Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Too true to be Sacral

"Too true to be Sacral"

Notes from the presentation made by the UP Repertory company
shown last Frbruary 13, 2017 at UP Fair, Sunken Garden,
University of the Philippines, Diliman

By Letty Guererro

It was early evening when this person went to the University of the Philippines in Diliman for its February fair.

Known for its series of booths, of music and anything that was worth respite for the students and for the community, that fair is also means to invoke sentiments as any other political action, although nowadays been almost replaced by anything that is, commercial.

However, one interesting presentation was a play made by the UP Repertory Company. Based from Genesis 22 in which God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah, the presentation was given a Filipino twist, this time replacing Abraham with Duterte and Isaac with the common Filipino who's greatly affected by the series of extrajudicial acts particularly those from the "war on drugs". Quite interesting knowing that from every verse Eshei Mesina narrated, to the actions made by its actors and actresses, the presentation somehow tries to reignite UP Fair's militant past as a way of protest.

Everyone did watch though, although expect not all would understand its message, if not ridiculing  it knowing that they "came for the well-known bands and not for some militant presentation such as inspired from the Bible and Oplans Tokhang and Kapayapaan." But still, the presentation continued till everyone somehow got its point such as how the system continues to retain the status quo-such as a bloodied one, and be intensified by a leader known for his assholeness.

Ironically, those who supported the administration are Christians. Regardless of their sect affiliated, for sure they've understood the biblical verse as well as the Apostles Creed that professes their faith. But, since they are supporters of an administration sworn to protect the status quo, what more of taking an act that is bloodied, they suddenly forget being Christians if not justify the killing as godly- no matter how many innocents be affect by that carnage.

Otherwise, the presentation may redescribe as blasphemous after using anything but sacral be it the Bible verse or the Apostles Creed, but still that presentation shows how a ruler, being conscienceless if not choosing not to heed his compatriot's insistence not to be killed chose to proceed his own doing, no matter how that compatriot as wrongfully accused if not innocent yet greatly affected by its own surrounding, in pursuit of restoring order. Apologists may nihilistically think of it as a necessary catharsis, with collateral damages be reinterpreted as a cleansing measure if not a means to return to stability even at the expense of a hundred, thousand, or even million lives. Apologists would also think that no matter how numerous deaths or unjust policies being done the presidency still "did something good" be it building a series of infrastructure to promises of an untaxed salaries to the lower-income earners. And the rising costs of goods and services, also from the views of the apologists, is likely to be intepreted as a "call for austerity".

Again, in spite of how apologists reinterpret that action, that the system, via the administration has made it happen that "sacrifice", while the people, sneered by a desire for that brand of "change", has chose to let it commenced. No angel may intervene the tyrant from doing his act, with the tyrant himself admitting that he doesn't care if he gone to hell as long as "his people he serve will live in paradise."

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Still in a state of struggle

Still in a state of struggle

Notes in a country's still-continuing past 
and its struggle for national-social change 

At first, this person, after reading various news  reports, of comments in social media, and in seeing various forms of social inconveniences, thinks that ever since most  people claim that life as truly unfair, then it is worth admissible that all history is consists of class struggles.

For in this continuing past, everyone hath wittnessed how developing nations struggled against the developed, and within those societies sought how the struggling masses battled against the elites; chaotic in its first impression the way those who record history has sought periods be like the Peasant Revolts of the Middle Ages or the heavily politicised masses of the French Revolution.

However, in spite of all the chaotic yet change-driven intents, there may be peace but as mere intervals, enough to consolidate forces and waiting for another scenario; there may be various forms of achievements enough to steer  developments to and fro, also enough to create a scenario. But to each in everyone who desired a place in the sun, a place wherein justice and honour be prevail, admits that there is a final conflict to face, even in a series of scenarios that would affect life and property - and from there will pave way to a genuine kind of development in which people from all walks of life be imbued with honor, trust, responsibility, equality, freedom, and love.

