Filipinos who can’t stop talking about the “horrors” of the Martial Law years under the late former President Ferdinand Marcos are starting to come across as hopeless and desperate for attention. While the atrocities against the victims should be condemned, their cases were already brought to court and won compensation. It is now time to move on to atrocities happening at present times.
Advocates of human rights abuses should understand that the new generation of Filipinos today are not interested in the past because they are fighting a different kind of tyranny that is even more difficult to defeat compared to what Filipinos were facing during the Marcos regime.
Filipinos today are being lulled into thinking that the country is safe in the hands of President Benigno Simeon Aquino and his allies – members of the oligarchy. In fact, as early as 1986, after the late former President Cory Aquino took over from Marcos, Philippine mainstream media and other showbiz personalities allied with her government created the illusion that the country is better off under the Aquinos. The Filipino people have been lied to for over 30 years.
Because the media tend to gloss over the incompetence and failures of succeeding administrations starting with and especially Cory Aquino after Marcos left, Filipinos have become their worst enemies. They have become apathetic and indifferent to the issues plaguing the nation because they have been made to believe that the kind of thievery and abuse now is nothing compared to the Marcos years. That notion is false. Some claim that the harassment, abuse and pilfering of public funds today may not be as blatant as it was during the Martial Law years but it is still happening. Mainstream media is just not highlighting them enough.
Aquino supporters keep harping about the so-called “freedom” Filipinos are enjoying today but majority are squandering their freedom and don’t appreciate how they got it in the first place. The fact of the matter is, the people who went against the so-called “dictator” then cared enough to demand change and they weren’t afraid to die for their principles. That is not something we can expect from a lot of the Filipinos of today. Most of them are just allowing government abuse to go unchecked and are resigned to thinking that they are helpless against it anyway. You can say that they have lost their fighting spirit and couldn’t be bothered to go against the tyranny of the second Aquino administration. It seems love for the country is not enough to compel majority of Filipinos to do something drastic. In this sense, the situation in Philippine society now is worse than the Martial Law years.
Instead of talking about the horrors of the Martial Law years, human rights advocates should be talking more about the horrors perpetrated during the Aquino regime. After all, they are still happening now. BS Aquino’s list of failures is getting longer and one suspects that there will be more to come prior to him stepping down in a few months. Here’s a reminder of some of the highlights of his fiascos:
1. Illegal detention of former President Gloria Arroyo
BS Aquino’s centerpiece for his “Daang Matuwid” is falling apart. Even before he won the presidency, he had been working on vilifying Arroyo to make the case for her continued illegal detention more convincing to the gullible public. Unfortunately for him, Arroyo found a powerful ally in world-renowned international human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin-Clooney. She recently won the case she brought to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention with a ruling saying that Arroyo’s detention is arbitrary and illegal under international law. The court is recommending Arroyo be granted bail and compensated accordingly.
Malacanang is pretending they had nothing to do with her illegal detention even though the cases filed against her were based on trumped-up charges and were done in haste. The UN body also noted that Justice Secretary Leila De Lima defied the Supreme Court when she prevented Arroyo from leaving for overseas to seek treatment for her illness. It’s no secret that De Lima was under pressure from her boss BS Aquino to carry out his orders to detain Arroyo at all cost.
If Filipinos do not see this as a case of abuse of power, then they have lost their moral compass. If detaining a former President under false charges can be done without repercussion, then what chance does the average Filipino have against this kind of tyranny?
2. Thievery and mismanagement of public funds under the guise of mechanisms such as Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and Presidential slush funds
This is an example of subtle ways the Aquino government is using taxpayers’ money unconstitutionally. Ignorant Filipinos — and they are the majority — do not realize how much of their money the current administration has wasted on nothing of substance. Billions of pesos could be unaccounted for because they were given as bribes to members of Congress who then gave it to fake NGOs. So far, no one in the Aquino government has been prosecuted for DAP shenanigans despite the Supreme Court’s ruling that the use of “savings” from another branch is illegal.
In addition to the DAP fiasco, billions of pesos in funds generated from the Malampaya Natural Gas Facility seems to be unaccounted for too:
Malampaya has been supplying natural gas to three major power plants in Luzon and the court decision was sought to safeguard the fund from possible misuse.
Previously, a special audit report cited cases of questionable fund use.
One of these was the P900 million supposedly released to the Department of Agrarian Reform, but was instead allegedly allocated to fake nongovernment organizations. Currently, the Office of the Ombudsman is probing those implicated in in the irregular deals.
As of March 2015, the government has received over P208 billion from the natural gas project since it began earning from it in the early 2000s.
The question now is, what has the Aquino government done with the funds? If it is just sitting around in a bank account somewhere, then that’s proof of his incompetence. He could have used that to fix vital infrastructure and modernize the country’s defense force. I would not be surprised if he has authorized the use of the funds for campaign purposes in order to ensure his party retain power in the coming election.
3. Under the BS Aquino government, the Philippines has earned top awards for the worst Airport, worst traffic and worst country to die in.
And I wish I was making this up. The Manila International Airport or what some prefer to call the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has remained consistently at the top of annual surveys as the worst airport in the world. Respondents to surveys conducted by the Guide to Sleeping at Airports website voted the airport in for its “dilapidated facilities”, “dishonest” airport workers – particularly taxi drivers – long waiting times and “rude” staff. Most of us were not surprised by the feedback. The terms “dishonest” and “rude” are indeed, synonymous with the name Aquino too.
As if having the worst airport wasn’t enough, Metro Manila was also named as having the “worst traffic on Earth,” according to a GPS-based navigation app, Waze. The result of their global evaluation was also not surprising to the hapless motorists who get stuck on the road for hours on a daily basis. For almost six years, BS Aquino government did nothing to improve road quality and infrastructure in the historic road called EDSA. It’s baffling why the son of “People Power” icons did not prioritize fixing the traffic chaos that has only gotten worse each year he has been in office.
From the same evaluation, the Philippines was also ranked as the 9th worst place to drive in the world. If another global survey was conducted rating the condition of the country’s public transport system, I’m pretty sure the Philippines would be among the worst countries in terms of public transport.
A recent study commissioned by Singapore nonprofit Lien Foundation also highlighted that the Philippines is one of the worst places to die in. Out of a list 80 countries included in the study, the country ranked 78th – nearly at the bottom:
The low ranking of the Philippines in the overall scores of quality of death index was attributed to the severe shortage of specialized palliative care professionals, lack of government-led strategy for the development and promotion of national palliative care, limited number of government subsidies or programs for individuals accessing palliative care services, and limited public understanding and awareness of palliative care services.
The Aquino government’s incompetent cabinet members whose priorities are misguided have only resulted in the Philippines becoming one of the worst places to live and die in. Who in their right mind would want this kind of wretchedness to go on? Only those who have been brainwashed by mainstream media would.
The list of BS Aquino’s failures is long. I can actually write a book about it. But since I do not have time to do that, I will leave you with a link to an unofficial list of his failures from political advocate Showbiz Government here.
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