Monday, September 1, 2008

Young Campus Writers

These past days, all I did was stared at my blog as I was busy eking out for a living. When I supposedly had a time to work on new posts during the evening, I felt tiredness overcoming me. I would naturally hit the hay instead. That kept my friends maybe wondering what was happening to my blog which showed no movement for days since I posted the issue on the controversial Bangsamoro Juridical Entity. Updates that I should have caught up with. When skirmishes started off between government soldiers in North Cotabato, many things transpired up including the continued military operations against the Lanao del Norte raiders led by MILF ground commanders Bravo and Umbra Kato.

During this time too, Mindanao saw the reemergence of Ilaga, a vigilante group that first fought against the moro rebellion in the 70s. The first time I heard about the group was in the late 70s when I was told that two distant relatives who lived in Zamboanga City were members of the dreaded “Ilongo Landgrabbers Association.” I was innocent then and I did not know what it meant. Only recently that I know both already died long time ago when they were hijacked in sea of Zamboanga. Details were sketchy. I am not really sure if that was the real name behind the acronym that means “rat or rodent.” They were dreaded because, I was told, that they would eat the ears of their fallen enemies. A convicted priest killer Norberto Manero, an ilaga member of leader (?), was widely believed to have eaten the “brains” of his victim Fr. Tulio Favali after killing him during the 80s. Manero had already fully served his sentence. In an interview by a tv network, an ilaga leader vouched that they still do this grisly practice eating the thigh of their enemy. “You want to eat?” he asked the news reporter who probably felt the morbidness of the practice.

The reemergence of the vigilante group that had vowed to fight against the MILF is simply fueling the tension in Mindanao. But I don’t know if we can blame the civilians for arming themselves after what had happened to the helpless civilians in Kolambugan (Lanao del Norte). I don't know if I would do the same if I am in their shoes.

Anyway, I was away from blogging or posting for the past few days. And one of the important events I engaged into these past days was a brief orientation on press work for a group of student writers from a public secondary school - the F. Bangoy National Highschool along Sasa this city. That was last Saturday, August 30. I discussed the basics on news gathering, writing, layout, editorial cartooning and actual printing production. This is my turf and my forte. The group decided to lay down the production target with their maiden issue to come out by October 2008 in time for a national event... I forgot what was it. The young campus writers are under the tutelage of Ms. Josephine Marcos (one who is standing in the third photo). I was happy to mingle with the kids and shared with them what I know about newspapering. Start them young, I could hear one motto (who says it?) and that was it - these kids will soon become journalists in our midst. Kids, no AC/DC huh?! AC/DC is attack and collect, defend and collect. LOL.

(The photos were taken by Ritzmond Cubian, a budding young photographer from the group, using my phone.)