Monday, 30 March 2015

"A Never-ending Calvary for the Masses"

"A Never-ending Calvary for the Masses"

(A View-Reflection over a protest passion-play in Manila)


Since the early 90s, "Kalbaryo ng mga Maralita" (Poor people's Calvary) or "Kalbaryo ng Bayan"(Calvary of the People) reflects the Filipino everydayman's experiences as those of Christ's passion: burdened with socio-economic problems and repressed by supposed benevolent order, the activity tends to show both religious imagery and secular reality in a form of a passion play, of men carrying crosses bearing words such as poverty, crisis, repression, or injustice, that somehow became a burden to most Filipinos yearning for salvation.

In a time when sacrifice and repentance as its featured topics during the season of Lent, of Pabasa, Abstinence, Church Visits with a series of sermons related to Christ's passion, mass organisations used the said season also to feature The Filipino’s social experience, that has become comparable to the humiliation, poverty and exploitation that Christ himself was subjected to by the elite rulers of his time centuries ago.
It may not tend to cease the Lent as an occasion remembering a death of the son of God, but also a death of a man whom had served the less fortunate, be it the sinned, sick, poor, those yearning for salvation; the Filipino everydayman also yearned for salvation, most of these Filipinos were sick, poor, repressed, even comparable to Christ himself in enduring their passions, especially those of a continuous crisis and exploitation made by its rulers past and present.

Scene from "Kalbaryo ng Maralita 2015" by Pher Pasion of Pinoy Weekly

In particular, a figure, acting as "Jesus Christ" was portrayed on one side burdened by the cross bearing the issues faced by the people and on the other side were the people from every sector, with the symbolic crown of thorns representing the allegory of the ancient and present-day Christ’s, both victims of social injustice. There they have to stop on places known controversial, be it the National Power Corporation for its policies affecting electricity, Department of Justice for its ill-dispensing of Justice, or even Mendiola, which is near Malacanang Palace, residence of whom they think as a "Modern-day Herod and Pilate".

It may sound satirical though, knowing that these people used the passion for a protest action. But secularly speaking, Christ's death through crucifixion was a punishment laid by the pride-driven Pharisees for breaking the law, or perhaps for making people whom yearned for justice rallied in his side, making the Pharisees look upon it as "subversive", but for the faithful that crucifixion was more than a punishment, but a sacrifice that he, a paschal lamb of God, "takes away the sins of the world". The Kalbaryo, as it mimics the passion, somehow shows that people whom are oppressed are willing to sacrifice, endure pain, and perhaps punishment, just in order to realise a triumph of social justice over repression and exploitation by social villains. You may also call it as subversive, given that the said activity opposes the present social order appearing as benevolent in today's media; but to most Filipinos whom had endured the crisis would say that in everyday, such hardships continues to creep be it in a form of tuition fee increases, rising prices of commodities and services, homelessness, unemployment, demolition of housing and livelihood, disenfranchisement and trampling of their civil rights, and others.

And these problems are forming a cross in which these people had to carry on like Christ, towards Calvary. 

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Asserting Social Justice through reaffirming Faith with action

Asserting Social Justice through reaffirming Faith with action

A view on Pope Francis' Evangelii Gaudium
and its relevance to the present situation



In one of the remarkable remarks this person had heard was a statement condemning Corruption and Capitalism, such as coming from none other than the Pope himself.

With words such as Inequality, Exclusion, and even "trickle-down" theories that makes people wait for long, Pope Francis tends to show a Church that is Militant in asserting Social Justice, different from earlier ones like those of Popes Leo XIII and John Paul II.

In his apostolic exhortation, mistaken to be an encyclical, Pope Francis strongly rebuked Capitalism and at the same time calling for economic reform that somehow cultivates a deeper sense of Social Justice. Like Leo XIII it may a further elaboration of the "Preferential option for the Poor" in which emphasises equal treatment, so was John Paul II in which speaks of the dignity and rights of workers.

But since the current pope speaks stronger than his predecessors, and despite being an Exhortation, he wants more than words but actions, such as a radical reform towards global financial systems that exclude the poor to the benefit of the rich. It may reinterpret as revolution as people assert a true sense of justice different from their respective orders and its attempt to minimise, moderate such radical goal despite recognising preferential treatment.

However, not all institutions, both secular and religious be serious in his statement given that it's an exhortation rather than an encyclical, much more that an encyclical is not even dealt seriously besides "research" and basis for "speeches" of sort. Few institutions within the Catholic faith may seriously adhere and assert the faith be tempered with immediate action given that Christianity speaks not just spiritual growth but also Social Reform.
Worse, there were those whom afforded to counter with a brand of Christianity that appeases the Neoliberal Capitalist. That once, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher tried to debunk the Church's assertion to Social Justice with her Sermon in the Mound speech, even quoted St. Paul's "If a man will not work he shall not eat", yet there are passages such as Isaiah 61:1, Matthew 10:34, Luke 22:35–38 to debunk Thatcher's attempt to use the word to assert her views as a free trade Capitalist. Remember, St. Paul's quote also Parallel's Marx's: "In each according to ability, in each according to work" as well as "In each according to work, in each according to need."

And come to think of this, since Christianity speaks of Social Justice, then how come those whom assume they are doing social justice merely relegated it to those of charity work instead of immersion? Of mere doleouting than direct participation in rebuilding communities and given dignity? Much more that there are institutions whom Christian and at the same time Capitalist, trying to vent Leonine,  Francisesque or any other Papal-like statements (a la "Mercy and Compassion") yet at the same time justifying yearly increases with sugar coated statements expected, be it inflation rates or half-baked projects, or wages not enough to face rising costs of commodities and services. The poor continues to remain disenfranchised and repressed by its condition such as homelessness, unemployment, and other effects stemmed from a mismanaged development of so-called leaders "benevolent." If the situation remained unaddressed then of what is service to the people then amidst development? Of what is their faith if in practise it fails to readdress and offer a radical alternative to the situation?

"As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world's problems or, for that matter, to any problems," 

As what the pope said in his Exhortation. He may have recognise the importance of charity, but how about solidarity with the people whom had been unjustly given be it in form of employment with fair wages or affordable education? They don't demand charity, they demand justice given that the profit driven entities been too much profiteering and not considering the people, hence un-Christianlike.


