The Filipino as “Collateral Damage”

Enough already! What else does the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government want from us, Filipinos? Is it not enough that we are being bled dry by the 30% income taxation and the 12% expanded-value added tax while OFW members of our family contribute to the burgeoning remittances chest?

And for what, really? So that we may see them transform into billboards that highlight in full color and reproduced faces of the government officials and politicians responsible for refurbishing a park or constructing a road or two? The realization—or at least the promise of one—comes from our own pockets, and these politicians imply that we should be thankful for their finally having done something about those measly projects dubbed signs of economic progress, along with other cold statistics that proclaim a magically healthy economy? “Enchanting”, indeed!


At every possible opportunity that Malacanang and its cohorts can afford, lies and disenchantments are being spun from all directions, our morality and spiritual bearings being denigrated and our resolve to reform reduced to cynicism and cowardice. While our past may have been rife with its own share of betrayals and bloodshed, at no other time in Philippine history have culprits and criminals been protected, rewarded and applauded in public, achievers used as display objects, whistle-blowers shamed and ridiculed, and witnesses silenced either temporarily or for good.

Truth is subverted and repressed, and in the guise of anti-terrorism and national interest, the Palace spin doctors continuously send a chilling threat against those who choose to report objectively in our now endangered democratic space. Laws have been passed and wars waged that tag any form of criticism and opposition as forms of destabilization and terrorism, apparently to stifle by hook and by crook any effort at uncovering the truth behind the presidential legitimacy.

The recurring GMA scapegoat is that insurgency is a re-emerging threat; therefore if media and the public buy into the insurgents’ “propaganda” and do not toe the government line of so-called reasoning, they must be enemies as well. GMA’s ilk had done this not too long ago at the height of martial rule-inspired troika of Proclamation 1017, CPR, and EO 464 to suppress the truth about the rigging of the 2004 election results. Now the same ill logic is at play with the “burial” of the second impeachment hearing, this time with newly fabricated and imagined enemies of the state that only effectively widens the extent of killings.


The simple truth is that so long as questions about the cheating, the lying and the stealing of the highest office in the last elections remain (compounded now by the Joc-Joc Bolante fertilizer scam, the damaged reputation of the Commission on Elections, the OWWA Lebanon evacuation fund fiasco, and the piling of dead bodies from the all-out war against insurgency, et cetera ad nauseum) no amount of propaganda and forming of probe bodies will ever bring to light the issues and silence the voices of dissent until the very embodiment of all these plagues steps down from her throne of blood and bullets.

The Palace may confuse these issues as “recycled garbage”, but in fact, they are recycled only because they remain unresolved, and garbage because their stink remains to haunt them to this day, and at the nation’s expense.

It comes as no surprise that a general—who continue to this day to earn his stripes from the blood spilled by presumed enemies of the state and cries of “berdugo” from the fallen’s families and friends—reaps praises from Gloria Arroyo herself, while treating us civilians in the line of fire as mere “collateral damage” who should rush to the nearest shop that sells “cedula” to prove our identity and secure our very lives from the war that rages inside his and his commander-in-chief’s heads.

What should scare us further though is that while Amnesty International, the Asian Human Rights Commission and the rest of the world are condemning the remorseless surge of killings of Filipinos who simply chose to serve the marginalized amongst us—sweepingly tagged by the government as “leftists”, “insurgency coddlers” or “sympathizers” as if to justify their deaths and disappearances—the shady commander-in-chief, her favored general, sycophants and cronies are hell-bent at bringing us to the darker years ahead once power is safely tucked under their Charter change disguise at prolonging their greed for power at the expense of a country and a people losing their grip of true progress and peace.

Indeed, the gore and terror of Gloria’s tyranny have yet to come should we succumb to her and her henchmen’s if-you-can’t-confuse-them-torture-them tactics.


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