Editorial: Jaded

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Friday, May 23, 2014

ANOTHER radioman was shot dead by a gunman riding in tandem on a motorcycle in Digos City on Friday, which incidentally is the 54th month since the Ampatuan Massacre in 2009.

Samuel Oliverio, 54, was an anchor of Radyo Ukay and Supreme Radio, but who went on leave last February after suffering a stroke. He was with his wife on their way home from the market when shot in the head.

In a report by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) published in November 2013, it pointed to the administration of President Benigno C. Aquino III as being the worst since 1986, the reign of his mother, Corazon C. Aquino, in terms of number of journalists killed under a president's watch. At that time, it listed 23 journalists killed in the 40 months of PNoy administration.


“We can almost predict what comes next: police setting up another of those useless task forces that have so far failed to nail any of the masterminds in the 163 media murders before Oliverio’s, and the government vowing to bring his case to ‘justice’ just as it has failed to do with all the other cases,” the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said in its statement condemning the killing.

“It would not be farfetched, either, to expect that, somewhere down the road, some government flunky, or even President Benigno Aquino III himself, will be repeating the immortal words he uttered during US President Barack Obama’s visit, that the victim was killed ‘not because of professional activities, but, shall we say, other issues’,” it added.

Jaded, very jaded. But sadly, NUJP is just stating a fact, the lame excuses the lame actions that government has been taking in this direct attack to democracy – the forever silencing of those who speak against.

Add this to the lameness of the government in addressing corruption, the Mindanao power situation and a problem as simple as the air-conditioning system of one of the country’s gateway, the NAIA 2. Yes, that lame.

Shall we allow this to continue? By the looks of it, we will. For as long as we treat major issues like corruption and massacres and killings of journalists as source of entertainment on television, then nothing will ever happen to our country. As is often said, people get the government they deserve. Jaded, too.

That does not mean that we are not condemning in the strongest term this newest killing. We are. We are simply tired of the words this government has been dishing out. That also does not mean that we do not want to hear what this administration will say, if ever it will even give this newest killing its attention. Like all other Filipinos glued to their television, we have found morbid entertainment in how government tackles issues just to swat off accusations and point the blame on someone or something else.

Giving credit where credit is due, at least we regularly hear some sense, sincerity, and sensitivity in Senator Grace Poe, aside from championing the Freedom of Information Bill also recently pointed out that what all other congressmen and senators are insisting on – the right of reply – curtails freedom of expression. Add to that the fact that she seems to be the only one who gave notice to the cries of the indigenous peoples to ensure that their rights are respected with the recently signed Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, when her other colleagues and the President seemingly remain uncomprehending. Thank God for small mercies.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 24, 2014.


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