"Well at least now you don't have to keep renewing your driver's license every so often. And even your passport. " Duterte fanatics proudly assert this so-called achievement of the president in social media.
It's a good point to consider, as the processes to renew these documents can be inconvenient. But beyond expediency, this point is neutralized by several counterarguments. And almost immediately it loses its merits as a progressive directive, even more so as a justification for the strange "pro-Duterte bravado" we still see around us nowadays.
We can start with the need to update ID photos, biometrics, residential information and authenticity seals. A ten-year interval for renewal, or even just five years, may prove too long for identification information to remain accurate. Anti-counterfeit measures will also be less effective if security marks stay unchanged for such an extended amount of time. These concerns are not only reasonable but well-founded enough to debunk the recent extension on the validity of passports and driver's licenses from being a sound decision. It certainly can't be a basis to worship the ground that Duterte walks on.
The point is, it's the same story for all the supposed "changes" that the Duterte administration has rolled forth since its onset. Duterte's "War on Drugs" has left thousands of drug suspects dead. Yet it hasn't made a dent on the operations of the real drug lords behind the importation and distribution of contraband substances. The drug problem is worse than ever. Tons and tons of "shabu" are smuggled into the country by an invisible Chinese syndicate. Still, Duterte chooses to be cozy with China.
What Duterte did to Marawi is far more terrible than any terror group has done to a Philippine city. He did not liberate it as he claims. He obliterated it...completely. Bombed it to kingdom come. Left countless of lives uprooted, scattered and, for almost three years now, in despair. And despite the "Build, Build, Build" mantra (and the taxation meted for it), along with multi-billions of pesos allotted for the city's recovery, Marawi is still in ruins. Now there seems to be even a denial of the government's responsibility to rebuild it.
Rehabilitating Boracay is good. But not if it serves only as a cover for more sinister agendas. Talks of backroom land-grabbing and economic sabotage were rampant during the island's closure. And now we see a tendency for exclusivity and the imposition of unpatriotic preferences govern in the very rules of Boracay tourism.
The Manila Bay "Clean Up? Well...it will be all for naught if the bay will be buried anyway under reclamation dirt. Capitalists close to Duterte, and affiliated with Chinese big business, have expressed intent to reclaim the area, bearing plans to put up casino resorts and retail hubs. So bye-bye to the environmental concerns that drove the clean up in the first place.
What is the point of abolishing "Endo" (contractualization) if we allow troops and troops of undocumented Chinese workers to take job opportunities from Filipino workers, paying these illegal aliens seven or even ten times more in wages?
The Demonic Legion
Duterte fanatics, also called Dutertards, are notoriously double standard. They do not welcome nor recognize the validity of any argument, no matter how sensible, if it questions or opposes many of the government's moves. They are like accomplices putting a gag on those calling people's attention while a crime is being committed.
Blind fanaticism, ignorance and cognitive dissonance diminish much of their reasoning to plain lunacy. Such unconditional support will not even endure an intelligent debate. Defending him with senseless babble and hollow premises, they often end up just saying, "That's what the president wants, so just be quiet and obey. You can't be more knowledgeable than him."
Dutertards will claim that the anti-Duterte forces are the ones spreading fake news. They present themselves as the ones bearing the facts and the truth. Even when it is mostly pro-Duterte sites that are taken down from Facebook for deceitful schemes and for the spread of untruths. They will call internationally acclaimed journalists stupid. Instead, they will follow the biased narratives of propagandists, glorified state-sponsored trolls masquerading as journalists. They are too deluded to realize that a real journalist's only bias is the truth...the very truth that these Dutertards are in denial of. And they refuse to concede to the fact that they cannot be genuine fighters against fake news if they do not, at first, battle the fake news proliferated by the government.
Government-funded news outlets would report events where Duterte is given exclusive highlight in ribbon-cutting ceremonies for infrastructure projects conceptualized and initiated during the P-Noy Aquino administration. Practically giving Duterte all the glory, they purposely omit to mention any credit to the previous president.
When news are made partial like this, it is no longer a service but a disservice to the people. Real journalists aim to relay the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Propagandists only aim to make people believe what they want them to believe. And if they believe that their biased reporting is nothing but a harmless, "loyalty to party", "just politics" thing, they are gravely mistaken. For it is as treacherous as false arrests, and as deadly as extra-judicial killings.
When one makes out lies to seem like facts, then the people who listen lose their hold of the truth. When people can no longer discern what is true, there can be no more wisdom, but only folly, in their decisions.
It's bad enough that Dutertards are running out of truths to back the embattled president's approval ratings and, thus, now have to cling on to lies. We have to wonder if many see how the situation is about to turn even more dismal.
As it has become a live-or-die imperative that voters choose leaders wisely, a horde of Dutertards will elect out of fanaticism. That means there's no convincing for this lot. They are fact-resistant bigots which, by definition, makes them extraordinarily stubborn in being so galactically stupid.
For many Dutertards, Ferdinand Marcos is a hero. Imee Marcos is telling the truth about her diplomas, or need not be honest about them. The likes of Joseph Estrada, Gloria Arroyo, Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada are considered trustworthy leaders because of their good track records. There are no extra-judicial killings going on in the Philippines. And China recognizes and respects our sovereignty, with intentions to prosper our national economy and preserve our resources. But with the same breath, they claim to be patriots who stand against communists, against crime and corruption, against entitlement and tra-pos, and against fake news. They are fools.
