(Editor’ Note: Below is a letter written by Rado Gatchalian, aPangasinense, to 60 Minutes Team TV program in Australia and is sharing it with The PUNCH and kabaleyans.
23 August 2016
60 Minutes Show
PO Box 27
Willoughby NSW 2068
60 Minutes Team
Liam Bartlett, Reporter
Gareth Harvey, Producer
Dear 60 Minutes Team
RE: LICENCED TO KILL
I am writing this letter on behalf of the thousands of Filipino- Aussies here in Sydney and the whole Australia who support our new Philippine President Rody Duterte. On 30 April 2016, more than a thousand Filipino-Aussies gathered at the Hickson Road Reserve, near The Rocks, to show our solidarity in support to Duterte. We were able to get Filipinos from different parts of the world to join us in spirit by gathering at their own venues on that same date. It was dubbed as “We are with you Sydney!” Hence, we have a Facebook group called April30forDU30 Global Movement.
This letter is in response to your documentary news feature about the alleged extrajudicial killing of the Duterte administration which was aired on 21 August 2016. Although this letter is not a vehement raise of complaints against your show, this is just to let you know that we are very disappointed about the documentary. We were expecting unbiased and just reporting from your show but we felt that your show failed us.
We thought that you could have shown a balanced and more objective presentation of President Duterte. Yes, you have interviewed Philippine National Police Chief General Ronald dela Rosa, perhaps, with the intention to make it unprejudiced. But it could have been non-discriminatory if you also tried to show the sentiments of the thousand victims (and their relatives) of drug addicts and drug pushers. Most of the victims are children and girls who were raped and killed by people under the influence of drugs.
Australian dictum of ‘Fair Go’ resonates that we give a fair and balanced news. The title of the show “Licenced to Kill” has a presumed connotation against our President. His advocacy is to save the lives of innocent people murdered by drug addicts. The Philippine Police has not been licensed to kill but to safeguard the rights of every Filipino. They are only allowed to defend themselves within the legal boundaries of their duties and responsibilities. Killing is not a pleasure the Police is bound to do. We feel that you have misquoted him and sliced his statements. It is our sentiment that this is not fair. Even the statement of Cookie Diokno when she asked: “Does he want us all to die?” was a complete overexaggeration. Duterte actually wants to save more lives by eradicating the drug syndicates in the Philippines.
We do value the sanctity of life. We value the lives of innocent people. But we also value the lives of the law enforcers.
Ms. Diokno even remarked: “This isn’t war on drugs. It’s a war on poor people.” This is a complete lie. Duterte won the presidency because he is primarily pro-poor. He has a big heart for poor people and to those who are victims of injustice. His track record when he was still the Mayor of Davao City will show how he improved the plight of his constituents particularly the poor, children, and women.
Our country, the Philippines, has long been crippled by corruption and other social diseases such as illegal drugs. The staggering number of drug addicts in our country is not just a simple problem. Duterte recently remarked that it is not just epidemic but pandemic. Thus, knowing that we have a leader like him has given us hope that our country can change. It is a difficult task cognizant of the fact that those people in the government, military, police, and even media are corrupt. We need a strong principled man to fight these evil perpetrators of our land.
Of course, we do not condone human rights violation and killing of innocents. I, for one, will strongly object it. But we expect that you should have given facts as to how many incidents of alleged human rights violations and unjust killing are committed.
We feel that you should have also at least interviewed a number of people on how they feel about the leadership of Duterte. You may not believe but he has massive support among us. The very reason why we support him is because we are already sick and tired of corruption in our country. He is doing his job and he is the only one who has the will to do it strongly and honestly.
He is not the antagonist here. But the way you portrayed him looks like he is the enemy of the state. This is completely wrong. In the eyes of Filipinos worldwide who are longing for real change and progress of our country, he is our saviour. A hero to some. A strong leader. Honest and incorruptible. We have been waiting for a leader like him for decades.
Thus, we find it unacceptable to watch and read news that we think are not completely true about our beloved President.
We do not ask that you retract your statements nor apologise. We only ask fervently that you give fair, factual, valid, reasonable news reporting in your future news.
A lot of us follow and admire your show for many years but we hope that you will continue to uphold the truth and responsible journalism.
You have ended the documentary with vague analysis and no concrete conclusion. We expect more from you.
Thank you very much for taking time reading this. It is my hope that in one way or another my points will be considered positively in the hope of providing better news and documentaries.
Rado Gatchalian *
Co-lead initiator, April30forDU30 event in Sydney, April30forDU30 Global Movement, Duterte Family Group of Sydney