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No more good nights

It was 10 in the evening. The silence was deafening, the darkness blinding, and the fact that I was alone walking on the street was frightening.

I got more scared when a vehicle — a motorcycle in particular — passed by and broke the silence. My heart was beating so fast as I heard the approaching motor sound getting clearer and louder as it came in my direction. In our country, motorcycles and riding tandems have developed a different connotation — one associated with violence, extrajudicial killings, and deaths.

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Various thoughts were running inside my head: What if it stopped in front of me? What if they shot me to death, and my body would be the next “drug user” or “drug pusher” flashed on television? What if I became the next Kian delos Santos, who was brutally killed in the middle of the night by policemen? What if I died as a suspect of something I was completely innocent of? In the middle of the night, with the moon the only source of light, what if I got killed on my way home after finishing late the requirement I needed to submit for work?

It is alarming that there is a threat to your life anytime and anywhere, and that you feel you are no longer safe. That even in broad daylight and in a place full of people, there is a chance you can get killed. Remember the story of Vincent Adia, who was shot inside an emergency room full of medical staff? What more on a dark night when no one is around? The fact that you know you are innocent still brings fear, because you have seen stories in the news and television that even innocents and children have become victims of these unrelenting, inhumane killings. This reminds me of the story of Danica Mae, a five-year-old girl who became the youngest casualty in the government’s “war on drugs.” She was not given a chance to fulfill her dreams; an innocent young girl became a casualty of something she knew nothing about.

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These brazen killings are the result of the culture of violence that has been propagated and normalized by this administration. In a country where the leaders are supposed to set a good example to their people, they are the same ones who encourage their constituents to violate the Constitution and the people’s basic human rights.

Violence only breeds more violence, and the only way to end this cycle is to stop it. Violating human rights and embracing a culture of violence can only foster a community of fear. What our country truly needs is a solution that is grounded on justice and human rights.

I am tired of living in fear of being the next victim of this violence. I am tired of living in fear of the next motorcycle that would pass by. I am tired of living in fear in this supposedly democratic country.

Night is supposed to bring peace and tranquility. When it is cold and peaceful, it calms one’s mind; well, that was before. Because now, the night has become a symbol of fear and death. All the scary things we have seen in movies and dramas are happening in our reality, and in even worse ways. Suddenly, the peaceful and cold night brings shivers and noise—noise from people crying for help, noise from police cars and ambulances rushing to yet another crime scene, noise coming from a gunshot. It is complete chaos.

I look forward to the day, or night, when I can peacefully go out into the streets again without fear of getting killed, kidnapped, or raped. I am still hopeful about living in a country where I can feel safe. The time will come when the public’s rights and dignity will once more be the priority of the country’s leaders. But for this to happen, I hope everyone will exercise their right to vote, in order to elect genuine public servants rather than just politicians.

Now, if you are mad, sad, afraid, and frustrated with everything that is happening, make sure to use that extreme emotion to become a catalyst for change, so we can end this dire state of affairs.

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Carissa Joyce Reyno, 21, is a writer. She’s not red or yellow; her favorite color is mint green.

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TAGS: Carissa Joyce Reyno, Danica Mae, drug war, Violence, Young Blood
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