Crime surge due to Aquino’s in­com­pe­tence, not to death penalty’s lift­ing

Manila Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

ILast of 2 Parts

T will be so tragic if Pres­i­dent Duterte gets Congress to re­in­state the death penalty. The surge of heinous crimes in the coun­try is not be­cause of the lift­ing of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment in 2006, but be­cause of the in­com­pe­tence of im­me­di­ate past Pres­i­dent Benigno Aquino 3rd, whose forces con­tinue to plot against his gov­ern­ment.

Se­nate Bill 42, in­tro­duced by Lac­son, re­veals its gross ig­no­rance: “The alarm­ing surge of heinous crimes in re­cent years has shown that reclu­sion per­petua (which re­placed ex­e­cu­tion in a 2006 law) is not a de­ter­rent to grave of­fend­ers.”

But what “re­cent years”’ is Lac­son talk­ing about? This log­i­cally are the past six years, from 2010 to 2015, when the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice was un­der Aquino’s bo­som buddy, Alan Purisima. And it was dur­ing these years that there was a near to­tal break­down of peace and or­der, with Duterte him­self re­peat­edly say­ing that we prac­ti­cally had a narco state dur­ing these years.

Crime statis­tics prove this point, and de­bunk the very wrong claim that the lift­ing of the death penalty

PULITZER- win­ning au­thor Thomas Fried­man wrote in the NewYorkTimes that the emerg­ing Chi­nese Dream should be dif­fer­ent from the Amer­i­can Dream of “big car, big house, and big Macs for all.”

In this coun­try, dreams are as ex­is­ten­tial as shanties not be­ing de­mol­ished, keep­ing odd jobs, send­ing chil­dren to col­lege, or work­ing over­seas to es­cape the sting of de­hu­man­iz­ing poverty. Other hopes get pushed un­der the thick rug of the old­school pa­tron sys­tem or we con­ceal them be­hind the pan­de­mo­nium of our many fes­ti­vals. Af­ter all, the Philip­pines is listed as one of the hap­pi­est places in the world and to say that Filipinos love to party is an un­der­state­ment. Our as­pi­ra­tions are ei­ther pur­sued or al­tered by our own mak­ing even when CNN ranked us 5th in the Gallup’s Pos­i­tive Ex­pe­ri­ence In­dex last year. We are ei­ther an ar­chi­pel­ago of shiny, happy don’t have the right pri­or­i­ties.

Fes­ti­vals are pi­ous af­fairs of thanks­giv­ing that stem from com­mu­nal tra­di­tions. These dances are of­ten agri­cul­tural in theme and ori­gin. Farm­ing is such a key re­source that fes­ti­vals are cor­re­lated with the abun­dance of har­vest. While there is no way to down­play the pos­i­tive pol­i­tics, so­ci­ol­ogy, spir­i­tu­al­ity, and eco­nom­ics be­hind the eu­pho­ria, the opin­ion is when there’s no abun­dance there should be no fes­ti­val—and be­ing pre­dom­i­nantly Catholic is largely an ex­cuse.

The In­sti­tute for Sol­i­dar­ity in Asia (ISA) only ad­vo­cates solutions, not is­sues. For in­stance, in­stead of ven­tur­ing for the re­ward­ing Seal of Good Lo­cal Gov­er­nance from the De­part­ment of In­te­rior and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment (DILG) and the in­sti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion of the Per­for­mance Gov­er­nance Sys­tem ( PGS), lo­cal gov­ern­ment units in Ne­gros Ori­en­tal spend mil­lions in ded­i­cated to a pa­tron saint. The prob­lem is when LGUs be­come too con­cerned about ex­hibit­ing these “re­con­structed agri­cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ences” as fes­ti­vals with­out any grass­roots re­search for val­i­da­tion. This gets even darker when one LGU’s award-win­ning trans­parency, dis­as­ter pre­pared­ness, and peace and or­der, among oth­ers. The sen­ti­ment is that con­sumerism has ob­scured our peo­ple’s real cul­tural ex­pres­sions. The ver­dict is that fes­ti­vals too of­ten fail to mir­ror de­vout re­li­gious bear­ings re­sult­ing - ment only for boost­ing our al­ready brand­con­fused tourism.

ISA ad­vances a Philip­pine Dream that ger­mi­nates from dy­namic roundtable pre­sen­ta­tions, dis­cus­sions, and ap­pli­ca­tions of na­tion-build­ing ini­tia­tives by LGUs. This is the kind of fes­ti­val this coun­try ac­tu­ally in­vest­ment where our youth can truly par­take in na­tion-build­ing—not just as an elu­sive class­room con­cept—but as a dogma in prac­ti­cal liv­ing. Through PGS, in­sti­tu­tions can im­ple­ment re­forms that fun­da­men­tally trans­form pol­icy-mak­ing broad-based com­mu­nity groups to craft and per­for­mance met­rics to track and mea­sure progress. If we heed Aris­to­tle’s say­ing that “the proper end of gov­ern­ment is the pro­mo­tion of its cit­i­zens’ hap­pi­ness,” then PGS is the next fron­tier in pub­lic ser­vice.

Bayawan City was ini­ti­ated in the PGS back in 2007. In the trans­for­ma­tion game plan, the po­ten­tial niche for growth and de­vel­op­ment was iden­ti­fied. Bayawan con­tin­ues to pri­or­i­tize or­ganic farm­ing ini­tia­tives, in­fra­struc­ture, low-cost hous­ing for the poor, em­ploy­ment for all, and change is pos­si­ble via pub­lic-pri­vate di­a­logue and part­ner­ship. It is not the up­roar­i­ous Tawo-Tawo

Fes­ti­val that val­i­dates the city’s ma­te­rial abun­dance but the Seal of Good Lo­cal Gov­er­nance award that Mayor Pryde Henry Teves proudly re­ceived in Manila re­cently. There is no need to hide be­hind put on happy faces, be­cause our lead­ers on. While other LGUs spend mil­lions in fes­tiv­i­ties, Bayawan bench­marks and in­vests in its grow­ing agri­cul­ture, in­creas­ing agrar­ian op­por­tu­ni­ties, health in­sti­tu­tions, and other un­fold­ing eco­nomic land­scapes lead­ing to food se­cu­rity, fu­ture po­ten­tial, dig­nity of la­bor, en­vi­ron­men­tal preser­va­tion, jus­tice, lit­er­acy, wealth, peace, and free­dom. Bayawan, as a work-in-progress, per­ceives PGS as the golden gate to more eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties for its peo­ple.

To­day, the PGS cul­ture of gov­er­nance trans­forms the Philip­pines, one city at a time. Bayawan is among the few. Many are to fol­low. In this ar­chi­pel­ago of shiny, happy peo­ple, if fes­ti­vals are here to stay, so are some 12 mil­lion of our brethren liv­ing in poverty.

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