We have all heard the Change is Coming slogan. It is not yet clear what direction this change will bring to the country with so many unknowns still to work themselves out. I wanted to look at three issues that Filipinos have felt very strongly about in the past, but where over recent months there has been a major swing in public opinion.
I will continue to remain as neutral as I can and base my comments on my observations and discussions with Filipinos only. My personal opinions on any of these matters have been left out as they are issues for the Philippines.
Mary Jane Veloso – Compassion to Distain
It was April 2015 and the nation prayed together for the life of this woman to be spared. Social media was covered in a large scale outpouring of compassion for the plight of their fellow countryman. Their prayers were answered and Mary Jane Veloso’s execution was delayed pending cases against those alleged to have been involved in her exploitation. Eight others were not so lucky and were executed by firing squad that night.
Now that everyone has been told that the war on drugs is the nation’s biggest problem, the compassion displayed previously has evaporated. Any mention of her name is met with cold dismissal now that anti-drugs sentiment is running hot. The pleas for leniency have been met with the quote “go ahead.”
South China Sea disputed islands
When the Arbitration Tribunal in The Hague ruled in favour of the Philippines there was an explosion of national pride. A David Vs Goliath victory was the common theme in amongst the masses along with the famous hash tag Pinoy Pride.
The ruling did not actually change anything in the region and was a symbolic victory more than anything. Perhaps those rejoicing did not realise that the Chinese did not vacate the disputed territories and that the lives of Filipinos who’s livelihood relies on access to this area were no better off.
Rather than expressing any kind of anger, or speed to reach a solution the country has instead decided that China relations should be the top priority for foreign policy. The US has been pushed aside. An interesting development that introduces a whole new set of unknowns for the country and it’s future.
David Vs Goliath no more…
Police – Public Distrust, to Public Protection
The goal of a respected and honourable police force is an admirable pursuit. Where the vision brakes down is the lack of process to reach the desired outcome. There were systemic problems that led to abuse of power and corruption being the norm, rather than the exception.
Overnight this group was charged with the massive task of cleaning up drug crime in a six month window. An initiative where very little accountability was in place, and people have since died in their thousands.
An enquiry was thrown together and broadcast to the public. I watched a lot of the footage and it was a talk fest that didn’t seem to go anywhere. The public response to this attempt to have some level of accountability for the thousands dying in the streets…
The recent discovery of fabricated cases, and vigilantes turning out to be active police officers should come as no surprise to anyone. A big short cut was taken and people are paying the price for it, many of them innocent. This fact is met with little more than a shrug of the shoulders….
What is missing from most of the discussions that I have had is the lack of reasoning for the change of heart. I hear a lot of repeated media snippets, but not much more form those in support of the above positions. Those who are against them seem to have a bit more depth behind their view points.
I would encourage you to add your thoughts in the comments below to broaden the discussion. Whether you are for, or against.