THOSE who continue to subscribe to the “Tuwid na Daan” of the Aquino administration should listen to the tales of woe of the Lumads.
Numerous accounts say thousands of indigenous people from Mindanao have been victims of atrocities and yet, the administration hasn’t lifted a finger to address their plight.
Hundreds have been killed, thousands have been driven away from their homes by private armed groups in the payroll of mining firms, with the military merely standing by doing nothing.
Datu Megal Mansilyo, a Banwaon tribesman from San Luis, Agusan del Sur, said that a mining firm grabbed their tribe’s farm land, assisted by a private army, leaving their children almost nothing to eat. Mansilyo is among the 700 Lumads now at Liwasang Bonifacio to appeal to the Aquino administration to stop the atrocities against the Lumads.
Is the New People’s Army (NPA) supporting the Lumads in fighting atrocities? If this is so, then this shouldn’t be taken against the Lumads. I wouldn’t be surprised if the NPAs find favor in the eyes of the Lumads for performing a job that should have been done by the government. In my hometown, Lupao, Nueva Ecija, cattle rustling was rampant until the NPA executed one rustler after a public trial.
The violation of the human rights is of recent vintage. It is happening not under a martial law regime but under an administration that touts itself as a staunch advocate of morality and righteousness. Yet, many followers of the President have closed their eyes to these failings against indigenous people. To this I say, never again should we have a holier-than-thou administration that keeps a blind eye on ugliness surrounding it.
Perhaps, the blind followers of the administration find the Lumad issue too distant to attract their concern. Perhaps, they can say the same thing about the victims of Yolanda who are still languishing in substandard houses while millions of donated cash are unspent by the Aquino administration. But, how about the abject state of peace and order in the country?
We don’t have to look far into our history. And we don’t have to rely on the self-serving analysis of the mouthpieces of the President. In a recent column here at the Manila Times, former Ambassador Rigoberto Tiglao lamented that in its 2015 rankings, the Global Peace Index placed the Philippines as the second most violent in Asia, next only to North Korea.
The Aquino administration can’t blame the martial law regime or the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for this debasement of the country. Tiglao noted that while the Global Peace Index had ranked the Philippines No. 130 out of 162 countries in 2010, it ranked the country No. 141 this year.
The Aquino administration keep on pointing to state-sponsored crime during martial law but it has kept silent on the massacre of farmers at Hacienda Luisita. It should also be stressed that more journalists continue to be murdered under Aquino. These incidents weren’t figments of imagination. They weren’t meant to denigrate the President. His critics shouldn’t be faulted for pointing to his failings. His followers should now wake up and stop praising him or else, he or his chosen successor will continue such failings. Never again should we have such kind of administration.
Never again should we have an administration that masks incompetence in traffic management with illusory statements of “signs of progress.”
Never again should we have an administration merely shrugs its shoulders on complaints against its friends, classmates and relatives, an administration that never admits faults but is always faulting critics and predecessors.
Never again should we have an international airport dubbed once the worst in the world and now, a world embarrassment because of an administration that gives premium to personal loyalty over competence and capability.
Let’s close the Aquino administration as an unhappy chapter of Philippine history.
More on Villanueva
The rabid followers of senatorial hopeful Joel Villanueva are barking up the wrong tree. Their “enemy” is not this columnist but former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Why did De Lima and the NBI file charges against Villanueva two months ago when the NBI had said in 2013 that the documents on his alleged misuse of the pork barrel were fake or forged? That’s not for me to answer. I’m not the PRO of Villanueva. Rather, that’s for De Lima and the NBI to answer.
I doubt, however, if they will because the case is already before the Ombudsman. However, Villanueva could seek the answer from De Lima because both are running under the “Tuwid na Daan” coalition. If Villanueva can’t get the answer, or isn’t satisfied with it, then his followers can junk De Lima.