Valle: Addressing legitimatedissent is the key

IT is sad to see the current administration is seemingly slipping into a state of forgetfulness and paranoia, and missing the point. It is arming itself to the teeth as if expecting an external invasion any day now.

This is just a piece of opinion from an ordinary citizen who, like countless out here, are trying to make sense of what is going on in our society today. Do we really have to prepare against threats of “terrorists” under this Martial Law which we thought is making us safe in our dwelling especially here in our city?

Are we not being made to believe that this kind of martial rule is far ‘different’ from Marcos’, such that everybody seems happy with it? But why do we feel like we are up against something with the building up of troops in our city?

One thing that leaders of our country should keep in mind is that citizens expect transparency and accountability in their leadership. People tend to question when there is a seeming attempt to hide from their view the things that they should be informed of. We learn this first hand with each of our families.

It bodes ill-will when each member of a so-called ‘family’ starts to hide something from each other. We all have that kind of experience in each of our families, as some Filipino families are made of, and we all know the outcomes of ‘secrecy’, and that is mistrust, that leads to division and eventual falling apart.

The loss of confidence among members of the basic unit of society which is the family can have irreversible consequences, and we should learn from that. It is when we do not approach the problems between us with honesty and genuine concern that suspicions builds up.

In the larger picture of society where we are all members of this big family, it is but natural that there are different views, beliefs and practices and so on, because society naturally is made of various kinds of people and therefore complex but it doesn’t mean that we could no longer live in harmony despite our differences.

That is why, leaders in this society should be matured enough to understand that God has gifted us with intellect to recognize these variances and a heartfor us to understand that we are all the same notwithstanding these differences. Sadly, many, if not most leaders in our society tend to forget this simple fact and are easily overwhelmed by these seemingly ‘gargantuan’ problems that they would rather want to do away with swiftly and quickly.

Thus resorting to all sorts of interventions including the use of force, forgetting that they are dealing with fellow Filipinos, brothers and sisters who have different perspectives, beliefs or ideologies, but otherwise fellow human beings who have their own set of problems and woes. That mistaken notion of NOT “sparing the rod and spoil the child” has always been used. The word ‘discipline’ has been overly abused to mean using harsh means to straighten up attitudes or characters, that it has taken on a different meaning.

As reflected in any dictionary, the word ‘discipline’ means “the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour, using punishment to correct disobedience..”, and this has been shaped by societies who have leaders that employs brute force to ‘discipline’ its citizens. This has been proven ineffective in several countries already, yet, many leaders doesn’t seem to learn their lessons.

The sad thing is that the end does not always justify the means, because with legitimate grievances, such kind of ‘discipline’ is uncalled for. It becomes a pretext to intimidate and instil fear among people who have rightfully aired their concerns and uncertainties.

Thus, instead of coercing people to stop airing their objections, harsh response could even add fuel to it and further aggravate the problem.

Transparency and accountability in public governance therefore, are basic confidence-building measures that should be considered by leaders, instead of coercion and intimidation. Positive approach works more effectively than otherwise.
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