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HONORING MY MOTHER | All in or back again

By Icoy San Pedro

YOU have got to admit, our just-concluded “shared experience” of being under the Duterte administration for the last six years will be a fave debate topic for years to come. While on one hand, a hail of praises may have been heaped on its style and achievements, the opposing flak from the direction of the president’s detractors could also merit what online enthusiasts naturally classify nowadays as popcorn reading. In fact, all that one has to do is put up any single positive accomplishment by the said administration for discussion online and then observe as comments slowly begin to pile up like against it. (Just a precaution though: you might have to sift through troll garbage on this one.)

Since day one, criticism stemming from both local and international media had never been few and far between. On the contrary, orchestrated efforts to turn public opinion against him had always been the obvious motive for the deluge, up to a point where at one time, the UN and even the international court have been dragged into these intentions. In the end, these efforts may have only been successful in one aspect:  they have brought to the surface the hidden seams which have for so long divided our social classes, polarizing it further and ensuring that, that divide lasts for a long time. 

As though to make light of it all, mixed with our Pambansang propensity for name labels and such, we have vocalized this class divide into catcall types, hurling them like stones. Thus, throughout these six years, we have called each other as trolls, Dutertards, disente, dilawans and pinklawans etcetera.

In spite all these negativities, no one can deny that the country is in a far better place than before. In the same breath, who one can deny that, despite all the non-stop criticisms and junk thrown at it, the past administration had doggedly forged through all the silt and gone ahead with its programs and being true to its Change is Coming promise. The humblest remark yet may have come from the president himself with his brief remark when queried on what the government has accomplished at the end of their term: “Look around.”

Be that as it may, this whole parade is over and it’s time to move on. For or against, we may have actually shared one common thing out of all these. For but a brief moment in time, a semblance of tangible unity or whatever word one has for it, may have looked us straight in the eye but then, like a sprite, it lingered for an instant and then was gone like a mist. 

I remember back in the mid-nineties in Zamboanga’s Subanen land, we were resting in the middle of a secondary forest after a 5-kilometer walk, when a deer stopped dead a few meters from where I was resting. Stirring from my nap, I clearly saw its dark brown body unmindful of my prone figure by the bush, until I moved my hand slowly to get the camera. It made a quick turn and with alarm in its eyes, and disappeared back from where it came. That might as well be the six years going by so fast.

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