In case of the Dominican-controlled University of Santo Tomas for example, Students from different courses converged, marched in protest against the proposed increase, the reception seemed quite positive given the fact that the yearly increases may done harm than good, of half-baked projects and unallocated funds, if not really profit in its orientation in a supposed "Christian" institution. However, the council, although assuming to be "against the increase" in its statement, did not recognize the said activity given that the organisers were unrecognized groups.

But come to think of this, since St. Thomas Aquinas speaks of a just war, then why not these dissenting students, despite having an unrecognised organisation make a just action against the increase? Not all things can be settled by a mere dialouge that somehow likely to fell on deaf ears as administrators eager to continue such act in the name of profits and to the tune of development trying to sneer studentry through the ear. UST is set to hike tuition by 5%-7.9%, and it had increased tuition annually since 2004 by an average of 75%. Last 2012, the University collected P2.8 billion from tuition fees and P672 million from other school fees, and UST posted a net revenue of P1.4 billion during the same year. No amount of tuition and other school fees increase can be justified besides profit, if . While millions of Filipinos hardly, or worse, can no longer manage to send their children to school, capitalist-educators on the other hand rake billions in profit. The council, which was initially against the increase, end turning back from its commitments as it agrees for a compromise of 3 to 2.5% by the administrators, much likely a slap towards its dissenting constituents.

Pardon his view regarding the issue as an example, but to think that those funds has been full too much due to the increase year after year, such as 2.8 billion pesos last 2012. did it proceed directly to services equally? Or maybe like any other private institution doing trickle down in regards to allocating funds for development and the entire chunk goes to profits and investments? Regardless of the justification, yearly increases will always be yearly increases that affects students from poor backgrounds, scholarships does not guarantee their school life as well, much more that these dissenting students (as shown by the photo above) are asserting education as a right and should be affordable for the needy if not for free.

Remember, here are the words the Pope stated in his Exhortation in regards to the issue of "trickle down development":

"Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting."

In actuality, it can't bring justice the said idea peddled by today's economists, that if there is justice in trickle down then how come sweatshop workers and those from Hacienda Luisita were given wages not enough of their needs? Remember, their apologetics afforded to say  "if a man will not work he shall not eat", and these people worked hard thinking about a fair share to come; but instead of gaining fair share what they sought is an unjust one not fit to feed their families for days if not weeks, not even an overnight pay and savings can suffice problem as its value deemed not enough to purchase a commodity. Again, as what this writer observed, that The Pope's message does not demand mere mercy and compassion that is  also being babbled by an unjust order, but it demands a real, swift justice the way Christ asserted during his life on earth. 



He lived with the poor and the sinned, provide them fishes and loaves equally, healed the sick, and bring redemption to the blamed; he was crucified, died for disobeying the law priests loved to babble much more that he instigated subversion against the oppressing state kings and governors ought to defend; only to resurrect with his message spread throughout the world, be it faith, hope, repentance, salvation, love, solidarity. 

Yet only to found out his message being diluted, and see his belief gone wrong by its "faithful" and be equated with repression and disenfranchisement such as the landed friars of long ago and today's pharisees self-proclaiming to be with the Lord or with the people, but to those whom really seeking man's liberation from misery and an elevation of his personhood to dignity and decency, then the Lord's faith, just like his actions past, demanded more than just saving souls from sin but of bodies from its repressive existence, of making material and spiritual wealth given to many so as to create a worthy living whole. "On earth, as it is in heaven" as what the Lord's prayer says. 

That somehow made the pope exhort strongly about this current situation with the faithful seriously adhere as it asserts against the existing unjust. But it would take years, decades, or even centuries for most to open their eyes and cry, and struggle for salvation not just for themselves as individuals, but also their communities and nations, knowing that God, who is just and compassionate, wills it for their good. 

Friday, 27 March 2015

"State of Sameness"

"State of Sameness"

(Or how this writer sees trend and pressure 
driving people "to be the same" than "to be different") 



It's been months, if not years past since this person made a writeup about contemporary culture. And based on observations, it seems that in order to survive has to join into the current regardless of its outcome, no matter how shitty it is least the rest find it "appealing" in order to buy it, whether it is originally made or an imitation of sorts yet still finds it appealing to buy and be part of the in crowd.

Whether it is a form of clothes, footwear, gadgets, music, anything what is commonly seen and broadcasted, people right or wrong tries not to be left behind,  to the extent of giving up one's own idea by pressure and be contented on what is canned and replaced by the present order.

That somehow made this writer sees anything around in a state of sameness.

Driven by what was seen in media, it makes people compel to buy and die for the things being commonly seen, right or wrong just to be part of it not knowing its possible consequences. Year after year you see them desperately exchanging old for new, of giving up Chuck Taylor's for Jordan's, of old Nokia's and Alcatel's for Apple's and Samsung's "just to get in" and not because of its purpose behind those things.


Pardon this writer's view as he sees the sameness of things despite different brands, but in seeing such typical clothing in the streets, where were those whom are wearing getups out of uniqueness? Does street, formal, or even casual wear nowadays has to conform according to present day "consumer tastes" or rather say interests of textile magnates lessening taste and purpose in favour of profits? Of keeping high art still relegated to a highly paid few and the rest be end unjustly contented in canned nonsense? Sometimes it's not in the packaging that made them buy but the reality of pressure in letting you buy that clothing or footwear for chrissakes.
And it may seemed difficult nowadays if that's the case to seek what really fits and addresses the need for self identification, expression especially when it comes to fashion, that the trend, pressure dominates over those of personal desire to attain and wear without worries, and that same pressure is so demanding that compels to buy simply because it is compelling to be "in." Where were the days choices been involved? Of compare and contrast? Of creativity and innovation? Purpose? What this writer sees is sameness in the name of intense competition which is saleable. Be it in sneakers, streetwear, jeans, what he or any other concerned individual sees is sameness.

Same style despite different colours, yet having same targets with their "demands". Sameness in a sense that in the name of profits creativity is subordinate to "demands", with ceaseless repackaging and be interpreted as "the customer's want", and obviously, has nothing to do with expression not even purpose regardless of the claptraps being vented in different mediums.


