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FIRING LINE: What’s wrong with the BFP?

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

Who’s not to understand the fury of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano at the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) after discovering that the fire stations in the city that were formerly part of Makati City were padlocked at the most fire-hazardous eve of the year?

In a Facebook Live post last January 5, Cayetano expressed deep dismay and vowed to summon BFP officials for a Senate hearing, insisting on a full report without room for excuses. He uncovered the chained fire stations during a New Year’s Day visit with Mayor Lani Cayetano, only to realize that the BFP, and perhaps the Makati City government, had closed them without notifying Taguig, endangering lives and property.

The senator, committed to upholding the Supreme Court resolution transferring the stations to Taguig, criticized Makati Mayor Abby Binay’s supposed unilateral actions. Despite promises from the BFP Director to open the stations, Cayetano found them still locked.

For the cause of right and good, Firing Line backs Cayetano’s pursuit of accountability. This issue should not end in his frustration with disregarding the law and people’s safety but correcting the advancement of wrong on the pretext of neighborly political squabbles.

 Marcos-Duterte dialogue 

The willingness of President Marcos to entertain a discussion with his predecessor, Rody Duterte, over Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) is baffling. Duterte’s eagerness to advocate for a media entity linked to the controversial Apollo C. Quiboloy raises serious questions in the face of pressing national issues.

Quiboloy is, of course, Duterte’s spiritual adviser. But he is also wanted in the United States for sex trafficking, and his connection to the recently suspended SMNI, which is accused of franchise violations, should not make any difference.

I’ve no qualms about Duterte seeking the President to address crucial matters in government and nation-building. Still, instead, he uses his free access card to Malacanang to defend a network facing legal scrutiny.

His attempt to indirectly influence Marcos on SMNI’s investigation reflects misplaced priorities. With the FBI’s allegations against Quiboloy involving forced labor, fraud, and sex trafficking, Duterte’s advocacy for him on air is reprehensible.

 Amid Duterte’s fervor for SMNI, it’s important to note his role in shutting down media giant ABS-CBN. Ordering the immediate cessation of ABS-CBN’s operations in 2020 showcased Duterte’s disregard for media independence and freedom of speech.

ABS-CBN’s critical coverage, especially of his war on drugs, drew Duterte’s ire back then, and he admitted it. Now, as Duterte advocates for SMNI, should he not be the first to recognize the government’s authority to assert the law over erring media entities?

Duterte’s selective stance is glaring. Such a leader who silenced a major network ought to understand the complexities and legalities surrounding the regulation of media networks. As the nation faces pivotal issues, Duterte has this fixation on a specific network that gives him the airtime to make threats to people and further his daughter’s political agenda..

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View via X app (formerly Twitter). Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.thephilbiznews.com

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