By Jonathan Llanes, The Maryknoller
JUST came back from Bangued in Abra Province after being deployed by our station PTV 4 to cover the electoral process for this year’s midterm elections and guess what, the expected bloody elections was nil.
Yes there were reports of indiscriminate firing, yes there were reports of firecracker throwing incidents, yes there was even an incident tire spiking wherein the Chief of Police of Bangued was victim, and yes there was a case of a male person found dead in Brangay Sagap but all were far not politically related.
Cordilleras top cop Gen. Benjie Magalong who was personally present in Abra before and during the Election Day said that these were mere actions by disgruntled political hooligan supported trying desperately to wreak havoc in the conduct of the elections.
“This year’s conduct of the midterm elections in the province of Abra can be considered as generally peaceful” he said, and to this I must agree.
My colleagues were giving us to be ready, stay safe, get out of arms way, and expect the unexpected treatment which I took in positively. You know for us print and broadcast journalists, this treatment is just a way of saying “NO STORY IS WORTH DYING FOR”. And thanks to my colleagues for that.
But upon touching down in Bangued with the perception that it’s gonna be showtime, me and my Presidential Communications Operation Office teammates Regie and Walter from the Philippine Information Agency were starting to be disgruntled.
Disgruntled because what we were expecting did not push through. We forgot to expect the other possibility that it might not happen when it did.
In our interview with the general, Magalong stated that one reason why he considers it generally peaceful is that the funeral homes in the province were getting ready for the expected casualties of the political exercise by having caskets delivered by the truck loads.
Unfortunately for them, it was a nil. The amassed caskets were of no use since no one died the day before and during Election Day. T’sk. T’sk, T’sk!!!
And hail to the Abrenios who flocked the Saint James Cathedral on Sunday. All dressed in their Sunday attire and attending mass with the hope of ending a bloody election.
One may ask what happened? Well basing on what I experienced, the Abrenios finally succumbed to what we may coin as the political turn around meaning, wanting to exercise their right to suffrage with no threat to their lives.
Probably, the 65-70 percent voter turnout have been fed up with years of bloody elections and political hooliganism by money faced and gun wielding political tyrants lording their province. And good for them.
Hopefully, this can transcend to mire peaceful conduct of the electoral process coupled with the hope of a real practice of good governance.
Congratulations to the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Commission on Elections and more importantly to the Abrenios for finally putting an end to the political violence in the province.
We can now truly say “ARYA ABRA”!
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 17, 2