Again, pardon this writer's words given his incorrect observations, but if he may ask, when will people dress with style, and that style as according to their expression and purpose? Anyways, regardless of different names, colour, or even appearance of sorts, sameness prevail as long as their "consumers" demanded as such: Adidas or Nike, still they are sneakers; Jag or Levis, grey pants are grey pants; so are the shirts whether it is bought from Makati or from Recto.

But it's up to the people whether if they chose to succumb to the so-called fad thinking how "to get in", or making their minds dare to create and be deviant to the so-called flow, including those of trying to lessen "sameness". This person may afford to wear good clothes, of having the money enough to get in with the crowd, sipping tea or drink coffee from an expensive coffeeshop while making a post, but he chose to be deviant, to swim upstream, and be critical as much as possible despite enjoying life knowing that not all those whom enjoy such things are contented staying in their parameters, they defy by joining in an struggle against a current inferno, and perhaps they make struggles fabulous, turning revolt with style.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

BALAGTAS, THE PHILHELLENE

BALAGTAS, THE PHILHELLENE

(or how Francisco Balagtas Baltazar used Greek
and classical culture for a Filipino work
as observed by yours truly)



Vengeful Heaven, where is your wrath?
now my land is overcome, prostrate,
and in beloved Albania’s infinite skies,
lately the flag of evil flies.

“Within and without my country of grief,
betrayal reigns, is enshrined, esteemed;
degraded everywhere, the heart’s goodness
is consigned to the lowly pauper’s grave.

- Francisco Balagtas Baltazar
"Florante's Lament" (from Florante at Laura)

The tyrant of the Chersonese
Was freedom's best and bravest friend;
That tyrant was Miltiades!
O that the present hour would lend
Another despot of the kind!
Such chains as his were sure to bind.

Trust not for freedom to the Franks—
They have a king who buys and sells;
In native swords and native ranks
The only hope of courage dwells:
But Turkish force and Latin fraud
Would break your shield, however broad.

- Lord Byron
excerpts from the poem "The Isles of Greece"


Long before Europeans joing the crusade for the freedom of a homeland known for its ancient knowledge and scholastic tradition, comes a man from a once colony of Europe's greatest empires, yet from a different race but with its learning, particularly the classics did brought him into the creation of a well known tale of his time.

And that creator is known to be Francisco Baltazar, "Prince of Tagalog Poets", better known as Balagtas.

Known for his signature laurel crown, poetry joust named "Balagtasan", and his well-known work entitled "Florante at Laura", Balagtas contributed very well to Filipino literature same as those of Pedro Bukaneg, and Lucente. However, his well known work, originally entitled as “The History of Florante and Laura in the Kingdom of Albania: Adapted from some ‘historical pictures’ or paintings that tell of what happened in early times in the Greek Empire, and were set to rhyme by one delighting in Tagalog verse”, Balagtas seemed to be unintentionally becoming a PhilHellenic of an Asian kind, given the setting of the said story, or maybe the influence of classical teaching that was given both at the Colleges San Juan de Letran, and San Jose.

Pardon this writer's message, but the influence of classical thought such as those of Socrates, Pericles, or artists like Sappho somehow did inspire the men behind the Enlightenment, be it Rousseau, Voltaire, Marat, Robespierre; so were its successors like Lord Byron, whom afforded to join the Greek struggle for independence against the Ottoman yoke.

Lord Byron, known for being a romanticist, also contributed to the Greek Struggle.
Some of his works, influenced by the Greeks, did  reflect his aspirations for a liberated Greek nation-state
 from the Ottoman Empire

Speaking of Lord Byron for an example of a PhilHellene (Ρίτσαρντ Τσωρτς, "Friend of the Greeks"), some of his works did also reflect his dreams of an independent Greece, as well as joined, led in its struggle for its liberation, and died from illness yet trying to rekindle a popular aspiration. Byron (and others like him) saw Greece as the home of classical art and literature, and thus held it in high regard for its legacy. But being occupied by a foreign power means in need of assistance to liberate and regain its prestige as it was in the past. Thus, combining his reverence for the classical world with his passion for freedom (as it was in the Enlightenment), Byron felt compelled to offer what aid he could to the Greeks in their struggle against the Ottoman Turks.

His poem, entitled "The Isles of Greece", reflect his Greek experiences as well as his aspirations for an Independent homeland. It speaks about its well known places of interest, alongside its current state that was dominated by Turks and its ancient prestige being disregarded. Most of the PhilHellenes like him were poets, philosophers, writers, artists whom were putting efforts on reviving Greece as a wellspring of freedom, education, and culture, if not a fellow Christian enslaved by a Muslim empire and is in need of support for its liberation; be it cultural in a form of poems, physical by means of joining the struggle, or both as what Byron did in his exploits.

As according to Wikipedia, it stated that:

"In the period of political reaction and repression after the fall of Napoleon, when the liberal-minded, educated and prosperous middle and upper classes of European societies found the romantic revolutionary ideals of 1789–92 repressed by the restoration of old regimes at home, the idea of the re-creation of a Greek state on the very territories that were sanctified by their view of Antiquity — which was reflected even in the furnishings of their own parlors and the contents of their bookcases — offered an ideal, set at a romantic distance. Under these conditions, the Greek uprising constituted a source of inspiration and expectations that could never actually be fulfilled, disappointing what Paul Cartledge called "the Victorian self-identification with the Glory that was Greece"."

Francisco Balagtas while in Prison.
 Balagtas' affections for Maria Asuncion Rivera were challenged by the influential Mariano Capule. Capule thenwon the battle for Rivera when he used his wealth to get Balagtas imprisoned.
It was here that he wrote Florante at Laura—In fact, the events of this poem were meant to parallel his own situation.

Balagtas, on the other hand, made the Hellenic-inspired Florante at Laura out of his affection for Maria Asuncion Rivera, whom out of his love for her costs his own freedom (a rival suitor of Rivera imprisoned Balagtas), but with the influence of the Hellenic past, or as what Balagtas stated, paintings and historical pictures, brought classically-inspired characters, a Byzantine-like setting, even mediaeval virtue with emphasis on chivalry and honour.

