Carvajal: Domestic oppression

Break Point
SunStar Carvajal
SunStar Carvajal

From a sociological and not moral point of view, domestic oppression occurs when a group dominates other social groups, treats the latter as inferior and denies them equal access to rights and services. This is not necessarily deliberate but more the subconscious-driven behavior that results from the interplay of a country’s complex network of laws, beliefs and values, biases and stereotypes.

When President Bongbong Marcos (PBBM) told Filipinos on Independence Day to resist oppression, he was alluding to occupation and the accompanying oppression by a foreign state. He completely ignored the fact that, as defined above, domestic oppression is the current situation of millions of Filipinos.

That it is not deliberate takes nothing away from the fact that millions of Filipinos lead lives of dire poverty. They are stereotyped as lazy and irresponsible, thus not treated as equals in spite of constitutional guarantees to equality. Instead of subjects with rights, they are treated as objects of derision, at best of pity and condescension.

Among the oppressed are the thousand or so members of different homeowners’ associations from Cebu, Mandaue Lapu-Lapu and Talisay City, that convened, on Independence Day, in San Nicolas Church to pray for their deliverance and to remind city officials of their right under the Constitution to security of home and land tenure.

Those among them who have been displaced to give way to physical infrastructure development asked for compensation (for their demolished houses) and a relocation site. The cash they were given to pay for rent while waiting for relocation has long been gone. It’s been two years with no additional rent money given and no signs of a relocation site, not even a temporary one.

Those who have been tagged for demolition don’t want what happened to the first group to happen to them. They vowed to resist demolition without immediate relocation.

Both groups voiced opposition to the medium-rise buildings (MRB) of naïve city planners. These are too expensive to acquire and maintain. Worse still, MRB’s preclude engagement in small businesses. Where in an MRB would somebody sun-dry the fishes that gives her/him the income to feed her/his family?

They proposed instead that government just helps them improve their existing residences, make these sanitary, habitable and adequately sized for their large families and their home-based small businesses.

The President ended his greeting by promoting Bagong Pilipinas. He ought to know though that it will take more than a hymn to liberate Filipinos from oppression. The song might lull people into forgetfulness of their miserable condition, but come the next price increase, the next flood or landslide, the next demolition and they will be jolted back to the nightmarish reality of their oppression.

Instead of telling Filipinos not to succumb to foreign oppression, PBBM would do better to tell himself and his peers to liberate Filipinos from their prevailing state of domestic oppression.

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