Do all Dutertards believe the foolishness they profess? No, not all of them do. For they do not have the same reasons for supporting Duterte. Some of them are cronies who are complicit in engineering the corruption and deceit. Some are sycophants who directly or indirectly gain from the corruption and deceit. And most are ignorant supporters, blind defenders and, ultimately, clueless victims of the corruption and deceit. At any rate–be it for power, money, or just the entitlement that makes them feel more advantaged than others–they are all partaking in the destruction of our democracy. This is no exaggeration. Our democracy is now gasping its last breaths, rendered inutile by the conspiracy to sabotage it.
You'd have to be an idiot if you think that corruption, fake news, treason, illegal drugs, and the oppression of Filipinos are to be blamed only on the "yellows" and anti-Duterte groups. It's worse if you don't believe in this line of thought, but still proclaim it anyway for your political party's sake. Because then it becomes a moral issue. While thousands die from reckless governance, and as the corrupt incumbents continue to plunder with impunity, you treat it like it were a game, a cheering contest, a sports intramurals, like a "your team lost, our team won" thing. And that's just dumb. A bad leadership that's caused scores of senseless, multiple killings to happen with impunity is nothing to trivialize. The whole nation pays for this "numbing and dumbing down", including you and your children.
This also carries on to a spiritual issue. Catholic bishops are already urging their flock to go for 'the Catholic vote'. Christian ministries are calling out for the 'good vote', saying each should vote according to conscience. Unmistakably though, whether Catholic or protestant Christian, these church leaders do not mean to endorse pro-Duterte candidates when they make such appeals. They are, rather, rooting for those who stand against him.
Hello? Did that register yet? Let's simplify it: Ordained servants of God are anti-Duterte.
These spiritual leaders did not, all of sudden, decide to get into politics and run for public office. And, by no means, are they lackeys paid by the Aquinos to destabilize the government. They simply see the need for a person's political and spiritual leanings to be aligned, if one is to be honest and true to one's self. Many of Duterte's pronouncements goes against teachings in the Bible. And, basically, what the bishops and pastors are saying is you cannot be for God on one hand, while you support an evil ruler on the other.
Spiritual leaders, in teaching us to follow the path to goodness, know that you cannot do so without the ability to discern good from evil. If you say you believe, worship and follow Yahweh or Jesus, you have to be consistent with this belief. If you profess Christianity, but then also condone the reckless killings of your fellow men or cheer for someone who openly mocks God, then something is wrong with you. There's no way you can be a genuine Christian while you support the doings of one who is against Christ...and even tell everybody to ride along the trickery and be quiet about the evil things going on. You can profess your faith from the highest pedestal, but your duality can't fool those who are authentic in Christ. For they clearly see there is something reprehensible in you, which you are unwilling to surrender. You cannot serve two masters. And your unconditional support for Duterte, wrong or right, speaks volumes about who you truly worship. If you are a Dutertard, ask yourself, really, when do you say "no" to Duterte? You probably question God more often than you question Duterte.
Pushing The Nation Off A Cliff
It's not a sin, nor is it illegal to criticize the president if he is erring in his ways. The constitution allows citizens and officials from other branches of government to oppose, and even impeach, a sitting president. It is, in fact, an option, a safeguard, in the event we elect a bad president who is incapable of leading the country, or is untrustworthy.
What is the use of fewer trips to driver's license renewal, if the cost would be the perdition of our civilization in the hands of remorseless reprobates? You wanna talk about waiting in cues and long lines? Try opening your eyes to long lines for water, rice, and the exoneration of those who are already more than five years in jail for petty crimes with no conviction yet by the courts. What about the lengthy list of Marawi denizens who want to go back to their homes, but now have nothing?
The nation is staggering amidst multiple man-made crises, disintegrating sovereignty, senseless violence, a damaged culture and the prospect of future generations buried under massive foreign debt. From a nation of laws, we are plunging towards becoming a nation of bigoted, self-righteous hypocrites who weaponize the law as an advantage over others. Our democracy is being perverted so that it now only serves the power-leeching accomplices and ass-kissing minions who promote deception, injustice, oppression. Our legal system has been tweaked to serve an entitled, abusive class of citizens who will bully others to their hearts' content, just because they are in positions of power or are chummies with the powers-that-be. Yet, Dutertards see nothing wrong except the existence of loathsome anti-Duterte forces. They choose to close their eyes, refusing to see the truth, numbing their senses and killing their consciences. They pretty much reflect the president they elected.
No, it wouldn't be fair to say that Dutertards are what's wrong with this country. But they are certainly making it worse. The blind leading the blind is awful enough. In our current situation, it's the blind, deaf and mute leading the blind, arrogant and stupid. It's quite evident that many are willing to follow Duterte to great extents of chaos, violence, and deceit...even to hell. But not everybody wants to go that way.
A good number of citizens still remain awake. It is, however, a time for true courage to shine. It's a time for heroes, for those who can discern and stand up for what is right. It is a fight for the nation's fate. And in this fight, it is crucial to shake Dutertards from the hypnotic spell that paralyzes their senses, by constantly calling out their bullshit and fakery. Hopefully, the good and the brave will get to wake up those who are asleep, so that they start seeing the truth again, apart from the illusion. Or is it too late?