But to dig deeper, it was more than just a work invoking romance, but rather stressing virtue that, as according to Eduardo San Juan, he stated that:

"Florante is a sustained poetic interrogation about the nature of justice, truth and the human commitment to social-political equity. It concerns the meaning of oath and contract, promise and betrayal, individualism and solidarity. It concerns historical relations: between father and son, ruler and ruled, lover and beloved, Christian and Muslim, man and woman. Love (piety) and force (heroism), passion and society are counterpointed to the mutable response of the characters. Balagtas wrestles ultimately with the dialectic interaction between reason and reality, being and consciousness. What is actual and what is possible."

Another article did affirmed his work also as an influence, contributor in the development of Filipino consciousness amidst the use of foreign characters as it mirrored the social problems of his time. That, beyond the love story of the protagonists Florante and Laura, and of Prince Aladin and Flerida, Balagtas expressed his angst towards the existing injustices in the society.
That according to Teodoro Agoncillo, Balagtas was the first Filipino to express the real circumstances of the country under colonial rule. It was believed that the abuses and evil-doers pointed out by him in his poem were in truth his observations and of his own experiences under the Spaniards (such as imprisoned due to false accusations). And unlike other native poets, Balagtas succeeded in awakening his countrymen to the realities of their lot by using their language instead of the learned such as Spanish. And heroes like Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio and Apolinario Mabini were inspired by his works.
Rizal recalled the meaning of Balagtas’ epic poem in his Spanish Noli Me Tangere. Both Florante at Laura and Noli Me Tangere are somewhat similar; that Crisostomo Ibarra, the principal character of Noli, and Florante both studied in another country, returned to their native lands and were envied by some compatriots. Both loved a woman who made their misadventures more dangerous. The epic of Balagtas and Rizal’s novel were both entwined by colonial oppression. Bonifacio, like Balagtas, did use the native tongue rather than Rizal's Spanish in awakening the consciousness of Filipino masses besides sharing the observations of colonial repression and disenfranchisement; and Mabini, known for being learned as the former two, even wrote down the poem from memory and translated the epic into English during his exile in Guam.

It may sound strange that even heroes of his race were also influenced by the works of his own not just those outside the country like Voltaire, Rousseau and Robespierre; but to think that the use of native tongue and mirroring realities by means of folk-oriented literature did capture the consciousness of many. That, underneath of stressing "just love" as what Balagtas ought to convey for Rivera, also cultivates a message of freedom for one's homeland through virtuous work and love for knowledge; and through his characters if not mistaken, he tries to stress triumph of good over evil as any other Mediaeval epic tends to feature with; that Adolfo, Florante's rival, was depicted as a tyrant whom wanted to take over Albania for himself not just having lust for Laura; while Florante, the protagonist of the story, has been showed as an examplar of a man imbued with love and honour for his woman and country contrary to a lustful tyrant like Adolfo's; and Aladin, despite being Persian and a Muslim showed an example of a Chivalrous warrior whom afforded to save Florante who was his enemy, from the lions.

True to its original title, his work was influenced by the classical Greek past, of Mediaeval romance and chivalry, as well as religious fervor. It seemed to be contradicting that Florante was depicted as a Greek Hopolite or a Roman Centurion yet his era was those of the Byzantine, if not the late Roman period wherein Christianity was one of its official religions. 

Pardon my observations, but to think that he was influenced by Ancient Greek, Byzantine, and Mediaeval European romances, of emphasising Athenian knowledge (since Florante studied in Athens) and Knightly Chivalry (as what Aladin did saved Florante regardless of being Albania's ememy), along with the use of native tounge and personal experiences for an inspiration, would say that Balagtas was more than just a Filipino who made a story out of love, but a PhilHellene from a distant land, who also yearned for freedom as the European ones asserted also in his time. Both Philippines and Greece were colonised, and hence repressed, as well as gained sympathy for its struggle be it a native or a foreign who afforded to put things by the pen, sword, or even both in pursuit of a greater cause such as salvation and virtue.
Perhaps one would remember that the educated men from the past were once scorned by systems for questioning the order of things, of be described as a heretic, filibuster, traitor, or any libelous names if not falsely accused in case of Balagtas; That their actions was more than just displaying classical statuettes or designs in their houses, not even the philosophies of the ancients being learned two and fro, but in Seeing the realities and brought to them with concern means the idea of setting alternatives, foundations in which, regardless of being anathema to order is also beneficial to most. How come kindness and virtue the Spaniards trying to cultivate was end lost and be replaced by repression and corruption? How come the leaned bard was imprisoned by a man of wealth? The leaned Balagtas may have sought and experienced the slander and despair as he was falsely accused, and in it compels to create a work that somehow idealises justice, truth, virtue.

And like Lord Byron and the PhilHellenes, he wanted those cherished words be realise. 



Thursday, 19 March 2015

Of having a ransacked legacy with apologetics "urging to move on" from our cherished pasts

Of having a ransacked legacy 
with apologetics "urging to move on" from our cherished pasts


Santa Ana Park (home of the Philippine Racing Club)
Demolished few years ago for a mixed commercial residential complex
Owned by the Ayalas known as "Circuit".

If the purpose of demolishing old yet remarkable structures is paving way of progress and development, then it is no different from barbarians ransacking legacy for the sake of loot. In seeing old structures full of grime and soot through centuries, sitting and waiting to be destroyed by a contract, regardless of its contribution and its legacy being left.

And some, if not most people around would felt really concerned over its beauty and time-tested strength as it survived decades of war, growth, and today's degeneration made by the system; but the latter, whom at the same time appeared as developmental with all the press releases and rhetorics, raised the sledgehammers of "progress" and threatening them over, and be justified by contracts trying to assert the validity of demolishing it and be called as development- in case of the San Lazaro Hippodrome for a mall; Sta. Ana Park for a commercial complex, Jai Alai for a supposed "hall of justice" yet end as "Torre de Manila", and La Ignaciana for a condominium. Those edifices stated as examples somehow meant to be preserved for posterity given the fact that besides the architect and the style, was also the reputation that mold the districts wherein these establishments situated. Be it an old Hispanic house, church, commercial establishment, even a Factory.


