Sa Kuta ni Aga

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He gambled to crane his neck, turn it to the right, taking in every detail of his surroundings, exposing his head. His peripheral vision caught a movement from his left. Just as he swung his M16, he felt a sharp jab in his left rib. Before it registered to his brain what happened, he saw blood flowing from a gaping wound. He tried to move but he can’t. Just as his enemy came closer to finish him off, he shouted and woke up. With sweat in his forehead, he grabbed a glass of water and gulped.

"This dream has been recurring", said Aga. His face is old, worn like a tire. His age slowing him down. He has lost his agility. What is left is the hope in his coffee-colored eyes.

I met him during our educational tour to some organic agri farms in Negros Occidental sometime in 2012. We visited May’s Garden of Ramon Uy, Buro-buro Spring Farm of Pam Henares and Peñalosa Farm of Ramon Peñalosa. Included in the tour are Barangay Captains, Sangguniang Bayan members, and Municipal Officials.

Aga Dimakuta, a known and respected Muslim warrior, have laid down his arms. He ran and won as Sangguniang Bayan for three uninterrupted terms.As his term nears its end, the trip to Bacolod made him turn his sight to Agriculture and see great opportunities ahead. He possesses vast tracts of land. Despite being a warrior, he dreams of lasting peace for his children, for his people. He wants to plant, to make his land productive. To fill every stomach of his constituents. To forget fighting.

Our life depends on our Land. Make this productive and you will live a happy life, concludes Aga. He just finished his lecture to visitors of his farm in his makeshift nipa and bamboo hall. As he sit to take his snacks, I grabbed the opportunity to have a talk with him. To ask about his life.

Aga now is a full-fledged farmer. Durian, marang, lanzones, coffee, cacao, and mango fills part of his land . He also grows upland rice and vegetables. Cows, goats, chickens, ducks, litter in his backyard. His fishpond teems with tilapia.

Gone were the shadows of yesterday. When bullet is the name of the game. Where the strong and powerful rules.

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