This week there will be no brilliant displays of sarcastic wit. I woke up in the morning of August 18 to the sound of the radio blaring. The usually high-strung radio host of Bombo Radyo was screaming a couple of decibels louder. While I struggled to convince myself that the morning was my friend, I heard him mention a jumble of words that contained Kauswagan, MILF and gunshots. My blood turned cold and ran out of me. Did he mean Kauswagan that was right beside the barangay where I lived in?
After an hour or so of excruciating anxiety, I gathered that he meant another Kauswagan, one that was two hours away in Lanao del Norte, a province next to ours. I could almost touch my sense of relief but it would be short lived. A mere two hours away was a place where people were dying. If the MILF who had surrendered after the incident were telling the truth, they were apparently ordered to kill anyone and everyone in sight including children. I suspect that the kind of anxiety and grief that drove people insane would be with me forever.
When I lived in faraway
Our city was in red alert for a day or two but people walked the streets like it was a normal sunny day. For Kagayanons, it really was a normal day. They had gotten used to this. It has happened many times before. The people of Cagayan de Oro are also certain that the city, by the power of Vice Mayor Emano or some other worldly protection, will never taste the bitterness of violence. They say I’d be a fool to worry. I hope they’re right.