Carlos Palanca house
Demolished yet blocked by an order
issued by the National Centre for Culture and Arts

Lucky enough if an attempt or an unjust building be blocked by an order from the National Centre for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in case of the Army and Navy Club, Admiral Apartments, even Torre de Manila and the Palanca mansion. The Torre was almost complete when it was blocked by the order, again given the building disturbs the Manila setting if not situated in a complex that also once situated the Jai Alai. But despite having an order from the NCCA does not guarantee in letting its attempt be stopped, worse, there are instances that companies behind such building attempts contiue to do so discreetly, hence likely to be scraps of paper if not be given appropriate action.
On the other hand, apologetics may time and again assert the actions given by those "developers" especially in online news and in social media commentaries, be it in simple but stupid terms like "moving on" and "in pursuit of progress", or in a series of alibis such as "old and dilapidated", if not "useless and needs to be demolished" if not "expensive to preserve why not create new". But since they afford speak in pursuit of progress, of going beyond, does it mean having a society more clutter than order? Manila has almost rid off of significance save what is museumified and regularly shown by tourists. Even Makati is affected too given that there were some old buildings be end demolished for "new ones" regardless of its contribution in that district's development.
But remember, even the much modern Singapore tries to keep heritage too, even Red China!

But again, given the perchance for superficial modernities, then history, heritage, identity be end disregarded for commercialism and its illusion of development and progress. Old houses, buildings, complexes with spacious lots be end demolished for a condominium or a mall to be built upon in its ruins; and today's people, apathetic so to speak, cares less except what comes from the "present" whose package stresses being "modern" and "state of the art." If that's the case, then it is obvious enough that the modern world is as not as civilised in its technical term and form but barbaric in its character, barbaric in a sense that it disregards culture whilst appearing civilised with all the "reading, writing, and arithmetic" imbued upon to them. Yes, they may be literate in technical terms and fads of the present, but in matters such as preserving heritage, rekindling identity and forging ideas in pursuit of social changes they are misliterate, if not intentionally ignorant.


Pardon this writer's message, but as observed these are the remarks worth inconveniently true.


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Recalling and still renewing vow of justice

Recalling and still renewing vow of justice 

(Or how that incident and its succeeding events
 renewed its opposition to the policy 
and an asserition of migrant's rights, welfare, and justice)

Flor Contemplacion
20 years ago, an overseas contract worker was sentenced to death in a foreign developed country, died innocent as having an unfair trial, undergone torture, and a late response from the system supposed to take care of its people. That also showed how a country that was behind the façade of so-called progress comes an incompetent reality of having a negligent system, a repressive policy, a hell-like existence that compels its people to work abroad, to be slaves for cash and be remitted and redescribed as a life blood of the economy.

This writer was young at that time, and in every news report regarding that person being heard, shown, or read, may think how come the system who takes pride in its Makati, Ortigas, Alabang, of having its country be called newly industrialised, forcing its people to work abroad, as guest workers, of enduring hell like conditions, of being accused of false accusations, undergo torture, unfair trial and eventual execution in a foreign country. Anyways, despite being young least he was well informed thanks to watching the news and reading the papers.
And for sure nowadays the system tries to "do its best" not to repeat the issue or else be given the finger by those raging against, yet the policy remains in force as if it benefits.  

And those events, regardless of describing that fallen as a hero by a negligent system, was worth called bullshit as expected, bullshit in a sense that the system fails to take care of its people, while taking pride in its so-called progress. 
Those days meant countless protests, vigils, and even death and bomb threats being overheard through tabloids featuring girls in scantily clad getups of showbiz gossips; of officials that end becoming almost statesmen as they talk about migrant workers and its "rights" from press releases, newspaper articles, and even congressional proceedings trying to revise policies for the sake of "migrant's rights and welfare". And the renewed struggle for migrants to return home, and reclaim the nation for what is worth deserving, of peace, land, bread, and social justice worthy of realisation. Be it from the congress hall or from the streets, just to assert such important call. 

And that is different from what the system tries to invoke with. Time and again that neoliberal policy of letting people be end slaves makes that system acting like a slave trader selling slaves due to poverty, and taking pride how its remittances, rather than stimulating production acted as its life blood of the dependent economy. They took pride about these new heroes and heroines working as construction workers, domestic helpers, entertainers, even professionals whom compelled to work abroad for greenbacks, yet again they acted too late in ensuring their welfare, even the late Blas Ople may have admitted that problem, yet still tolerated rather than aborgated that unfair policy. 

Again, uphold justice as what asserted 20 years ago. They are proud to be patriots, yet ashamed of a system that was and is tolerating bullshit.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

"Diwata": a new satellite for the post-Agila generation

"Diwata": A new satellite for the post-Agila generation

(Or all after hearing news about a satellite that has been made 
rather than brought by Filipinos)



At first, it is quite amazing to have another satellite to be launched this coming year. And this time it is supported in direct by Filipino technicians and engineers.

That, based from reports, a satellite, code-named "Diwata", is to be made by Filipino hands rather than being bought in case of the two satellites that was being classified as Filipino-owned years ago, that sadly it end sold by a foriegn company leaving its memories of that past decade.

However, instead of a conventional satellite being flown by developed countries, Diwata is to be launched as the Philippines' first microsatellite incoming July 2016, made by the Department of Science and Technology in cooperation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. And it was started last October 2014, wherein 10 scientists were sent to Tohoku University and Hokkaido University in Japan by the DOST to study and research on the making of a microsatellite. It was also in the reports that the joint effort between Philippines and Japan is part of the country's disaster risk management program, and it will cost a total of P840.82 million ($19 million). Of this, P324.8 million ($7.3 million) will be shouldered by the Philippine government while P515.92 million ($11.6 million) will be shouldered by two Japanese universities, Tohoku University and Hokkaido University.

And like Agila of the past that has a facility for relays, a receiving station will also be built in Subic Bay Freeport at Zambales. The facility's purpose includes receive the data and images captured by the satellites and process them into information that can then be disseminated to government agencies and used for public services. And at the same time, a research laboratory is to be based at the University of the Philippines Diliman  with a task to develop improvements to the program. It will also have direct access to information processed by the ground receiving station.

The said plan also includes launching of another microsatellite that has to be developed by the said joint partnership, perhaps with the same intention of monitoring risk disaster and other possible details such as national security and to some extent, telecommunications. 


