Escalating violence in the Philippines PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 July 2018 14:54

By Remedios F. Marmoleño

“The escalation of violence against civil society, with physical aggressions against priests, journalists and human rights activists, are unacceptable.”

Was this statement made about the current Philippine situation? No, but it might have been and it would not be far from the truth. This was a statement from the government of Brazil on the situation in Managua where demonstrating students taking refuge in a Catholic church were attacked by government forces.

When a government has a tendency or perhaps a  plan to  go to a dictatorial mode the first target it will take on is civil society. Civil society has been described as “ comprised of groups or organizations working in the interest of the citizens but operating outside of the governmental and for-profit sectors. “

To make it as direct  as possible for the reader is to say that civil society is simply US… those of us who are not  in government; those of us who have retained our vision of what government is supposed to do, and who have made the comparison between what the government is supposed to do with what the government is actually doing. We see the very crucial gap and we let government know we will not allow such a condition to prevail.

“Priests, journalists and human rights activists”. Remember the attempt of this government to reduce the budget of the Human Rights Commission to P1000 a year? There must be a comedian in the House. And don’t forget the strong words used against representatives of the UNCHR for their reports on the casualties of this government’s war on drugs.  Remember the attempt of this government to shut down the online newspaper Rappler and the denial of accreditation of Rappler reporters to cover Malacañang press conferences?

So far this year 3 priests have been slain. Nothing yet  has been said about whether the deaths of these priests arose from their  strong position against certain actions of this government but I am not going to hold my breath waiting for the government to make a disclosure about these cases. Sister Patricia Fox is not a priest and she is alive ( Thank God!) but this government attempted to intimidate  her by ordering her  deportation   to Australia after 27 years as a missionary  in the Philippines.

If you are an ordinary citizen but were involved in the spread in Manila of the signs proclaiming “Welcome to the Philippines, a province of China” you better tread very carefully. The President’s spokesperson has already said such a position can land you in jail for treason. Never mind that the President said the same thing in a speech to a group of Chinese-Filipino businessmen some months back.

So long as each one has his/her North Star to follow we should not fear.