NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 20 August) – The right to life, that is, to stay alive and enjoy the blessings of the Almighty, is the paramount of all human rights.
It is the constitutional duty of our government to protect the lives of citizens. Any action against government’s reasonable efforts to protect humans from unnecessary suffering and death, like its vaccination campaign in this pandemic, undermines the right to life of everyone. Those who are crying for respect in their unbelief in the vaccine and in their campaign against vaccination are out of line. To obstruct effort in saving lives is never respectable.
All citizens are duty-bound to work together to curb the runaway spread of the devastating virus, if only to restore some normalcy in our way of life. If you fear or disapprove the war against the legions of invisible enemy, don’t let your fear spread like the enemy. May you keep it to yourself for the sake of the greater community.
Now come the turmoil in the Department of Health (DOH). The President was unreasonably pissed and was ranting unprintable against the Commission of Audit (COA) for, accordingly, smearing the DOH with taint of corruption and shaming its officials in publishing an unfinished report.
Indeed, the COA report was not final and conclusive. It was yet calling the attention of DOH to correct what the Commission noticed is wrong in the handling of government funds in response to the pandemic. When what were red-flagged are corrected or explained, the COA will make its verdict and final report and the next appropriate move necessary.
An official duty is a public thrust that requires public scrutiny anytime. There was no shaming of anyone in what the COA did, unlike the shame and imminent danger one is subjected to when his name is put in the matrix of drug personalities or among those who work to oust a sitting president. There’s nothing to be mad at and fearful at all in COA’s initial report.
The COA is an independent constitutional commission. The President of the Republic has no business interfering in its mandate. To stop the COA from doing its job is out of line.
Meanwhile, in the world stage, the most disturbing event of the week that, for a moment, had eclipsed the coronavirus pandemic is the return to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Its government overthrown in 2001 by the US and its allies on the ground that it was a harbor of jihadist terrorists, the Taliban were reduced again into rebels in the countryside, as they were during the Russian occupation. On August 15, 2021, after two decades of hit-and-run resistance, they wrested back control of the country from the corrupt Western-style democratic government that had been propped up by the US and the Coalition Forces. The takeover was hardly resisted. In fact, Kabul, the capital, surrendered without a shot fired.
The lamentable episode in Kabul airport was actually a preventable déjà vu for the US. President Biden and company were pretty much aware that it was only a matter of time that the Taliban takeover would happen upon the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghan soil. Unfortunately, despite their intelligence, resources and technology, they underestimated the capacity and eagerness of the Taliban for immediate takeover. Nor were they able to correctly appreciate the strength and morale (that had been punctured by corruption) of the security forces of the Afghan government to offer a resistance. The speed was beyond them; their withdrawal and evacuation plans were, thus, put into shambles.
The resulting desperation, panic and chaos in the fall of Kabul were a near-Saigon repeat performance. The situation is worsened by the fact that tens of thousands of US nationals and their endangered Afghan allies are still stranded in different locations of the city with very slim hope of reaching the sanctuary of the US-controlled Kabul airport. How to extricate them to safety is a nightmarish challenge for anyone.
The world hopes that the Taliban will make true of their pronouncement of no retribution in their return to power and that the new government will rule in peace. Despite the assurances and the mien of the gun-toting Taliban warriors in the occupied city portrayed in the media, many Afghans are still scrambling to get out of the country believing that the Taliban won’t be able to walk their talk; their vicious regard and treatment of women will remain and the endemic tradition of vengeance will eventually prevail.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)