Despite the fact that my hometown has always been a controversial place, I have never been scared to live here when I was growing up.

In college, when asked about my hometown I would proudly say that I am from here. I’ve spent several years away from home now living in, I believe, one of the safest cities in our country, Davao City.

At 3 AM we would go out to eat a late midnight snack. A 10 pm drive to the pharmacy would be very casual. Driving around the city alone with my kid never alarmed me.

I’m back home. Things have changed. I’ve changed. I know better. I no longer feel safe here.

Here, there is an unspoken curfew in our household. Unspoken since nobody need mention that it is way too dangerous to stay out after this hour – 6 pm. My father did not exactly set the rule on this one. But we all know it. It just doesn’t feel safe outside after 6 pm. I tried driving alone here at around 5 pm. I passed this lonely road near Kimpo Street and found myself scared for no reason whatsoever. It just gave me the creeps. I have a different mindset when I am here simply because different things happen here, things that would never happen to you in a million years if you were in, say, Davao.

The recent news of the massacre is haunting me. I am paranoid. More so than I was before. You just never know what people are capable of. I would understand killers in America who would massacre whole hospitals; they’re psychos. But this one. I am at a loss for words to describe the gruesome event that happened just two days ago. Not that I don’t have enough to say about it, that’s just it – I know too much. About the women, the innocent journalists, the lawyers, the grave where they were buried, the passers-by who weren’t even part of the convoy. It gives me the shivers right now just thinking about it. We all know about it, it’s been on the news for days now. My nephew has even complained that he has heard enough of this. Well, haven’t the government heard enough of it yet, too? Why isn’t anyone doing anything about it?

I hate it that I am trapped in this state of emergency city. I hate it that I am trapped in my own home. I hate it that some people think they can do anything and not be held responsible. “I killed 52 innocent people, I can live with that.” -who can say this?!

My father was astounded by the number of people and the manner by which the people were murdered. He said offhandedly, “You can’t even think of killing a dog, and yet look at that!” pointing at our TV screen with a disgusted look on his face. Tsk tsk tsk.