Sunday, February 26, 2006

here we go again

Preemptive calibrated response and Executive Order 464, Presidential Proclamation 1016 and General Order No. 5--all these options have one composite common denominator: curtailment of human freedom, promotion of physical force, silencing of the truth. They all undermine democratic space. Produce the scenario of fear and offend the intellectual faculty.

Those of age have lived and experienced exactly the same disturbing socio-political factors. They were either the prelude to or the remnants of martial law. These however did not quash dissent but simply sent this underground. They neither made brave people cowards but instead prodded them to defiance to and derision for those responsible for such counter-freedom enactments. Those who were subject to preemptive repressions and arrests were ultimately proven tight and accordingly honored to these days.

Just in those martial law years, dissenting leaders were jailed, media outlets were closed down, writings were censored. Those agreeing with and clapping for such repressive measures were amply rewarded--
until they themselves became victims of repression, broke away from the repressors, and chosed to be free once again.

Human freedoms should be exercised responsibly. On the other hand, to curtail these with external impositions is precisely very tempting for those desirous of exercising their power of governance irresponsibly. Strange but true: those who want human freedoms curtailed are exactly those who are disposed to abuse their right to govern.

In societal living, there are standing limits to what one may freely do. But this is true both for those governed and those governing them. These limitations are what bring peace and order, progress and development. To violate such limits is to foment alienation between those led and their leaders, to promote discontent and disorder between them.

Freedom of association, freedom of speech and a free media are inherent to human dignity. To abridge these basic realities is to trample on responsible individuals and to destabilize civilized society.

+O. V. CRUZ, D.D.
26 February 2006