While the Philippine landscape is being glamorised by a beauty pageant (Ms. Universe), the DOT (Department of Tourism) took the opportunity and launched a new campaign ad; the aim – to attract more visitors to the country.

The slogan used was the old “More Fun in The Philippines” with a twist, capitalizing on family values – “When you’re with Filipinos, you’re with family.”

The DOT is no doubt banking on the projected benefit from the pageant; the glamour and the glitz it will bring to the overall business climate. The organisers are boasting that there was “no public money” being spent or a zero cash out for the government, added that it was more of private endeavours; a joint effort by the different sectors of the business community.

Though in the short term, the organizers are quick to admit that they expect a break- even or possibly a bottom-line loss in terms of profits from the pageant. The man behind the pageant, Governor Chavit Singson. No less than the DOT Secretary who is all praises to Singson for doing a great service to the country; the group is calling it hashtag #parasabayan (for the country).

No one can argue that the pageant will be a good springboard for  the country to boost our tourism industry. Likewise, the pageant is no doubt a good smokescreen for the government, to provide temporary respite, a break from the unpleasant image generated from the daily killings happening in the country, dubbed by foreign media as a “slaughter.”

Come Monday, January 30, the pageant begins. The country and the whole world will surely be dazzled by the glitters and the glamours, at least…for that evening.

At the sidelight, is a grim reality – the rising death toll on Duterte’s War against drugs, now reaching 7,701; and expected to climb further.

More than half of those deaths are tagged by the police as D.O.I. (Death under Investigation), but for many citizens, it is simply called as EJK or “Extra-Judicial Killings,” perpetrated by hooded (unknown) assailants or vigilantes.

Surely, the pageant is a temporary respite, a break from the unpleasant image…

I still cry in silence, every time I saw a dead person being paraded on TV, killed; slaughtered like chickens…I can feel the hopelessness and the slow decay of our consciousness as human beings.

Honestly, I am simply getting tired and call it desensitised if you will. Maybe because it is futile to hope that the killings will soon stop.

And, my new found prayer, “My Lord and my God, have you forsaken us?”




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