In times like these, consult your politicians.
Surprisingly, they will come up with the best solutions to our societal problems and suggest how they will apply these solutions once they are elected. They would be very clever solutions!
But once they’re in office, they will do the opposite. More often than not, they will make an excuse and justify their contrary decisions and actions as being guided purely by their conscience. But who knows what kind of conscience they have.
Are they guided by conscience when they cause thousands of families to be forcibly evicted from their homes to give way to so-called urban development projects? The eviction is usually done without exhausting Republic Act No. 7279 or the Urban Development Housing Act.
Do they consult their conscience when they vote against wage increases for our workers? Or when they choose to do nothing about assuring workers of security of tenure, or when they ban labor unions in factories and other commercial establishments, or turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to labor rights violations.
Do they listen to their conscience when they intentionally delay the distribution of land to our poor farmers? The government is now racing against time to meet the deadline for land acquisition and distribution pursuant to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (Carper). Is the Carper’s implementation “delayed” because most of our politicians are landlords/owners and all they want is to hold on to their “idle” possessions.
Did our legislators consult their conscience when they decided not to enact the freedom of information (FOI) bill into law? The House of Representatives “killed” the FOI bill with a treacherous stab disguised as “lack of quorum.” But really, politicians are afraid they would be subjected to closer public scrutiny by force of a no-nonsense FOI law, which will ensure that people will have access to both the pleasant and distasteful, even appalling, truth about them.
Did they refer to their conscience when they arrested human rights defender Timogen “Cocoy” Tulawie? Cocoy is falsely accused by his detractors of a crime he did not commit. Before he was charged and arrested, Cocoy was subjected to harassment and received countless threats for actively promoting, protecting and defending the rights of the Moro people.
George Bernard Shaw once said, “There is nothing more dangerous than the conscience of a bigot.” Most of us should expect that all through this election campaign, the candidates will promise abundance and prosperity. But mind you, once in office, they will work only for their own interests, and assure nothing but deprivation and despair.
What matters most really is the people’s sense of what is rightful and just.
We must unite as one against the pretenders in our political system and reclaim our inherent rights and freedoms.
—ROMMEL B. YAMZON,
Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas,