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A LETTER TO SEN. HONTIVEROS: Don’t look away from the unspeakable crimes done on our children

Dear Madame Senator:

Yesterday, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año showed, as part of his presentation in the Senate inquiry on redtagging, a video of children who were killed while battling government forces.

These were kids who had made the fatal mistake of joining the front organizations of the CPP NPA NDF like GABRIELA, CEGP, LFS, ANAKBAYAN, IBON, etc—and then ended up dead as NPAs.

These were photos that, on so many occasions in our meetings at the NTFLECAC, reduced so many of us—men and women—to tears.

And we don’t flinch and look away at the photos of our children cradling M16s in their lifeless bodies, their eyes forever closed.

And I suspect the reason I have for not looking away is the same for my colleagues at the NTF ELCAC, Madame Senator.

We don’t look away because we bear witness to the unspeakable crimes done on our children.

Children we birthed.Whose bodies we not only housed but their hearts, minds and souls as well so that they grow up noble, pure, full of love and light.

And at the NTF ELCAC, we know how SATUR OCAMPO, ARLENE BROSAS, SARAH ELAGO, CARLOS ZARATE, EUFEMIA CULLAMAT, FERDINAND GAITE, FRANCE CASTRO, TEDDY CASINO, CAROL ARAULLO, NERI COLMENARES AND THE FRONT ORGANIZATIONS THEY REPRESENT ARE PREDATORS WHO LIE IN WAIT, READY TO STEAL OUR CHILDREN FROM US AT ANY MOMENT.

How their dreams have been stolen from them and how their pure hearts have been ripped out of their chests and corrupted with hate and lies by the CPP NPA NDF.

And so we don’t look away at their lifeless bodies.

This, to my mind, Madam Senator, is part of my Sacred Duty: to bear the pain in my heart so I may use this pain and this rage I feel as fuel to fight these monsters in our midst and to end this scourge

.And so it was with great surprise that I heard you say, “Speaking as a mother and speaking as a long time peace advocate for the past 3 decades, but mostly speaking as a mother, tama po ba Mr Chair na magpakita tayo ng ganyang mga video tungkol sa mga bata, mga anak ng kapwa magulang who are now dead and cannot speak for themselves?”

Madame Senator, I understand.

These are not pretty photos and in ordinary times, I would agree with you. But these are not ordinary times. There is a 52 year old war we wage that has stolen so many precious things from us—foremost of which is our children.And I’m thinking—if you’re going to speak up in defense of children who are now dead and cannot speak for themselves, would it not be better for you to speak up against the very reason they are dead and cannot speak for themselves rather than of photos of these children that offend your finer sensibilities?

In other words, there is something terribly wrong when we speak up against images of dead children being shown and remain silent over what led to their tragic and horrible deaths.

And I didn’t hear you speak a word against the deceptive recruitment of the CPP NPA NDF front organizations that were mentioned in Sec Año’s presentation: GABRIELA, LFS, ANAKBAYAN, CEGP, IBON—that brought on the early and violent demise of our children, Madame Senator.

And this is what concerns me because let me promise you, Madame Senator, if those who are in power look away and refuse to bear witness, and if they deny what it is that stares us in the face: terrorists out to get our children, there will be more of our children dying horrible, violent deaths.

And not just in photos.And the Grief and Pain that deeply wounds our people-mothers like you and me– will be even deeper and the cost to us as a people will be unbearable.

By Justice Angie V Miranda, OSG/NTF-ELCAC

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