Friday, March 28, 2014

EDITORIAL: Survivor: Lahuy?

An atmosphere of fear has shrouded Caramoan, a town once praised for its pristine beaches, in the wake of the violence that robbed the town of its peace.

Survivor: Lahuy?
Survivor: Lahuy?
In the municipal hall, the family members and sympathizers of the massacred gold panners have gathered to pray together for justice. In front of them, the coffins of the victims, now known as the Gata 4, are an all-too-tangible reminder of the recent spate of terror.

Some relatives are wailing at the loss of their loved ones, their howls resounding throughout the building. Others, meanwhile, prefer to mourn quietly, still stunned at the cruel fate that has fallen on their family or friends.

Yesterday, when PNP Regional Director Victor Deona, NBI Asst. Regional Director Atty. Tomas Enrile and members of the local media came for the investigation, residents were still visibly unsettled.

“We are afraid of trusting visitors now because of what happened. The last time people visited us, they killed four of our friends,” whispered one resident, who asked for her name to be withheld.

Most heart-wrenching are the children whose eyes are eternally seared with the sight of the slain gold panners and their unfinished supper splattered with their own blood.

The chilling irony is that Lahuy is not the site of an upcoming season of the reality show Survivor (which, incidentally, is set to start filming in Caramoan again come April 30). However, residents have found themselves smack dab in a real-life dystopia as they try to outwit, outplay, and outlast the powers-that-be, their lives reduced to sadistic forms of entertainment.

Yet even more ironic, perhaps, is how the cold-blooded massacre happened right in Caramoan, the town on which the province spent billions of pesos promoting as a haven of serenity and relaxation. With the merciless massacre, all that was rendered meaningless, as the ugly side of the oppressed communities faces the public in an anguished, last-gasp cry for help.

Meanwhile, the gold deposits, which have earned Lahuy the nickname of “Treasure Island” in old maps, turned out to be a curse rather than a blessing; the root cause of the cruel Survivor game of greed where power is the currency, and blood is the price for a handful of glittering specks of rock.
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