My Mindanao, My People

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 02 November) — It pains me when Filipinos from Manila gloat and declare “retribution” has come to Mindanao. It is so unChristian, nay, so unFilipino, to take unusual glee in seeing the suffering of others, simply because they are from Mindanao.

Luzviminda Calolot Ilagan, Mindanawon from Davao City. Ilagan is Undersecretary and Department Legislative and Liaison Officer of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Photo from her FB page

When Mt Pinatubo erupted, Mindanawons did not celebrate. Instead, schools organized relief operations and mobilized resources to send to Luzon. No fanfare, just quiet collective effort to lend succor to those in need.

When Yolanda struck, Mayor Digong was among the first to rush to Leyte bringing water and food. It was not election time and he arrived ahead of the better equipped groups from the National Capital Region.

Truckloads of assistance from Davao followed, warmly sent off by citizens who had gone out of their way to wish the relief workers a safe trip. A mass had earlier been solemnized.

The people of Mindanao did not search high and low for reasons Mother Nature picked Luzon or Visayas for these catastrophes. They are essentials of life puny mortals must accept. And being human demanded humane acts.

Now, Mindanao is reeling from incomprehensible devastation. Must we search for reasons for the suffering and claim it is “retribution” and that the people of Mindanao had it coming?

It is sad. It is painful.

(Luzviminda Calolot Ilagan, a Mindanawon from Davao City posted this piece on her Facebook page shortly before 11 a.m. on 02 November 2019, apparently in response to insensitive social media posts about the disaster in Mindanao. This is a post to friends. MindaNews was granted permission to publish this. Ilagan is Undersecretary and Department Legislative and Liaison Officer of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Before that, she was Gabriela party-list representative for three terms, a city councilor of Davao and a professor at the Ateneo de Davao University)

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