"If I look at the provisions of the antiterror law, I would not trust even the most upright government with them, much less a government which has actually a very questionable track record with respecting human rights and the civil liberties of its citizens."
Interview with Atty. Ibarra “Barry” Gutierrez, Director of the University of the Philippines Institute of Human Rights, on the new antiterror law in the Philippines. [modeled after...you guessed it...the USA PATRIOT ACT]
"At the very least, there was a certain measure of shame before....The brazenness now is really something else, and that is actually particularly alarming as far as I’m concerned. ... Before, if you raised concerns, at the very least the government would attempt, even on a very shallow surface level, to make some sort of conciliatory gestures. It would not say, ‘well, sue us,’ which is the attitude right now, by many many officials in government."
Gutierrez on impunity under the current administration
"There were human rights abuses before. Illegal arrests, torture, detention. But what is different now under Arroyo is the extent of killings of political activists. In fact, there’s an ugly joke going around that they don’t anymore have to feed them. Because during the Marcos time, and Ramos and other administrations, they would arrest an activist, or torture him at the most. But at least they were alive, they kept them in detention later to be released. But now, they’re not arresting them anymore. They just kill them."
Prof. Ronald Simbulan, UP Diliman, on the rise of human rights abuses under the Arroyo administration.
Some quotes that may not make it into anything else. Just to give an idea of what I'm doing with my time these days.
One of the lovely things about doing research in the Philippines is how generous people are with their time, once you've gone through the rigmarole of getting in touch and establishing some sort of credentials.
Even busy people with titles will sit and talk to you for hours on end.
The thing is though, you've got to transcribe it all later. And trust me, after hours of listen/stop/type/rewind/double check/repeat, dozens of pages, aching wrists and watering eyes, you start to wish for a few thirty second sound bites.