MANILA, Philippines — The alleged culture of impunity in the country has led Filipinos to feel fearful about expressing anything critical of the administration, Senator Francis Pangilinan said Friday.
For him, it is no longer surprising that the majority of Filipinos, as shown in the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, believe “(i)t is dangerous to print or broadcast anything critical of the administration, even if it is the truth.”
“The culture of impunity has created the fear…It’s a culture of impunity that’s happening in the country. People are afraid and I’m not surprised. That’s what happens when you have impunity happening,” the opposition senator told reporters in an online interview when sought for comment on the SWS survey.
“Meron talagang takot [There really is fear]. Fear for their lives, for their safety and can you blame them? Every day may balitang may binabaril, may pinapatay [there’s news about someone being shot, being killed]…Every day, there’s violence,” he added.
He cited the spate of killings in the country, the passage of the contested anti-terror law, as well as “trolls” on social media.
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“Araw araw na patayan na nangyayari at yung Red-tagging at ‘yung pagto-troll at paninira at pananakot na ginagawa sa social media,’ Pangilinan said.
(Every day, killings are happening, there’s Red-tagging as well as trolls, threats on social media.)
“So the fear is obviously brought about by what is happening not just on social media but also what is happening in the country. The killings have not stopped,” he added.
According to the fourth quarter 2020 survey published by SWS on Friday, 65 percent of adult Filipinos agreed with the statement, “It is dangerous to print or broadcast anything critical of the administration, even if it is the truth.”
Meanwhile, 18 percent said they are undecided while 16 percent disagreed.
This gave a net agreement score, or the percentage of those who agreed minus the percentage of those who disagreed, of +49, classified by the survey as “strong.”
“This is up by 28 points from the moderate +21 (51% agree, 30% disagree) in July 2020,” SWS said.
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