Now Is He The God-Invading Man by Jolico Cuadra — this was a strange yet enjoyable poem. It took me several tries to get right. I fumbled at “phoenix-prefaces” several times. I still haven’t gotten exactly what the poem is really about, but there’s a certain rhythm to the words that made it delightful to read. It seemed, though, that the poem became more disjointed towards the end. Perhaps that was intentional?
I found the Wikipedia entry on Jolico Cuadra. It seems that he was pretty big in the 1970s but continued to work through the 80s and 90s, up until his death in 2013. Interestingly, too: he was born in Zamboanga and was married to Joan Edades, another Davao artist. I should ask Aida Rivera Ford and Tita Ayala if they knew him.
The poem seems quite appropriate for these tumultuous times. The Hague has given the Philippines a victory on the issue of the West Philippine Sea, but the response from the present administration seems pretty muted. There has been no statement from the president and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs seems bent on appeasing China by offering bilateral talks.
But this matter has gone beyond just China and the Philippines. While the Philippines was at the forefront of the case, our other Southeast Asian neighbors have been following it with great interest because it dovetails with their own arguments with the behemoth nation. With the precedent set, they will likely pursue their own cases. If the Philippine government pulls back now, it will end up looking quite stupid.
Fulfilling on the president’s one concrete campaign promise, this present administration has indeed started on a bloody note. Hundreds of people have been killed in pursuit of their “drug war.” Some are notorious personalities, but not all. I wonder how many innocents were caught in the crossfire, their deaths swept under the rug on the pretext of executive infallibility?
At around the same time this week, four Chinese nationals and a Nigerian have been captured in separate drug raids. “Captured” is the operative word — and that should make you wonder? Is summary execution a “privilege” accorded only to Filipino “criminals?”
Indeed, the one and noble jester!
But these aside, I also sense that this early on, the present administration is starting to lose steam. After a strong start, the drug war seems to be the only note it is keen on playing. How long until we realize our disgust?