Current Events, Philippine Politics

Duterte Debate: Why Aren’t Enough People in the Middle?


The country is split it seems, when it comes to Duterte and his demeanor and extrajudicial killings. Supporters love his authenticity and practicality. Criminals are evil and they deserve to be erased from our country no matter how many innocent lives are destroyed. Sometimes one has to experience great pain to reap the benefits of life, they say.

Those who oppose condemn the unjust killings of the accused. Human rights is the hot topic. Every person, no matter how evil, has rights that no one can take away. And his antics on TV? Those are words that don’t belong to a president’s mouth, and it might just be too risky to lash out at everyone that displeases you, especially when they can affect relationships with entire countries and organizations.

But why don’t more people inhabit the middle of the debate? Those who condemn him seem oblivious to his relatively productive performance since taking office. The corrupt are being exposed, rebels are now more than ever more hopeful of achieving peace with our military, and bills are being passed in a volume not seen since the twilight of Noynoy Aquino’s term. Missteps have come to be an expectation with Duterte, but at the very least he makes sure he is doing something in every opportunity.

His supporters, meanwhile, seem to have pledged an allegiance to him, fiercely defending him and leapfrogging universal and biblical truths while at it. They treat him as if he is family, or like he’s done tremendous things to their lives when in fact he’s just starting. The church doesn’t teach anyone to kill out of hatred, justice or vengeance. Even in the bible, God says not to kill, and even Jesus himself saved bigger sinners than what the police are killing now. You say the Bible is thousands of years old? Can you imagine significant literature like Noli me Tangere, Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings ever being out of fashion in the next century? The Bible is timeless, and you will understand more if you read it and realize most of it applies to multiple important situations in life.

Why do you have to disregard logic and truths when defending him? Nothing will ever take away his legacy as one of the best Filipino politicians, nothing will take away the progress he’s already done. Do you mean dropping a bomb on a hospital just because there are terrorists hiding there is right? Because that’s what’s happening when innocents, including teenagers raised by drug addicts, marijuana users devoid of any chances of hurting anybody and the mentally ill are also killed when they panic or just want to spare their children from losing a parent. If you voted for him, you have to be willing to be one of those innocents. Because it only takes one small miscalculation for you to be one of them. Sometimes you have to feel pain, right?

Just confess that it is wrong, and that the president and all those involved must face their punishments after this term. It only takes one innocent mistakenly killed to make you a criminal. And when it reaches the hundreds? I think that’s worth a lifetime in prison. Snowden did the wrong thing in my opinion when he broke his oath and escaped to Russia. When someone breaks an oath to the government and escapes punishment, imagine the ramifications when others, even recruited by enemies, follow. The reward should’ve been everyone knowing the truth, and in this case, the cleansing of the nation.

But even then, the sloppiness of Duterte’s process shows. Starting from or putting equal focus on the bottom of the pyramid results in a massive increase in deaths. It’s easy to think there’ll be few deaths if the focus was on top. That way you slowly kill the head of the snake and all the people that have potential to change the Philippines are saved. Why this is better? It only takes one miracle in the thousands saved, just one, to make a big impact in our society. Just one. And the others? Lock them away. You never know when you need or can produce talented teachers, hackers, entrepreneurs, athletes, programmers, preachers, even motivational speakers. Stop closing your mind because life isn’t as simple as saving the nation by killing everyone labeled as a criminal. There is this thing called potential and there is no way to predict it right now. So lock them away, wait for it to show if you need to, but I can easily imagine most of them already have skills or dreams to achieve.

…And please stop complaining how you want to kill those who commit major crimes. Remember all those who defended the killings because they want fair punishment? Remember all the decades you’ve lived and all the wrongly accused. There is no clear benefit that one has over the other method. Don’t you want to spare him and let him rot and suffer in prison? And I mean the huge majority who won’t be spoiled like in NBP. It’s better because of what I mentioned about potential. We are a country stuck in a dire position. We need all the help we can get and not even more hatred and revenge. Stop and think of the ramifications for all those around you and the millions living in poverty.

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Current Events, Philippine Politics

The Unsung Hero


He never got what he deserved. Despite exceptional economic growth, a change in image for the country, the much-needed purging of more government posts than ever, and the alleviation of the public school classroom problem, Filipinos always seemed to blame former president Noynoy Aquino for every misstep. And his administration took the brunt of the hate this previous election period.

