Saturday, August 20, 2016

To have our cake and eat it too

“Pinoy abilidad,” in other words? Let’s put that to a test. “The State Policy, as embodied in the 1987 Constitution is therefore, one of prohibition where the imposition of capital punishment is an exception. It is abolitionist in perspective, and embodies the core value of protecting the right to life and upholding human dignity.” [The Philippine Experience in ‘Abolishing’ the Death Penalty,’ Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, January 2007]

“Former mayor of Manila Lito Atienza — now a congressman — says his Catholic faith dictates his views on the issue. ‘Valuing life is a golden value of the Filipino mindset. The contraceptive mentality is not correct. The life that is conceived in a woman’s womb is a creation of the Almighty,’ he said. ‘Allow your reproductive system to function naturally and don’t meddle with it, and you’ll have good health, as a woman and as a mother.’ [Catholic leaders battle against free birth control in the Philippines, Sonia NarangThe Ground Truth Project,, 22nd Jan 2015]

“I am shocked at how one-sided it can be: always negative and oftentimes demeaning about our leadership. In my opinion, this negativity can be easily defused, even offset, if the Presidential communications team placed a priority on communicating with the international media in this country and abroad.” [“International media: Negative image of Phl,” Roberto R. Romulo, FILIPINO WORLDVIEW, The Philippine Star, 19th Aug 2016.]

“Allow me to cite some recent stories in the foreign press that highlight our challenge: The Economist commented on a series of anti-crime measures carried out by President Duterte’s administration, arguing that the President’s ‘ill-conceived war on drugs’ will make the Philippines ‘poorer and more violent’, and that investors will ‘flee’ if the ‘rule of law erodes’.

“The New York Times, Aug. 11, 2016 – Killings of Drug Suspects Rise to 525 in the Philippines. ‘Human rights have been sacrificed in the conduct of the anti-drug drive, with those holding the gun assuming the roles of both accusers and executioners,’ left-wing protest leader Vencer Crisostomo said. ‘It is impossible to ascertain innocence or guilt if the accused are simply shot on the spot.’

“Channel News Asia, Aug. 11, 2016 – Duterte’s war on drugs leaves jails bursting, sees mass surrenders . . . Another person feeling the effects of Duterte’s war on drugs is Don Morado Pacheco, owner of Pacheco funeral parlors. He says that since Duterte became president, the number of bodies being delivered to his 21 outlets across Manila has more than doubled.

“Some people say funeral services are good business right now, but it’s really hard,’ he said. ‘We’re exhausted. First, we’re physically tired because we pick up so many bodies. Second, it’s a sorrow for us because we are forced to ask for payment from families who are poor and have a hard time making payment.”

It isn’t surprising if we are offended by the referenced articles. But have we ever examined the Filipino worldview and assessed our predisposition for transparency – which is fundamental in self-government – including check-and-balance? Simply put, we can't take our hierarchical system and structure for granted and, more so, our culture of impunity?

Alvarez: Trust Duterte, Congress on Con-ass,” Gil CabacunganPhilippine Daily Inquirer, 16th Aug 2016. “Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said the public should trust President Duterte and Congress that they would do the right thing in shifting to a federal form of government through a Constituent Assembly.

“Alvarez made the appeal amid a debate on whether there was a need to amend the Constitution and how to effect this change.

‘I have faith in my colleagues in the House and senators who were elected by the people. I also trust the President who got a huge mandate from the people,’ said Alvarez in a television debate with Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, who opposed the shift to federalism and the administration’s proposed Con-ass mode.

“Lagman said that Alvarez should also trust the delegates to be elected in a Constitutional Convention, which he believed was more appropriate to handle a wholesale change in the Charter than Con-ass, and would work for the best interest of the country.”

The bottom line: Can we on the one hand have our cake and eat it too and on the other fault the International or Western media for their double standard? The war on terror being an example?

Consider: “Security Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution Condemning Violent Extremism, Underscoring Need to Prevent Travel, Support for Foreign Terrorist Fighters,” United Nations, Meetings Coverage and Press Releases, Security Council, SC/11580, 24 September 2014.

