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A messy, democratic place is better than a silent cemetery

April 13, 2015 · 


Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. Edwin Espejo/file photo

Dear Editor,
A messy, democratic place is better than a silent cemetery
Carlos Isles .
What a very disappointing column (PDI, November 3, 2014) of PDI columnist, Antonio Montalvan III. Of course, anyone may always wish to turn back the hands of time to pleasant memories but Mr. Montalvan III desires to have Mr. Duterte, incumbent Mayor of Davao city, to turn back the hands of time to one of the darkest periods of the Philippines that have besmirched the sacrifices of thousands of Filipinos who paid for their blood in order to regain democracy.  If I’m not mistaken, among thousands of local officials, Mr. Duterte has a unenviable record of being the top violator of human rights next only to President Marcos.
I fully agree that, compared to other cities, there is peace and order in the Davao city: no smoking in public places, bars close at !:00 in the morning, no overtaking, speed limits are observed within the city and even the  mayor and his daughter get no special treatment  from the police, etc. But like in any family, when the children behave properly because of absolute dread of their dictatorial father who does not brook disagreement, any Family Counselor will agree that fear rather than happiness reigns in the hearts of such “well behave” children.
Why are the people of Davao so obedient to Mayor Duterte? Is it because  they truly love and respect him or because deep in their hearts they dread this Mayor who has a penchant for “shooting first” and asking questions later?
I believe that under the dictatorial government of Mayor Duterte, he has successfully converted Davao City into a Potemkin Village, “a pretentiously showy or imposing façade intended to mask or divert attention from an embarrassing or shabby fact or condition” where like in the Animal Kingdom, “some are more equal than others.”
Truly, I prefer a messy, noisy democratic place than the silence of a cemetery.
Dear Editor,
Carlos IslesIn today’s ( March 12, 2015) issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Ms. Sherly Pamaran, a resident of Cagayan de Oro city has vigorously disagreed with my letter to the editor ( Feb. 27, 2015), which pointed to Mayor Duterte’s policy of “shoot first and ask questions later”. In fact she waxed ecstatic praising Duterte for his “efficient” management of the city of Davao. Furthermore, she even suggested that I reside either in Syria or in Libya where the killings of many innocent civilians is a daily affair.I will take Ms. Pamaran’s challenge if she would agree to transfer her residence from Cagayan de Oro city to Davao city. Not to dignify her letter further, I will simply quote relevant portions of the Wikepedia article about Mayor Duterte entitled, “Davao death squads.”

“The Davao Death Squads or DDS, is a vigilantegroup active in Davao City in the Philippines. The group is allegedly responsible for summary executionsof individuals suspected of petty crimes and dealing in drugs in Davao. It has been estimated that the group is responsible for the murder or disappearance of between 1,020 and 1,040 people between 1998 and 2008.[1][2]

A team from Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance, a human rightsgroup, and investigators from the Commission on Human Rights discovered killing fieldswhere skeletal remains of victims of the death squads were dumped.[3]Human Rights Commissioner Dominador Calamba II has indicated that local executives and the police knew the criminals but were “seemingly tolerating” them.[4]Human rights groups said the killings have become an unwritten government policy to deal with crime due to an ill-functioning criminal justice system and lack of due process in the way authorities administered justice.[5]

” According to Amnesty International and local human rights groups, there were over 300 people killed in Davao City by death squads between 1998 and 2005. The rate of killing accelerated after this so that between 2005 and 2008 death squads were responsible for between 700 and 720 murders.[5][6]According to a 2009 report by Human Rights Watch the victims were selected because they were suspected of being drug dealers, petty criminals and street children aged as young as 14.[7][8]Amnesty Internationalstates, killings and extrajudicial executions continued throughout the year, particularly of criminal suspects.”

An investigation by Human Rights Watchfound that the killings began in the mid-1990s during the second term of Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.” Davao Mayor, Rodrigo Duterte, has been heavily criticised by numerous organizations for condoning and even inciting murders to take place during his leadership. In the April 2009 UN General Assembly of the Human Rights Council, the UN report (Eleventh Session Agenda item 3, par 21) said, “The Mayor of Davao City has done nothing to prevent these killings, and his public comments suggest that he is, in fact, supportive.”[13]Human Rights Watch reported that in 2001-2002, Duterte appeared on local television and radio and announced the names of “criminals”, some of whom were later executed.[7]In July 2005 at a crime summit in the Manila Hotel the politician said, “Summary execution of criminals remains the most effective way to crush kidnapping and illegal drugs”.[14]In 2009 Duterte said: “If you are doing an illegal activity in my city, if you are a criminal or part of a syndicate that preys on the innocent people of the city, for as long as I am the mayor, you are a legitimate target of assassination.” Need I say more?

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