I regret to pass on the news that barangay Captain Romeo- the man who gave me the puppy- sadly passed away last night. Captain Romeo of Santa Isabel was tragically gunned down on Saturday 4th and died in hospital the next day. It is believed that the attack was politically motivated, but that is all I have been told due to the sensitive nature of the situation. Apparently political attacks are common in the Philippines and even more bloody at a local level. My family told me that Romeo's attack was not unusual. The tragic irony is that just last Thursday Romeo described Cabiao as "a peaceful place" - a world apart from the violence in the south, where parts of Mindanao are suffering from insurgency and religious conflict. But maybe I just have very different understanding of 'peace'.
Cabiao is a place where children can play in the streets. Where women can walk alone. And where foreigners do not fear kidnap.
But it is also a place where men are gunned down in the name of politics.
Perhaps my misunderstanding stems from the fact that 'political peace' and the 'peace of the people' are treated as entirely separate entities? Or maybe it is because- relatively speaking- Cabiao IS a peaceful place in Philippines?
I think the answer lies in its malleable definition: peace is a personal and cultural concept that is forever changing with time and circumstance.
I found Captain Romeo to be an incredibly accommodating man- offering us his full support and enthusiasm right from the start. It's unfortunate that we will not be able to work alongside this kind man anymore. I want to express my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the captain and hope that they can find some comfort at this difficult time.
Rest in peace.