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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The protest day: More opposition setbacks and a way forward

By John Tria

The September 21 “day of protest” went by without being the vaunted and hyped up showdown of much larger crowds against government that the President’s detractors hoped it would be.

Despite the date declared a holiday for government workers and schools, recent controversies and a long time to prepare and organize, the numbers that many of the government’s detractors hoped would swell to new highs barely approximated the protests mounted against the Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Of course, propaganda websites and social media pages tout the Luneta protest to have reached the Libingan protest crowd of 30,000, but news photos of the event don’t seem to affirm the claim.

The effect of the outcome shows that the issues raised by those opposing government saw little traction in the general public, that basically remained detached from their multifarious advocacies. We were all expecting a crowd of at least 100,000, with some even claiming to double that. Unfortunately, they are stuck with the same small crowds.

Where else they are wrong:

Their message is confused, with a mix emanating from a spectrum of speakers and perspectives. Some groups call for a stop to the drug war while others simply want alternative methods of dealing with drug users.

The resulting variety cannot sustain a movement, as it may even turn off many when the message is often interpreted as one that inadvertently helps support the illegal drug industry!

Credibility of the detractor’s principals is low, with Liberal Party politicians linked to the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Project (DAP), one a principal drug suspect seen as “epals” not worth their time.

By themselves, the opposition groups already are a confused lot. Throw in left-leaning groups and these variances and confusion are amplified.

Over-all, with all the opportunities given, the lack of a strong core message that resonates with majority and credible proponents after more than 13 months of the new government is a setback for the political opposition.

Contrary to expectations, everyone was egged on to give their best move, yet even this didn’t get them that far.

Protest day and the Mindanao experience

The concept of a national day of protest draws heavily from the unique experience of Mindanao, where a plurality of political and cultural voices colors the social atmosphere.

There, protest and other forms of political expression are not the monopoly of any one, or pair of actors. Enter the public squares of Cagayan de Oro, Davao and Iligan to understand this. Non-government groups of various colors, some even competing with each other often take the stage.

If we were to view the Maute phenomenon in Marawi, for example, Mindanaoans see the phenomenon not as a simple conflict between government and rebels that can be mediated by what Manila-based and foreign “peace and conflict” experts in the cottage industry of peacemaking, and the usual armchair pundits propose.

Mindanaoans see many facets that feed on each other to create a complex phenomenon requiring a detailed set of solutions. The road to getting those things may be long, fraught with compromise, needing patience and consensus.

With this, protest actions are welcomed and taken in stride, public parks even allocated for the purpose. But the larger need to build common solutions and sustain cooperative efforts is something all political actors and groups, regardless of color, understand and accept. After the rally, its often back to the working group to hammer out solutions- with government.

Thus, in Mindanao’s experience, protest has its place, but consensus occupies a higher position. Moving forward, perhaps this wisdom be considered by all groups.


An outrage from a netizen after the rally - "Last nyo na yan at nakakahiya na kayo"

After various groups rallied on September 21 which President Rodrigo Duterte declared as the National Protest day, different reactions also flooded the social media.

Netizens lambasted the opposition party for trying so hard in ousting the president and called out to stop using the groups who are not even paying taxes, he also called on the Catholic church leaders.

A post from netizen Jon Fortuno highlighted the same outbursts for Duterte’s critics. 


Yang rally sa Luneta ay inorganisa ng mga lider ng iba't ibang organisasyon na laban sa pamahalaan. Trillianes, Pangilinan, Hontiveros, Drilon ng dilaw na ginawang puti. Piston, Akbayan, Anakbayan at lahat ng yan. Mga politiko na kabilang sa minorya, si Babalu, at kung sino sino pa na leader ng oposisyon. Pati kadamay na inerereklamo ang buwis na parang nagbabayad ang mga lintek ng kahit isang sentimo. At higit sa lahat, mga pinuno ng simbahang katoliko na may pinakamaraming miyembro sa buong kapuluan.

Kung ilanman ang dumating sa rally ninyo sa Luneta ay iyan na lamang yan. Lahat na kayo ay nanawagan kaya"t sagad na yan. Wala na. Kaya't tigilan ninyo na yung mga kahibangan ninyo na kesyo marami ng Pilipino ang ayaw sa pangulo, na natatakot ang presidente sa dami ninyo.

Husayan ninyo dahil malamang huling baraha na ninyo yan, kung mayroon pang kasunod na gimik yan ay nakakahiya na.

Si Presidente ay hindi pa nananawagan ng suporta kahit kailan at malamang hindi niya gagawin kailanman. Pero kung sakali, isang sabi lamang niya na magpunta kayo sa Luneta at pag umabot kayo ng 1 milyon ay ipapabitay ko yung sundalong kanin. Hulaan ninyo kung ilang oras ang kailangan para mapuno namin ang Luneta.

