Kabataan to Senator Bato and other government national officials: Stop the unprofessional tantrums and recognize the structural root of public distrust!
Kabataan Party-list stands along with the Filipino people holding the validity of our calls, decrying the public gaslighting being spread by Senator ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa.
In an interview with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, Senator Bato slammed Bachelet’s report on the PH government’s war on drugs and threw tantrums expressing that if there’s no trust in the PNP and the government, then these might as well be dissolved. Not yet done, the Senator further made human rights groups his scapegoat saying they should instead rule if that’s the case.
The statement of Senator Bato proves his and the Duterte Adminsitration’s lack of recognition of the concrete demands of its people and of the objective conditions from which public distrust in the country stems.
Generally, corruption remains widespread and structurally embedded in the country’s politics. The people have always been the victims of corruption and the despotism of whomever occupied Malacañang, and all that Duterte has done was to further develop and propagate this wickedness.
In addition to being anti-poor and grossly inhumane, Duterte’s drug war which Bato fervently defends has been ridden with rotten practices. On top of the evident disregard for the judicial process, there are the reported cases of summary killings for bounty, the sexist palit-puri, and the infamous “ninja cops” scandal.
The same goes with Duterte’s and his military ilks’ counterinsurgency program where instead of focusing on really solving the structural roots of armed conflict, funds have been wasted with virtually unpleasant and false propaganda materials. Instead of allotting public funds for more productive purposes, he chooses to spend it on spreading fake news and smear campaigns, endangering the lives not only of individuals and legitimate organizations which he marks for death, but also the broader Filipino masses.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also exposed how low Duterte’s administration will go just for the sake of his and his cronies vested interests.
Prioritizing autocratic powers through the implementation and extension of the Bayanihan to Heal as One (BAHO) Act, many Filipinos have been left to suffer medically, economically, and judicially. Mass testing remains bleak as positive cases continue to rise, now reaching at least 47 000 as of today. Social amelioration was insufficient and snail-paced. Post-lockdown programs are also experimental, lacking comprehensive and pro-people planning.
Pandemic and disaster risk response is upsetting vis-a-vis the Duterte administration’s undying dependence on privatization schemes and foreign loans. When corrupt and despotic leaders rule, civic duty of government officials becomes a matter of egotism and power tripping, employing tactics of gaslighting to hide incompetence.
Further criminalizing dissent will even erode public trust. Having no regard for the importance of dissent, the Duterte administration mistakes legitimate concerns of the people as terrorism through the passage of a crooked Anti-terrorism law.
The problem does not lie in the public merely distrusting the government or its institutions, nor does it lie in staunch human rights groups. Rather, it’s this administration that needs to admit accountability.
It is always for the Filipino people to remain resolutely determined in fighting for our democratic rights amidst widespread corruption and military rule. Kabataan Party-list will continue marching along with the broad masses longing for a better government, with a leadership actively engaged with its constituents!