POSTSCRIPT / March 9, 2021 / Tuesday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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‘Sunday Bloodbath’ rouses Calabarzon

FIRST, we saw these posts on Twitter: Lian Buan @lianbuan — March 7, 2021 – A bloody Sunday we must never forget. Police count 9 deaths, but groups can only identify 5. The horror of verifying who else died, dreading the next name, guessing who else is still out there being hunted. Never forget to keep knocking on the doors of power.

Then this: ¥●£● @YOLOinthePH — To Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) First Vice Executive Judge Jose Lorenzo dela Rosa and Manila RTC Branch 174 Judge Jason Zapanta: Search warrants po ba ang inissue niyo o license to kill?

Then: alan c. robles @hotmanila — Dear Pinoys, Dictatorship is coming. The ICC won’t help you, the EU won’t help you, the UN won’t help you, the US won’t help you. Marvel superheroes won’t rescue you. Batman won’t save you. This is not a job for Superman. This is a job for Filipinos. This is our problem.

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THE “Sunday Bloodbath” story was soon all over the media. We pushed aside what we were working on and rushed over to our old reliable PhilSTAR and read the first takes of the reports coming from the Southern Tagalog:

“Police raids that swept across four provinces in Calabarzon on Sunday left nine activists dead, a ‘bloodbath’ that groups condemned days after President Duterte told state forces to shoot right away suspected armed rebels in encounters.

Philstar.com was told by Calabarzon police that operations in the region yielded the said number of casualties, or six reported killed in Rizal, two in Batangas and one in Cavite.

“The labor group Pamantik said activist leader Emmanuel Asuncion of BAYAN-Cavite was shot in a raid at the Workers’ Assistance Center in Dasmariñas, while the couple Chai and Ariel Evangelista were killed in a similar operation in Nasugbu, Batangas.

“Both were said to have been staff members of the group Umalpas Ka, and their 10-year-old child was also reportedly taken into custody but has since escaped.

“In Rizal, only two out of the six killed had been identified so far: Makmak Bacasno and Michael Dasigao, who were part of the urban poor organization SIKKAD in Montalban.

“Police Lt. Col. Chitadel Gaoiran, a spokesperson for the Calabarzon PNP, said six were also arrested while nine remain at-large. The figure matches that of groups’ report that three in Laguna were nabbed — two labor leaders and Nimfa Lanzanas, 61, a human rights worker.

“The arrests were made after search warrants were issued on March 2 on alleged illegal possession of explosives — a charge that groups have long said is usual to file against activists. It was signed by First Vice Executive Judge Jose Lorenzo dela Rosa of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 4.

“Gaoiran could not specifically say if the 24 search warrants which turned out as the basis for the raids were all signed by Dela Rosa. But when asked to describe how it resulted in deaths, he said an ‘armed encounter’ took place.

“The Duterte administration in its more than four years in office sought to rid the country of its decades-long insurgency problem. But often, groups said it had targeted critics and human rights advocates too.

“Over the course of his presidency, Duterte has publicly declared that he has no regard for human rights, particularly on his anti-drug campaign that had already seen thousands killed. He has also repeatedly vilified his critics as he vowed that the said campaign will remain relentless until the end of his term in 2022.

“In his meeting on March 5 with the anti-communist task force, the President told members of the police and the armed forces to ‘ignore human rights’ and ‘kill them right away,’ pertaining to armed rebels. (by Christian Deiparine)”

The rest of the daily details will be in the news. The draft of this bloody chapter of our history will be written by woke Filipinos who, with the Lord’s guiding hand, will survive this and coming bloodbaths.

 Let someone else take 2nd dose?

WITH the delay and the scarcity of COVID-19 vaccines, plus the fear of a possible surge in infections, some people may be driven to allow a relative or a dear friend to take their place in the queue for their second dose.

Health officials say of vaccines with comparatively poor ratings that 50-percent efficacy is better than zero. An injection in the arm, they say, is better than the serum still in the bottle.

The cost of medicines alone makes patients do strange things. There have been cases of poor patients needing expensive drugs who space out their pills or cut them in half to increase the number of medicines they had, never mind if the efficacy suffers.

With the delay in the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines and with influential persons cutting in line, many people are worried that their turn for the free vaccination will never come. Some of them may then fake their identities or personal data to improve their chances for early injection.

There could be instances of people altering their appearance or lying in their declarations about age, prior conditions, morbidities, and other criteria that may ruin their chances of making it to the priority lists.

How are the rosters of vaccinees drawn up, updated after each round of inoculation, and safeguarded? How sure are we that the persons presenting themselves are really the ones on the lists?

And who will prevent people with money, influence or daring from cutting in?

(First published in the Philippine STAR of March 9, 2021)

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