Hypocrisy discourse in politics
(The Freeman) - November 22, 2019 - 12:00am

Recently, United States senator and Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders called out the Philippine government’s human rights abuses. This was responded to by the Malacañang, claiming that the senator is “grandstanding” on the issue and has limited information on the matter. The same can be said for many other instances when international critics call out the country for its abuses. In a similar light, President Duterte has called out the hypocrisy of the US when it talks of human rights.

Regardless of the consistency of America’s crusade for liberal democracy and its respect for human rights, it is clear that such political discourse has a tendency to point at the "bigger hypocrite" in the room. Sadly, this game of "hypocrisy discourse" has been overplayed in this administration's rhetoric against international critics and excuses any inaction towards domestic abuses by condemning the immorality of others without looking at our own.

We can see this when we frown upon those who are adulterers and bigger sinners but forget how we did not condemn corrupt politicians or observe basic decency on the road or in the way we approach people. At times, even our respect for learning is a landmine for all sorts of hypocrisy discourses. Sometimes, condemning research-obsession (an extremity that can lead to an ivory tower mentality among academics) can make one forget the necessity of applied studies in improving the lives of the less fortunate, who are also cut off from the knowledge supply.

Even criticism, often derided by those in power and by common understanding as “fault-finding,” is already being committed against critics. There are no exceptions to criticism when everyone is already a critic, especially the powerful. What makes this more hypocritical is that criticism itself is about looking for the merits and low points to figure out what can be done better.

Excessive preference to being on the high ground weakens the ability to engage in proper discourse on finding solutions. We cannot reach an agreement if there is a universal claim to truth. This is the problem the current administration presents itself when talking of the war of drugs. There is always that presumption that they know better. The same goes for critique towards other nations, condemning the country for human rights abuses. Let foreigners critique the country's human rights profile. We play the game of "other countries are bigger hypocrites" but are silent in the face of China's incredibly violent activities towards protesters and religious groups. When we speak of our own sovereignty, let us not also sacrifice our moral integrity by remaining silent while greater evils are committed against our fellow human beings.

This is where those engaged in social media discourse should stop playing the better man and instead come out better for it. The time is ripe for discourse to more than about who has the better idea. We simply need to talk as authentic and honest people, not hypocrite finders, in order to seek remedies to our society's biggest problems.

Mar Louie Vincent C. Reyes

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Natural disaster preparedness

In the editorial of this paper dated November 01, 2019, it was entitled: "How prepared are we?" It's a challenge to each and every one of us, as to how prepared we are should a destructive natural disaster like an earthquake hit us.

In spite of the fact that we now have a state-of-the-art equipment or modern technology in forecasting natural phenomenon of whatever kind, still, no scientific instrument, to date, has been invented to forecast the occurrence of an earthquake, that is, when and where it will take place.

I understand the government has initiated natural disaster trainings and drills, specifically earthquake drill, and if am not mistaken, such drill is being carried out on a quarterly basis to make the people fully prepared and ready should an earthquake occur.

I remember there was one occasion when I happened to be in Manila City way back in March 2015. News had it that a simultaneous nationwide earthquake drill had to be conducted commencing at 9:00 o'clock in the morning of March 26, 2015.

But I was stunned to see that those who participated in the drill were not as aggressive and vigilant or shall we say, they were not rushing in to their respective emergency assembly area where they were supposed to report for a headcount.

What I observed was a very slow and lackadaisical movement of people as if what they participated in was just a routine kind of activity that needed no further effort of fastness and alertness.

Self-discipline and good behavior and the seriousness of anyone participating in an earthquake drill or the simulation of the actual happening of a natural disaster, may be aptly considered a contributing factor in saving one's life and that of others.

The successive occurrence of earthquake in Mindanao reminds us all of our country's vulnerability and proneness to earthquake and other natural catastrophe.

Far be it from happening that a destructive natural disaster would hit us on an unexpected day and at an hour we do not know. But mother earth has its own way of reminding us that it is time to unleash what it kept for many years - - let the earthshaking phenomenon take its own course, so to speak.

We, the inhabitants of this planet called Earth, can only make the necessary preparation in anticipation of the impending danger and the destructive nature of its fury. May the good Lord protect us all.

Joselito S. Berdin

Lapu-Lapu City

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