Sounds ideal it may be, especially with men like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, Jose Rizal, or Bonifacio expressed in their works, but it turns out to be real if to be taken seriously and at worse, fatally as every blood, mind, sinew, sweat, waters and weaves the tree and tapestry of a growing nation. That even Christ himself saidth that he came not to bring peace but a sword, and also from he, being the so-called prince of peace he expelled violently the moneylenders from the temple whom he described as the house of his father; 
And from that example one, such as a Church-going, everyday praying, Christian may think that ideal as desperate, foolish move especially that one has to be against the status quo. They may recognise the possibility of change, but, they chose to limit it such as a change in character than a social one. Filipinos desired for independence years ago, and there are men and groups involved in that kind of ideal, but there are Filipinos who rather contented in simple privileges with its next generations be like “we passed by those times, but why are we still the same? If I were they I’d be contented in this current state: to be simple.” Sounds Tandang Basio Macunat isn’t it? For alongside the pessimisms of Señor Pasta and of the faux-fabulousness of Doña Victorina, its generations continue to exist: in a form of nihil-apathetics choosing to “enjoy” if not pseudo-idealists whom preferred to be contented as fencesitters and mindsturbators.

But as a revolutionary who chose to take the bitter cup of sacrifice, poverty, and even death, a value-added contribution meant putting value to a megali idea such as a revolutionary change; From there it lies a continuity of a cherished tradition, alongside the creation of a new order that has nothing to do with the past whose nature as rotten; the former Soviet Union did that, so was people’s China, Korea, Vietnam, Albania.
And to think that in the Philippines, in spite of its independence this person and others concerned is ought to say that it becomes null and void for the prevailing system hinders the path to independence; for sure leaders assumed to be outspoken for independence yet do they truly adhere for it? Not to mention those who babble some change but actually emphasising self-interest; while its apologists, particularly fanatical ones, would still continue to insist that the change being brought from a ruler may also affect the system itself no matter how obvious that it cannot be, given the centuries-old despotic nature that the system treats change half-heartedly if not with disdain for it hinders their personal gains; leaders like Marcos, Duterte, or any other despots assuming to be "for the people" shows that their brand of "change" turns out to be an example of a Bonapartist move- with situations which reactionaries tries to appear themselves as for the people, and in some cases uses selective reforms enough to co-opt the radicalism of the popular classes. 
Marcos did that with his package of food distribution, housing, urban development, and even arts and culture; so was his successors like Duterte whose frankiest basis was to sneer people in the battle for hearts and minds, promising them with take-home pay for lower-income workers while at the same time continuing its bloodied campaign against the poor using the "war on drugs".

But in spite of all their intents, Marx argued that within the process, these personages tends to preserve and mask the power of a narrower ruling class. Fanatics may not believe in that idea what more in opposing and maligning the concerned for investigating and unearthing truths what more of instigating and asserting the need for a revolutionary change; and in the case of the University of the Philippines, students tend to oppose unjust ones and offer just solutions, while fanatics, with their narrow-mindedness treated them as  any other social delinquent and hence liable for their demise simply because of its idealism if not those of its actions. Duterte, like his predecessors, may have approved programs like free education in which apologists applauded for it; but again, like his predecessors, that decree does not stop students from getting concerned what more of getting opposed to the unjust policies the system tend to shove in everyone's throats. He did even threatened them with expulsions, prison bars, even deaths, so where is the freedom and democracy these apologists praised about?

Pardon for some ridicule if not skepticism knowing how the system, in presenting some changes is meant to consolidate theirs than to emancipate the have-nots. Rule of law has becoming a condified rule of men as despots condify their stupidity using a hodgepodge of gutter thoughts and legalese; but to think that in a semifeudal-semicolonial order hinders or negates development for the masses, aggravates centuries-old situations ranging from the peasantry to those of the labouring yet debt-strapped masses, will there truly be Cooperation between those who oppress and those who are being oppressed?

Sorry but that makes it impossible for the latter hinders the path to redemption.

ContemporAntiquity inside Meralco Museum

ContemporAntiquity inside Meralco Museum

(or "how this person got stumbled in there")

Situated in Pasig City, the museum of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) shows off its ages-old contribution, that somehow made this person describe as a relics of ContemporAntiquity.

Ranging from its old electric meters, pictures, as well as a replica of a tram that was one of the recognisable symbols of old Manila, the museum wanted to show its visitors that the company as more than just a generator and distributor of electricity, but also a contributor in the metro, what more of a country's contemporary development.

At first, one would say that the once-named "Manila Electric Railroad and Light Company" has contributed much to Metro Manila, and in extention, Mega Manila's development for more than 100 years, and as a ContemporAntiquitarian, the museum’s intent is more than just revisiting the past with all its mementoes and replicas enough for a observer to know how that company hath brought light to its customers for generations, but also to inspire present and future generations to steer development in various fields: be it Power Generation, Transporation, Communications, and other emerging technologies in industries in need of breakthrough solutions to developmental challenges if not as part of a megali idea that leads to a nation’s renaissance.