It’s not like his was exceptional from start to end. He indeed was lacking in action in some spots, and some questionable practices led to the questionable strength of his anti-corruption platform. His inaction, extreme loyalty and mismanagement were easy targets for rival camps and this resulted in increasingly sore spots on his track record. Mar Roxas, his anointed successor, didn’t stand a chance despite being a more seasoned veteran, again prone to missteps. But all these issues were magnified to the point of hyperbole.

These were small to mid-sized problems that didn’t affect the country more than on a local level. They didn’t negate the progress done by his administration. These involved the minority and while I’m not saying they don’t matter, just that our previous president was the subject of scorn on a level he didn’t deserve. No progress or an actually worse condition than before did I hear them say? Look at the facts, on actual trusted sources please. And don’t be blinded by the quantity of negativity; be open to the truth. Those problems aren’t as severe as they tell you, and progress was made during Aquino’s administration. Something tells me his decent trust rating before hinted at a real silent majority.

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Current Events, Philippine Politics

We Were Wrong, Part 2


The hype was palpable for Bongbong Marcos with the pre-election surveys. He’d been leading by a good margin when Leni Robredo started catching up. That was before the Iglesia ni Cristo and El Shaddai endorsed him, and even if they didn’t I doubt he’d lose that many votes. The fight’s been close between him and Leni, with both having huge, insurmountable leads atop the other four candidates. It’s shocking to believe how quickly Filipinos give in to propaganda, expertly-written words and false ideals.

Bongbong Marcos isn’t Ferdinand Marcos. They share the same genes and the political pressure that comes with being his father’s son might influence his performance, but that doesn’t mean he’ll have things done at the same level. It’s not one-to-one unlike the reason everybody says why they voted for him. As I said in Part 1, it is among the murkiest of propositions in the past elections.

All those projects made, structures built and such? People forgot the tons of money stolen from public funds. How about you subtract that from the “progress” made by Bongbong’s father? And the many innocent people whom you can’t put a price tag on who suffered or died because of him. People were focusing on a small part of Marcos’ reign and not the full picture.

If you were willing to vote for Marcos, you accept that in the process of him becoming president in the future, many innocents will die for nothing, and you’ll be part of the blame. All that in exchange for “progress” negated by the billions of stolen funds. Billions that belong to feeding the poor, generating jobs for them and ensuring their kids’ futures. Not to mension the noninclusive benefits of the “progress” you speak so highly of. The Philippines never recovered from poverty during Ferdinand Marcos’ reign.

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Current Events, Philippine Politics

We Were Wrong


After all the stolen money, the lavish gifts received and extrajudicial killings, we now have a winner in the May 2016 elections, and surprise surprise, it’s none of the two justifiable candidates. Well, before you let loose on your keyboards, keep your nails deep into the crevices of your desk for now as you hear me out.

I’ll keep the filler out of the way by telling you the two candidates I would’ve limited the choices to: Mar Roxas and Grace Poe (Antonio Trillanes, Leni Robredo and, while I’m still not sure, Chiz Escudero for Vice President). And as for why I also chose those for VP, they’re all practically in the same boat.

You don’t vote for criminals, you just don’t (in most cases). You might have a better excuse if when the ends meet, lives would be saved. But there is no guarantee, even in Duterte’s case. An unmatched and overwhelmingly positive outcome is always preferred, but only when it is a guarantee. When you kill even criminals that don’t threaten others’ lives, you end up killing more than you save. Every person is a son, a daughter, even a friend, no matter what they do. When you kill someone that has potential for a future, you kill that future too. When you steal billions of pesos from public funds intended for feeding programs, job employment opportunities and scholarship grants, you end up killing more people and futures than you save.

It would be a good decision if we knew what would happen in the future, but during the election period, we were wrong. You can’t set aside a candidate just because he annoys you or puts the candidate you like in a bad light. That’s being blinded by campaign tactics and idols. You vote for those that will actually benefit more than hurt. You vote not the name or campaign ad of a candidate but his or her potential in helping the nation. If you don’t think about your vote wisely, you put your vote on a spinning wheel and hope that whatever the result is will benefit you.

And you can’t most of all vote for just an ideal. It’s a half-baked platform when the entire plan is just be tough and unforgiving or relate to the masses. There has to be a concrete plan, a road to success so voters will have a feel for what the next six years will be. When people choose a candidate based on ideals alone it’s the same as I said previously about the spinning wheel.

