Thursday, July 5, 2007

Moral Shortsightness

In Occidental Mindoro, politicians during elections are abusing the Mangyans -- resulting to disenfranchisement of the latter. In May 2007 elections, there were reported three areas where the abuse might take place -- in Paluan, Sta Cruz and in San Jose or Rizal where the Mangyan-Buhid are.
The elections -- reduced to a number game, which could and should be won no matter what tactics and antics one applies -- provide the reason and the occasion for the Mangyans to be herded down to the mountains away from their communities by the cohorts of the politicians, and into a place that is either lent to or owned by the political candidate. There, the Mangyans are fed and given an instruction to write on their ballots the name of their politician-"benefactor" -- if they can write -- or tell whoever assists them inside the polling place the name of their candidate.
For the Mangyans, this practise is "pagkukulong." For the politicians, this is "pag-aalaga."
Last May, the practise was documented by GMA-7 and shown in national television through the Imbestigador.
Shamed because they were caught -- and not because of the reprehensible act that they committed against the Mangyans -- the people of Paluan who are identified with Mayor Abe Pangilinan of Paluan wrote a petition letter to the Bishop of AVSJ to remove from Paluan the assigned parish priest. They allege that the pastor was the one who requested for the media coverage; and on that account he put Paluan in bad light.
This is disgustingly interesting: which puts Paluan in bad light -- the media coverage of their violation of suffrage of the Mangyans, or the violation itself of suffrage of the Mangyans?
Sometimes, one's being elected in public office is not a guarantee of moral righteousness... Nay, more often than not, we find moral shortsightedness among our elected leaders.

Note: Actually, GMA-7 likewise attempted to document the same practise in Sta. Cruz. The former mayor's men proved to be more rough to the media people. In San Jose and Rizal, the plan must have been aborted in the last minute.

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