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Tuesday, July 23, 2019
CAGAYAN DE ORO

Sia: Ronald Cardema did nothing wrong

Riding the tiger

SUPPOSE for a moment that you're a parent with a son in his late teens, thereby making him a young adult. You work hard to see that all his needs are met, and so he attends a decent university and gets a generous daily allowance to boot. In spite of all this, you find that lately he's been talking back at you, spreading dirty rumors about you, and even insulting you to your face. However, being a loving parent you try to brush it all aside. “Perhaps it's just a phase he's going through,” you say to assuage yourself as you die a little inside.

But the phase hasn't gone away. If anything, it's gotten much worse, what with him screaming obscenities at you whenever he doesn't get his way, breaking plates, teacups, and vases to make a point, and stealing some of your valuables to pay for his vices. And now he's even threatening physical violence against you and your spouse – his own parents, of all people.

As a parent, how would you respond to this? Would you do nothing and continue to tolerate this hideous and appalling behavior, or would you put your foot down and draw a hard line? Most parents, being sensible, would opt for the latter and begin to take firm measures against their recalcitrant child's behavior. Usually they'd start by curtailing privileges such as allowance or access to the family car, and this usually succeeds in reminding the brat why they should never bite the hand that feeds them. If that still doesn't help, then it wouldn't be unreasonable to finally have their unruly teenager pack his things and leave the house.

Ronald Cardema, who currently serves as the chairman of the National Youth Commission, is most definitely not perfect. However, he is not wrong to call for the revocation of government scholarships of students with communist ties. No matter what angle you approach it from, this is a justifiable move; after all, why would you want to subsidize the very people working tirelessly toward your downfall? To allow these students to remain government scholars after all they've done would be a kin to willingly paying for the rope that will be used to hang you.

And note this well: Cardema is not saying that the ‘reds’ ought be expelled or barred from halls of higher learning, nor is he calling for them to be arrested or maybe even worse. Nevertheless, the people who remain adamantly opposed to the Duterte administration and everything it stands for seem to ignore this, and right on schedule squeal that it is the Martial Law era all over again. Manila Standard columnist Dr. Jenny Ortuoste stretches out this premise much, much further, comparing Cardema to evil Nazis on the basis of his use of strong language and his desire to keep close tabs on “red” students.

All these accusations and presuppositions look utterly preposterous in light of what was said to have happened to left-leaning students and others during the Martial Law years. Taking students' scholarships away on the grounds of seditious activity is nothing compared to the atrocities Raissa Robles writes about in her book Marcos Martial Law: Never Again.

Anyway, it is well within people's rights to openly disagree with Cardema, but to conflate the things he merely said (and it must be pointed out that there have been no revocation of scholarships as of now) to the brutal deeds attributed to tyrannical regimes would be an insult to the memory of those who actually suffered and died. Yes, honor the victims of the past by all means, but you can't just simply trot them out whenever you want to make someone out to be an evil villain worthy of James Bond.

Rodrigo Duterte, who is hated more than Cardema, came to be elected President of the Philippines because he promised to set up a revolutionary government for the purpose of cleaning out Philippine politics of utterly inept and corrupt undesirables – naturally, this would mean yet another dictatorship. The people who keep complaining about how things are should be on their knees thanking God every day that such a thing did not come to pass, and that Duterte has been willing to negotiate and compromise even though they themselves tend to be incurably faithless when it comes to treaties, ceasefires, and other agreements.

It is indeed unfortunate that gratitude is the last thing you can expect from these types, as they will always find some trifle to kvetch about even in the most pleasant of circumstances. They would rather keep playing the victim to drum up sympathy for their cause as they continue to undermine our national security and tear apart our social fabric.


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