And that’s why we should’ve chosen Roxas or Poe (and Leni, Trillanes, or maybe Chiz but I’m currently lacking stock knowledge on him). You can’t claim the Aquino administration had zero progress or that the country’s condition actually worsened. Those are most probably just propaganda from rival camps, not based on actual facts. It doesn’t take rocket science to research the facts. Most naysayers cite Mamasapano, Yolanda and the like, but those are mostly on the management side. Overall, there has been at least decent improvement to the country during Aquino’s term. Can you actually imagine Roxas doing a lot worse than him? Poe is more of a wildcard, but that quality is what saves her from the pitfalls of Miriam (Bribery), Bongbong (Corruption) and others. Try to compare Bongbong to Poe in their three years in the Senate and you’ll see. And how about Trillanes who does give up when threatened enough but is a safe bet compared to the ones I mentioned?

As we wind down, let me go back to the talk of guarantees for a bit. Of course there are no 100% ones, but when you see your decision’s probability going towards the majority, the future starts forming inside your mind. We’ll never know what the future holds, but we can estimate, and for something as significant as a national election, there is no room for playing around.

There was no perfect candidate to vote for (Mar and Poe even had some of the problems I discussed), but after weighing the pros and cons of each and a bit of processing the risks I found those two (and two or three Vice Presidential) candidates the most appealing, the safest candidates to vote for while envisioning a future of decent leadership and less lives and futures lost.

I guess there is no point in posting this right as the counting of votes is almost done, but at least I can wake up a few of those asleep in the collective Filipino consciousness. May God bless our new president and those who have and will win in the coming days.

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Current Events, Social Issues

To Elaborate More on the Bible and the Roman Catholic Faith


I’d previously posted about this in “A Right to Kill” as a second point after abortion. Recently I elaborated more on that on the feeling that I hadn’t presented my point fully and properly. As time went on I began to feel the same about my opinions on the Bible and Roman Catholicism in today’s world.

The article I described in “A Right to Kill” came from Yahoo, and cited how nonsensical it is to base one’s beliefs and facts on a book as old as multiple millennia. It also criticized the Roman Catholic church’s proclamation that one thing as simple as a zygote is already considered human.

While there is some truth to his statements, I couldn’t suppress my mind anymore from thinking how much my religion is misunderstood, by its followers and numerous outsiders alike. First of all, let me clear out any misconceptions you might have about me. I have come to learn from reading news outlets and interacting with those my age, and those younger and older that the church has evolved into a lumbering, mechanical beast desperately in need of some oiling and repairs. Safe to say, I reside in the middle ground between the idealistic youth and conservative elderly. I tend to see both perpectives; a perk of my age bracket and present environment. This has led me to see the deepening cracks in the foundations of my religion’s ivory tower.

Parishes close their doors on gays despite pretty much everyone they let in having sinned against God their whole lives. Premarital sex and abortion too are prohibited by the church, but in place of promoting confession or welcoming sinners just as God did, they rear their usual ignorant heads and reject such people. And then there’s the usual priests abusing children, which doesn’t quite need any further explanation. Roman Catholicism it seems, has fallen behind the times, and a revolutionary pope can’t singlehandedly fix a sinking ship without his crew, all ignorant and indifferent, following suit.

The church is centered on God, on spreading and living out His word, the Bible. But the church has grown too big throughout the centuries, with those in power forcing non-related opinions into homilies, corrupting its center in the Vatican, giving in to temptations that lead to child abuse…the list goes on and on, but the bottomline is the church’s future was butchered by the very people tasked with ensuring it. The for-the-people mentality has faded to the background, replaced by arrogance for the majority of priests and officials.

Unless Pope Francis turns his movement into a grassroots one, his reforms will remain superficial in the face of increasing controversies. The church must go back to basics if it is to continue growing and affecting its billion-strong following in a significant way. Key to this is clearing up what the Bible means for the average Catholic. The Bible is a guide; life lessons abound to those that will listen to homilies, attend study sessions, and read privately. The Bible is also a reminder; Jesus existed and there is proof. But even without it we should be grateful because with a faith this strong, lives have been saved and given purpose. It is also a tool for spiritual people. You don’t have to force yourself to believe in God; there’s a lot here to process for the spiritual person, or even just anyone trying to find a purpose in life or what to do because of a big problem they are facing.

