Maguindanao Massacre: Life Gone Cheap

Last Monday, November 23, the entire Philippines then the entire world learned of the heinous massacre of some members of the Mangudadatu clan and accompanying media and friends who were simply on their way to the local Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Maguindanao.

To-date, the body count is 57 people. Horrific by all standards. We have suddenly been thrust in the global news as being the first country where so many media people (who should, in all wars, be given protection as neutral and unarmed citizens) were slain at the same time and in the same place. Even more horrific was how the women were treated: they were allegedly humiliated via raping and shot or speared in different parts of the face and body.

Even now, I shudder at thoughts of how they all died. For many days after, while I tried to go about my normal business, a very heavy cloud hung over me and I would get teary-eyed while watching the news and seeing shots of the killing fields. I cannot even bear to put a single picture of the dead on this page. Now, I just want to write and let this be an outlet for all the negativity it has generated.

I am outraged, angry, and frustrated. No one deserves to die this way specially when they were not even in battle but were merely exercising their electoral right as Filipino citizens. I value life very much and when life is snuffed out like this under what was an obviously premeditated act (a backhoe belonging to the Province of Maguindanao was found near dugouts which were created even before the party of Mangudadatu set out for the Comelec), there is no other action than to find the mastermind and the doers of these dastardly deeds speedily.

The campaigning for elections has not even began and already we have the blood of innocents spilled for it. How safe will our brothers and sisters in Mindanao and the rest of the Philippines be in the run-up to May 2010? Are we here in Manila even safe?

I join in the call for the Philippine government to act swiftly, transparently and justly to bring the guilty before the courts of law with no special treatment whatsoever. This is not a time for any political favors to be granted. The outrage over the death of so many innocent people has now escalated to an international one and the whole world is watching and waiting to see how this government will deal with the Ampatuans, a clear ally of the present administration, who have been tagged as allegedly being behind the massacre.

We all need to be clearly satisfied that this government will run after all those involved in the massacre and put the full force of the law on them. Nothing less…

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Watch Your Laptops! (New MO by Salisi Gang)

Hubby came home last night. “You have to blog this“, he said. Must be serious, I thought. He normally does not pay any attention to what I blog about.

And it turns out that he did have quite a story to tell. His Indian client’s laptop was stolen by a salisi gang IN THEIR VERY PRESENCE!

Read this and be more aware of your surroundings when you take your laptop outside of home:

Hubby, a lawyer and their Indian client held their meeting at Pancake House on the ground floor of Malayan Plaza (Ortigas Complex) yesterday.

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They chose this place since it was close to the lawyer’s office at Discovery Suites. Hubby arrived first and got a table not too close to the door and facing the entrance. Soon after, he was joined by the lawyer and the client whose driver brought in a laptop bag. The client placed his laptop bag on the floor near his feet and sat on the chair situated along the aisle.

They were absorbed in conversation when 2 men from a nearby table passed behind the client. What happened next was related by another diner who saw everything but thought the 2 men were part of hubby’s party.

As both men passed behind the client, one of them used his foot and kicked the bag towards his companion who stooped to pick it up. They made sure that they positioned themselves so that hubby and lawyer, who were in their line of sight, would not see the bag being picked up. They then exited Pancake House in the opposite direction of the diner-witness. As soon as the diner saw them running off with the bag, he realized it was a robbery and alerted the group of hubby. By that time though, the robbers had escaped using a motorcycle parked at the corner street.

Professionally done, smooth, and quick. Too fast for people around to realize what was going on.

To their credit, Pancake House’s management assisted the client in making a formal report of the robbery. But this incident should once again awaken the Pasig police to the rampant robberies in their area. As a yogini who practices at the nearby Strata 100 bldg., I have already heard of several cases (including that of some of my own yogini mates) whose cars’ windshields have been smashed at a nearby GUARDED parking lot and had items stolen from inside. No wonder several patrol cars roam this area at night!!!

This is pretty scary because as a blogger, I lug my laptop around when necessary. The girls also have their laptops that they bring sometimes to school and to nearby cafes and restaurants. How do we protect these?

There are a few realizations I got from this incident:

1. It is harder to steal a laptop that is open, on a table, and plugged to an outlet. It is a lot easier to pick up a laptop inside a bag and just carry it away.

2. Laptop bags are better off placed in a conspicuous place like a table top rather than below on the floor. I used to think that placing it near my feet was safer but apparently it is not.

3. We must always be aware of our surroundings, observe people sitting close by and consider sitting in a place that could deter crime. Sitting close to the exit is not advisable as this makes theft too easy.

4. If we must leave our laptops to go to the comfort room, we should inform our companions to watch the laptop. Only in extreme situations should we ask the waiters/waitresses/cashiers in the restaurant to keep an eye on our things. They cannot be held responsible for these as their primary duties are to the restaurant. If you lose your laptop despite asking them to watch it, they can never be faulted for being negligent.

5. Investing in a laptop lock may be something to consider. Kensington notebook locks are pretty expensive but I hear there are very reasonably priced locks available at CDR King. I have to go check these out to see if these are reliable and get some for me and the kids.

Let’s learn from this new M.O. and find ways to protect our laptops whenever we are in a public area.

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