“Major repression in response to major incompetence”
This was the reaction of youth group Anakbayan to moves by the Aquino administration to suppress anti-government criticism in the popular social networking site Facebook.
Following the atrocious handling of Tuesday’s hostage-taking which resulted in the death of eight Hong Kong nationals, President Noynoy Aquino’s official Facebook fanpage has been flooded with comments criticizing his handling of the crisis, both from Philippine and Hong Kong nationals. Some have even gone as far as call for the president’s resignation, the Anakbayan said in a statement.
“Everyone is outraged over the fatally incompetent handling of the Philippine National Police and the entire Aquino administration. Following the principle of ‘command responsibility’, it is natural for the peoples of both the Philippines and Hong Kong to be angry at Noynoy,” said Anakbayan spokesperson Charisse Bañez.
During the entire duration of the hostage-taking, the youth group noted that there was not a single public appearance or statement from Aquino. He was also inexplicably unavailable when the chief executive of Hong Kong was seeking a dialogue with him.
Bañez exclaimed: “He has already said that he is no ‘Superman,’ yet he is not even open to other views and constructive criticism. No wonder he’s a Super-incompetent!”
Bañez added, “President Aquino, you may find this hard to believe due to your personal arrogance, but believe us: amidst the mass of criticism are nuggets of wisdom that you would do well to heed”.
“So much for his SONA’s boast of a government that isn’t deaf to the people,” said Bañez.
There is a disturbing trend of ‘intolerance’ by the present administration towards dissenters in which the Facebook suppression is the latest incident, Bañez noted. The following are some examples:
– The July 3 violent dispersal of a peaceful camp-out on Mendiola Bridge by farmers calling for land reform. 40 farmers and supporters were arrested.
– The July 5 violent dispersal of a march by youths and students to the U.S Embassy.
– The banning of rallies near Aquino’s ancestral home at Times St. in Quezon City during the State of the Nation Address.
– The deployment of 10,000 cops, the same number deployed by former President Gloria Arroyo during her SONAs, to stop rallies by leftist groups during the State of the Nation Address.
– The August 20 violent dispersal of a group of high school students seeking a dialogue with Education secretary Armin Luistro at the DepEd national office. Five were badly wounded.
– The August 24 violent dispersal of a picket by students at the Rizal Tech. University during a visit by Aquino himself. Four were arrested.
– The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ announced extension of Oplan Bantay Laya, the military policy which has been blamed for the widespread human rights violations under the past administration.
– The assassination of seven members of left-leaning partylist groups by alleged military elements in the first month of Aquino’s term. Three came from Katribu, two from Bayan Muna, and one each from Anakpawis and ACT Teachers.
“At this rate, we will not be surprised if Aquino turns out to be just as bad, or even worse, than his predecessor in terms of respecting human rights,” Bañez concluded.