Social media and discernment

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

As a septuagenarian it isn’t easy to keep up with technology. Take the case of the cellular phone. I have a rather expensive iPhone quite handy for sending and receiving text messages and calls as well as composing articles and emailing them. Oh yes, I use this modern gadget to listen to my genre of old standard music if I have little time to get my long playing records to play on my antiquated components. But I believe I haven’t used this iPhone to its maximum simply because I don’t know how.

Every minute I receive emoji, reels, and Facebook posts. While the reels are, to me, videos of rather uncommon events that should be taken as they are without need of interpretation, the emoji is understood to be an expression of deep human emotions. Frankly, I don’t want to find out if each emoji that pops up reflects the truth.

Facebook posts are different. Most of them appear, at first glance, to contain bits of information that need to be validated. That is where my deficiency lies. I don’t know how to use my cellphone to check if facts in the posts are true or not.

The latest post I got reported that former president Rodrigo Duterte rated number 1 among personalities expected (or interested) to run for senator in 2025. Whether Duterte entertains such plan of joining the senatorial race in the mid-term elections is what I want to validate, but I don’t know what apps to use specially that the various posts seem to be conflicting. There are posts showing Duterte walking rather unsteadily with his steps now slowed and suing a cane. There are other videos with his face indicating features akin to a man who suffered a mild stroke as there are still other posts with his voice seemingly garbled probably as a result of an unreported ailment. I desire to find out from any applications in my iPhone if such supposed senatorial plan won’t be hampered by his physical condition that is getting to be obviously deteriorating.

There are also posts showing the unflattering residue of the Duterte administration. I use the word UNFLATTERING over “gravely dismal” (which, to me, is more appropriate), because I don’t know how to use the various applications to validate these stories. One post compares the Aquino and Duterte presidencies. In the comparison, Benigno Simeon Aquino III left Malacañang with a Philippine debt of ?5.9 trillion while Duterte placed our country in an unprecedented indebtedness of ?12.7 trillion. Accordingly, only Duterte and no other president ever incurred such financial obligations.

The same post said at the end of Aquino’s term, the Philippine rice importation dependency was 5.0% while Duterte’s rule left our country’s rice importation dependency at 15%. The staggering 10% increase showed how badly Duterte performed in that area. I want to validate those figures because standing alone the data point to a man who miserably failed as president and therefore why should he rank high in the list of 2025 senate aspirants with such a terrible record? Naboang na ta?

The usual sources of information namely radio, newspapers, and television reporting on the invasion by Communist China and the Chinese illegal seizure and occupancy of some islands/islets in the West Philippine Sea pale in deplorable gravity to the accounts of social media. The posts blame the audacity and fierceness of Communist Chinese on the incompetent handling of Duterte as president. In allegedly sacrificing our sovereign rights, Duterte miserably failed in his foreign policy. There is even a post on the supposed commitment of Duterte to remove the BRP Sierra Madre to allow the Chinese to occupy Ayungin Shoal.

I haven’t read of any social media accounts refuting the reports on the ignominious record of Duterte’s presidency. These plus the specter of an ICC investigation, put under extreme doubt the reported high survey ratings of Duterte’s senatorial ambitions.

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