Sounds idealistic after seeing those mementoes, if not too optimistic knowing that MERALCO but, come to think of this: was the founders of that company truly concerned about national development? By bringing electricity, by promoting cheaper and faster means of transport, wasn’t it that equivalent to a promotion of growth, progress, emancipation, and rejuvenation of a country? Filipinos then be like they sought the wonders of those as efficient than depending on human, horse, or carabao-power; as the power plants like those in Isla de Provisor churned electricity in every street light and home, and its Trams brought people in a faster pace to their destinations, one would wonder that MERALCO tries to “bring light”, in which those from the past would have equated it to “progress” if not “civilisation”.

Sadly, it turned out to be different. The old power plants in Metro Manila were either demolished for "development" or in case of the power plant in Bicutan as rotting and waiting to be at the hands of the wrecking ball; the Tramway system was destroyed during the war, enough to justify as an opportunity for those Yankees to have cheap automobiles to take over; from there it took decades to have an "efficient urban mass transport system"; only to be realised in a form of the elevated "Light Rail Transit" which was once supported by MERALCO. Currently, the company supplies electricity for both LRT and MRT systems.

However, in spite of their duty to bring light and power to the metro, MERALCO hath been synonymous to the oligarchy and of increasing rates, and for sure one would also say that development hath gone at its slower if not its slowest phase enough to make Philippine power rates to remain one of the highest in Southeast Asia (thanks to the oligarchs!); and because of that everyone hath been complaining about those and cursing the Lopezes and Manny Pangilinan for all those woes, as well as the government for its continued lack of government subsidies enough to cheapen its costs (or is it intentional due to the government's adherence to less intervention in economic affairs?).

Sounds too real, but anyway, this person did enjoy seeing those old stuff, and he left satisfied with those wonders. For sure kids will enjoy seeing those stuff besides taking a picture inside the replica of that Tranvia.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Same old exploitation= same old struggle!

Same old exploitation= same old struggle!

(same old notes on the peasant struggle
 in the still-continuing past called Philippines)

It is admissible that it's been a centuries-old clamour for the Filipino peasant to have their own land to till as well as accessibility to services unhampered.

With all the laws supposed to benefit them, it is ideally for the Filipino farmer to gain their right to till, to form cooperatives, to participate in production planning, and to gain access in government assistance, especially those of financial and material needs like seedlings, fertilizers, and even machinery for improving agricultural outputs.

However, knowing that the struggle as decades-old as Rizal’s, it is not unusual that the Filipino peasant is at the mercy of the compradore and of the landlord. And no matter there are laws that supposed to benefit the repressed, there are loopholes in which benefits the disenfranchiser- such as in the case of Hacienda Luisita and other properties of the landed gentries, most of then transforming into corporate-like structures enough to mask its obvious feudal character.

And from there it is worth concerning knowing that with the farmer continuously struggling, as well as the worker in the city and other affected sectors, that centuries-old problem continues to aggravate no matter what the system is “trying to be concerning even at the expense of their assets”yet in fact struggling to consolidate their interests.

In the case of “Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program”, Cory Aquino acknowledged Agrarian Reform as necessary to increase productivity, but at the same time it tries to update feudalism further by adopting some of the corporate aspect. Hacienda Luisita’s peasantfolks were once given stock certificates and becoming “stockholders” only to found that those stock certificates as worthless and instead aggravated their situations as lowest paid laborers- or rather say, didn't even stop protests even it costs their lives like those from Mendiola in 1987 and Hacienda Luisita in 2009. From those examples one would say how that Agrarian Reform in the Philippines is actually an empty rhetoric peddled by the elites whose reason is to silence the growing struggle against them by the peasantry itself.
What more that the system intensifies its neoliberal agenda by providing schemes enough to justify compradore-landlord foothold: in the case of Lapanday few years ago, peasants struggled to gain land only to be threatened by that entity using legal and extralegal means, as well as justified by using red scare tactics and the like; concerned individuals like Rafael Mariano hath been removed from his post as Agrarian Reform Secretary, what more that there are numerous instances of arrests and deaths amongst peasant leaders whose clamour for land is a treat for interests!

