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‘Insensitive’

Nora Soriño .

ILIGAN City — My friend Marcia materialized into the office as the door was unlocked. She was  puffing and huffing.

“What happened?” I asked.

“This government is insensitive!” she said, and continued standing even if there were plenty of chairs before her. And she continued breathlessly: “Imagine in the aftermath of that disaster in the garbage dump they still managed to do some demolition jobs against  their present political opponents. They should have asked apology to the people especially to the immediate families of the poor victims.”

“Oh,” I said, “just stay cool, the whole world is not falling apart.”

“Well… yes,” Marcia said and she managed to break into a half smile as she settled herself into a chair. “You’re probably  right.”

And we talked about what really happened the previous day. In which a casualty at the dump site at Bangko, Bonbonon jolted city residents. There were six others who were injured too and landed at the hospital.

“PJ Catubig was a  cousin of mine,” Marcia said, her breath now returning to normal this time. Catubig was the fatality in that fateful trip to that dump  site at Bonbonon. A project that was touted to be “world class” but just another dump site as the garbage thrown there could not be accomodated by the machines there that were supposed to grind them. The dumps had spread surrounding area thereby polluting the vicinity.

“Imagine of that,” she said. “The city talking only a little about what happened to my cousin yesterday while in non-stop demolition mode against their political opponents, particularly city councilor Huertas.

“They should have apologized!” she repeated. “Such insensitivity.” I did not mind her being repetitious, maybe to stress some points. Also because the fatality was her cousin. Also because I agreed with her and noted the same reaction from the government, that is, downplaying what happened while still on a long demolition mode vs. their opponents.

Councilor Samuel Huertas, especially.

To note, the following people were hospitalized in connection with such incident: Orlan Nadayag, 33; Wilfredo Teson, 26; Jestoni Cobias, 26; Reyneboy Payla, 32; John Paul Nadayag, 25; and Millano Iclit, 56. The latter was the driver of the dump truck. All were from Santiago barangay, except for Teson who is from Bonbonon.

“That’s the second disaster at the dumps in this administration.”

“Correction,” I said, “that’s the fourth. The two other disasters though did not involve a fatality.”

“Then that makes it worse,” she said. “No money for maintenance even if there are plenty of budget for maintenance. And blaming others for their fault.

“Like the previous administration. They keep blaming the previous administration. Because the dump site is located there where the road is hazardous. Blah blah blah.”

“So, I ask you,” I said to Marcia. “Will you still vote for this present administration?” For I knew that Marcia and her family are die-hard supporters of mayor Celso Regencia and company.  Maybe, because of that, her dad is a job order employee of city hall.

I saw the hesitation in her persona.

“I… I don’t know,” she said, at length.

I wanted to tell her what I thought of her, but didn’t.

Imagine, naming the officials as insensitive but she  still didn’t know if she would vote for them.

Such contradiction. But I didn’t know if that was the right term…

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