Last nyo na yan at nakakahiya na kayo."

President Duterte’s supporters also gathered on their own to support him in Mendiola and other groups in Plaza Miranda, Manila.

Source (s): Jon Fortuno FB



Vatican Issues Prohibition Order to Nuns, Priest from Joining Street Protests

The Vatican City has shocked the world, especially the Catholic officials worldwide following its order to prohibit its church officials, including nuns and priests, from joining street protests that involve politics. The order followed after years of deliberation among the Church highest officials inside the Vatican City.

The order, which was prepared by the Holy See’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and signed by Pope Francis, was distributed to all countries on Monday.

According to earlier news, the office of the Secretary of State have been bombarded by letters from government of different, countries urging the Church not to meddle on political affairs.

“To draw a big line between Church and State activities, The Roman Catholic Church has finally decided to prevent its leaders from joining street protests involving politics,” one of the statements said.

The order also mentioned about the death of five nuns and two priest in South Africa on 2012, while on street protest.

The order was also timed after Fr. Robert Reyes organized a group during the Martial Law anniversary rally a week ago.

Fr. Robert Reyes, spokesperson for the group Gomburza, said priests, nuns and lay people were encouraged by the resurgence of activism on the streets shown by protest rallies held on Thursday nationwide against summary executions of drug suspects and threats by Mr. Duterte to place the entire country under martial law.

Reyes said members of Gomburza felt a “surge of fresh idealism and stronger love of God and country” as a result of the protest rallies on Thursday, Sept. 21, the 45th anniversary of Marcos’ martial law.

The Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), has yet to address the media about the Vatican order, which could change the country’s political events if priests are prohibited to influence the people. /Yolly Ramos/


The oxymoron that is the Philippines’ university fraternity community

Suffice to say, everyone recognises that patronage is the single biggest issue that plagues Philippine politics. Nothing moves and nothing gets done unless an initiative is brokered through its movers’ unofficial patronage network. Thus it is quite surprising that a key pillar of the cancer of patronage politics — university fraternities — has enjoyed blanket immunity from the protest crosshairs of the country’s top “activist” leaders.
Small surprise, considering that many politicians are lawyers and most — if not all Filipino lawyers — were fratmen in their university days. It has long been recognised that a lawyer will not get anywhere in his or her career unless he or she is a “brother” or “sistah”.
In short, in a community of professionals whose jobs are to ferret out the truth in the course of resolving conflicts using a rigorous thinking process that is hinged on logic and evidence, an elephantine unspeakable roadblock hinders that noble job objective. When an emerging truth comes into conflict with “brotherhood” or “sisterhood”, Truth becomes the preferredcasualty.
It is quite astounding that fraternities and sororities in the Philippines have escaped the scrutiny our “activists” reserve for their traditional whipping boys. Yellowtards screech about the spectre of “authoritarianism” ad infinitum. Martial Law Crybabies wail about the return of the Marcosian “dark ages” to their respective cliques of like-minded inbreds. Commies carry on about the latest president’s sinister conspiracy with America to hoodwink the Filipino people. And the broader community of liberals wax emo poetic about how everything about modern society is so unfair to the neighbourhood dukha.
Yet, there seems to be no acknowledgement that at the root of all this is how at the cradles of the future members of the nation’s brainstrust — the Philippines’ elite universities — is entrenched a deadly cancer that begs an obvious cure. Thanks to every single prominent lawyer-turned-politician (not to mention those turned prominent leaders in industry and business) the routine whitewash of fraternity-related crime has all but been institutionalised. The Philippines’ criminal justice system is effectively rigged to give out get-out-of-jail passes and its legislature predisposed to inhibit anti-fraternity legislation thanks to this ingrained conflict-of-interest.
Did we mention, by the way, that both the late former President Ferdinand Marcos and, his nemesis, the late Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino Jr are not only both fratmen they are “brothers” in chi-chi Upsilon Sigma Phi? Figure that bizarreness out! Brothers first before what is right, right brods?
And this is why fraternities enjoy their impunity licenses today. They are free to wreak havoc on university life with their petty “rumbles”, their murderous hazing rituals, and their established social pressure machines applied to incoming university freshmen that assures them a steady supply of fresh neophytes to paddle raw and pepper with cigarette burns. An entire nation led by alumni of Upsilon, Sigma Rho, APO, Aquila Legis, and, yes, Aegis Juris can only be one that routinely excuses crimes committed in the name of the bizarre “brotherhood” and “sisterhood” espoused by these oxymoronic organisations.
The solution is, as with most Philippine “problems”, quite obvious. Political will, however, is not all it will take to effect these obvious solutions, unfortunately — because the will of the politicians involved is caught up in an untenable conflict of interest of their own doing.

About benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.


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