Yet despite having a team of Filipinos willing to invest knowledge in creating the said craft, its parts, tools, materials, are of course foreign made and even assembled in a foreign country under a joint partnership since there is no industry in the Philippines that is, in order to have such parts to be manufactured, despite having facilities that can possibly cater in developing smaller parts for telecommunication devices. 

But for most commentators in social media sites would say that "at least it is better assembled" than "being bought" for a million bucks. The satellites "Agila I" and "II" were being bought from Loral Space Systems, and another from an Indonesian company, by the former Mabuhay Satellite Corporation, but in case of the latter it end discontinued its satellite operations three years ago and became an investment institution, so was the satellites as it was being bought by a foreign owned telecommunications company prior to Mabuhay's discontinue as a company behind Agila. 

The demise of the Agila project took years for the Philippines to have another satellite, which is also another source of pride besides well-known artists and sportspeople. But, with the continuous use of technology, particularly in telecommunications comes with a demand for another satellite besides relying on other foreign-owned satellites for a good coverage. Ironically, the Philippines has resources to make it happen, yet having a mismanaged state and a trader-like nature of its leaders can't make it realise with its full-blown potential. They just bought a satellite decades ago from a foreign owned manufacturer and described as Filipino "with pride" and "promises of hope" being blared in media only to be sold and making everyone wait years only to hear a Filipino-made "Diwata" in online pages and social media.


But perhaps this time around lies a different idea for the half-hearted system to push it over: That besides investing in science and technology, they are trying to rally scientists to create, design possible satellites and other air and spacecraft, and telecommunications magnates to invest those kinds of projects mainstream media be called as a feat, with a showcase of that goddamn pride regardless of which country having the tools and materials to be assembled for. And of course, those companies would be willing to invest, all for the sake of expansion and of pride, just like what they did for Agila decades ago. 
And hoping not to repeat the mistake of letting it be sold to another foreign-owned company whether it is bought from a foreign manufacturer or assembled by Filipino hands. Anyways, what is important is at least science and technology has trying to flex its muscles in the "assuming that is improving" Philippines. 

But again, this writer reiterates its position in advancing science and technology, that with industrialisation, from small to heavy manufactures, comes an answer to end such dependencies in foreign supplies and utilise resources, manpower all for the common good. Of what is having Iron, Manganese, Copper, Silica, or any other mineral the Philippines itself has to offer if it has to be exported for an expensive material manufactured abroad? Or is industry being bragged by the "business sector" has to be limited to assembly line, import substitutes, and consumer goods? 

Regardless of the events, the "Panday Pira spirit" lives, and it requires thorough forging, ceaseless innovation, and commitment to building a better future.


Saturday, 14 March 2015

Artless: all after an Artist's death and its "deification"

 Artless: all after an Artist's death and its "deification"


It's been weeks passed as reports tackled about an artist's battle with illness,  of almost toying with assisted suicide, of personalities visiting, and even urging fans to pray "for his recovery", that somehow made others think that it turns out to be a desperate measure. 

Sorry to say this, but in seeing those events passing, as well as from the comments whom felt so annoyed by every picture or video taken, that even after that artist's death created a desperate scenario all straight from the hospital to the grave, full of friends, fans, a "widow", and a bereaved family creating an apotheosis of that person, just because of the fame he himself, including his partner created by using YouTube, Facebook, even school tours and paying a thousand bucks for a kissing scene. 
Obviously, those scenes are videoed and YouTube'd for the same purpose of a thousand likes and a thousand shares, supported by a series of selfies and other pictures being posted in Facebook, again with the same purpose. 

And in seeing such actions taken and justified by its fans would make one, two, or three say "isn't it irritating to see a personal matter turned into a desperate fame seeking procedure?" That whilst he himself perhaps trying to seek personal peace with the lord, those surrounding him, even his partner and his family continue to make fortune out of a tragedy; that while famous personalities tries to keep their lives least private, theirs trying to make it as public as they can as they plea for help. 
Yes, coming from those whom was yearning for an Iphone 6 instead of supporting for its own medical need, of taking pride in their monthsary as the rest mourning for a well-known national artist, of crying for likes in their so-called film in exchange for a support in the relief efforts several years ago; and just like any other short film being made by theirs trying to create a fairy tale relationship complete with dance steps, couple jackets, and snapbacks in the head. 

And since he or rather say the couple did became "famous" till the end, then did they cultivate a good example of theirs to their fans besides their fairytale relationship? For sure some would say that they are far from the royal couples in Europe nor the well-known real-life husband-and-wife tandems in showbusiness, that theirs was practically seeking for fame in their "art" yet for the really concerned artist  whom spent their lives trying to make its craft better in the eyes of everyone would think of theirs as "artless", "artless" in a sense that it has no value except for the sake of being sold to the press. 
But as for the fans whom likely to disregard or even making grudge against critics, the memories he had left to them comes their deification of him, or even the couple they admired and cherished most like any other personality such as Elvis, Bob Marley, or even Dolphy whose death was being mourned by many; they would even "try to do their best" just to counter their "haters" who find much the events surrounding that artist; if not that artist himself as irritating, cringy in social media. 

And if this person, like any other concerned may ask, did the bereaved family, partner, friends, fans did make respect he as a person? Or perhaps letting the market forces decide their lives at the expense of dignity? Of letting a storybook romance thrive regardless of the issue that has to be focused? The culture that created such "individuals" actually created outlets in order for people to engage upon, to escape, even acting as a substitute for the realities that has to be dealt upon. In every news report that involves certain personality or organisation easily replaces another, no matter how important it was and be subjected to scrutiny. How was the Ampatuan massacre? The case of the former president Arroyo? The murderous exploits of the imprisoned Palparan? Pork Barrel and DAP scams? And the latest Mamasapano tragedy? That artist's illness, death, and eventual internment did almost replace those controversies in the TV and in the computer screen, and still trying if possible thanks to the so-called fans. 

Anyways, perhaps in a "parallel real usual world" where ignorance is intentional, their "movies" regularly being shown at social media sites and even at bus TV screens are unlikely to be watched as most prefer those from the west if not yearning for gunshots and car crashes, that his death as intentionally disregarded since it has nothing to do with their lives no matter how "famous" he and his girl was as artists. 

