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The tragedy of our Independence Day

The nation marked 120 years of independence yesterday. But I have observed that we Filipinos do not have the same fervor as the other countries that also fought for their independence.

The United States, for instance, marks July 4 each year with much enthusiasm. But here, Santa Banana, when you ask anyone on the street what the significance of June 12 is, he or she will tell you that it means there is no work and no classes, so traffic is bound to be light.

As usual, there were speeches from national and local officials urging the people to preserve our freedom.

But did we really fight for freedom— or was it handed down to us?

On July 4, 1946, I witnessed the declaration of our independence. It coincided with the birth of the United States. For many years we regarded July 4 as our day of independence, until 1963 during the term of the late Diosdado Macapagal.

So is this just another day, just another holiday? What a tragedy.

***

I would like to pick up from where I left yesterday about the effects of negative news reporting on people’s psychological health.

Psychologists conducted a study; they constructed three different news bulletins.

One was composed entirely of negative news items, another entirely positive, and the other emotionally neutral. They were given to three different groups of people.

As predicted, those who watch the negative news bulletin became significantly sadder, more anxious, and more worried than the other two groups.

I thus pose this question to our leaders: Is there something we can do to prevent worry and anxiety among the people? In our country, for instance, there are reports of graft and corruption, killings, crime, war.

I ask this question in light of a survey that supposedly found that the Philippines is most depressed in Southeast Asia. Santa Banana—we know that depression can lead to suicide!

But since we now live in an age where news is borderless, we have to accept and live with negative news.

I long for my youth when technology was not yet upon us.

***

I wrote yesterday that President Duterte’s war on corruption has become a big joke. Even the officials he supposedly fires still get recycled. On occasion, Mr. Duterte not only fires people—he also insults them, calling them sons of whores.

The President must know that these double standards are affecting his credibility. He must be reminded that popularity does not last forever.

Duterte Diehard Supporters—the DDS—may not agree with me, but this is what I believe.

***

The recent landing of a Chinese military plane in Davao City, right at the home base of President Duterte, without the Defense Department knowing about it, is cause for alarm.

It is said that the aircraft was cleared by the Civil Aeronautics Authority of the Philippines which allows refueling, but there must be protocol here.

If Defense is not aware of the landing of a military plane, we may just be invaded by the Chinese at anytime, anywhere!

I hope the Senate looks into this incident.

It is bad enough that the Duterte administration has been adopting the policy of accommodation when it comes to China. Having a military plane land right under the nose of the President’s home base is just too much.

***

There have been a lot of killings of forest rangers in Luzon and Mindanao. They had the job of preventing illegal logging and other means of denuding our forests.

It’s ridiculous that rangers here are unarmed.

There are only about 500 of them, tasked to protect millions of hectares of forests. Either they soon connive with illegal loggers, or risk their lives.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources should look into this.

***

I am saddened with the sudden demise of my good friend, Roy Golez, former National Security Adviser.

Roy was a graduate of the Annapolis School of navy officers. When he joined government, he exemplified the traits of honesty and integrity.

My condolences to the family.

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , Roy Golez , Department of Environment and Natural Resources , Independence Day
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