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Entry Title: " War wounds: Small steps to closure"
Karlos Manlupig
, Philippines
Category: Professional

Entry Description: This is the story of Filipinos who at a very young age realized that
wounds may easily heal but what is more harrowing is the
lingering pain inside. The story revolves around the life of 18-
year-old Kim Pascua and his 10-year-old cousin Kiko from the
village of Tubigan in the town of Maluso in Basilan in the
southernmost region of the Philippines. It was around 5:45 in the
morning in 2010 when heavily armed rebels swooped down and
attacked their village.

Kim, her mother, her two siblings 8-year-old Argie and 11-
month-old Karen Mae, and her cousins, Kiko, 8-year-old John
Luis, 9-year-old Angeline and 10-year-old Jebrian all got trapped
inside their house. The assailants continued to fire their automatic
rifles until they decided to burn houses down. All members of the
family except Kim and Kiko died in the incident after sustaining
burns and gunshot wounds. At least 13 were killed in their village
while 24 others were injured. Kim and Kiko lost all their legs while
their faces and bodies were covered in burn scars.

Five years after the incident, Kim and Kiko are now staying at a
dimly lit dormitory of a rehabilitation center to finally get their
own custom-built prosthesis. They shared that each step they
make as they try on the prosthesis is a step towards moving
forward. However, the neither prosthesis nor facial reconstruction
can give what their hearts truly desire. Justice is what the country
needs, they said. And with the government now talking peace with
the rebels, Kim commented that this might be the closure that
they have been yearning for.

“I do not want revenge. What I dream of now is that no other child
will experience what I have experienced,” Kim said.

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