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A short screen time revelation

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide (The Freeman) - May 9, 2021 - 12:00am

I was 21 when I first heard of the term “screen time”. As a local traffic/production man of a television network, it was my duty to know how long a canned film or a commercial advertisement would run on the screen. Recently, I stumbled upon screen time quite serendipitously. It is rather embarrassing to admit my technological ignorance. While scanning my iPhone, I read it and from the internet I found it was the same term used for activities done in front of a screen, such as watching TV, working on a computer, or playing video games as in days of my television work about half a century ago.

Just few nights ago, I spent two hours of screen time scanning my cellphone never allowing anything to distract my attention. I discovered such socio-politically relevant Facebook posts as Leni Robredo, for president. Run Sara Run, 1Sambayan, Leni Robredo 2022 Pres movement, Duterte-Duterte tandem, Solid Pro Leni, United Opposition, ICC international Criminal Court, and Boycott Chinese Products and many more. Some comments that I read were written in refreshingly profound English that I had to read again to have a better understanding while others were downright garbage.

At the end of my two-hour “screen time”, I ruminated that there was a need to conduct a more scientific survey among the Facebook posts to approximate a responsible finding on how the social pendulum swings. Such a study could provide a better picture of how the citizenry collectively perceives the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is doing now that his term is winding down.

An overwhelming majority of the posts that I read within that “screen time” did not indicate the presence of so-called Duterte trolls. There was a time, especially in the early part of his regime, that even a mild criticism against the president would attract a vicious swarm of disparaging and sometimes threatening comments. The perceived DDS hordes of social media reactors were either absent or disarmed. Or perhaps, they were just inactive at the time when I scanned my cellphone.

The bigger share of the Facebook posts I came upon variously bashed President Duterte as a coward and inutile for avoiding the debate with former associate justice Antonio Carpio. Their words swayed between unkind and disrespectful, to say the least. The severity of criticisms against the president was anchored on the fact that it was Duterte himself who hurled the challenge to a debate and his subsequent refusal (some people called it shameful retreat) to do the verbal joust was described in words harsher than plain cowardice. My respect for the president, as an institution, not to the man occupying it, prevents me from quoting those expletives.

There was also a group called “Boycott Chinese Products”. Well, I wrote in this column more than 10 years ago, my personal commitment never to buy anything made in China. So those malevolent cries for such a boycott have my personal support. But, the current clamor to refuse to patronize anything Chinese has a political angle. This apparent movement contains an obvious condemnation of the president for his inexplicable (not my word because the terminology I want to use is more vitriolic) preference for Communist China.

I said above that I wish a more scientific survey be conducted on these Facebook posts. I say that because my personal culling of these criticisms indicate that the once-unprecedented popularity of Duterte is now suffering a calamitous freefall. What an ominous revelation from a short “screen time”.

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