Republic of the Philippines “the most democratic country in Asia.” This is what our cute president declared in a speech delivered at the Manila Hotel a few days ago.
Did she mean to redefine the meaning of the word Democracy? There was a time Democracy was defined as a government of the people, by the people and for the people. When people in government are meant to selflessly serve the citizens. Could democracy in this country now mean:
Keeping up with the world record for Political or extra-judicial killings? Where journalists, lawyers, priests, lobbyists, labor leaders, student activists, peasant leaders, critical tribal leaders and party list members are either shot or gagged in their pursuit of their professions? Where community leaders are shot because they dared to question why government services are not delivered to their communities? Where political opponents are killed in public?
Where the majority of its population live in abject poverty. Where the standard of education is geared towards making obedient and subservient, apologetic labor for export? Where overseas migrant workers are declared heroes but are not even defended by their own embassy when they have been wronged by foreign employers in foreign countries? Where overseas workers are called saviors of the economy and yet charged very high government service fees because they are going to work abroad? Where families and communities are forced apart because the country can not feed them?
Where the utilization of the natural resources is gifted to foreign multinational companies to exploit over the sustenance of the local community? Where importation of farm produce is preferred to the support for local farm production? Where elections results are tampered, changed and forced to remain as the “Garci tapes” scandal? Where criminals and foreigners are allowed to run for government positions even if the Law expressly states they should not?Where movie and boxers can run for government positions and even get elected because they simply look good?
Where illegal numbers games are declared and known to be immoral and criminal yet it is defended by top officials in the halls of government and protected by a military sworn “to be leaders, military professionals of character, in the selfless services to the AFP and the nation.” Where contractors are made to pay politicians 30% commissions without receipts for government contracts they win in public bidding?
Where the first law passed in Asia to recognize ancestral land and protect indigenous peoples’ rights is only worn on the lapel of achievements by politicians but actually has not delivered justice to the Igorots of Baguio City or protect the rights of Filipino indigenous peoples?
Where a widely abhorred law named the “anti terrorist” is passed in the halls of congress in the name of the Filipino people because the US government says so?
Are we “in denial” also as UN Rapporteur Alston described the military in his report on Political killings in the Philippines? And, are we being taken for a ride by our president?
The politician is usually described as one whose left hand doesn’t know what the right hand does.#