A country under attack – Manila Standard


I am not a big fan of conspiracy theories unless in movies. But the things that are happening in the country are good materials that can make for a blockbuster movies or series, and I wish what is unfolding before our very eyes were just make believe. The thing is, films usually have feel-good endings where the bad is always defeated and justice, served.

What the Filipino people face is not a product of an imagination running wild. This is real and affects the lives of the around 105 million citizens of the country in ways we can only nervously imagine.

From the looks of it, we are a country under attack. On all fronts, our hard-earned democracy, our human rights, our territorial sovereignty, and our very lives are under serious threat. Our Constitution is blatantly disrespected and observed only when it suits those who attack us. Our laws are disregarded upon the say-so of the man in Malacanang Palace. Our police force, despite knowing that there are honorable ones, is now looked at as a group of monsters who kill people in the most brutal and barbaric ways. The culture of violence has never been this strong that one cannot feel safe even inside our homes.

Most of us are scared that our sons and daughters might end up as collateral damage like Kian and Carl in this bloody war on drugs. As a mother, I have never been this nervous when my kids are out.

We worry that we cannot even have a few hours of good time with friends without the possibility of the police interrupting to inspect our personal belongings. This recently happened to Ateneo de Manila students in a Katipunan bar and can very well happen again to people who just want to have some clean fun together.

We feel jittery that even as our family is resting in our home, people will come knocking to do “tokhang.” With the Philippine National Police having a budget of P900 million for this kind of activity, we can expect a more intensified, widespread tokhang operation in 2018.

Wherever we are, we always need to be on guard, aware of possible trouble happening around us. Peace of mind has become elusive. We no longer feel safe because the people who are supposed to protect us, citizens, are the ones we fear might abuse and hurt, even murder us. The uncertainty, stress, and tension in the kind of lives we live cannot be denied.

The more than 13,000 lives, mostly of the poor, snuffed out in the name of their war on drugs, do not, and cannot lie.

Our attackers bend, disregard, ignore, and even violate laws meant to protect us. The more than 13,000 killed, many by those in uniform, were not afforded the due process they all deserved. They were all suspects, not convicted criminals. Some were outright innocent.

But look at how the ‘authorities’ use and abuse due process when it comes to those close to them. Policemen involved in killings have been protected by no less than the biggest of the big bosses. Presidential son Paolo Duterte is given all the courtesies despite his alleged involvement in big time smuggling of drugs. Due process, they say.

Our human rights are protected by the Constitution. Yet even this most important framework of the country’s very existence is mocked by the powers that be. They quote and use it when convenient for them like what the JUSTICE secretary does, but ignore it when the same Constitution is applied to their ‘enemies.’

Just look at what the House of Representatives did to the budget of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). Defunding this Constitutional body is a direct affront to the Constitution. Giving it a P1,000 budget is the biggest insult to people’s rights. This means that the so-called 119 representatives who voted for this DO NOT represent the interests of their constituents who elected them. These politicians should remember that the people they are ignoring are the same ones who will vote for their next representatives.

The HOR’s action against the CHR may also mean that the administration does not want the CHR to do its work which is to check government abuses and violations of the Filipino people’s human rights. How can people feel secure under a government that does not give a hoot about their rights?

Lastly, who is protecting our territory? We had a significant victory in our claims against China in the disputed West Philippine Sea. But how is this administration asserting our territorial sovereignty? The Chinese are building structures where they should not. They are seen occupying territories that we have exclusive economic rights to. Are parts of the country being given away to China? If not, how does this government make sure that China does not encroach in areas that rightfully belong to us?

Indeed, the country is under attack. We are under attack by those who are sworn to govern us, protect our people, and see to it that our welfare is being addressed.

We are in a very dark phase in our country’s life. We, as citizens need to be involved so the country and our people are not destroyed any more than it is now. We need to speak up, take action, and look after one another’s rights and welfare. The kind of country we will leave behind for our children to live in depends on the actions we will take now. We should strive to make things better for the succeeding generations of Filipinos.

We, the people, are paying the salaries and all the perks these abusive officials enjoy. We must assert our being sovereign. We are under attack but as we have shown before, the people will act. I have faith in the people. Those who abuse us will not succeed. Just like in the movies.

[email protected] @bethangsioco on Twitter Elizabeth Angsioco on Facebook

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