‘Highs and lows’ in Rody’s first 100 days summon Christians to action
The Duterte administration’s first 100 days saw “highs and lows” that summon Christians to action. Our freedom is at stake—and our work for peace based on justice must continue.
Peace talks between the Philippine government (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) have begun. Not only is there renewed vigor in addressing the roots of the armed conflict and robust efforts to hammer out a substantive agreement on socioeconomic reforms committed to bring about national industrialization, land reform and rural development.
And the prospects for peace in Mindanao are getting brighter. President Duterte’s acknowledgment of the historic injustice committed against our Moro brothers and sisters and his public denunciation of US atrocities during the Filipino-American War have created an atmosphere of respect. By decrying the Philippines’ continuing servitude to the United States, the President blew a wisp of fresh air that hints of significant reforms in Philippine politics, economy and culture, this after centuries of colonial and neocolonial influences.
Moreover, a two-year moratorium on land-conversion has been imposed. A crackdown on mining practices destructive to the environment has been launched, starting with the suspension of operations in at least 10 mining sites. The labor department has come to the aid of stranded overseas Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia, while the social welfare department has officially barred the hand of patronage politics from the delivery of services to those most in need.
As Church people, we must recognize the windows of opportunity opening up to positive change. We should lead a dialogue that strengthens our national sovereignty and harnesses our nation’s political will to advance reforms beneficial to our people. We can all help to put together a comprehensive plan toward achieving socioeconomic reforms for our country.
But our history calls us to be ever vigilant. Our tough-talking President has made clear his support for state authorities using deadly force in the “war on drugs.” As much as we support his campaign against illegal drugs and want to see narcopolitics in our country dealt a death blow, we are disturbed by the upswing in the number of drug-related killings. Though expected to result in many deaths, the sheer volume and frequency of the killings indicate that these are far beyond the regular.
We, therefore, call for a sober investigation of the war on drugs; arrest drug users and low-level pushers with the view of turning them into witnesses against the mid-level drug dealers and the kingpins. Any human rights violation against the poor and ordinary people should not be tolerated. So with corruption.
We urge President Duterte to uphold human rights and the law of the land, as he seeks to institute upright governance.
Finally, as to Ferdinand Marcos, thousands of Filipinos were harassed, arrested, tortured, martyred and disappeared during his dictatorship. He is not a hero, he must never be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Peace in the Philippines will not be won by tarnishing the memory of genuine Filipino heroes with a hero’s burial for the dictator.
We dare to struggle for peace founded on freedom, democracy and social justice.
Support the GRP-NDF peace talks.
Yes to national industrialization, land reform and rural development.
Never again to colonial enslavement! Never again to martial law!
NARDY SABINO, secretary general, Promotion of Church People’s Response, [email protected]
Subscribe to our opinion newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.