Do we see a difference?

“At a summit presided over by United States President Barack Obama, opened by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and addressed by scores of national leaders, the Security Council this afternoon called on all States to cooperate urgently on preventing the international flow of terrorist fighters to and from conflict zones.

“Through resolution 2178 (2014), adopted unanimously during a meeting that heard from over 50 speakers, the Council condemned violent extremism and decided that Member States shall, consistent with international law, prevent the “recruiting, organizing, transporting or equipping of individuals who travel to a State other than their States of residence or nationality for the purpose of the perpetration, planning of, or participation in terrorist acts . . .

“While most speakers acknowledged that a military and security approach to the international spread of terrorism was necessary in the short term, they stressed the need for a comprehensive approach that addressed marginalization, long-standing conflicts and other factors that helped attract individuals to extremism.”

Do we see a difference?

“Killings prompt ‘hesitation’ among European investors,” Roy Stephen C. Canivel, Business World, 19th Aug 2016.

‘This is not a judgmental issue. This is basically what we see and what we feel when we talk to international business trying to set up in the Philippines,’ [ECCP President Guenter] Taus also said.

‘We’re not looking at it from a political point of view -- really from a business point of view. Everybody waits and sees what [findings] the human rights commission comes up with,’ he said, referring to the almost 90 cases of suspected killings brought to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). ‘So I think this would explain the hesitation in business attitude and people are just waiting to see how it’s gonna end.’

“When asked if he had any specific industry in mind, Mr. Taus said: ‘Nobody in particular we want to mention here, but it’s a general sentiment that we sense when [we] talk, when we do our trade missions in Europe.’

“Apart from this, the Senate committee on justice and human rights, chaired by Senator Leila M. de Lima, would hold a probe in aid of legislation next week on the spate of killings since President Rodrigo R. Duterte assumed office on June 30.

“A total of 665 suspects have been killed in legitimate anti-drug operations, with 899 more deaths since July 1 under verification as to their circumstances, said Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director-General Ronald M. dela Rosa when he testified before the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs also on Thursday.”

Instead of bringing down the barriers to foreign direct investments, for example, does it sound like we are fortifying them? Are we our own worst enemy? But we’re proud of our compassion and empathy?

And so we value life yet look the other way if not defend extra-judicial killings? Does being soft-hearted undermine the character of Juan de la Cruz?

Why would we see OFW remittances as leapfrogging development, specifically industrialization? Because oligarchy – the fruit of political patronage and cronyism and omnipotent and God-like – is supreme, FDIs be damned? And because to be an OFW = employment not unemployment? It’s like CCT = compassion?

Indeed, services are key to the US and Singapore economies. But we’re not the US or Singapore. And the dynamics of their economies are not reflective of ours. We’re way, way underdeveloped! Yet we feast on the opiate of “the fastest growing economy” that we’re in dire need of rehab?

Sadly, because of our parochial, hierarchical and paternalistic instincts, we don’t measure our ourselves against the rest of the world? And explains our struggles in development? Yet, Vietnam, once war-torn, seems to be well on their way?

But we like to think we have the smarts and probably do, yet would fall flat on our face because we can’t prioritize, i.e., crab mentality pulls us all down? Try community and the common good? Or we can simply be stuck in the perfect storm of our own making?

“Why independence, if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow? And that they will be such is not to be doubted, for he who submits to tyranny loves it.” [We are ruled by Rizal’s ‘tyrants of tomorrow,’ Editorial, The Manila Times, 29th Dec 2015]

“As a major component for the education and reorientation of our people, mainstream media – their reporters, writers, photographers, columnists and editors – have an obligation to this country . . .” [Era of documented irrelevance: Mainstream media, critics and protesters, Homobono A. Adaza, The Manila Times, 25th Nov 2015]

“Development [is informed by a people’s] worldview, cognitive capacity, values, moral development, self-identity, spirituality, and leadership . . .” [Frederic Laloux, Reinventing organizations, Nelson Parker, 2014]

1 comment:

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