‘Authorities’ knee-jerk response to criticism

Apr. 22, 2020

The message is clear: if one is critical of the administration whose shallow interpretation of democratic rights clearly show in their knee-jerk response to what they consider as “seditious”, one easily gets the ax. My fear is not for the oppositions’ demise, because more than anything, such action as criminalizing whatever the critics do even it is not at all illegal, can only fuel dissent, rather than douse it.

The Kilusang Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (KMP) and Anakpawis party-list belong to the legal opposition, that previous despotic administration up to this time have, time and again, bedeviled and besmirched as nothing but nuisance these people’s organization. It is because KMP and Anakpawis take up the small farmers’ and farm-workers’ cause, those who are poverty-stricken and struggling for their daily survival in the countryside.

Like other cause-oriented and peoples’ organizations, it becomes a dictum for authoritarian regimes to pass judgment on them, perhaps to prevent people from realizing their power together because it is easy to rule over fragmented constituents.

Oftentimes, these are the very people who have been displaced from their communities when large mining corporations encroach on their areas. Likewise, these people have been targets of military operations, time and again since they are living on lands rich in resources that the moneyed few wanted for themselves.

To my mind, the government should even be grateful that there are organizations like KMP and Anakpawis’ that act as ‘vents’ for grievances from people who are suppressing their gripes against authorities. Otherwise, God forbid what may happen when the people’s discontent is bottled up.

Lately, though the streets of our cities and provinces may seem empty and quiet, we cannot help but be aware of the angsts and uncertainties that people are feeling in this time of COVID-19 pandemic. Not only are these apparent in social media and some mainstream and alternative news outlets, but even in our small circles in the communities who chose to strictly follow government orders to ‘stay at home’, where there’s some kind of unease among citizens.

We can understand why the discontent and disquiet, as obviously, people are not used to staying put for the simple reason that there are mouths to feed, even if they are afraid that they will contract the disease. At this time, it becomes even clearer that there are more Filipinos mired in poverty, those who are considered “isang kahig, isang tuka” like a chicken that can only once each time it scratch the ground.

With the continued enhanced community quarantine and the prohibitions imposed on the public limiting mobility, naturally, people cannot but be fearful of their family’s situation at this time. There’s no guarantee that they can eat anything, especially that government rations come in trickles.

It’s just sad that in our society many among government leaders would rather use drastic moves to make people strictly follow orders rather than closely listen to the needs on the ground. It’s not what government apologists are making their masters believe that people are just “gahi’g ulo, di maminaw” (hard-headed and not heeding orders), generalizing all people who go out in the streets.

Perhaps there are some who are fed up with staying in their homes, just like those who “crave” for material things or just loiter, but then there are many others who might have urgent needs such as food, medicines and whatever, and might not have the necessary identification or permits.

Then again, when the attention of ‘authorities’ are called, especially when this is done through social media their ire is immediately directed on hapless people. Thus, it is not really an act of a leader with a sound mind to say that there will be no more questions to be asked, but that quarantine “violators” will just be arrested and imprisoned.

Such pronouncement speaks of cold-blooded indifference and heightened intolerance for the real masters that public servants are sworn to serve.

We all know that the whole world is facing a common “enemy” in this pandemic, and it is a fact that many countries around the globe are reeling with the effects of this virus. But there are some that have been facing a heavy toll in terms of infections due to this pandemic yet are still able to contain the number of morbidities. Lessons abound throughout the world where our national leaders can learn a thing or two. We just hope and pray that the country’s leaders will genuinely address this problem by working with the real health experts and scientists in the field who could assist them in making the right decisions.(davaotoday.com)

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