Before we get to the main conversation, let’s address the elephant in the room first. Yes, God did “bad” things in the Old Testament. Yes, He might have said being gay is prohibited and a zygote is already human. Yet, that’s why there are two testaments, the new one for the new age of Jesus. Back then God’s actions were acceptable, the same thing being gay today is acceptable. The one thing that transcends time periods is His love and message, and to this day this holds true. Another thing, if God said something, it doesn’t mean it’s literally true. In the old times, would you imagine His followers cutting their limbs or gouging out their eyes when He said so? Or do you really think that amount of fish and bread could feed even a hundred people? The Catholic faith is focused on the meaning behind the text, and thankfully we have homilies, companion books and study sessions for that.

So a zygote isn’t scientifically human, but could God be hinting at something there? That could be a topic in another post, but to get to the last point: why base your faith in such an old book? Well, the answer is simple and obvious in that it’s already happened. It’s lasted this long and the content still remains relevant. It still uplifts spirits, gives purpose to lives, it still gives useful tips in dealing with everyday life and God is still ever-present in today’s technology-infused world. The fact that a mass exodus still hasn’t happened despite the power of the internet and freedom of speech is nothing short of amazing. It proves the staying power of God’s word and the Roman Catholic church just got lucky. If you need a better comparison, look at The Lord of the Rings and its lasting influence to this day, not only on art and media but its own fan following. Could you imagine a future without elements of LOTR seeping into the nooks and crannies of fantasy films, books, or games? I thought so.

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Current Events

To Elaborate More on Abortion

Fetus

I’ve already stated my opinion on this matter, yet every night it’s been nagging me, this article in which I hadn’t explained my full point. So here I am. Let me start by warning you about making preconceptions towards a deeply religious, pro-life person. Being those two things doesn’t mean I don’t see the Roman Catholic church as hugely flawed. Nor does it mean I am against gay marriage or women’s rights in general. What I am is an advocate of valuing the life of a child (I consider a fetus already one for it is alive with the spirit of being human, which is being loved by others and resembling them) and hope in the midst of likely awful future scenarios.

First of all, how can a “clump of cells” come off as human? Well, there’s an 80% chance you thought of what I said in the previous paragraph as just that. And I’ve come across a lot of people who’ve done the same. I never said anything as simple as something between a zygote and fetus was human. Those things, they are most probably just clumps of cells. What I said previously was the fetus, and fetuses resemble humans greatly, are alive in a manner similar to humans and are loved like they are one. Although the two things can’t really be compared fairly, aren’t animals alive and objects of love and care too? Yet they have rights and fetuses, which are miles closer to humans, are in a dire situation.

Why let them live, then, if a future in the orphanage is almost likely guaranteed? Take notice of that question, it said “almost likely” and not guaranteed. There is an inherent happiness and purity in orphanages, a hope for childless couples who can’t afford or take the risk of experimental procedures. How about poverty? No one kills the guaranteed hopeless people of Africa or any other poor nation, yet they pose a more hopeless scenario than fetuses that are “better off” aborted. You see, I firmly believe in the importance of human rights. We have a responsibility to protect and help each other up whenever possible because that is the essence of humanity. We must stop sinking into this mechanical line of thinking where logic trumps heart and conscience. Yes, there are always exceptions to the rule, and those are reserved to “guaranteed” hopeless situations like ISIS.

Yes, you say “but you do know this goes both ways, right?” and I wholeheartedly agree. The hope of a better future when twisted upside down is a cause for such great pity that mercy killing would seem fit. Yet that’s why we don’t kill the poor, hopeless, dying people I’ve mentioned, because people have an equally great capacity to be real “humans” and help. We live in an unpredictable world and anything can happen and I’m sure you’ve watched all the documentaries and “inspirational true story” films and uplifting news articles that prove it. When there is both a probability to live and to die you stick to the hope that you’ll live because that is our nature. We hope and things go bad but things, miracles even, happen everyday. Again, I know that truly hopeless situations abound in today’s world and that’s when the mercy killing thing makes sense for me.

Rape victims, on the other hand, are the most misunderstood. A terrible thing has happened to one, then people unite to give them the right to abort their unwanted child when it didn’t do the smallest of sins. It’s like killing a lion as punishment for attacking its trainer. It’s a painful reality but the mother must live with it. A child is a child, there’s no two ways around it.

