At first, I was thinking of writing about the new era of the global Filipino, elated over the TKO victory of Manny Pacquiao and his record seventh belt plus the awarding of the CNN Hero of the Year to Filipino educator Efren Penaflorida for his “Kariton Klasrum” (pushcart classroom).

But news images of the brazen mass murder of innocent civilians in Baranggay Salman, at Ampatuan, Maguindanao allegedly committed by Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan, Jr. and his private army kept flashing in my mind. The group blocked the six-car convoy of the Mangundadatus (their political rivals), their supporters and media correspondents. The Mangundadatus was on their way to file Certificates of Candidacies to challenge the Ampatuans’ grip on political power. Then the carnage ensued. The murderers did not spare even the people whose vehicles just happened to be behind the convoy. Then they hastily buried the bodies, including the vehicles, in mass graves miles apart from each other. But, when they were tipped off that soldiers were on their way, they scurried away. As of last count, the police have retrieved 64 bodies from shallow graves in the massacre scene.

The massacre overshadowed Pacquiao and Penaflorida in the international media. Governments all over the world, including the United Nations, condemned the dastardly act. Chief Insp. Roger Zagales of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Central Mindanao told the Philippine Daily Inquirer “that the sheer number of victims proved that those responsible for it were out of their minds.” (11/28/2009) In an interview over GMA Network, Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera revealed that the killers even shot the genitals of the female victims. “It was horrible. It was not done to just one. It was done practically to all the women. The zippers of their pants were all undone. We have yet to determine whether they were raped. But it is certain that something bad was done to them.” (Ibid) Zagales was so horrified that he added, “I have never seen in my life killings as gruesome as this.” (Ibid)

God forbid but I am afraid that, once the election campaign season kicks in, the massacre will be soon forgotten. We can do more than shake our heads and wring our arms. Second Chronicles 7:14 tells us, If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (ESV)

Brethren, we need God’s revival for our country.


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