Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ampatuan Town

It's not like when I'm on a trip looking for a bliss-y place I always end up in a paradise. Sometimes, my itchy feet would tripped over a controversial location .

Some place like where the Maguindanao Massacre happened. Hey, no way! I didn't go in there. I was still feeling kindah strange about this place. The air still blew eerie up to this entrance even thu' it was almost a year had passed. Above photo was where the cars were gun-pointedly rerouted from the main highway towards this rugged alley and apparently passengers were brutally killed later on.

Snap Facts : The Maguindanao massacre, also known as the Ampatuan massacre (after the town where the mass graves were found), occurred on the morning of November 23, 2009, in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao province, on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. While the victims were on their way to file a certificate of candidacy for Esmael Mangudadatu, vice mayor of Buluan town, they were kidnapped and brutally killed. Mangudadatu was challenging Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan, Jr., son of the incumbent Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr., in the forthcoming Maguindanao gubernatorial election, part of the national elections in 2010. The 57 people killed included Mangudadatu's wife, his two sisters, journalists, lawyers, aides, and motorists who were witnesses or were mistakenly identified as part of the convoy. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called the Maguindanao massacre the single deadliest event for journalists in history. At least 34 journalists are known to have died in the massacre. click source

After few minutes we reached  the Ampatuan Town. So aptly named after the powerful clan, almost all establishments in the town have their name on them. I was not so sure about why the town looked so empty to me. I could count on my fingers the number of people I saw in the town. Might be cos it was Ramadan during my visit but a relative from Cotabato said that after the massacre incident, the town turned out  looking  like a ghost town. The rest of the Ampatuans were said to have had left the province by this time.

Even the local businesses seemed to have had ceased the operations. For instance this gas station,.. wait something had caught my eye______

A backhoe !?? No, it's not, but definitely a construction vehicle. Funny, how the word backhoe became so word of mouth in our country cos of this incident. Even my girls now knew what a backhoe is! Only now it also defines synonymous with the Ampatuan massacre.

Business un-usual.

I saw only less than 5 kinds of structures in the town : people's nipa huts, commercial establishments, Ampatuan mansions and the seats of power ( of the Ampatuans) :

Oh well..?

Seemingly they are lovers of sweet colored lavish mansions. These three mansions are owned by the Ampatuan in this side of the province. See their Davao City's mansions here.

The excessive lifestyle is very pronounced by the vast difference of the structures between the huts of their constituents and those mansions of the ones who once ruled.

It's not fair to judge, especially I who is almost clueless about the clan of Ampatuans, but I just want to share you something :
"Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship".- Orwell,George

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