Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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HOWIE SEE IT: The Real Casualty of War

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By Atty. Howie Calleja

The President’s love affair with China continues, and his defeatist attitude towards our inability to go to war all but seals his failure to protect our sovereignty. Yes, we do not have to go to war, but why should it ever come to that? The fear of war is a smokescreen to the President’s inability to uphold a ruling handed at The Hague.

The West Philippine Sea is, indeed, a complex and difficult issue. Surely any President would, and should, be careful in dealing with the precarious circumstances. Recognizing the delicate nature of diplomacy, the President should also be careful with his words and not just surrender our territory and relinquish possession of our rights. Let us be reminded that our victory at The Hague gives us the support of the global community; there are numerous peaceful means of settling international disputes at our disposal. To jump to the conclusion that war would be our only option is a short-sighted view of our ability to work with our global partners; we must continue to act with composure, integrity, and cultural adaptability.

However, there is not the same fear to call a war against our own citizens, as four years of this administration has been characterized by the war on all fronts. The War on Drugs, with thousands dead through EJK, is a war being raged four years later. It looks like the only winners in this ongoing war are the drug lords that use their mules as scapegoats. If history is written by the victors, what will they say? That the defeated were the poor and the defenseless, the unwilling victims of drug abuse? Now, instead of calling for a ceasefire, we continue with our blind fascination of fear-mongering with a War on Terror.

The Anti-Terror Law is now being used as a weapon to legitimize abuse, not only against terrorists but against our own peace-loving people. How many more must die to the already tens of thousands murdered without due process? We cannot also forget the number of lives unnecessarily lost in yet another failed war, this time against COVID-19. How many more will be lost in the continuation of their “living experiment of Metro Manila”? Now, as if there hasn’t been enough blood on our streets, there is a call for the reimposition of the Death Penalty. Rather than justifying our desire to wipe out the victims, why not instead push for a fair and equal justice system, one that acknowledges our own societal ills? The last thing we need is more death, more war. The President claims to be a casualty of war, a casualty of ABS-CBN, but the truth is, after four years, the biggest casualty of this Administration is the Filipino People.

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