And this time, through amending the constitution with provisions making way to opening to foreigners rights for property- this also includes right to take agricultural land directly not just via its domestic counterparts from the peasants and their affected communities! Quite concerning indeed, for as these compradores and landlords, bureaucrats babbling about "charter change" to consolidate their interests is trying to  remove the social justice clause that is also meant to be justified further through an enabling law- and for sure this can't be the "Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program" nor its "Extended and Reformed" version done years ago.

Admittingly speaking, looking back at history, one would say that the struggle for freedom was and is entwined with the struggle to redeem the soil and its right to be tilled by its rightful owner. This post, like the earlier posts related to the peasant struggle, shows that in struggle there lies hope for the peasant; and no matter how the system babbles words like "agrarian reform" and the like, large landholdings of the country’s big family names remain, what more that some are even supported by multi/transnational entities serving as its clients. These include plantations of coconut, sugarcane, banana, pineapple, palm oil, and mango orchards; what more that their monopoly control extends over the country’s natural resources through mining tenements, forest leases and management agreements, foreshore leases, special economic zones, and tourism zones including  those of coastal and marine areas, and even expanding in urban enclaves. And also to think that as peasants continue struggling, threats and abuses will always be the issue in which making the peasant frankly pointing the order that obviously represses them. On the first place, when was the time the system truly represents the peasants? For sure they will babble about series of laws and all that legalese, but are these trustworthy or just blatant rhetorics and pieces of paper compared to those who are being imprisoned, killed, or disappeared?

Perhaps, from this countless struggle one would say that the Philippines, being a proletarian nation, attests to its fact that the country is not just surrounded by its exploiter neighbours, but also attests to its fact that being a semifeudal-semicolonial society means no areas of “class peace”- but rather, areas of intensification of class struggle. From there the peasant, as well as the worker, and other affected sectors, have to unite and fight against the exploiters and disenfranchisers, as well as to create a society based on their aspirations such as peace, justice, freedom, and equality. 

Sounds too much to some if not most people especially in its subversive appeal with words like "class struggle" and the like, but in spite of having a privileged background, this person, being a concerned patriot, recognises the struggle of the Filipino peasant to have its own land, and the will to participate in planning, as well as production for the country's development. Right was Aquino's statement (in spite that she is herself an oligarch) that Agrarian Reform may support the desire to increase productivity, but to make that agrarian reform insincere (knowing that landlords, bureaucrats, and compradores alike are blocking its realisation by mellowing) is bullshit.

To see yearly protest, be it in commemoration of massacres like Mendiola or Hacienda Luisita, campouts near the Agrarian Reform Department's main office, and other actions, the message is clear that the Filipino Peasant issue is still a question that is meant to be addressed seriously and not be treated as a mere propaganda feat meant to silence the growing demand to change the order from its rotting existence. 

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Duterte's Reforms and Development: Change or Counterreaction?

Duterte's Reforms and Development: Change or Counterreaction?

(Or the continued adherence to neoliberal framework
 hidden beneath the desire for national development and socioeconomic change,
and the people's clamour for genuine, patriotic, and progressive change and development)

At first, one would say that it is truly agreeable that president Rodrigo Duterte hath treated each and every matter, as well as entity, as chess pieces enough to support his "lofty" ambition.

For as everyone noticed how he mingled with personages from both left and right, and its acceptance of each and every thought being offered, the regime's intent seemed to be clear that in  using the word “unity” or "inclusion" is actually trying his best to consolidate- even at a time wherein he is getting a barrage of criticisms due to his actions done “out of imposing justice”.

And just like his idol, for sure he or his apologists insist that the regime’s view of change as “in fact a continuation of a revolution from the poor”. In fact, during the Duterte administration’s first year, there was all the hype about aiming for inclusiveness from every sector, as well as championing the common Filipino family’s dream for a comfortable life.

By means of it they would say that Filipinos, in its desire for “change”, are attempting through disciplined vision to dismantle the old and replace with new structures of power as if from there “it democratises the wealth which commonly end centered in Manila and its urbanised counterparts”.

From there, this person thinks that if they truly adhere to change, be it in a form of free gruels to series of infrastuctures, mostly debt driven and be paid through taxes supposedly pointing at the rich yet still affecting the poor with rising costs of goods and services, of what good is this change the system, particularly in this present administration if it is not for the commoner? Yes it is, but in a long term wherein everything as made to impress, it goes no.

Admittingly speaking, this person, like others concerned, critically acknowledged how president Duterte tries to cultivate independence, self reliance, and development;  however, knowing that he swore to upheld and maintain the old order, such changes are rather less taken seriously and rather benefits the few; if not showing how barely changed the way the economy was run and instead saw the nation deteriorating further.

