"This kind of ideologically-instigated, self-righteous, unthinking rhetoric of victimization is what can give minorities a bad name."


In its second quarter opinion poll conducted last month, Pulse Asia found a whopping 88 percent gross approval of President Rodrigo Duterte’s performance, together with a virtually similar 87 percent gross trust rating. This is the latest personal best record for the President.

Clearly, the Duterte haters are very much a small minority. These are the people who’re baffled that the same kind of survey majorities also want our government to become more aggressive against China. Or have also expressed concern over their personal safety in the midst of the President’s scorched-earth war against drugs.

Which explains why the Otso Diretso slate pushed by these same people came up with the ultimate minority number of zero in the May senatorial polls. It continues to escape the vaunted intelligence of this noisy minority that our people are too practical-minded, and have too many other concerns on their mind, to be swayed by one-dimensional caricatures of the foul-mouthed mayor from Davao.

On China, it’s one thing to be rankled by those maritime incursions by the Chinese, as every red-blooded Filipino should, and another thing entirely to believe in the fairy tale that superpowers will bow to international law even if it doesn’t suit them, or—even worse—that our verbal bravado will somehow prevail in an actual slugfest with the million-strong uniforms of the People’s Liberation Army and Navy.

As to the latter point, at least the administration is already making preparations. The AFP and PNP continue to modernize with the help of generous military budgets. A new bill mandating ROTC for Grades 11-12 passed the House over only four objections. And most recently, the intermittently pugnacious Foreign Affairs Secretary Locsin has called for lifting the constitutional prohibition on war as an instrument of national policy.

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On the drug issue, there’ve been so many personal accounts from poor neighborhoods about how their safety situation has improved since the war on drugs started. And if the war has racked up its own definition of collateral damage called EJKs—numbering 3,000-plus and not the purely imaginary number of 27,000 bandied about by the big-lie propagandists from the red and yellow camps—then it’s an inevitable cost that the public seems willing to live with as an occupational hazard and a price worth paying for restoring peace and order to their streets.

Which is why the recent UN Human Rights Council resolution to order an investigation into the human rights situation in the Philippines will never enjoy more than small minority support in our country. And even within the UN itself—with 18 votes in favor, 14 against, and 15 abstentions—t’s not unreasonable to describe that narrow majority opinion as being, in fact, a disguised minority view.

Iceland, the sponsor of the resolution, is itself guilty of that most horrific of human rights abuses—the sin of abortion, which has killed over 34,000 Icelandic babies in their mothers’ wombs, in a country of only 340,000 residents. This 10-percent abortion rate is consistent with a typically permissive Western morality that has produced record-high numbers of single parents as well as sexually-transmitted chlamydia.

Iceland is a country that allows abortion of unborn babies up to 22 weeks in the womb, does not require parental consent for minors to undergo the procedure, and is notorious for systematically destroying Down’s Syndrome unborn babies on eugenic grounds. In a country like ours where human life is constitutionally defined to begin “from conception,” this kind of public policy thinking can only boggle the mind.

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The current water crisis continues to afflict millions of Metro Manila residents who depend on just one source—Angat Dam—for almost all their potable water, as well as millions of farmers in the surrounding provinces whose livelihood—as well as our food supplies—depends on plentiful water.

Over the last half century since the Marcos years, it’s been generally acknowledged that the best solution is to build additional dams in the mountainous terrain of Quezon and Rizal. Every year, some 8 billion liters of rain water is dumped on the Sierra Madre mountains by our typhoons and monsoon season, only to flow right back into the Pacific, unstored and unused.

The Kaliwa dam proposal has been around since the seventies. It is in fact just one of three dams that have been proposed in the same general area, the others being Kanan and Laiban dams. Building these water reservoirs ought to be a no-brainer—unless it runs up against our misguided notions of “social justice.”

In this case—as reported by Ressa mouthpiece Rappler--the proposed construction of Kaliwa is now being resisted by representatives of indigenous peoples (IPs) in the area of Mt. Daraitan, the project location. These IPs number a grand total of 5,000—yes, five thousand—whose leaders are now demanding that the entire project be stopped outright.

No scientific justification is proffered, nor a reasonable request instead for just compensation and resettlement when they’re displaced, nor any kind of sensible suggestion about how and where else to source that additional water, nor even an explanation why they think the compensable claims of five thousand people are more important than the survival of millions of others.

No, all we’re presented with is a petition to just stop the project—basta. This kind of ideologically-instigated, self-righteous, unthinking rhetoric of victimization is what can give minorities a bad name.

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Today’s readings contemplate rejection and isolation as being also occasions to witness God’s infinite mercy.

After the Egyptian pharaoh decrees the death of all newborn sons of the Israelites in slavery, Moses is given up by his mother for adoption by the pharaoh’s own daughter. But a grown-up Moses ends up killing an Egyptian who was abusing a fellow Israelite, and has to abandon the comforts of the royal court as a fugitive in the land of Midian (Ex 2: 1-15).

In the responsorial Psalm 69, David in his rejection likewise cries out for God’s succor: “Save me, God,…for I have sunk into the mire of the deep, where there is no foothold.” But even in his distress, David does not give up hope: “…you who seek God, take heart! For the Lord hears the poor, does not spurn those in bondage.”

Jesus too suffers rejection of His preaching by some of the crowds (Mt 11: 20-24) and initially lashes out at them: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! Capernaum, you will go down to the underworld.” But His Divine nature, as always, eventually prevails and prompts His gentle invitation to the same crowds (28-30): “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Readers can write me at [email protected]

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , Pulse Asia , China , People’s Liberation Army , UN Human Rights Council
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