December 8, 2023

As the Filipino nation commemorated Ninoy Aquino Day on Aug. 21, a non-working holiday, this Ibaloy writer learned the country also observed the 6th International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism designated in 2017 by the United Nations General Assembly.
Terrorism, according to several dictionary definitions, is “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims” and “the calculated use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population to bring about a particular political objective.” Note that the words “violence” and “political” appear in both definitions.
Anyway, an article revealed that in the same year (2017), nearly 75 percent of terrorism-related deaths occurred in five countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, and Syria. Hopefully, our beloved Philippines is not included in the remaining 25 percent of countries with terrorism-related deaths, although I fear that it is. Unfortunately, our beloved nation is already included in several negative and unsavory lists which we won’t mention here anymore. Paki-“Google” n’yo na lang po.
We are, after all, the only predominantly Catholic nation in Asia that adheres to the teachings of the Holy Bible, which preaches love for one’s fellowman (and woman), forgiveness, “offering the other cheek”, and more. Whether we are Christians only in words and not in deeds is something that we can only know ourselves.
“The Philippines has adopted measures not only to counter and prevent terrorism, radicalization, and violent extremism, but also to ensure that their root causes are sufficiently addressed and that their victims, as well as the families of their victims, are able to find justice in an integrated process that requires a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach,” Foreign Affairs Sec. Enrique Manalo was quoted as saying.
How do we end violence in the world? Maybe we can just love, understand, and respect one another despite our differences. Sounds too corny and simple but obviously very difficult to put into practice since we continue to hurt and kill each other due to differences in religion, politics, nationality, skin color, sexual preferences, and more. Very tragic, indeed.
May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to bless and keep us all safe.