TRAIN: a tax journey to nowhere?

In the case of the “Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act” (TRAIN), the president tries to “create a new middle class” by freeing some from tax burdens- by making it "simpler, fairer, and more efficient". And like any other once-campaign promises, that act  tends to make the rich having a bigger contribution while  the poor benefiting more from the government’s programs and services.

However, in spite of its intent and its benefits such as decreased personal income, estate, and donation taxes, the act also increases the tax on certain passive incomes, documents (documentary stamp tax) as well as excise tax on petroleum products, minerals, automobiles, and cigarettes; as well as imposes new taxes in the form of excise tax on sweetened beverages and non-essential services (invasive cosmetic procedures) and removes the tax exemption of lottery and other sweepstakes winnings amounting to more than P10,000.
Also to think that the overwhelming majority of Filipinos do not get any income tax benefits from that tax reform act. As most of the country’s total 22.7 million families do not pay income tax because they are just minimum wage earners or otherwise in informal work with low if not erratic incomes. And even if that tax reform act reduces income taxes paid by most of the reported 7.5 million personal income taxpayers, it didn't address the problem the way it still leaves as much as 15.2 million families without any income tax gains.

Hence, in spite of its benevolent intent, the act fails to appease the people, particularly those who are indirectly taxed through expensive prices of goods and services (thanks to that Expanded Value Added Tax) if not failure to mitigate problems by increasing wages especially on blue-collar labourers. 

With TRAIN as an example, one would say that in spite apologists insist that the reforms as beneficial, turns out to be an irony since prices of goods and services hath been  successively increased due to neoliberal policies of deregulation and privatization. No amount of deceit by the regime’s economists can cover up the fact that prices will rise due to increased costs of transportation and other operational costs in importation and production of local businesses. News reports even stated that a group of UV Express operators last January 17, 2018 sought regulators approval for a P2.00 per kilometer fare increase, citing higher operating costs and the impact brought by the act.What more that the people themselves are aware that this is to offset the state’s lost revenues as it gives tax exemptions to the country’s richest families and their corporations, as well as to fund its counterproductive expenditures and pay off its debts. 
Remember, no amount of economic growth spurned by neoliberal policies peddled by the system and its economists, what more of its multinational institutions supporting can support nor able to salvage his regime from growing skepticism if not criticism. Thinking that contrary to the idea that the said act benefits a growing middle class and improves the existing, only the topmost of the society, through foreign multinational companies and their bureaucrat-capitalist cohorts will benefit from such immense growth. 

by Leonilo Doloricon
Build more projects= Additional burden for the masses?

Another "legacy" the regime being babbled throughout is the "Build Build Build" infrastructure building program.

Like its predecessors with its pet projects of making series of infrastructures, Duterte's own pet project tries to be an example of an immense program that according to its initiators could generate jobs, as well as emphasising on government appropriations, rather than dependency on debt, in funding the so-called “golden age of infrastructure”.

Sounds optimistic it may be as these initators trying to assure the public that they are appeased from those series of proposals to be realised. But, with the passage of the tax reform package, as well as its avid push for market-driven measures, amendments to the Public Services Act, and easing restrictions on foreign ownership and participation will hugely benefit only oligarchs, foreign investors and their allies in the bureaucracy, while running over the poor majority who supposed to benefit from such loftiest programs.

To cite IBON foundation, it said that:

"the newly-enacted first package of TRAIN relieves the rich by lowering personal income, estate, and donor taxes. The second package, which Congress is set to tackle soon, will propose to lower corporate income taxes as well. But the poorest 10 million Filipino families whose incomes fall way below the family living wage of Php1,039 per day will soon bear the brunt of TRAIN-triggered higher prices of food and goods,and service fees, said the group. It noted that TRAIN’s measly Php200 monthly social protection is slated only for 2018 and will be insufficient to cushion the impact of added taxes on oil and sweetened beverages, electricity, and shipping."

And in relation to that, Foreign creditors will still gain more from Duterte's infrastructure plan (and of course most of everyone's taxes brought about by TRAIN will be towards debt servicing!). Contrary to the initiators's insistence that the program is funded by government appropriations (in turn coming from taxes especially VAT), the program, like its predecessors, will be funded by foreign and private sector loans, public-private partnerships (PPPs), and unsolicited proposals; with contracts stipulate that the State will ensure interest and risk guarantee payments to the lenders and corporations for largely transportation infrastructure. But on the other hand, the public will be obliged by the ‘user pays principle’ with the likes of higher toll fees and more expensive fares.

