Public service is one key aspects of a civilized society and a vehicle to preserving social justice and the rule of law. But what happens when this very same institution is threatened by individuals who hold it in their arms?
Mayor Sara Duterte of Davao, who has displayed a seemingly inappropriate and violent behavior during a demolition houses of illegal settlers in Barangay Soliman (District of Agdao), has shocked many Filipinos, citizen watchdogs, human rights groups, and social media. While many of her supporters care less about the assault and warned those that contradicts their views, may I remind you that the last time I checked Davao is part of the Philippines and its governed by the same constitution. Therefore, our reaction to this incident is normal and part of the nature of people who care about their countrymen along with what’s happening in their surroundings, their country in particular.
Are we seeing a revival of prejudicial social class in Philippine society and another example of culture of impunity yet to hit us big time, again?
Civilized Society Operate Under the Rule of Law
I may not know everything about what’s happening in Davao but this is not enough reason for ordinary citizens like me to disregard what appears to be a flagrant violation of basic human rights and failure of decorum for a civil servant like Duterte. I understand the hunger for change and progress among us but do we pursue it in exchange of humiliation, intimidation, helplessness, and tyranny? Are we ready to give up our basic human rights for the sake of enjoying the kind of progress we all believe is happening in Davao?
Some people just don’t get it right. I do not abhor Duterte nor angry about her. In fact, anger, as she may have put it, was something normal and understandable considering that all of us gets to experience it when things really do not turn out according to our expectations, talking about human nature. But what surprises me is the physical assault that arises out of anger and to show just how majestic that turns out for the benefit of others who think that boxing should be an everyday entertainment show. But then again, its the act that should be condemned and not the person herself, besides who am I to judge Duterte when I haven’t met her once in the first place? We attack the act, not the person.
Culture of Impunity
To let this incident slip away and go unpunished is another round of show of how we Filipinos undervalue the alarming effects of culture of impunity in this country. How is this different from the horrors of our past, the killing of journalists, the intolerance to organized rallies, and any other form of public protests? How is this different from grounding a kid because he broke an important house rules because you want to tell him that appropriate punishment is a form of discipline and a way for him not to lead astray when he gets old?
We share one race, same cultural heritage, similar values and Davaoeños aren’t different from us. The culture of barbarism and impunity has to stop somewhere and it has to happen now. We punch to keep the evils of corruption hounding the Philippine political arena, we punch to end gender inequality, we punch to eliminate ignorance among the poor, we punch to champion charitable cause, and we punch to win this race against poverty. Punching people is the least we expect in this civilized world.
We never exchange our values, the very core of human dignity for great leadership, for progress much less our lives for the benefit of those who bask in grandeur of politics. We got it all wrong sometimes.
Towards a Civilized and Conscientious Society
We need to develop conscientious citizens and not zombies. We need to develop citizens who follow a leader because they believe in his/her plans for the future, who can think of themselves and decide based on their personal conscience. We never want another breed of people who behave like Frankenstein.
My leader represents my interests as a citizen but he/she does not represent me as a person, as a conscientious individual. Mayor Sara Duterte is a politician that doesn’t represent davao alone, she represent the “Filipino” and she owe “it” to us.