AS A columnist, I have to read all current newspapers to be able to collect ideas worth mentioning with a critical view in my column. This particular time, I tell you, it left me bewitched, bothered, and bewildered.
In the political front, the situation is worse due to the endless bickerings of the Dutertards and the Yellow tards or the Liberals. Pros and cons fight it out. Rumored paid mongers abound posting scandalous news about political enemies. Mud-slinging and character assassination are the orders of day in the daily news. Who are telling the truths? Who are telling lies?
It is rumored that even before elections there are paid willing persons to spread malicious news of the president's opponents. Then there is the scandal about the cheating made by the PCOS machines, particularly in the Vice Presidential counting of votes. President Duterte said he should have an even higher number of votes than the 16 million he has.
Right now, many question the way President Duterte is ruling the country. He has the makings of a dictator, the way he treats anyone acting against his pronouncements. He handpicked his own cabinet members and they are expected to agree with him. Some call it rubber stamped reactions. Those openly opposing him are facing replacements. The president's promised programs to fight drugs and corruption are far from being accomplished. He, himself, admitted that he cannot solve the drug problem possibly up to the end of his term. Corruption in government seems unstoppable.
What happens to us, peaceful citizens in these situations?
The most questioned manner of ruling with a culture of killings and atmosphere of violence is alarming. Those suspected of drug crimes are killed and to date hundreds have been killed by the military officers. Everyone knows extrajudicial killing is in itself against the law. The cases of Kian and the two other similar cases are being investigated by the PAO. Police officers are suspected of erring in the performance of their duties. We are given the investigations by the military and the one by PAO. They release their findings and all of us are convinced with the veracity of the PAO conclusion. President Duterte said he will not tolerate erring police officers and they should be prosecuted if proven guilty.
The unconventional ways of the president not willing to follow the constitution, the Commission on Human Rights, the European Union, the United States of America signed alliance, even the United Nations are hard to understand. He should know that no country can exist alone disregarding the known alliances of the Family of Nations. The latest pronouncement is his calling on any citizen who want him to resign to write him a letter. He will resign if it is the people's will. Will this happen?
The next disturbing element in our country is the outcome of the Marawi City Siege by the Mautes and the Isis Islamic cult. The news is always this - it is about to end but the struggle is still on. The last bastion of snipers are still fighting. The bombings targeted at certain points in the city are still going on. There are still many civilians held as hostages in underground caves. The dead, soldiers and civilians lay uncollected. These corpses should be taken to funeral parlor for formal burials. So many families are separated from one another.
Marawi City is razed to the ground. Homes, schools, malls and parks are all in disarray. University of Mindanao opened but the safety of teachers and students are uncertain. It will cost gigantic preparations, monetary availability by the government and removal of all debris and removing ruined establishments to accomplish the rehabilitation. Some families returned to their homes just to find that they were robbed of their belongings. Some mosques were destroyed.
The "bakwits" are also attended, too. Donation of food supply, medicines, personal needs have not stopped pouring in from the Filipinos and other countries in the world. Those sick are treated. Some had died, specially children and the elderly. The children are given debriefing sessions. They are given drawing papers and crayons and asked to draw what they want to illustrate. From these drawings the psychologists social workers interpret the traumas of the kids from their drawings and give them the debriefing sessions. The parents are given materials for their businesses which they decide to pursue. These bakwit settlement places may extend to neighboring peaceful places.
The dream of every Filipino to achieve a lasting peace is not far-fetched. It will depend on the government and civic social associations of concerned Filipinos to work hand in hand. Do your part. Stand and be counted. Save our country, the Pearl of the Orient Seas.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on September 12, 2017.
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