The death of Adamson University student John Matthew Salilig at the hands of his presumptive fraternity “brothers” is a wake-up call to everyone, especially those with a relative in a college or university, that hazing is a continuing problem in many schools as well as in other Philippine institutions. Salilig’s case is in fact provoking other citizens who had so far been silent to reveal how their own kin were similarly victimized.
Tags: Vantage Point
As the visiting European Union (EU) parliamentarians were declaring that the human rights situation in the Philippines has “improved,” a 17-year-old male and two others had apparently been abducted in a Batangas town. Very few details were available as this column was being written, but it was only one of the many abductions that are still happening despite the change in administration last July, 2022.
Throughout its six years in office, the Duterte administration paid scant attention, if at all, to the anniversaries of the 1986 “People Power” or EDSA I “Revolution.”
The Marcos II administration has declared that part of its foreign policy is strengthening Philippine relations with other ASEAN countries and with China. But it is still the US on which the country has to depend for its external defense because, despite the billions spent on its supposed “modernization,” the Armed Forces of the Philippines cannot even protect Filipino fisherfolk from Chinese harassment and is most expert only at the suppression of dissent and social unrest. No government is to blame for this predicament except the Philippines’ own.
Mr. Marcos could use his new-found skills in international relations to convince the rest of the world of that need. But rather than just globe-trotting, he could also craft and implement the policies that can combat the ravages of global warming here, in frontline Philippines.
The consequences have since been evident in the common belief that there is one law for the rich and powerful and another for the poor and powerless. But the justice system over which DoJ Secretary Remulla now presides could still gain some measure of credibility. Other than merely demonstrating its alleged impartiality in the case of such high-profile cases as its current Secretary’s son, it could also look into actively helping speed up the judicial process.
The inflation rate remains sky-high. Low productivity is putting the country’s food security at risk. Filipino fisherfolk are unable to fish in much of the Philippines’ own waters. Poverty and hunger are devastating millions. Entire regions are flooded and reeling from the onslaught of climate change. The pandemic is still a problem, and the economy yet to recover.
Not only the alleged involvement of government officials in it is among the fallouts in the investigation of — and hopefully the prosecution and punishment of those responsible for — the murder of broadcaster and online journalist Percy Lapid (Percival Mabasa). It is also its reminding the public and the rest of the world of one of the best-kept, but nevertheless well-known secrets in this country: the dismal and shameful state of its prisons.
If the “spiral of violence” against journalists does end, or is at least minimized, the dividends would be to free expression, press freedom, and, quite possibly, the return of the enterprise and investigative journalism that this country needs to help it move forward.
Whether the Marcos administration’s response will go beyond mere words is what the independent press, media advocacy groups, journalists’ unions, and free expression defenders and advocates should be monitoring in the coming weeks and months of the Marcos watch.
Instead of attacking the COA should it find and report an anomaly in this or that agency, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. could urge the offending party to do better. In doing so he would be defending the Commission as a Constitutional body crucial to the drive for good government and national development to which every administration, including his and his predecessor’s, claim to be committed.