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Sunday, February 22, 2015

What’s really obscene



If ABS-CBN or GMA-7, ABC-5, or NEWS-9 had broadcast the video depicting the brutal killing of a SAF officer in Mamasapano and claimed the video as provided by a news source or even by an unnamed MILF or BIFF fighter, would the NBI or authorities still label it as “Obscene” or illegal?
But because a lowly “Netizen” uploaded the material, it is much easier for the NBI and people with political interests to threaten one or two persons with vague references to laws that may not directly apply to the situation. Rebel-killers took the video so they are the “owner” of said intellectual property. They uploaded and passed the material around either as part of their propaganda or terror tactics. The same situation happens with the rebel group ISIS/ISIL who posts execution videos almost every quarter. The difference is that global authorities and international media organizations have used the ISIS videos to show the world how wicked, evil and brutal ISIS is. The difference is that the ISIS videos that also circulate via social media became material for mainstream media to educate people and was never labeled as OBSCENE.
While I sincerely respect and appreciate the NBI’s desire to clamp down on what could be inflammatory or offensive to relatives, their ongoing activity of hyping up the case and calling the video obscene and in violation of the law also raises concerns about the possibility that in the future, the NBI or any law enforcement agency can violate Freedom of Expression in the absence of Freedom of Information. Social Media is as legitimate and informative as mainstream media who also picked up the video from Facebook. What we should be concerned about is the potential for the NBI to violate Freedom of the Press and that would be obscene!
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Just when they were becoming relevant and useful, the leftists in Congress as well as in the streets have once again taken a wrong turn. In the last year alone the “Leftists” party-list representatives were clearly making a difference by tackling or bringing attention to real life concerns such as the state of the MRT and LRT, the crime wave in Metro Manila, questions on power rates and water, and not the least people’s nightmares concerning Cebu Pacific, PAL and our mismanaged airways and airports.
But in the last two weeks, they have begun to spin the Mamasapano massacre from what was a tragic anti-terrorist action into an anti-American strategy to depict US intelligence and military units as interfering with the local affairs of the Philippines. Just when you think the leftists were doing what a real opposition should be doing they again throw it all away for something that many Filipinos don’t care for. The leftists would have the public believe that US military and intelligence units had taken control and directed the police-military operations in Mamasapano and now want to divert part of the legislative inquiry and media coverage in order to build up their disinformation campaign to paint an ugly picture of the US-Philippine cooperation to combat terrorists and jihadists in Mindanao.
This recurring “wrong turn” of the leftists is a major mistake after many successes they have gained by focusing on issues that are non-political, by acting as fiscalizers, and paying close attention to the needs and woes of Filipinos. One gets the impression that the leftists are simply addicted or can’t help but bash Americans, the US government in every chance they get. Bad habits may die hard but it also kills the good work of those who feed the habit.
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Is President Noynoy Aquino haunted by the I Am Sorry” speech of Gloria Arroyo, which is why he has not spoken about Oplan Exodus as people are demanding? Is this the reason why all the King’s horses and all the King’s men are creating all sorts of distractions such as alleged coups and Senate investigation of the Boy Scout in order to distract people?
Sooner or later, the President will have to talk about the Mamasapano tragedy a.k.a. Oplan Exodus. Either he does it this month or make the mistake of delaying the inevitable until his State of the Nation Address or SONA. He would be wiser to do it sooner while people are itching for an explanation and willing to listen rather than doing it later when no amount of explanation can overcome the cemented misimpressions or misinformation being poured out by his enemies.
People are not expecting an apology. What’s there to apologize for in the first place? People are simply not clear about how the entire thing really played out and no one has taken responsibility for the miscommunication, for the death of 44 SAF officers, and are wondering what the President knew and why the President can’t seem to or is unwilling to clarify matters.
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Senator Ralph Recto has come up with a very relevant proposal that would certainly make a difference in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Recto wants some of the money of Malacañang to be allocated for the immediate construction of a concrete bridge to replace the bamboo footbridge that has become the symbol or monument of death for the SAF-44.
The Batangueño Senator knows from experience how the construction of roads and bridges significantly reduce rebel activities because of the ensuing economic activity as well as the fact that where there are roads the government is faster in making its presence known either in services or armed response. This may not necessarily be the case in Mamasapano, but the people there are Filipinos as well and the footbridge has long been a testimony to the government’s absence and failure to address basic needs.
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