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ROUGH CUTS | What FPRRD is afraid of

The Municipal Mayor of Maco, Davao de Oro, with great sadness and pain, finally issued late last week an Executive Order terminating the search and retrieval activities of the buried victims of the massive landslides in Masara last February 6, 2024.

We say it was a painful and sad decision because the mayor knows how much the surviving members of the victims’ families would have wanted to see the bodies of their relatives. But the mayor knows that he has to make such a decision because the continuation of the activities could put the lives of those undertaking the retrieval operation in great risk. Subsequent landslides could occur anytime and bury those searching for the bodies of the still missing victims.

Despite the sadness that the mayor could have felt, we believe that his order to stop the search and retrieval of bodies is the right thing to do. Life and governance have just to continue. And the next move that the local government of Maco and other national government agencies is to work in concert for the rehabilitation of the communities badly damaged by the landslides and make sure that all prohibitions for the non-habitation of areas considered prone to landslides and other natural disasters are implemented and complied with by the people to the fullest.

We can only hope that no such pinpointing of responsibilities for the occurrence of landslides as it has happened in the Masara case would not have a repeat should similar incidents occur again.

Imagine both the government agencies concerned on nature’s protection and some major stakeholders in the area knowing long ago of the vulnerability of the Masara mountain ranges to landslides but apparently not doing anything concrete to obviate such danger!

Think of these – the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through its Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau (MGB) having issued a No-Build-Zone order in that sector of Masara as early as 2008 and failing to find out nobody has complied with it or possibly not identifying who should carry out the order?

Even the major stakeholder in the area, the giant mining company that holds concession in that part of Davao de Oro, having commissioned a study on the level of vulnerability of its concession areas has seemingly ignored the findings thereof.

If the recent deadly landslide with so many lives lost and an entire community destroyed would not serve as one painful experience and lesson for both government regulators at the local and national level, as well as the stakeholders in the area, then what will? Will a much bigger and deadlier disaster dp?


Is former President Rodrigo R. Duterte afraid of the ICC probers coming to the country to gather more evidence against him on the alleged extra-judicial killings (EJKs) in his war on drugs?

We do not think so. The former President knows that he could not have committed a “crime against humanity” as his administration was dealing with known criminals whose activities are clearly intended to destroy the moral fiber of Philippine society. The victims of alleged EJKs as claimed by human rights advocates and the political opposition were clearly not his (Duterte’s) political opponents. And if there were innocent victims, they were “collateral damage” or slain on orders of drug syndicates so the blame will be heaped on the former chief executive. Besides, even if a country is a signatory to the so-called Rome Statute that serves as the organizing structure to the International Criminal Court (ICC), still the authority of the ICC has limitation especially in matters concerning implementation of its decision.

That surely is where the former President is apprehensive about – that by allowing the ICC to try his case, rule on it and issue an arrest warrant against him – the Philippine government could be surrendering its sovereignty to foreign powers or entities without even firing a single shot to show opposition.

FPRRD perhaps could not swallow the sad reality that the ICC trying his case of alleged extra-judicial killings and subsequently convicting him with our own functional judicial system idly folding its arms while watching, could be the greatest tragedy that could befall on a free and independent Philippines.
Why are these groups claiming to be protectors of human rights not filing charges against Duterte in Philippine courts? Why do they not test the country’s judicial integrity? Are they admitting that the existing judicial system is a sham and we could never replicate that of Thailand or South Korea where former Presidents or Prime Ministers are tried, convicted and sent to prison?

Yet, these very same groups are enjoying to the fullest all the freedoms guaranteed by the country’s Constitution.


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