Again, in spite that the government as trying to be different, it goes the same as its predecessors. As said earlier, the TRAIN-funded "Build Build Build" appears to be benefiting the commoners, only to found out that the so-called oligarch, particularly those of the compradore and the corrupt bureaucrat will benefit from it-as well as the moneylenders whom forcing the commoners to pay debts via taxes intensified under TRAIN, what more that the commoners are being sidelined in decision making regarding those projects. Again, to cite IBON:

"It may be argued that infrastructure spending has to consider the nature and degree of economic activity, population density, geographic conditions, and a host of other considerations. But none of these detracts from how infrastructure spending is biased away from poor regions and, indeed, is biased away from the kind of infrastructure projects that the poor directly need and will be directly using."

Still, a bloodied outcome towards Farmers
(and still, the farmers' clamour for genuine agrarian reform
and rural development)

There are other ironies in which the system did: the passage of the free irrigation act did create applause from the farmers, who are burdened by costs of irrigation fees for their agricultural needs; however, reports about removing provisions involving foreign ownership (via Charter Change) may affect agrarian reform as farmers who desired for "land to the tiller" (since it is embedded in the constitution) be end dispelled by the system favouring foreigners, particularly multi/trans-national institutions.

It is also coupled by 110 cases of peasant killings, as well as series of arrests, detentions and the tens of thousands of human rights violations in the name of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) and Duterte’s ‘Oplan Kapayapaan.’ And according to the "Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas" (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines), the group underscores that most of these cases come from martial-law Mindanao.
Last January 20, according to news outlet "Manila Today", a staunch peasant activist and member of Peasant Group "Pederasyon sa Tanang Asosasyon sa mga Mag-Uuma ug Lumad sa Agusan ug Davao" (PAMULAD), named James Fores, was shot dead by an unidentified assailant. Also on that  same day,  a strafing incident was reported in a peasant community in Brgy. San Miguel, Las Navas, Northern Samar, wherein elements of the Philippine Army's 20th Infantry Battalion indiscriminately fired ammunition directed at a civilian community for 10 minutes. The said incident happened after a land mine reportedly detonated near the local village. Intense militarization continue in Batangas, and Quezon provinces, and other areas in Mindanao particularly in Caraga region, and in Northern Mindanao.

From these incidents somehow showed the system's half-hearted seriousness in its desire for agrarian justice. Months ago, they sidelined and fired concerned officials like Taguiwalo from the Social Welfare and Development Department, Mariano from Agrarian Reform, and Lopez in the Environment and Natural Resources; followed by Ridon from the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, and soon to be threatened others who happened to be activists. What more that the system, being stubborn to upheld interests, continued its culture of impunity, and be justified by a series of red-taggings especially from the Military and its apologists. “Farmers and peasant leaders killed under Duterte were red-tagged and accused as members and supporters of the New People’s Army. Those killed are farmers who are actively fighting for their land rights. They are civilians targeted by the AFP’s intense militarization,” Said KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos.


All in all, the regime who, in spite of its populism, is but same as its predecessors. No matter how it tries to differentiate one for another, yet being a stooge of the ruling class and its foreign overlords, thus dispel the idea that the regime as truly for the people.

The recent issues such as Charter Change, Federalism, alongside continuity of Martial Law in Mindanao, Oplan Tokhang, and a series of threats if not killings towards the poor; as well as threats to silence press freedom, shows that the regime steered away from its supposed "revolutionary promises" and instead becoming "conterreactionary" as it continues to blame the past administration for its mistakes and inconsistencies, yet still continuing that same past administration's neoliberal policies.

Again, this person and others concerned may have acknowledge his desire, but as he steered in a wrong direction one would ask why is he unbecoming a "man for the people" and instead a lapdog of the old order? Did his brand of change truly benefits the commoners especially those who hath voted for him? How come the drivers who once voted for him turned against him due to his cuss words against their vehicles instead of helping them in uplifting, if not forcing themselves not to continue in their usual journeys due to regime's threats of arrest? How come there are laborers who faced uncertainty due to issues such as contractualisation still prevailing amidst promises to having it addressed seriously? Will Federalism, Parliamentarism, or a series of Populist agendas and its brand of Orderism truly benefited the masses or the elites who afforded to make laws meant to consolidate their interests and be prodded by its foreign overlords?

