I have been traveling from one place to another in search for what is there to know about life… and how things really are… and for those times that I travel to remote areas… Learning were always brought with me on my way back home… learning that cannot just be learned in school since I actually have experienced how life is in that nook of the country.
Part of the learning I have is seeing these children. Indeed, I have seen the difference between children in the cities and children in the rural areas where electricity isn’t even available.
What actually bothered me is that, children as young as 9month old suffers because of a non-ending cycle of war between AFP and Insurgents. As early as 10 years old, a kid already manages to fire a rifle against what they thought as enemies. A 4-5 year old kid is fascinated at the sight of Military and rebel group pointing guns at each other thinking that he/she is just watching a scene from a movie. Children along with their families were put to evacuation centers for quite a time, where kids usually end up getting sick and hungry… some even died because of limited supplies of food and medicines.
We look at children as innocent human beings… helpless… who do not have the capacity to take care of themselves… they look up on adults for protection… but how? When even their parents suffer because of the never-ending conflict between the AFP and rebel groups, we know that they are our responsibility. In those cases I presented… apparently, children’s rights were violated.
Somehow, thinking about these children made me ask… whatever happened to the ceasefire agreement between the AFP and the other rebel groups? Whatever happened to the peace process? What is the government’s stand regarding this conflict? Hmmmm… continue to give relief goods to the victims? Will this suffice? After a few weeks of a conflict, people from the government would say… everything is under control… everything is being taken care of… and yet… after 3 years another conflict erupts again… Perhaps they would do the same actions, say the same things…
Here’s the thing… conflict between the AFP and rebel groups has been a 3-year-cycle for decades now… can we afford another more discord 3 years from now… and relive the trauma to those people who are directly affected by it? How many more child warriors would risk their lives to battle? War has a great effect to the victims… though healing has took place… there will always be times when they are haunted by the experience. What’s most sad about this truth is that the most affected in this dispute are children… How are we going to help them?