I had this withdrawn thought before from the words of someone so close to me until I have heard a news about a 17-year old, currently in Grade 11, shut his eyes through a bullet because of an accusation that no one ever knew if evidences are feasible. The thought came back and traveled into my senses, “Policemen interfere by putting fake evidences without someone’s notice because we already know those people who we incarcerate or kill are real addicts.”
Then, I saw the image of Kian Lloyd delos Reyes in Google, grabbed by the policemen, dragged with both of his feet on the ground and his head lying flat in a supposedly peaceful Thursday. It broke my heart into pieces, not because the image is so inhumane, but, because I’ve kept the secret for so long.
Since Duterte assumed office, the war on drugs has never stopped to impress international organizations and local media companies putting more shape to authorities and figures whose ideals are similar and consistent with the current President. Digong always promised victory in his mechanisms, however, his words are becoming vaguer as abuses and victimization of the poor, the Lumad, the Muslims, and the weak are arising.
In a report by Human Rights Watch, the death toll has recorded an estimated 4,800 (as of date of reporting) suspected drug pushers and users killed in vigilante killings and police operations. No one can also forget the 6,000 protesters composed of indigenous peoples, farmers and their supporters whose feet were forced to travel from North Cotabato and Bukidnon to Kidapawan City. Instead of an appropriate reception expected from the police, an ammunition was shot as an exchange. Further investigations remained futile and silent.
The unpredictable nature of the current President has become a threat to every human rights advocate. Every day becomes more alarming as the images of killings and acts of abuses presented on media platforms are not given sufficient attention, but, rather much desensitization is happening on the ground. As we show empathy to the victims, we are becoming more distant and unrelated with each other’s struggle. Many of us have stopped in front of our televisions isolating our emotions and judgments toward certain issues beyond our individualities.
Kian’s outcry containing his dreams and aspirations, a part of them is becoming a policeman in the future has died out through an irony and a secret. An irony, by experiencing his last breath in the hands of people whose authority he aims for, and a secret that has never been told which has caused so much death of people who could’ve been saved if the protection through the law was prioritized over the current means that lack justification.
The death of Kian is not just a reminder. His death gives us an image symbolic of a systematic problem that runs in the system that we belong. We may have the best means to curb the worst problems, however, we must put more emphasis on proactivity of mechanisms, not reactivity, by giving the same chances to the victims, the same rights as everyone deserves and the greatest secret the society has to know.
The secret may not bring back the lost lives. But, this can change our view of the future.