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BLIND SPOT: Successes and Failures

I’m still reeling in disbelief of Manny Paquiao’s defeat last Sunday. I was so confident he would win. Is Jeff Horn the first Caucasian who had beaten Paquiao? I always thought that spot would be reserved for African-Americans or Mexicans. (Am I being racially stereotypical?) Well, I’m no sports analyst. I would leave that to my father, and not tread on his territory, if he were alive. The interesting thing is Manny Paquiao’s sports career reflects real life. You don’t win them all; but you gain significant successes. I guess, in that way, Filipinos identify with the champion all the more. The Philippines has gone past June 30, 2017 and no fireworks for that. In case you missed that, the last day of June 2017 would mark the first whole year of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. Many articles, radio and TV news commentaries would pounce on this subject matter. There would probably be another one tackling the same issue in this very paper, but this is so tempting. Within the first year of President Duterte’s administration, “1,007,153 drug users and pushers surrendered to government; 42,978 pushers and users were arrested as of December 30; 73 government officials were arrested for involvement in illegal drug trade, as of October 7, 2016; 2,166 drug personalities were killed during police operations as of December 30; 5,868,832 houses of suspected drug personalities were visited by police to invite them to surrender to government for rehabilitation, under Project Tokhang; and P1.266 billion worth of illegal drugs were seized by BOC as of end of November 2016: P933.3 million worth of shabu, P314.7 million worth of cocaine, and P17million worth of ecstasy.” In economy, “draft of Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act was submitted to Congress.; 17 major projects were approved by National Economic Development Authority Board; P1.3 billion worth of smuggled goods were seized by BOC, including smuggled rice, fuel, fake clothes and cigarettes.” ( The present administration would confidently wave their accomplishments on their war on drugs as their flagship achievement. I remember one televised privilege speech by then Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano, in which he presents the rewards of the drug war of safer streets, similar to that of Singapore where you could walk in the middle of the night and not be afraid of any harm. Like hello… As Alicia Silverstone would say in that 90s teen flick “Clueless”, “As if…” Why are we still plagued with news reports of street crimes occurring in late nights? If it were so, the news would be filled with showbiz love teams because there wouldn’t be any crime to report. In fact, the drug war has spun out of control, emboldening police officers to abuse and extort innocent victims. Remember the brutally murdered Korean? The Philippines is recurringly mentioned in a National Geographic TV stinger – about extra-judicial killings. Now, that puts us on the map. According to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, from the traffic situation in Manila’s notoriously choking thoroughfares to the president’s flagship campaign on illegal drugs Duterte has “massively failed.” (Sure, what did you expect him to say about the President’s first year in office?) “Duterte faces a serious security problem in Mindanao, where the military and police are currently engaged in street-to-streetfighting with Islamist militants who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Attacks by the New People’s Army also marred the president’s first year as his negotiating panel tries to forge a peace deal to end the decades-long Maoist rebellion, already one of the longest in the world. The president is also leading a brutal campaign against illegal drugs which has been widely criticized by both international and local rights groups.” ( May I add that we can remember or choose to forget that the President promised in his campaign or even at the start of his ad ministration that he would give decisive resolution on the country’s illegal drugs problem within 6 months. Regarding the traffic problem, let’s get real here. Does a new president solve that? Isn’t it an entangled mess of social and structural problems rolled into one? So, do we expect a tough guy punisher to entangle each strand of it? We all wanted drugs out, but I guess many of us would agree that we want it not with violence and police brutality and human rights violations. Oh my, I wanted to write an article that would be a balance between successes and failures; but I guess I failed at that. I wonder why. “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authori ty except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Romans 13:1

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