The headline-driven nature of the administration was demonstrated yet again over the weekend. On Saturday, the President basically slammed her fist on the table and said, “we will crush you!” Followed by a kind of rhetorical party rally on Sunday: total war! Down to the diplomats. The President’s phrase, after all, is that Total War on the Left is the “glue that binds.”
And thus the week begins with a kind of grim, “we who are about to die, salute you” gladiatorial profession of faith. There’s also the carrot: we’ll trim down the army when the enemy’s been wiped out, they say -but when will that really happen? After all, there’s disagreement over the timetable.
One comment I overheard over the weekend struck me: “What does this headline tell people? That the Philippines is what, in the league of Nepal and one African country in having the only Communist insurgency left in the world! It paints the country as backward and dangerous.” But really, as the Inquirer editorial explains it, what’s worrisome about the Total War policy is that it represents a victory for the forces of reaction. Since the 1990s, the country has asked the Left to come down from the hills, and contend in the free market of ideas. Now that they have, and demonstrated they have a constituency, the response of the government is to end the debate, round up those who came down from the hills, and then go after those remaining in the hills. This is the kind of policy that neither achieves a tactical or moral victory. Randy David explains why the policy is wrong, and what a real policy achieving peace should be.
The incoming Senate President, Sen. Manuel Villar, continues to receive premature kisses from the Palace and even the House of Representatives (which expresses hopes he can help salvage the Constituent Assembly scheme), while some of his legislative proposals, such as the compulsory registration of SIM cards, get more attention because of his heightened prominence. Billy Esposo, though, thinks Villar (if not out of principle, than pragmatic politics) will resist the temptation to be a Palace lackey.
Impeachment, Round Two, begins today.
The Manila Times has a feature on how call centers are running out of qualified people to hire.
And a curious, and rather incomprehensible, archeological story.
Overseas, the Age of Australia’s editorial focuses on anti-terror legislation and fears of their consequences. Michael Kinsley takes apart CIA propaganda aimed at kids and makes essentially similar points to the Aussie editorial.
Minxin Pei in the Korea Herald says Western assumptions that economic development will foster democratization in China may be false; and that the Communist Party of China may be headed for a crisis.
In the punditocracy, today being Rizal’s birth anniversary, myÃ‚Â column today is an old chestnut, Adolf Rizal. Apparently Adrian Cristobal also tackled the same topic, though he makes a mistake in linking the Gadhi prime ministers to Mahatma Gandhi: Indira, Rajeev, etc. Gandhi were all part of the Nehru dynasty, being the daughter and grandson, respectively, of India’s first prime minister (Philippine Commentary waxes more scholarly on the hero; Pinoy BioTech Blogger offers a reflection, too).
Bong Austero of open letter fame, makes the transition from blogger to mainstream media opinion columnist in the Manila Standard-Today (see his remarks on his shift in his blog). What I presume is his inaugural column explains why legislating a wage increase is madness.
Gail Ilagan dissects what the testimony of the accused in the Subic rape case really means to say about Asian women.
Sunny Rasheed Lucman Pacasum appeals to his fellow Muslim Filipinos to vote incompetents out of office. His pointing out the list of distinguished Muslim senators does bring up a disturbing question: why could such individuals make it to the Senate in the past, and Muslim candidates do so poorly recently? After all, up to the 1980s, there were Muslim senators.
In the blogosphere, Leon Kilat recounts a freaky UFO-like event in Cebu City.
Uniffors has been exposing the manner in which some Philippine ambassadors don’t show the flag and worse, pocket expenses meant to show the flag (“showing the flag” refers to events like receptions on Independence Day, etc.). It reveals some additional information on some particularly notorious ambassadors.
Achieving Happiness connects Montaigne to Marx and explains her views on armed revolution. Mongster’s Nest points to the dangers to radicals of the newly-minted extermination policy, but also that the situation may be conducive to revolution. Challenge and Movements also opines that the President’s decision to make the announcement in Isabela province was meant to reassure beleaguered plantation owners.
Measly Meanderings has the latest update on the Sigaw ng Bayan online buzz.
Another Hundred Years Hence advocates a strategic approach to historic preservation.
Ricky Carandang makes a rare reappearance in the blogosphere.
And it’s about time someone said this, not necessary about Ilonggos but our country in general: send a Philippine team to the next World Cup!