a six-month old baby girl sleeping so gently was killed after she was hit by shrapnel.

Honestly, I got kind of used to it; sometimes, I even make jokes out of it; maybe as a way to lessen the tension, my defense mechanism against fear.

After the recent bombings in Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato and Midsayap, my routines here in Davao city didn’t change. I still go to school, taking strolls to different places.

But the news stories did affect me.  I got worried about my family back home. I know I’ll be safe in this city but I thought to myself, how about my family? Are they safe?

I love my family so much that I get paranoid at night thinking of their safety. So every night I pray to the heavens, asking for protection and guidance for my family. I text them more often to make sure they are completely fine.

I thank God because he always listens to my prayers.

The saddest part of this event is the perception of people living in other regions; most especially in Luzon.  They always think of Mindanao as a dangerous place filled with terrorists and rebels. Most of them wouldn’t even dare set foot here, scared for their precious lives. With the continuing bomb threats and attacks here, their primary perception will always prevail.

As a resident here in Mindanao, I’d always be biased towards my perception of Mindanao. Beyond all the chaos that this region has been experiencing, this place is better than the rest. Storms may come but chances of typhoons are very minimal unlike in the north, where a lot of people die because of natural disasters. Cities in Mindanao are not that polluted yet as in other areas in the country and I live and study in a city recognized as the most livable and safest in the country.

Amid these dangerous events, I still hope that everything will have a solution. It may take a long while but I know we can achieve what we always desire, and that is peace in Mindanao.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Batang Mindanaw is the youth section of MindaNews. Contributions to this section are welcome. You may send your articles, essays, features, poems, short stories, photographs to [email protected] and [email protected].  Katherine Salgados of Kabacan, North Cotabato is a third year student of Mass Communications at the Ateneo de Davao University)

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