[Newspoint] A nation doomed

Duterte first asked that his war be given 3 months, then asked for 3 months more, then asked for until the end of his first year, then for until the end of his term. Having predicated the first step toward national progress on the success of his war, he was saying to not expect to see that first step taken under his leadership.

And, now, suddenly, at the end of his first year, he admits – although without the slightest hint of humility, as only may be expected of a clinically certified narcissist – that the job can’t be done in one presidential term. In other words, he can’t do it, but surely he prefers to be understood as being the only one who, given a longer term, can do it.

He says he has finally identified the root problem – no, it’s not poverty; it’s elementary geography: an archipelago of 7,100 islands, the Philippines has a coastline too long to be patrolled against the smugglers who sneak in the drugs. How Duterte’s newly learned geography lesson informs his drug-war strategy he does not say, but I imagine the issue is complicated by diplomacy: the drugs come mostly from China, and he’s afraid to antagonize China.       

In the meantime, he continues to fight his war, and fight it with greater intensity but with the same dubious purpose and strategy – kill all 4 million drug dealers and users and save the nation.  In merely 3 days of the week now ending, his war accounted for an average of around 25 kills a day, higher than ever. Elementary arithmetic could have shown him, too, that, at that rate under constant conditions, it will require more than 400 years to kill his 4 million and win his war.

Conceivably, anyway, greater frenzy and, consequently, more indiscriminateness attend the intensified war. A scandalous case involved 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos, an 11th-grader from Caloocan City. Witnesses, their words validated by CCTV images, tell his story:

Kian happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Out of curiosity, he picks up some stuff – supposedly drugs – disposed of on the run by someone eluding the police. The pursuers vent their frustration on Kian. They grab him, hand him a gun, order him to run and, as he obeys desperately, in tears, knowing for sure he’s running for his life, gun him down.

Yet Duterte’s servile police chief could find it in himself to try to be cute: he says the people should be grateful to know that, as evidenced by all those thousands of corpses, the police don’t sleep on the job.

Oh, don’t we wish they did! – Rappler.com