Ubusan ng lahi: An open letter to President Duterte
MANILA, Philippines – Through a poem recited in a video, award-winning poet Joi Barrios called on President Rodrigo Duterte to continue the peace talks between the government and communist rebels.
President Rodrigo Duterte scrapped peace talks with the communist rebels on Saturday evening, February 4.
"I told the soldiers to prepare for a long war. I said [peace] will not come during our generation. I know them already," said Duterte.
He repeatedly said he sees no reason the talks could resume during his term, although later softened his stance to say he might reconsider – if there is a "compelling reason."
Below is Barrios's poem entitled "Ubusan ng lahi":
Bukas na liham kay Pagulong Duterte
Ito ang inyong banta
Pamilyar na panata ng magkakaaaway na pamilya
Parang matira ang matibay
O kaya’y ubusan na ng lahi pagkat magkakatunggali
Mahaba ang kasaysayan ng pangako ng paglipol ng lahat ng rebolusyonaryo
Suyurin ang bundok, sipsipin ang dagat
Bawa’t isa’y makukubkob, bawat kasapi’y malalagas
Bansagan silang bandido o aswang at nang katakutan
Tawaging terorista ang subersibo
Hanggang maging katanggap-tanggap ang pagpaslang at pandarahas
Huwag. Hindi po sa tapatan ng armas ninyo mawawakasan ang himagsikan
Walang nakibaka nang para sa sarili lamang
May katuwirang ipinagtatanggol
May layon na isinusulong
May buhay na ibinubuwis
Pagkat ang nasa puso at isip ay lupa, ginhawa, laya
Para sa nakararami, sa mahirap at api
Para sa bayang payapa
Kung tatalikod sa mesa ng pag-uusap
Walang ibang hahalakhak
Kundi ang imperyalista’t pasistang nag-aabang sa inyong pagbagsak
Sa ganang amin, iisa lamang ang gabay, sa bawat hakbang
Kung kaya’t marahil walang takot sa bantang magkaubusan
Sa masa ay maglingkod
Sukdang buhay ang kailangang ihandog
Ito ang panawagan:
Ituloy ang usapang pangkapayapaan
Here is the English translation of the poem:
"The threat to annihilate"
An open letter to President Duterte
This was your threat, Mr President:
To fight to the death
A vow familiar perhaps to feuding families
Let the last valiant one remain standing
Annihilate all enemies
This is the history we know
Always the promise to wipe out all revolutionaries
Comb the mountains, drain the sea
Trap them all, until they fall to the ground
Name them bandits and blood-sucking aswangs
Sow fear into the crowd
When subversives are repeatedly marked terrorists
Killings and violence become palatable to one’s taste
Better dead than red
Stop. Mortars and bombs will not stop the people’s revolt
No red warrior fights a solitary battle, for glory or fame
A true revolutionary defends justice
Death is sweet for the heart that dreams of land, equity, and freedom
In defense of the oppressed in the light of peace
Watch the imperialists and fascists as they celebrate and feast
Awaiting your fall from power
We know only what guides our every step
What is a threat when you know no fear?
Death is not a sacrifice for the willing
This is our call:
Let the peace talks move on.
What are your thoughts about the scrapping of the peace talks between the government and communist rebels? Write a poem or blog and post it on Rappler’s free self-publishing platform X.