Friday, 13 March 2015

"Moving on" (sometimes an infantile disorder)

"Moving On"

(Sometimes an Infantile Disorder)


It's been common to hear words whose character is doublespeak, such as today's "Moving On."

Commonly referring to "Forget" and "Letting the past begone", moving on seemed to be what most people say to those whom are trying to disregard altogether the unpleasant past in pursuit of a well-paved future, quite nice to hear though, although in fact it was harder to do. However, there are those whom as if moving on means let it be and you must go on.In other words, trying to think as if it doesn't matter as long as you are trying to act ignorant from the start, rather than forget over issues be it personal or social. 

But Admittingly speaking, moving on is a two way road, and most people whom are using that doublespeak as an alibi for escapism is likely to be described an infantile disorder centered on trying to forget. Sorry to say so in describing it as such but how come most people are just keep on saying moving on as if telling "que sera sera" or "bahala na" in regards to problems that has to be confronted? Quite nice to hear words of letting it go, but being a doublespeak for letting yourself go out of the issue, of leaving it without a solution to resolve seemed making that goddamn situation going: be it the last year's pork barrel, Disbursement Acceleration Program, Billion dollar debt that kept everyone dismay about IMF-WB loans, even the centuries-old landlord-peasant war that no other oligarch-made reform program can avert the tension from a struggling peasant seeking justice. Yes, there were various papers whose intention was to enact, but most were made for the sake of letting them silent and move on with their same old ways; but did it resolve? Nope.
But instead, it end aggravate till everyone aware of it unless  these vast majority of Filipinos are intentionally numb and still escaping every issue for the sake of "happiness" If not passing the blame to the other for not also asserting theirs and instead opposing. Hence, from its very term, "Moving on", "Move on", or any other similar term is more than just letting it go, for sometimes it is mistaken for "Nevermind". And those who just leave it unnoticed and trying to forget as if nothing happened comes bigger problems that no pride-seeking individual can resolve that matter.

Even in simple relationships such as that goddamn stereotypical boy/girl friend matter, moving on sometimes does not even guarantee a good ending and a new chapter, for sometimes it unnoticingly leaves unfinished pages since there's no least dignified closure in a form of a just reconciliation after days, weeks, months, or even years of dispute and leaving it disregarded, is it because one or another is trying to escape and forget yet can't get over its "ghosts" haunting one or another for a settlement if not putting an end with justice? Anyways, sounds "idealistic" though to insist a just reconciliation if not a full swift justice after an hell of a kind mess, but moving on without any closure and just "forget" after disputes involving time, efforts, or any other matter surrounding relationships seemed to make matters worse no matter you ignore. 
Pardon this writer if one is affected for their experiences, but why not try to reconcile, have a closure if not put matters into justice in order to move with least a renewed spirit least the tensions been over and be thrown altogether? Keeping one's self numb and letting matters unsettled as if "able to let it go on its own" cannot resolve tensions but rather aggravates it. Again, that term has become a doublespeak whether you let go of the past with ease or you are trying to escape and trying to forget. 

Anyways, of what are those terms if it is meant to escape and be a fugitive from reality? Even a fugitive from justice ends compelled by its own ghosts to admit responsibilities out of possible retribution! And if there's an urge to move on, perhaps the more reason to move over is to go beyond the parameters that everyone knows as detrimental to their assertions and realisation of such profound aspirations. Of countering the existing and making retributions against the other out of past mistakes and shortcomings, putting a closure that is enough called to be just along with a new chapter to create upon that includes carrying the lessons from the past.

For moving on without looking back does not bring you to the right path. 

That's all for now. 

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

"Nostalgic for a disregarded aspiration"

"Nostalgic for a disregarded aspiration"




Its been a longer time after writing both cultural and political opinions.

Cultural in a sense that it involves music, art, heritage, and at the same time Political as it reflects this person's view on society and its realities behind. And although quite find it interesting to do such writeups, it is quite awkward to write those topics that usually seen separately if not in the news portion of the paper, yet the bottomline is that all is but interconnected especially after seeing disorder in regards to preserving heritage amidst frustrated modernity and at the same time the rottenness of the system that benefited from every demolition and building of a consumerist society in the name of development.



But speaking of development and heritage, it brought this person up a different kind of nostalgia, different from the typical church, walled town, brick and adobe house or neoclassical edifice kind, but also those with chimneys and water towers, high raised walls and steel roofs, that once dominating the suburbs in east, south of Metropolitan Manila.
This kind of nostalgia also reflects an aspiration that has been disregarded by a system which is a trader rather than a forger by nature. If it calls for realisation of an aspiration then maybe it was limited for a few entities and edifices, be it a plant for manufacturing tshirts and foodstuffs, the rest were plans left in paper or in one's thought or imagination; and that nostalgia is more than just a nostalgia to be recall, but a plan that has to be revisit and rekindle.


And speaking of foodstuffs lies familiar examples like Purico lard, Karo syrup, Royco soup mix, and Franklin Baker desiccated coconut, and everybody enjoyed those times consuming it yet however the factories were gone and hence forgotten. But for sure few amongst nostalgics recall the location, the façade, even the machinery and life within those compounds prior to its eventual demolition. Is it because they are once working in those places? Or perhaps passersby? Or even visited during a field trip since childhood? Nostalgic indeed.


Pardon to those whom likely to oppose, but no matter how old the idea of industrialisation and still be disregarded save for a few factories in Pasig, yet still the problem remains such as rampant unemployment and less production amidst abundant resources. And that age-old idea, mostly hidden in the archives is willing to provide a solution no matter how decades old it was just to curb down the issue this person had typed upon. Of what is having resources of its own if it has to be exported? Of what is waiting for outside investment if can't stimulate one's own? Of what is studying courses like Engineering and Sciences if can't be practised in its own homeland? The system which is trader by nature really disregards the idea and thinking of it as passé and not to deal upon it amidst rhetorics speaking about "newly industrialised country" and other similar terms, that the flour silos of Pasig and thr assembly lines at Laguna was enough for an "industry", while the rest been end demolished no matter it had contributed to the community's development.


