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Opinion

There can be no peace without social justice

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

The way our leaders make decisions on budget and appointments of officials is truly reflective of their hierarchy of values and represents what they consider as more important than others. For instance, if we keep on funding for guns more than we allocate resources for food, it would show that the government is more afraid of insurgency and rebellion than of famine and the impending food crisis.

Too much budget for intelligence funds indicates indubitably that the government is too afraid of the people, rather than being concerned about their interest and welfare. If the government is worried about peace and order, then it should focus on social justice, which is mandated by the people, as expressed in the Philippine Constitution. The term social justice is repeated a number of times in our fundamental law. And the Preamble states that the ultimate dream of the Filipino people is to build a just and humane society. The people want a government that embodies their noblest ideals, not spying on them, arresting them for petty crimes while allowing big politicians to dominate decision-making after plundering millions from public funds.

There can be no lasting and genuine peace if people are being used, abused and exploited to perpetuate family dynasties in power. A government remains legitimate only when it promotes the common good and not protects and favors the interests of the super majority of traditional political lords, who all connive and collaborate for their own selfish interests and for their cronies, underlings, and subalterns. The government is supposed to conserve and develop our patrimony and not recklessly open up the country to other people who do not have loyalty and patriotism for the Philippines, much less love for people and concern for their general welfare. There will always be challenges to peace if the strong, powerful, and wealthy keep on abusing, deceiving and exploiting the poor and the powerless.

The Filipino people dream of the blessings of true independence and genuine democracy, under the rule of law, and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace. But then again, there can be no peace when there is no social justice. There can be no peace when the farmers are left alone by the government and are in fact put at a disadvantage when the government keeps on importing, or allows the unstifled importation of rice, sugar, corn, meat, and even fish. There can be no peace when farmers' products are left to rot by the thousands of tons while the government abets the buying of cheaper commodities from foreign markets. There is no peace when the farmers and their families are being left alone while the government coddles importers and is not able to arrest, prosecute, and imprison smugglers.

Under Section 4, Article II of the Philippine Constitution, the prime duty of the government is to serve and protect the people, not to spy on them, red-tag them, and arrest them for merely exercising their freedom of expression. The Philippines is a democratic and republican state, and its sovereignty resides on the people from whom all government authority emanates. The people are not the enemies of the state and the government. The people are the very reasons why there is a government and there is a state. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of general welfare are essential for the enjoyment of all the people of the blessings of democracy. And peace and order should be anchored on justice and not imposed by terrorizing the people.

When the elite who control the country fail to appease the suffering people, then the state and the government shall have lost their very reasons for existence, which are to serve and to protect the people. When the people are hungry, they are also angry and there can be no peace. When millions are struggling to survive the dirt, filth, and foul smell in squatters' colonies surrounding the exclusive enclaves of the wealthiest, the most powerful, and the most influential, the abuses and social injustice committed by the elite will always pose a continuing threat to the security of the whole nation. When millions are hungry, the few contented cows in their mansions will be forever haunted by the clear and imminent danger of insecurity. Yes, we can attain peace only when the people get the justice that they deserve.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

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