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Twisting Digong

July 16, 2019 - Tuesday 4:07 AM by Allan Nawal

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On Friday, Digong gave his reaction to the resolution passed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR), which to Malacañang was a one-sided action.

The resolution, pushed by Iceland, has asked UNHCR chief Michelle Bachelet to make a comprehensive report on the killings that took place under Digong's drug war, even as it urged the Philippines not to commit “all acts of intimidation or retaliation.”

It also called on the Philippine government to "take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, to carry out impartial investigations and to hold perpetrators accountable, in accordance with international norms and standards, including on due process and the rule of law."

During the 28th anniversary of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, which was held at the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) Multi-Purpose Theatre in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City on Friday, Digong said it seems Iceland's only problem is the sheet of ice that has covered the country for a long period of time. 

As soon as he made the pronouncement, the media immediately reported on it. The headlines were screaming: “Duterte mocks Iceland,” “Duterte belittles Iceland,” etc. etc. etc.

The stories that got uploaded or printed made it appear that Digong addressed the UNHCR resolution by insensibly attacking its proponent. I do not need to mention which publications did. A simple googling would give you the result.

But did Digong really mock Iceland? While it may sound like that, he actually did not.

He was actually stating the fact that Iceland was so peaceful its leaders and law enforcement authorities barely had crime incidents to speak of.

In a recent report, the British Broadcasting Corp. said “the 2011 Global Study on Homicide by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) (established that) Iceland's homicide rate between 1999-2009 never went above 1.8 per 100,000 population on any given year.”

In contrast, the Philippines has a murder rate of 9.84 per 100,000 people, with a number of 9,784 recorded cases in 2014. In 2013, it had the highest rate of murder in Southeast Asia with a rate of 8.8 percent.

Digong has been blaming the proliferation of shabu for the high incidence of crime in the country. This is the same reason he is very aggressive against drug pushers and drug lords.

In his speech during the BJMP anniversary, Digong might have sounded sarcastic but he was saying that unlike the Philippines, Iceland does not have much problem about crime.

The entire quote, minus censorship was this: “Hindi maintindihan nitong mga putanginang ‘to na may problema tayo. Iceland? Ano ang problema ng Iceland? Ice lang. That’s your problem. You have too much ice and there is no clear day or night there. Parang alas kwatro ng hapon ang araw pati gabi. So you can understand why there is no crime, there is no policemen either and they just go about eating ice.”

He said Iceland and those criticizing his action against the drug problem are dumb.

“Itong mga g*** --- they don’t understand the social, economic, political problems of the Philippines. At saka nakikita nila na la -- bakit dito ihulog?"

The context of that statement? Read the following lines:

"Now, if you want to destroy a man or if you want to destroy a family, lagyan mo lang isang addict diyan sa pamilya. Tapos na ‘yang pamilya na ‘yan. It would be hell for them for all time. Ang problema niyan is when the head of the family falls, the entire family collapses and then you have a dysfunctional family and there are aplenty. The distribution of drugs, the contamination continues today. At hindi na natin mahabol. Even if there are -- the human rights are coming. Good. And I’ll tell them, how many millions are affected by drugs? Huwag mo na lang isali ‘yung tinamaan. The social dysfunction that it creates in the average family. Ang mga bata hindi nakapag-aral. If the breadwinner, wala nang pagkain and they go about on their own ways to create another problem in our society.”

So did he mock Iceland?

No he did not. To me he did not.

This is the problem with the reporting of most media outlets.

When they are not selective about Digong's quote, they twist his idea entirely -- by injecting their own interpretation.

At least, Rappler made the exception this time -- by correctly pointing out the reason for Digong's statement. While it may have also ridden the “mocked” bandwagon, Rappler made minor mention of that and even went to the extent of explaining why Digong ranted against the Nordic island-nation of 338,349 people.