‘A love letter to the NPA’

Mar. 15, 2008

As you bravely admit your mistake in killing Centing, it is with much hope that you now also know the person behind the name “Centing”. In case you don’t know – let me tell you a very little bit about this wonderful man the brother, the husband, the father, the friend

Centing was a very happy man – probably the jolliest person I will ever know. He always wanted and tried to make people smile – he put effort into making other people laugh. His smile was contagious. Centing not only made people happy– he was also very helpful and generous. He helped anyone, anywhere -his kindness is, was most of all felt in Bankerohan and Agdao markets where he has helped a lot of market vendors, and even a push cart vendor. He was first a friend to them and next a providerhe gave them laughter, food, comfort, advice and fruits to sell. One of his last words to me, the day before he was gunned down was: “anytime you need me, I’ll be there for you”

All along we knew that his death was a mistake, we couldn’t find even the faintest reason for his demise. We have known the NPA to be “freedom fighters” – we all want freedom. Freedom from oppression, aggression, corruption, red tape, etc most of all, we want freedom to walk the streets of Davao – freedom to enjoy our farm, Catigan. Centing loved this farm, he worked the land. We all love this land but Centing was the one who put a lot of effort into making it not only productive but also providing livelihood for some of the people in the area. It is sad to know that his death was all because of this land we call, “Cloud kissed.” You have seen our land and you have lived on it. You know the beauty of our land in Catigan – no one who’s been there can’t help but fall in love with its forest, landscape and splendor.

Centing’s death has to mean much more to us than an end – if his death is an end to his life of helpfulness and purpose to this earth, an end to our freedom to walk the streets of Davao and an end of our freedom to enjoy the beauty and harvest of our farm, then his death is truly senseless. But if his death leads to PEACE, we will embrace it. That will be the biggest and brightest consolation, the only thing that can comfort us in our distress.

We love Davao! This is our cry! We hope that you bring those responsible to justice and leave Davao and Centing’s family in peace. Even as we long to believe that there will be peace – no one can actually guarantee our safety. Can you? As you prepare to “indemnify” this “grievous incident,” are you capable of making this a safer place for us?

(open letter dated February 26, 2008)

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