Well, in the end, such nonsense brought about by an order who actually continues its centuries-old rottenness has bred its rivals particularly those who chose to fight out of principles.

Friday, 19 January 2018

“Pursuing struggle to upheld Press Freedom amidst threats, And the desire to Seek Truth from Facts amidst danger”

“Pursuing struggle to upheld Press Freedom amidst threats,
And the desire to Seek Truth from Facts amidst danger”

(Or “Again, notes on Rappler and the system’s politico-technical response”)

It makes one would think that as time goes by and there are those who rather treat the press as a stumbling block to their agendas, be it on the basis of technicality or not to silencing them, the message is clear: they are trampling press freedom.

Citing the example of the online media entity “Rappler” and the response from the governmetnt on the basis of technicality, it seems that people from all walks of life hath created a series of commentaries be it favouring the government’s response or Rappler’s defiance and its insistence as a Filipino-owned media entity. And from there Groups like the National Press Club as well as the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines submitted statements which obviously clashes one another on the status of that media entity and how the state acted over that matter.

However, there are those who treat the matter  practically- one example would be from James Vellipa’s comment, in which he stated that the government's "Securities and Exchange Commission" should rather ordered the latter to divest the shares of its “foreign investors” or “funders” instead of revoking its license to operate. Sounds reasonable if not right especially that if the basis of Rappler’s possible demise is on technicality, and therefore why not let it be divested to Filipinos? In fairness, since the system did it to Rappler in revoking its license to operate, then why there is CNN Philippines in the first place? Time Warner also has its share in spite that the late Antonio Cabangon Chua had the privilege to operate CNN Philippines in RPN9!

And to think of that, since the system afforded to babble removing economic provisions be it in the existing law or its attempt to create another, and suddenly assuming to act “patriotic” (as a “reason” to remove an oppositionist mouthpiece), then how hypocritical it is!

Admittingly speaking, this person is patriotic, if not a nationalist, and therefore emphasising that Filipinos should control its own patrimony and from there each and every Filipino should contribute for the country's welfare; and that includes media entities. The issue on Rappler may have been quietly resolved through Vellipa’s statement, but, since the intention is actually “more than just technicality”, then sorry to say but it makes an impression that the system is creating an example other than killing the one who is providing the message.
And from there perhaps this person also sought how people are accustomed to see the president as the “pangulo”- the chieftain, the paramount head who has to be obeyed right or wrong- and some of them are also insisting that there is no press freedom being trampled, if so, then did they attain justice on those who are being killed for seeking truth from facts? Or how come there are those who justify the need to imprison them "simply because of disrespect"?

Just like these comments from social media, and from there as if they’re stating that they favoured "lese majeste” laws even in this assuming “democratic” society such as the Philippines- in which contradicts the idea such as freedom of the press as well as expression. One would even babble the examples of India and Singapore, or any other country whose leaders are to be venerated "right or wrong" or forcing newsmakers to cherrypick which is to be publicized;  if these apologists truly care about their government, and at the same time thinking that seeking truth from facts may hamper the so-called “development”, sorry to say but as a sovereign it is the duty of the government to rectify it the way that they are truly putting their faith in the people!

But anyway, the media, being a part of the civil society, carries its task. True that in the Philippines reporting such controversial reports is dangerous, but it is the duty of every newsmaker to seek truth from facts that in turn compels each an every concerned to understand, and willing to help in transforming societies.
And from this intent it is worthy to say that the media must, and will never and ever yield to their interests. To trample press freedom as well as those of expression using the pretense of order and discipline is but mocking the idea of the latter two.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Of Ex Battalion, Robin Padilla, the question of today's Filipinoness (and its contemporary rootlessness)

Of Ex Battalion, Robin Padilla, 
the question of today's Filipinoness 

(and its contemporary rootlessness)

(Or "Still, a culture cultivated by merchants than artists")

At first, it is becoming admissible to say that the present-day Filipino, being dictated by commercialism, and hence "gone with the flow", has becoming a rootless cosmopolitan in its character.

Based from the concerned's observation, it seems that today’s culture of sorts has reduced patriotism or nationalism to an aesthetic enough to mask a soulless being. For as time goes by, people, in spite of showcasing its talent, whether it is in a form of a poem, song, dance, or even cinema, does not appeal to patriotic sentiment if not exaggerating it by the bigwigs who profited from it. 
And from there a dangerous tendency seems to be seen in some if not most of the works emanating under the pernicious influence of the West. Frequently in every work are found are anything being shown in pathetic and ludicrous forms, if not derided and inferior before all things foreign.

