As an old adage says, peace cannot be achieved without justice. This seems to be the case of the one of the most famous atrocities in the South, the Digos Massacre, in which today reaches its 30th anniversary. Sad to say, the perpetrators, the communist New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), are still at large. Although, the families of the victims and the authorities are still searching and investigating for the culprits, many have become passive on these terrorists committing these brutalities. Initiatives still have to be taken seriously to launch a campaign to seek justice for the victims.
Thirty years ago in broad daylight of June 25, 1989, deafening sounds of gunfire broke the peaceful atmosphere in a small Protestant church from a tiny village in Davao del Sur. When the smokes cleared, 39 dead bodies, including women and children, lay sprawled on the ground. Invaders from the group of nearly a hundred armed CCP-NPA NDF members mercilessly gunned down church attendees including one of their own Pastors, Ruben Ayap and his brother AbadiAyap, who were butchered like an animal after beheading them for defending what was left of the church’s members. One 14-year-old boy could have easily suffered the same gruesome death if it werenot for the piled up corpses of those he once knew, crawling and hiding around dead bodies, waiting for this nightmare to end. Miraculously, the boy survived andrecalled the incident and stated that after the initial shooting that had already killed most of church attendants; they were razed by another batch of bullets that killed what was left from those who have already painted the walls red with their own blood.Lives were swiftly taken away.
Although many different personalities have remarked condoning such abhorrent acts of violence, 30 years have passed since the incident, still, the terrorist group operations continue up to this day. Justice may have been kept from the families of the victims of the DigosMassacre but as we remember the horrors of this tragedy, may we immortalize those 39 who stood up against evil and may we be indignant as we follow their example of an unbreakable faith and steadfast will to fight against those who oppose what is good.
Now, after three decades since this Digos atrocity, the CPP-NPA terrorists continue to perpetuate violence without remorse. They still ventured into numerous criminal activities like extortion, robbery, mass murder, and destruction of equipment, arson, etc. in order to supply the needs of their families and ideologies. Every freedom-loving Filipino cannot remain passive. We should show our disgust to abhor these crimes of violence and together express our support to the government by reporting any incidents and cooperating with the investigation. We can already report to the authorities using social media platforms for privacy and protection.
When will we take an active role in condemning these terrorists? Will we wait to become the next victims before we act? It is time to realize that this fight of the government is also the fight and duty of every Filipino people so that we can truly attain justice and peace. We can take advantage of the social media to voice out our support to the efforts of the government to defeat the enemy in whatever platforms it launches. At least, this campaign, if taken seriously, can somehow resemble our search for truth and justice for the victims of “Digos Massacre”. May their souls rest in peace!
[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace by the Philippine Army. It provides information on the activities of Army Units nationwide in the performance of their duty of Serving the People and Securing the Land. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org]