Under the microscope

>> Monday, May 22, 2017

March Fianza

Lately, the country was under scrutiny. This was blamed on the data and statistics on alleged EJKs (extra judicial killings) that were being published in Philippine media by the critics of President Duterte and picked up by media outfits in the United States.
This irritated Senator and incoming foreign affairs secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, a Duterte supporter, who complained that there were also thousands of killings that took place during the previous administration that were never reported in the same way that the deaths today are being questioned.
Cayetano claimed that critics of the present administration, top officials of the Commission on Human Rights, opposition senators, including some local media practically altered the meaning of extrajudicial killings (EJK). As a result, this made foreign media believe that the deaths related to the War on Drugs are state-sponsored.
To correct the issues which he believes were misconceptions, Sec. Cayetano told the administration’s critics to also consider the 65,000 individuals who surrendered under the government’ War on Drugs but did not die.
He gave the same data to the UN Human Rights Council last week, further reporting that 1.2 million individuals who surrendered nationwide are now under treatment in rehabilitation hospitals.
The new DFA secretary may have cleared the minds of some foreign media and members of the UN body by presenting the facts but I believe otherwise. I think the factor that placed Duterte’s administration under the microscope has something to do with politics, bitterness and envy.  
At the outset, only few thought that the presidential bet who described himself as the “Davao mayor” would win over the top bets. His winning was a big upset to many.
His management style in his War on Drugs, his appointment of “communists” into sensitive positions, his choice of not staying in Malacanang and instead choosing Davao as his weekend office, his guts in using foul language against his critics and the media, and his unconventional manner in running government are to me the elements that have placed his administration under scrutiny.
And since police checkpoints are now a common sight, we will expect more arrests and violent resistance, including shootouts in drug-infested centers such as Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao. 
The Philippine National Police is the most visible item under the microscope. It’s because its members have committed unforgivable blunders in their operations. A little power is dangerous so they say and this is seen in their ignorance of many rules.  
Coming home from La Trinidad at night for almost a week now, I noticed that the temporary PNP checkpoint at Km. 3 has been continuously violating rules. First, the area is dimly lighted; second, the cops are intentionally hiding their identities as they are wearing cloth masks and their nameplates are covered. Third, many policemen have to be briefed on rules that are applied internationally, especially those that were signed in Vienna by UN member countries.
Take for example the validity on the use of an international driver license (IDL). A friend who is an American citizen just arrived from the US and was stopped at the Km. 3 police checkpoint last week. He showed his IDL to the cop who stopped him but the latter did not know that the license is valid 90 days from the arrival of the owner. The ignorant cop instead apprehended the driver for “driving without license” even when he had an IDL and proceeded remove the plate no. of the motorcycle.  
Being a cop is not easy as this needs extra talent in making extra decisions. Careless decisions result to taxing the public too much, and cause damages that could have been avoided with good judgement. I am not sure about what is so attractive in police work. After finishing Criminology and graduating from police academy, what is beautiful is the man’s newly ironed uniform and newly issued sidearm. But those are not enough.
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In the months that I was out of circulation in the affairs of IP organizations in the city, friends from time to time sent me good and bad info about their activities.
The latest of which was a funny story from cousin Bernie who joked about President Du30 who was getting ready to declare the Ibaloy heritage garden as a special Ibaloy “onion” garden to be managed by the Onjon. It’s because the joker, along with other members, has observed that the different stakeholders of the area cannot get their acts together. One more thing, the Onjon has turned into an organization being ran by one and the same clique, regardless of who the officers are.
I was told by an active Onjon original who requested anonymity for understandable reasons that many members are no longer seen around because those running the organization’s affairs do not have any plan of action to show. After the sound of the last gong on Ibaloy Day has died, those who attended head home, only to be seen again in next year’s celebration.
What are we celebrating for? I am not sure. What is evident is that the people come to eat, share the meat, drink, be merry and nurse a hangover tomorrow. Then wait for Ibaloy Day next year, solicit money from politicians and do the same round of activities. “Piestan olay!” I look at this as the celebration that unites but divides at the same time. There is really nothing there – an empty celebration for me.
There were noble proposals of developing the heritage garden into a unique tourism come-on in the city where my suggestion was solicited. But apart from that, the avong, in the eyes of the parading public, has become the liquor oasis for some who have nothing else respectable to do other than spread rumors and hearsay about other people. That explains the arrogance of some intoxicated Onjon officers who at one time, attended a meeting at the NCIP.
By the way, the Onjon has not presented an honest to goodness audit report of its finances since eight years ago. That is why there are buzzes heard around and above the cogon roofing of the Ibaloy avong at Burnham that an independent private audit may be necessary.

I have heard too that my writings have irked some of the boys who run the show at the Avong ni Ivadoy. Now, I was told that they do not want my presence there just because I have been critical of their activities. Indeed, the truth hurts.  


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