Sounds too much isn't it? For that rootlessness has been manifested throughout, be it the songs of "Ex Battalion" with its sexist, misogynist statement, or even the response from Robin Padilla's insistence to use Tagalog from a Korean who had lived in the country for 10 years. The frustrations of beoming Filipino hath been intense especially under a regime who assumes to be "As Filipino as any other Filipinos" yet in fact it treats Filipinoness as a doormat as it favours the foreigner- and thus masks the rootlessness.

However, as according to Epoy Deyto, that Rootlessness which is prevalent in the Philippines is brought about by the present situations in which the system profits about:

"Isn't this "rootlessness" a good thing? Like, isn't one of the thing that materialism brought to us is to acknowledge that culture is plastic, and nothing is ever really rooted to something other than the specific mode of production of its time which has produced it?"

Perhaps, it is more like admitting itself that he/she is a product of his time and materiality, if not treating that "rootless cosmopolitanism" as a symptom of a country’s material realities. From there it may include “patriotism” in its exaggerated form enough to mask a soulless being.

In the case of Ex Battalion, it tries to be as similar to those of African American or Korean urban scenes including those of its sentimentality being depicted; if not an amalgamation of tired relics from the past and present (Jejemon, etc.) mixed with alienation, rejection, and ennui; but again its fans chose to cling to “them” right or wrong, that ranges from “least it’s Filipino talent” regardless of its message- or narrowly speaking "at least" better than listening to KPop in spite of being influenced as such.

So is in the case of Robin Padilla, who, through his insistence to use Filipino (or Tagalog as what he saidth), tried to invoke "Filipinoness" in a talent show, only to be criticised by its viewers, describing it as "racist". But in fairness, his brand of Filipino ideal, in spite of its appeal to patriotism, is becoming of a right-wing zealot that is full of hypocrisy, machismo, and false bravado.
And obviously, most viewers care not to think about the Filipinoness of the show, regardless of its title "Pilipinas Got Talent", the important is that it is like any other show showcasing one's talent and nothing else "but making people enjoy".

From these examples, it creates a bastardised vulgar version of multiculturalism and "patriotism" controlled by the commodity exchange and supervised by imperialism. As said before, that kind of culture is but "canned" and "peddled" to many for consumption no matter how trashy it would be; and from there, this clinging on to the bourgeois idea of culture, particularly those of "roots" has made a country incapable of understanding newer forms of social organization, abuse and struggle. Whereas there are those who favoured things foreign and treat patriotism as a mere aesthetic, there are those who exaggerated their brand of patriotism till it appears as "misplaced".

On the other hand, that kind of "rootlessness" today's Filipino culture has is a good thing to be observed especially in regards to understanding over "the plasticity of culture". Something that Karl Marx had already diagnosed as early as his theses on Feuerbach, that all of the forms of social organization (mode of production, politics, religion, culture, etc) are products of sensuous human activities, of labor. And therefore not "natural" (or "rooted") but rather constructed and produced by those driven by an "idea", and therefore always subject to change by the same hands which built it. And from that, one would say that the Filipino identity was long conceptualised by the Insular (or the Peninsular) before it became indigenised and becoming creole if not entirely Indo-Malayan and be classified as a "nation of ethnicities" or a "nation of Barangays" (rather than a full-pledged nation).

And perhaps this person, like all others concerned would say that this strategic use of though should never lead to a defeatist admittance but rather urges everyone for a more critical questioning of culture, identity, and the like. 

All in all, given that history has formed a nation-state around us in 1946 or 1898 or even 1896, it isn't actually a question whether the nation is necessary or not, but rather only its conception according to a specific class. In a country that is occidentified for centuries, and frustratingly trying to revive "filipinoness" (even for the sake of presenting the Philippines to tourists), culture has been a tool of exploitation and is at the behest of the ruling class, from this perhaps may as well wither that bourgeois Philippines, and create a culture that towards Nationalist Democracy.

Let it be known that the people should distance from a type of patriotism that has nothing to do with empowering a country and its people (and rather subjugates, commodifies, represses), and instead uphold a genuine and progressive nationalism that opposes injustices and favours a people-and-environment-centred development.