Not the enemy
On that day, the official figures showed a number below—but not far from—the predicted level. Eventually, the 40,000 mark was breached and, more importantly, there emerged renewed concern that hospitals were once again finding difficulty coping with the surge in coronavirus patients. Secretary Harry Roque was roundly criticized for saying that what we are up against is UP. And indeed, researchers and analysts who scrutinize the data fed us by the government are not the enemy. By the questions they raise, they prompt authorities to do better in their jobs. A radio-television network is shut down, and a renewal hangs in the balance, for numerous alleged violations of its franchise terms and of the Constitution. A media personality and her online organization is found guilt of cyber libel and pilloried for various supposed violations of the law. In both cases, they are accused of bias and unfair reporting—even as their real infraction appears to be displeasing the powers that be. Again, our leaders get it wrong. Media organizations are not the enemy. The press exists to hold authorities accountable to their constituents. It is the duty of the press to be critical when necessary—otherwise, it becomes a public relations tool for those whose interests it serves. A law purporting to combat terrorism is enacted, despite widespread opposition to the many pitfalls it contains. There is no question that the country must be protected from terrorists, but this draconian law provides massive opportunity for abuse by its implementors, especially those who are easily offended by citizens merely expressing their dissent—a hallmark of democracy. Critics are not the enemy. They want the same thing our government officials want—a just, humane, inclusive society where abuse is checked and every voice is heard. Those who expose institutional blunders in the hopes of improving their processes are not the enemy.