We haven't paid attention to the almost daily shootings in Cotabato until finally the victim is someone we know/knew. And then we start paying attention, and then we start condemning.
These killings have been going on for years – in front of government offices, near police stations, along major thoroughfares – sa Bagua, sa Old Market, sa harapan ng ORC, sa Rosary Heights, sa kahabaan ng Sinsuat Avenue, sa Tamontaka, sa Super, sa college. Office districts, residential areas, commercial areas, walang pinipiling lugar ang pamamaslang na ito. Name an area in Cotabato City, meron patayan diyan na nabaon sa limot, killings that have been posted on social media but did not get much reaction.
Ang mga street killings na ito, para din yan Human Rights Violations (HRV). Pinapalampas lang natin, kibit balikat kapag some random person ang hinuli, ginulpi, tinorture, o di kaya ay "itinumba". Until the victim of the HRV is someone we know. And then we protest to high heavens.
Ang mga street killings na ito, para din yan displacement sa rural areas. Kapag sa sulok ng Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, o Sulu, hindi ganoon karami ang nakikialam, nagpapakita ng dismaya. Minsan nga hindi pa nababanggit sa social media o sa mainstream media. Until such time urban area naman ang na-displace.
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon.
(Zainudin Malang is a lawyer from Mindanao who spent years on deployment in acute emergencies in East Africa and the Middle East. Before that, he was the founding head of a human rights and civilian protection organization in Mindanao and was one of the five members of the peace process monitoring body.)