Category Archives: Duterte
We’ve been hearing (and reading) a lot about the (alleged) extra-judicial killings (EJK) in the Philippines. The president of this island nation, Rodrigo Duterte has been peppered with a lot of criticism, both in his (my) country and overseas, for the increasing number of deaths attributed on the government’s war against drugs. As of September 30, 2016, there has been more than 2,800 suspected addicts and drug dealers killed.
It is understandable for the United Nations to be concerned and say a mouthful about these extra-judicial killings happening in the Philippines. But has the United Nations been doing anything (or, at least, been saying anything) about killing of innocent civilians (KIC) in different parts of the world.
The United Nations, in a way, called the attention directly of Duterte, asking him to explain.
What about Obama? Has his attention been called by the United Nations to explain the spate of mass shootings and indiscriminate killings of African-Americans happening in his country?
So, is this a matter of when it is the government of a poor nation allegedly committing a crime against humanity the United Nations will have to say something but turns a blind eye when it is a government of a rich powerful country committing the same. The US police are allegedly shooting helpless civilians in broad daylight and the United Nations has yet to issue a policy statement on the matter.
When we argue that the war on drugs can be approached in a way that does not necessitate killing why don’t we also say that peace in Syria can be achieved without carpet bombing a community where properties are utterly destroyed and hundreds of innocent lives are lost.
Compare the more or less 2,800 suspected addicts and drug dealers killed in the Philippines to the number of innocent civilians the US, UK and Russia killed in the hundreds of airstrikes they made in countries where they are fighting terrorists.
So, is it a case of the human rights of those dead drug addicts and drug dealers matter and the lives of those innocent civilians getting killed in war-torn areas don’t.
Have the United Nations reprimanded these countries? Why won’t the United Nations ask the countries aforementioned to find a peaceful resolution to the conflicts in these areas in the Middle East without resorting to killing the ones they call terrorists?
Of course that’s not possible. The only way to deal with suicidal terrorists who are out to disrupt peace and indiscriminately kill, is to fight them tooth and nail, hoping that when the smoke dissipates it is the good that remains standing. That is the same with the drug dealers in the Philippines. They are worse than the terrorists because it is the family, the basic foundation of our society, that they are destroying. They will never stop selling drugs. It is so unfortunate but the only way for them to cease plying their dangerous and life-ruining trade is to kill them (but only when they refuse to surrender and opt to fight authorities.)
As Duterte said in one of his press briefings, both Philippine’s EJK and America’s KIC are appalling. But between killing a drug dealer and a drug addict (who has the potential of becoming a thief, a rapist, and a murderer) and an innocent peace-loving African-American, which one deserves more condemnation?
Remember when Duterte was interviewed by a foreign correspondent about the rising number of drug addicts and drug dealers getting killed in the Philippines and he responded by calling that correspondent’s attention to US policemen killing innocent African-American civilians? Well, to date, more addicts and drug dealers and innocent African-American civilians are getting killed in the Philippines and in the US, respectively.
It is a question of whose lives should the Philippine authorities value more, those of the drug addicts and drug dealers or those of the innocent people getting victimized by the drug menace.
But it seems that the world media is ganging-up on President Duterte for the way he chose to wage war against drug dealers. The world media has suddenly become concerned about killings. What about digging into the allegations of Prof. John Mc Murtry, a world-renowned Canadian philosopher, who argues that “the United States holds the world record of illegal killings of unarmed civilians and extrajudicial detention and torturing of prisoners who are detained without trial.” 
I know that the people who make up the U.S. government are decent, peace-loving and God-fearing individuals. This is the reason that I am inclined not to believe Mc Murtry’s imputations. He probably was just hallucinating when he opined that the U.S. government is a gigantic mass-murdering machine which earns profit through waging war.
During the campaign period for the May-2016 presidential derby, a few (or is it many or all?) Catholic bishops and priests openly expressed their disapproval of then candidate Rodrigo Duterte. Reportedly, priests used their homilies to dissuade the Catholic faithful from voting for the mayor of Davao City.
But they failed.
Whether the bishops and the priests like it or not, Duterte is the Philippine president for the next 6 years.
Before the May, 2016 elections, Duterte could be remembered saying, “I said let this election be a sort of a referendum, a sort of a plebiscite for the church and me.” And the Filipino people have spoken.
The Catholic Church, by taking sides and for singling out Duterte, initiated the animosity between them and the soon-to-be head of the Philippine government. It can be said that the clergy fired the first shots and they are supposedly wise enough to know that the outspoken Duterte, win or lose, will retaliate. They unwittingly stirred up a hornet’s nest.
For all the verbal salvos fired against him by the bishops and the priests the strongest response by Duterte was “the Catholic Church is the most hypocritical institution.” He has gone as far as accusing the bishops of not keeping their vow of celibacy. The incoming Philippine president also added that the clergymen sought favors such as cars from politicians.
Duterte threatened to expose what he termed as the sins of the past committed by the Church including priests whom he alleged to have had affairs with women. He even claimed that he was sexually abused by a priest when he was a child.
