A reaction to the abduction of 20 tourists by the Abu Sayyaf...

Viloria.com > Angel > Abu Sayyaf take 20 hostage (Palawan, Philippines)

By Angelica Bautista Viloria
May 30, 2001

If there is some truth to the concept of "past lives," I reckon that I probably was related to Marco Polo, or was part of his contingent somehow. If I had my way, I'd be traipsing around the globe and around this country, non-stop. Realistically speaking, though, my travels need to be limited by the depreciating peso and my need to take care of essentials like tuition fees and insurance.

The Sunday kidnapping at Dos Palmas really gets my goat, particularly when my family has been targetting the place for our vacation next year. It doesn't help too that people here still seem to be in denial. Dick Gordon says that this is a temporary setback, an isolated incident. That something like this happens in Europe and others places as well. President Gloria also states that this is a "blip" in RP recovery. I don't know about the rest of you, but try making those statements to the families of those who were abducted.

As for the setbacks, this temporary thing is beginning to feel like an eternity. And if such things happen too in other places, that is the concern of their governments, not ours. All we care about is the here and now, the Philippines in the year 2001. Not some occurrence in some far-flung country which has no bearing on the way we live our lives daily as Filipinos.

The first step to solving a problem is recognizing that we have a problem, a serious one at that. Well, the government has now set aside millions of pesos as a reward for the capture of the Abu Sayyaf. I don't know if this will work but at least the administration is trying a different tack. Things just might surprise us. You know what my husband says: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Now why does it feel like I'm talking about our elections and the way our government is run, year in, year out? Somehow though, I still can't shake off the feeling that government officials watched Mel Gibson's movie Ransom (where he turns the tables on his child's kidnappers) and loved it.

As for the Abu Sayyaf, it really is beyond me how such a group can wreak so much havoc. It's not too hard then to toy around with the idea that someone well-placed, and pretty powerful must be behind them. Otherwise, what does that make of the military?

Anyway, for our sake as a nation, I hope everything turns out fine in the end. I was listening to DZBB yesterday morning and one of the broadcasters, Arnold Clavio said that this is the best time to go to Dos Palmas. With so many military men in the area now, the place is "well-secured." There goes the humor that Pinoys are well-known for. Things have ceased to be funny though. Developments, politically and economically, have given us fewer reasons to smile nowadays.

And so, in the midst of such circumstances, I greet all peace-loving and well-meaning Filipinos, "Mabuhay!" To foreigners who may not understand our language, the word "mabuhay" connotes wishing the other a long life. It is something similar to "Long live" whoever. It may also be a greeting wherein we warmly welcome tourists or foreign visitors, in particular. At the rate we're going though, I do hope we do live long enough to see tourism really pick up or recover in time. As for the Abu Sayyaf, should they happen to live long too, I just hope they live far away from here. Yes, far and away.

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Written May 30, 2001
Copyright © 2001 by Angelica Bautista Viloria of http://www.viloria.com

Angelica Viloria is a Filipina mom, living in the Philippines, who works in a credit rating company, and occasionally posts articles in her family homepage at http://www.Viloria.com