On the State of Lawlessness

Turbulence in the sky. Traffic on the ground. Exhausted commuters shaking off sleep to process breaking news of blast ala #PrayforParis in the midst of what is an otherwise pleasurable hobby of vintage shopping. Right in Duterte land too. And it wasn’t even Friday the thirteenth.

Saturday after a restful sleep compensates for Friday’s freakiness usually. But this particular Saturday, no. We woke up to a State of Lawlessness.

Me when there's turbulence

Or, are we not too surprised? Lawlessness in the public space is the order of the day for so long the President’s pronouncement seems just a formal acknowledgment. It’s worrisome though to see countries like Cuba rejoining the free world while we here appear to be at the brink of descending.

But, is SOL, considering it was declared out of the blue on a September weekend, another word for martial law? we ask. The Office of the Presidential Spokesperson averred it’s not.

Still, the explanation’s vague. Diffused. Social media failed to pick it up even. Scanning the top 10 trending topics in the country on Twitter’s trendinaliaph late night Saturday, you wouldn’t guess the serious state the country’s in. Topics were the usual obssession over basketball and local celebrities’ imagined realities:

1. #KapagKasi
2. #MMKBFFsinLove
3. #MBCShowChampInMNL
4. #MeronAkongKwento
5. #UAAPatUST
6. #KARYLLEnaRealAngPagbabalik
7. #ProudBraceUnitedTeamGreen
8. #HappyOneMonthTeamKisses
9. #YVESSoonOnShowtime
10. #WHENMOEMETJEA

These give us a feel of who are interested and invested in change. Just the journalists? Media? And the above is exactly why older adults do not have faith on the leadership capacities of the Filipino youth. On the other hand, how did the youth arrive at this point?

On a similar note, how did we, a nation of 80% Catholics, fail to become a beacon of virtue in this side of the world? It is why I’m critical of ‘God loving’ and ‘God fearing’ phrases that we love to decorate our vision statements with. Putting it in there makes us complacent.

Back to the declaration. Apparently, the war on drugs, initiatives to reconcile with the political left, planned massive economic growth, and whatever else have stirred up not just a mound but a network of red ants. Or it might just be a ruse who knows?

Caution must therefore be taken that attacks on the rights of lawless groups will not narrow everyone’s rights which is the case when states of emergencies and the like are utilized as blanket policy or license. To have law abiding citizens who make up most of the nation suffer restrictions along with those who really should suffer the long arm of the law is also lawlessness. And the history of lawlessness in this country has gone true both ways- the elect as well as the governed.

Our situation is not unique and there are lessons from governments who’ve experienced it earlier and made progress. This government should take time to learn them. In the pursuit of a “clean” government or nation, we don’t want to turn into a police or military state.

This implies the imperative for support work i.e. intelligence in the bureaus to be – yes – done more ethically (in the wake of lessons in the NSA and Snowden affair), agile in it’s ability to be ahead of the enemy and it’s networks, and well equipped to identify chaff from grain so to speak.

Regardless, government should forge right on ahead strongly in instituting positive reforms in governance and the economy and not be waylaid by mediocrity or half-assedness.

For the people, to hope:

It’s important to say what hope is not: it is not the belief that everything was, is, or will be fine. The evidence is all around us of tremendous suffering and tremendous destruction. The hope I’m interested in is about broad perspectives with specific possibilities, ones that invite or demand that we act. It’s also not a sunny everything-is-getting-better narrative, though it may be a counter to the everything-is-getting-worse narrative. You could call it an account of complexities and uncertainties, with openings.

– Rebecca Solnit via brainpickings.com

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