THE IRONY OF WAR

Our Korean guests were listening while our Camping Director, Robin is discussing facts and figures regarding the Filipino and American soldiers that were captured by the Japanese Imperial army during World War II

It really saddens me whenever I read news about war, especially when it concerns my homeland Philippines. Lately, news about Chinese vessels threatening our shores specifically the Panatag Shoal is spreading. This is roughly more than 12 hours travel via motorized boat from Pundaquit, Zambales which is one of Pinaykeypoint’s destinations.

There are many posts and videos which are massively posted in the internet regarding this issue. The Government was repeatedly asked about its stand regarding the situation and we knew that our leaders have different stand in this matter. I am reading some blogs and posts to gauge the opinions of my kababayans especially the youth of today which poses as hope of our nation as foretold by our national hero.

Random readings brought me to a point of realization how the youth of today are too confined within an imaginary world wherein everything is possible by a mere click of a finger. That all questions can be solved by Google and Wikipedia  and so on…

Many were angered by our government’s diplomatic stand in this matter. Some said it’s a manifestation of cowardice. Youths said that Filipinos are born warrior so we must strike back to this bullying blah… blah… blah…

Truthfully, I was angered too. Yes, Filipinos are born warrior and in our blood runs the immortal seed of heroes as narrated by Carlos Romulo in one of his speeches. But the gleaming truth is that we are not ready for these eventualities. The Government, The Armed Forces, The Youth or the community as a whole is not prepared in terms of weaponry, tactics, intelligence, economy and finances.

I can’t imagine how a typical Filipino family would react if they heard cannons and fighter planes striking their homes. Have we asked ourselves of these questions? Countless families died in mere calamities such as floods and typhoons although actual weather forecasts and call for evacuations are disseminated to the public several days prior but then the actual numbers of casualties are real manifestations of unpreparedness or I may say, irresponsibility? And we keep on pointing our fingers to who is to blame afterwards.

My Dad is a World War II Veteran, a retired colonel of the Philippine Army. He is one of the thousands Filipino Soldiers who fought hand in hand with the government to liberate the Philippines from Japanese imperial forces during war time. I grew up with stories of wars and battles. I can’t count the times how my dad untiringly narrated his experiences in the battle field. The scars on his face, the traces of tortures and marks all over his body are the silent witness of his great bravery. The entire body of my father is a total map of war.

I am a Marshall Law baby too and I experienced how to react in the acts of war. My father used to hide us at the bottom of our house whenever there are outside threats asking my mom to never go out no matter what come and try to protect us whatever happens. We always have this emergency kit with us, back packs with complete supply that would last us for a week. We have this contingency plan that whatever happens and in the event that we were separated by war, we have to go to this particular place so we can be re-united again. This is because my dad lost some of his siblings during the war and they had a hard time finding them.

I was breed to be tough to all sorts of battle. The big D which stands for discipline was deeply marked in my forehead. I learned the essence of discipline through constant lecture and spanking but I do love my dad and I never take it against him. I owe him what I am today. My life’s struggles were easier compared to what he had been through during those crucial times. Living in the midst of tanks, firing guns and grenades is no joke. To survive from that battle is indeed a big miracle.

I thank God that I was born to a brave man like my dad. I’m very proud of him. His stories of war were shared to my kids. I can see the boredom in their eyes each time I narrate some stories of the past which they usually answered with, ‘mom, we heard that many times’ but this never stops me from repeating those stories over and over again. Just like them, I was so bored with my dad’s stories when I was a kid but it never stop him from narrating those stories until I comprehend the essence of those eventualities. If not for my dad’s patience, I will not be who I am today.

Each time I have city tours which includes Capas Death March Shrine visits, I never fail to see different reactions of my guests after reading the facts and figures that were engraved at the walls of Capas Death March Shrine. Some of my guests even cried after the visit and told me about their dad’s experiences during the war. I remember a group of Japanese guests who looked at me in the eye, they looked so bothered and repeatedly said sorry for the wrongdoings of their ancestors but I usually pat them and said that it’s a thing of the past and that both of our governments have done many efforts for peace and reconciliation.

It’s true that history told us that our race is one of the strongest warriors in the world in fact Lapu-Lapu was the first Filipino to defeat Europeans during the battle of Mactan and a coin was struck to honor that heroism and I can’t understand why when that 1 cent lost its value in the market, Lapu-Lapu’s rightful place in our local currency was gone as well.

Forgetting the heroic stories of the past and indulging in the vices of this new generation makes our youth weaker each day and it’s ironic that most of them are babbling about war when they don’t even lift their fingers to help the escalating problem of our garbage which is killing our rivers and seas resulting to massive floods in different areas of our land. History taught us how our forefathers worked hard to the extent of sacrificing their precious bloods to protect this land and its people. Now let us ask ourselves, are we really worth it?

Today we are facing another crisis. The face of war is looking at us in the face, staring directly in our eye. Let’s not make it as laughing stuff. This is not a subject to discuss over senseless posts. War is not a joke. The International community is accusing us that we are escalating the issue by posting thoughtless thoughts regarding China & its people. Diplomacy is not a sign of cowardice. At this point, this is the easiest way out. If you’re afraid to get burned, don’t play with fire.

Let’s be responsible enough. Think about your thoughts. Read your history before babbling about wars and lastly, look around you… Mother Nature is begging us to nurture her, yet we are deaf to her callings. I am not afraid of war because I am more than afraid with the Wrath of Nature. How about you?

BY:  JULIET B. CORPUZ

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