OPINION: This is not political. This is just human.

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Photo from @saleema_refran


This is not a political statement. This post does not intend to favor any politician. This is not an issue of dominance between political parties, of choices on presidential elections already sixteen months left behind. This is an issue that is common to all of us — this is an issue of humanity.

It is alarming, and we should be alarmed. The recent spate of state-supported killings, the numerous excuses that our government has presented, and the praises this inhumane war on drugs has been consistently earning should ALL be condemned.

The words of those high in the government — applauding the statistics of 32 deaths a day, boasting the filling of Manila Bay with corpses, and (figuratively?) commanding the police forces to continue the massacre of persons with unproven guilt thru social media intelligence — have no place in the Philippines, a country where the Constitution specifically guarantees our right against an arbitrary deprivation of life and liberty.

The agency that we entrusted to protect life is slowly earning the reputation of agents of death. The truth is that we are unsafe, before from criminals, and now, from both the criminals and the government. The Singapore-status of our supposedly calm nights is far from reality. The theatrics of the PNP Chief in the Senate hearing pales in comparison to the actual grief of those who have senselessly lost their loved ones. The delayed promise of a crime-less Philippines has come at the expense of fear, of dictatorship, of blood, but the promise is far from ever being fulfilled. Everything is fake. Everything is make-believe. One-sided alternative facts abound.

This is not a political statement. It is actually surprising that this issue is so divisive when we all want our rights protected. It is actually surprising that the question of compassion can divide an entire country. It is appallingly surprising that human rights, the rights that we have, the rights that protect ALL of us, is actually the subject of a nationwide debate. This does not mean that we support drugs and criminality; this is just a cry against arbitrary killings. It does not have to be a black-and-white stance of supporting the procedurally-flawed War on Drugs or being a supporter of drug cartels and private crimes. This is false dichotomy.

This is not a political statement. It is not “yellow” to complain. It is human. It is human to have compassion for your fellow Filipino, minors, teenagers, gunned down, stabbed multiple times, and killed. It is human to call for the stop to the flow of blood on the gutters of Manila slums. It is human to ask the government to carry out this war on drugs responsibly and with accountability.

It is human to be angry, to be frustrated, to feel helpless. I fear that we may have collectively lost our humanity, that we may have descended to normalizing loss of lives, to celebrating death after death.

This is not a political statement. This is being human.