Women should have better rights and now is their time, I agree. But prioritizing women over children is like saving the president of the United States in a mass shooting instead of the child in the stroller. It makes the most sense, but is it the right thing to do? Presidents are replacable, but can you live with the memory that you let a child die?

Even more egregious is fetal tissue research. Imagine a world where anything is sacrificed for the sake of science. If children is of utmost importance to you, then that world is now. Progress is good, but ramming over the lives of others for the sake of it is a terrifying reality that needs to be dampened if we are to continue living as real humans.

This debate in my opinion shouldn’t have started in the first place. People I guess just became more like machines, placing logic over humanity. No one seems to bring up the point that legalizing abortion in a general sense is also legalizing the killing of children (developing and loved by many, just like newborns). This makes sense, I confess, but only when much stricter provisions are in place.

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Current Events

The Right to Kill

In hindsight, I came off sounding ignorant and devoid of a few important points in this post. Here in “To Elaborate More on Abortion” I dive deeper and adopt a friendlier and more considerate tone. And in “To Elaborate More on the Bible and the Roman Catholic Faith” I clarify myself further. I apologize if there were any of you who were angered or offended!

I felt astounded. It was rare for me to be mad at an article especially when it’s about a controversial topic. I usually consider all points of view before forming my own opinion. But this was way too opinionated, the writer seemingly misinfomed and deceptively open-minded. Let me tell you about what made this article different from the rest.

Abortion has always been a hot topic with a sweeping amount of opinions, the number swelling because of the Roman Catholic Church’s constant homilies and statements deriding this practice. Look to social media and influential American figures for the other side of the debate, where women’s rights is the focal point of their defense.

Take note that this was the first article with even a single paragraph of a writer’s point of view that I read about this issue. I can’t imagine what would happen if there were hundreds or even thousands more. The article was about a scientist’s thoughts on the abortion debate based solely on facts. Now there wasn’t anything wrong with his statements, it was just the writer saying that abortion should be legalized because “Women should have the right to do what they want with their bodies.”

Now I know we’ve both heard that line said many times, but isn’t a fetus already a living, breathing organism? Does that make it just a part of the mother’s body? I don’t know if there are laws that give unborn children rights, but in the present state of things, I don’t think there are many.

I’m a Catholic myself, but I don’t blindly follow orders from anybody. That’s not the goal of my religion. What I do know is there’s a thing called conscience that every person must have, and that for a mother, even if you don’t want the genes in your child or don’t think you can raise one yet, can anyone have the capacity to end a child’s life? Isn’t that something only heartless, soulless people do?

Humans have a responsibility to protect and support each other, but sadly the term doesn’t sound as integral in present times. We feel happy just dwelling on our selfish needs and not the greater good. I don’t know. Maybe it’s all the technology that has taken that chunk of humanity away from us.

It makes me sad that a mother could only think of herself and not take the sacrifice so that another may live. And I know there are terrible situations where the line between good and bad is blurred, but killing an unborn child over a dream or escape from financial ruin is clearly evil, no matter how hard the decision was.

The scientist meanwhile expressed disbelief in how Catholics take facts from a 5,000-year old book over modern science on the topic of how life is initially conceived. It’s true there are many inconsistencies in the bible. And it’s hard for nonbelievers to take it seriously when clear explanations are lacking.

The bible is partly made of accounts of prophets who saw things differently from each other, so there are bound to be inconsistencies. God is said to work in mysterious ways, and that rings true to the Catholic faith. We believe in a Holy Trinity yet there’s only one God. In one gospel, Jesus told his apostles to cut their arm and foot (also one eye) if they caused them to sin. Many things won’t make any sense and will require great understanding. But trust me, it all makes sense when you prioritize spiritual well-being over earthly pleasures. It’s a big jump that brings clarity to an otherwise confusing book.

You’ll learn that not every teaching there is based on conventional logic, or more importantly, that God’s word doesn’t need facts to back them up and that their allure spans generation after generation, unlike science. Which leads us back to that comment on conception. If we only know about 5% of the universe (or even half of it), then how can anyone be sure this God who’s been here through his now billions of people for millennia is wrong? The great thing is that’s what he might end up being, but it might also just be one of his great mysteries, never to be solved.

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