Duterte must fulfil pledges
May 18 2016 11:24 PM

Dear Sir,

I’m happy to note that Philippines’ president-elect Rodrigo Duterte has promised to reintroduce capital punishment and give security forces the power to “shoot-to-kill” criminals.
In his first press conference since winning the  May 9 elections in a landslide, Duterte, the tough-talking mayor of the southern city of Davao, also said he would launch a military offensive to destroy extremists on southern Jolo Island.
The announcements are a sharp departure from current government policy and reflect Duterte’s campaign pledge to end crime and corruption in the nation in three to six months.
I hope these are not empty words and he will fulfil his pledges.

VG, (Full name and e-mail address supplied)

Face up to reality

Dear Sir,

In reference to MH’s letter, “Irresponsible comments” (Gulf Times, May 17), I would like to remind him that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not compared the Kerala state with Somalia at all.
Some people spread misleading and false allegations, either knowingly or unknowingly, for reasons of their own.
What Modi said was this: The situation with the child death ratio among Scheduled Tribes in Kerala is scarier than even Somalia.
I consider myself a proud Malayali, but that doesn’t prevent me from seeing shortcomings in my home state, Kerala, and having some serious introspection.
For a place like Kerala that has excellent literacy and life expectancy rates and other achievements to show at the national level in India, the high child mortality rate among the tribal people remains a shame.
True, there are many programmes in Kerala  to bring the tribal people into the mainstream society. But serious questions should be asked about the effectiveness of these programmes as sections of the tribal population are still leading their lives comparable to the way their ancestors had lived several decades ago.
Anaemic pregnant women, miscarriages, home deliveries without nursing care, young and unmarried mothers, high child mortality rate and malnutrition  still plague some tribal areas in Kerala.
The National Human Rights Commission had issued a notice to the Kerala chief secretary over the large number of infant deaths and rampant malnutrition in a place called Attappadi where many tribal communities live.
Modi hasn’t said anything other than many other politicians haven’t already pointed out.
If we,  Malayalis, want to see Attappadi as not part of Kerala and think all’s well with their state, we can do that.
But if we are honest, we must shrug off our false pride and review the effectiveness of the current “development” programmes for tribal villages in Kerala.

SN, (Full name and e-mail address supplied)

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