Bridge To Peace

In between corn fields in this part of Mamasapano in Maguindanao, is a muddy river that flows from east to west. The only structure that stands out in this vast, flat, dry and dusty place is an old wooden bridge that spans about 100 steps from both banks. In each step, one can hear a faint creaking sound of old brittle wood trying to hold on to each other. At the end of the bridge is a dry single track road that disappears into the cluster of cornfields and a handful of scattered houses in this otherwise unnoticeable place.

Just a few meters away from this creaking old wooden bridge is a military brass band playing marching songs. A festive feeling was in the air amidst the heat of the midday sun as residents in their colorful clothes of red, yellow, blue, and gold walk toward the sounds of trumpets playing. Hundreds of people gather to see what was happening. More exciting was the truckloads of rice and canned goods being distributed by these men in camouflage uniform.

Today, a new bridge will rise in this dry, dusty, flat land. In this place where a police raid before led to the killing of more than 60 persons, including civilians, residents have never seen the face of development before this. Now, there is a bridge linking a cornfield to the opposite bank leading to another field.

I decided to go beyond the fields of Mamasapano. This is what I saw and recorded.