So unpatriotic of Filipino political partisans to badmouth their country in foreign papers

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RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

I FIND it so unpatriotic for Filipino partisan writers to write articles in foreign papers that are indisputably biased against President Duterte, and which badmouth the country as a land where the rule of law has collapsed. Such articles are not only in very bad taste, they reflect the fact that nationalism in this country has all but vanished.

The Yellows indeed seem to have put a lot of their propaganda focus on such foreign publications. This is because their propaganda venues during Benigno Aquino 3rd’s regime—the Philippine Daily Inquirer and ABS-CBN Broadcasting—have retracted their claws, naturally concerned about their own survival under a President they had moved heaven and earth to stop from getting into power.

It is the misleading and often even totally false reports by Filipinos writing for foreign publications and organizations that explain why many in the US and Europe believe that there have been terrible human rights violations in this country under Duterte.

How has the New York-based Human Rights Watch been getting its reports of allegedly widespread human rights violations here?

From one Carlos Conde, who has practically devoted his journalistic life in writing deceiving reports for foreign publications, at least one which was so very clearly patently false. Conde started his career as a journalist in the news website bulatlat.com, allegedly run by Communist Party propaganda cadres.


Ironically, Conde later joined the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility – NGOs that are funded by the American National Endowment for Democracy, which have been accused as conduits for CIA funding. I don’t think Conde has written anything positive about the Philippines working as stringer for US papers for two decades.

FEER

I know whereof I speak, when I talk about Filipinos writing for foreign publications. I worked as a correspondent and bureau chief for a decade at the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER), which was owned by Dow Jones and for most of the years I was there, run by very competent British editors.

A Filipino writing an article in a foreign publication is taken—naturally—as an authority on the country, and foreign editors, many of whom wouldn’t even know where the Philippines is, would take his or her word as Bible truth. Western newspapers, even the Washington Post and the New York Times, cover the world and, believe you me, the Philippines is not among their priority places they monitor.

There has never been a Philippine expert in their editorial sections, and there are tight deadlines, so they never really fact-check whatever an article written by a Filipino.

Take the case of Manuel Quezon 3rd, who has fooled the Washington Post that he has been a journalist by profession, going by his description in the guest columns he has written for that paper’s “DemocracyPost”, its feature section on democratization and its problems in the developing world.

He is never identified by his main achievement in his life so far: as a top Aquino propagandist, an undersecretary of the Presidential Communications Development ad Strategic Planning Office and occasional Presidential spokesperson stand-in, for six years in the past administration. He is identified only as a “columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper and the host of the political affairs show ‘The Explainer’ on the ABS-CBN TV news channel.”

With those “credentials,” and with no mention at all of his being a die-hard Yellow propagandist, and being a Filipino, editors and readers of the Washington Post are fooled into taking him for an objective and accurate writer. The Washington Post has no idea that he is a Yellow propagandist.

Falsehoods

That has allowed Quezon to get away with so many falsehoods, with the following being just a few samples:

“President Duterte’s honeymoon may be ending.” This is the title of Quezon’s column of February 29, 2016 when the President actually was still rising in terms of his political support, with 75 percent of Filipinos (according to the Social Weather Stations) in March this year satisfied with him, to rise to 78 percent in June.

“Few in Manila take the charges (against Sen. Leila de Lima) at face value,” he wrote. Few? I believe the charges, most people I know believe them. Why shouldn’t we believe the charges when there were a dozen witnesses, including a former justice department official, who testified that she was the protector of the illegal drug trade directed from the National Penitentiary. Quezon in his column makes the preposterous claim that Duterte is simply on a vendetta against de Lima, because she investigated human rights violations in Davao City when he was mayor there.

“Duterte’s alarming war on drugs has claimed 7,000 lives (and counting),” the Aquino propagandist wrote. That was the figure of alleged drug-war related killings as of September 2016, concocted by the anti-Duterte outfit Rappler, which I have indisputably proven wrong in several columns.

It is astonishing—or maybe not for a neoliberal publication—that the Washington Post has not wizened up to Quezon’s fabrications. His latest piece (November 12) was even titled “When two strongmen meet: Trump and Duterte in Manila.” Trump who may just be impeached by Congress in less than a year in office, is a dictator, the definition of a “strongman”? Duterte, who has a Yellow cultist as vice president and who is the target of the vilest criticisms by columnists even in this paper, a strongman?

Aquino propagandist

In that recent piece, the Aquino propagandist wrote: “Duterte’s illiberal political agenda is running out of steam. He has been meeting strong resistance in the form of criticism from human rights advocates at home and abroad, and growing alarm among civil society groups and the media, strong media. All this has been accompanied by a sharp drop in public support for the president and his methods. The business community has been expressing quiet but steady concern over the economy losing steam.”

Quezon is lying. The facts:

Some 77 percent of Filipinos, according to Social Weather Stations’ September survey, are satisfied with Duterte’s war on illegal drugs.

The third quarter Pulse Asia survey from September 24-30 showed Duterte’s overall approval at 80 percent and the only “civil society group” that has been rabidly critical of Duterte is the minuscule TindigPilipinas, a different name for Yellow stragglers of which Quezon is an official of;

According even to latest figures,  the “Philippine GDP grew faster than expected by 6.9 percent in the third quarter of 2017, even ahead of China. Is that “losing steam”?

Well, at least Quezon can claim that figure was based on a flawed computation by Rappler. But take the case of New York-based Sheila Coronel who wrote a piece in the magazine Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, an article so dramatically titled—yet reeking with hateful bias—“A Presidency Bathed in Blood.”

She wrote: “The drug war, which Duterte officially launched on his first day in office, has claimed the lives of as many as 9,000 suspected drug dealers and users who have been gunned down by the police or by masked men linked to them.”

Where did she get that figure? “Numerous news reports quote that figure,” she replied to my query. These “numerous reports” though were articles blatantly biased to paint Duterte as a killer, and patently concocted by extrapolating Rappler’s September 2016 false figure.

Would any editor of the Democracy journal dare fact-check that figure of the Filipina Coronel, who is described in that piece as “academic dean and the Stabile Professor of Professional Practice in Investigative Journalism at Columbia University’s Journalism School. She was co-founder of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism”.

What a sad, sad country. Even our brightest Filipinos, intellectually blighted by the Yellow Fever, are badmouthing their own country abroad.

Email: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao

Twitter: @bobitiglao

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