He urged the Catholic Church to just observe the “separation of the Church and the State” and not meddle with the affairs of the government.
After Duterte’s rants and shocking insults, the biggest church organization in the Philippines started singing a different tune.
Before the May 9 elections, one of the most outspoken among the bishops who attacked Duterte’s candidacy was Archbishop Socrates Villegas. The bishop has a reputation of saying what he needs to say but his response to Duterte’s tirades against the Church could be construed as generally reconciliatory. He said, “Mine is the language of peace that refuses the dark magic of revenge. Mine is the silence of respect for those who consider us their enemies but whose good we truly pray for and whose happiness we want to see unfold.”
But while the Archbishop spoke of the nobility in silence, a Catholic priest (whose name I don’t wish to divulge but he knows I’m referring to him should he get to read this article) continued his attack against president-elect Rodrigo Duterte. The exact words he wrote (as a comment to an article about the incoming Philippine President which he posted on his Facebook) goes, “6 years tau [sic] magtitiis.”
Translation: “We’ll suffer for six years.”
Duterte is yet to serve a day in office but the priest is seemingly certain that the Philippines will suffer during his term.
Can he see the future? Definitely not but one thing for sure the priest knows Philippine history. He knows pretty well that for 333 years, not just 6 years, the Filipinos suffered tremendously in the hands of Spanish conquistadores, aided by the Catholic Church. The priest, I’m sure, have read Dr. Jose Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere” and knows one of the characters called Padre Damaso.
“Are the Spaniards really gone? Is Padre Damaso just a fiction character? Ask Duterte!
During the campaign period leading to the May 9 presidential derby in the Philippines, Duterte’s opponents were quick to point out that he had no well-defined economic policies in the platform of government he was presenting. His political opponents pounced on this for they perceived the absence of a solid plan for the country’s economy as a weakness of the then candidate for the most powerful seat in the government.
Even the members of the Makati Business Club, an organization of the richest and most influential businessmen in the Philippines, lamented Duterte’s vague economic agenda. They dismissed as lacking in substance, at least in their point of view as businessmen, the speech he delivered when they invited him in to speak in a forum. They expected him to give definitive statements about the conduct of business in the country should he he win (which he did.)
But notwithstanding the absence of clear economic programs (and an assortment of issues hurled against him) the mayor of Davao City garnered almost 16 million of votes to secure a clear mandate from the Filipino electorate. Surprisingly, he has more votes than Aquino, the outgoing president who also tried to dissuade the voters from choosing Duterte by emphasizing that should he win all the economic gains the country had in the past 6 years will be wasted.
In an interview conducted a few hours after the May 9 elections, when the results were unequivocally showing that he would be the 16th President of the Philippine Republic, he unabashedly admitted that economics is not his strong suit. Thus, he intends to hire the best economic minds. To Aquino’s credit, the presumptive president even hinted at continuing the incumbent government’s economic programs.
But why then that the voters did not mind the absence of clear-cut economic policies in Duterte’s to-do lists as a candidate then. The answer is simple…the problem is not the economy. If it is, the people should have voted for Roxas, the economist.
The truth is the problem of the Philippines is not the economy. The economic woes of the country are just the results of deep-seated social problems and failures of existing systems that cannot be solved by an economist. Such problems can only be uprooted by a strong leader, a leader who cannot be manipulated by scheming politicians and businessmen. The Philippines needs a leader who has a strong political will, a political will that cannot be bent by influential lobbyists. Thus, the Filipino voters cast their lot on Duterte.
The programs Duterte are putting in his presidential pipeline are not economic policies per se but they have profound economic implications. For many times that he mentioned in his campaign sorties that it is the job of the government to create an environment that is not only conducive to economic development but where the citizens and foreigners also feel safe and secured.
By eradicating corruption and red tape in all the branches of government he will be creating an atmosphere favorable for the conduct of business and would eventually make the country a haven for both domestic and foreign investments. Specifically, he wants to shorten the processing of papers when transacting business with any agency of the government.
By obliterating criminality and drugs, he will make the citizens focus on improving the quality of their life without fear of getting victimized by petty criminals. Parents can rest assured that their children will not become a victim of drugs.
By increasing the salaries of policemen and soldiers he will strengthen law enforcement which is sorely needed in the maintenance of peace and order. He will boost the morale of policemen and soldiers and make them feel more dignified.
By increasing the salaries of teachers he will make them more effective in the delivery of education which, undoubtedly, is a key component in national development.
By promoting Federalism, he will bring a final solution to the country’s century-old Muslim separatist problem. There will finally be equitable allocation of government resources where people in their respective regions will finally have a chance for self-determination.
It is hard to dispute that all these acts will bring tremendous economic benefits, indirect it may be.
He clearly pointed out that the days of unscrupulous elements in society are numbered, that people should avoid committing acts inimical to the interest of the Filipino, that people can do anything that makes the Filipino comfortable, and that nobody will be allowed to do things that will make his countrymen uncomfortable.
In the interview on May 9th, he proclaimed that he has nothing in mind but the interest of the Filipino people, and nothing follows.