Be it the brutalist architecture of the old Energizer factory at Mandaluyong or the university-like edifice of Magnolia at Echague. The old familiar edifice being seen by passer-bys at EDSA met its unlikely demise for a condo being built by SM (at the upper left part), while the latter's been intact and once used for a school owned by a prominent religious sect (at the middle left part). There were others that end leaving no trace such as the old Procter and Gamble plant at Velasquez, Tondo (with its blue roofs and a water tower that once featured the moon and stars symbol); and also the old yet "modern looking" Magnolia plant, known for childhood memories during field trips and sample ice cream, which was also end demolished years past and in its lot comes a mall and a condonimium being built rather than an adaptive reuse particularly at its front façade.

And yes, they call it progress the way people forget history in the name of moving on. In other countries, least a building, or a façade, has been kept for a living memory out of it, citing tis contribution to the district's own development. And as said earlier, it is also political, as the system as well as the concerned people had to resort in debating about developing a society that is backward in spite of its façade of development, of poverty amidst its propaganda of progress, that one has to cling on neoliberal principles of letting outsiders take over every enterprise in the name of international capital while the other speaks on domestic-based development such as industrialisation and allocating natural resources to domestic purspose. But to the vast majority? Nah, it has nothing to do with their lives except working to consume, if they care about heritage and end disappeared, life goes on with them with their favorite alibi such as moving on. 


After all, that is so-called development to be advanced and respected by many including those speaking of nostalgia, even justified that such aspirations, no matter how relevant and important, are deemed impossible since those are passé and be disregarded in favour of thing "new" (hence limiting to those what this person stated like churches and old houses); while few yet serious nostalgics would care to mind upon the state of old factories with its strange architecture same as those into old houses, walled towns, and churches. Few would even dare to engage in industrial archaeology   (besides posting about old trains), if not urging developers to do some adaptive reuse in remaining edifices as a reminder, especially after showing pictures that somehow reminisce their childhood interests of not their former jobs situated on those places. 
Those cherished times, as this person observed, actually made the concerned nostalgic mold their aspirations of a developed society, yet again these aspirations of an industrialised society and a developed community end rather hidden in both government or in a private company archive, (be it from Ayala or Lopez) if not in the pictures and sketches of a nostalgic's own imagination. Trying to "breathe it alive" through a post in social media.


***

Sometimes, in other history and nostalgia related pages comes commentators whom love to put current events, a post in which "patriots", "right-wingers", and "counterreactionaries" love to swam upon to.

In case of the fare hikes at MRT and LRT for an example, there are those whom speaking about the Marcoses with its development "to be taken pride of", while others wanting to let the private sector, be it from the oligarch or from the foreigner, take over out of their promises of "good service", or even letting fares be increased 100% with competition amongst mass transport vehicles for an alibi. Such debatable comments also mirror their nostalgia on mass transport, or even development in general that is merely a façade to take pride of.  
And the fact that their "nostalgia" for good service comes with these suggestions, whether it is a renewed form of "Marcos Loyalism" or letting the private sector like the Ayalas, Cojuangcos, or Pangilinan take over for chrissakes simply because they done good, while not knowing that they are also the ones keeping the corrupt order satisfied being dependent. 

Pardon this person's view but despite the development they have made, be it located in Makati or in Mandaluyong or Quezon City, it is the same sector that somehow made everyone annoyed about rising rates in water and in electricity, as well as oil that made most contemplating about Petron or Meralco as they were once government-controlled and hence affordable, if not cheap to pay off according to  a  nostalgic as concerned.

Anyways, just an observation though, but out of cherishing a past comes a variety of comments that are worth debatable. That if one has afforded to speak with Claro M. Recto's or Alejandro Lichaucho's be replied with those of Milton Friedman or even Bernardo Villegas, the way Marcos Loyalists got irritated with the comments coming from Lorenzo Tañada if not Jose Diokno.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

"To those whom are concerning"

"To those whom are concerning"

(Or all after an incident happened few years ago:
of monsters guised as friends, and rose amongst weeds)


I had kept in mind those magic moments
As if giving music that soothes my soul
When you first appeared before my eyes
An apparition from the works I scrawl

Yes, despite the torturous times
Followed by desperate vanities
Your presence, and your tendered voice
Songs made me sleep and dreams follow

Yet as monsters came over, lies the months of tempest
Dreams becoming delusions, illusions bringing me to ruins
Facing thine loneliness and dismays
Insults, threats and near beatings

This writer may not be Pushkin, but
Despite being thin, does not mean not to resist?
No! You are there on those days
Despite being beaten, still afford to give smile
Laughter trying to keep matters near none

But then you felt the worriness same as the others
Near foes allegedly becoming friends
Seeing a person as if calling for mercy
But no! This person, nevermind the blood and pain
For in a fight lies the two expected
Yet afford to give humor
As if nothing happened

You came and then asked
"What's wrong with you?"
"Nothing." I said, "He started it, why I can't fight?"
This person may be wounded
Yet the other as if having his pride near beaten

You even gave a cube of ice
"Here, this would soothe your wound"
Thus this person apply
Blood had stopped its flows
And with the sweet voices
Gives comfort for an hardened soul

This reminds me of a song of the mountain tribes
That their songs heals wounds and if thirst has to drink dew
The pain gave way to renewed vigour, hidden behind the young faced lad
That be unleashed as harms began

But not now my lad, but heed this word:

Your friends are not your friends
Foes, monsters hidden underneath sugarcoated words and human-like faces
Yet they treated a person like mess
Be end in as burning ashes
And since the wounds been healed but not its remains
With its marks of the wounded is the mark that cannot fade
Even the mind is marked that those foes be still foes
Baggages ready to be thrown the way they done on mine
Gates of hell has been raised, the gates of Nifelheim being opened
The calls of their punishments awaits them
From their homes, to the bars, to the souls felt threatened.

If not themselves await for the final battle 
With the clarion being blown as its signal
The hordes with their prides
In sheer strength till exhausted
And end drowned by their so-called 'desires'
In hot flames or in water cold

But today, as my soul has awakened
And that you came this time anew
The delusion seemed to be not true

Yet with the songs that brought heal
Perhaps the love that is meant to cherish means you

Diliman, Sept. 28

Sunday, 8 March 2015

"Beauty is in the streets, tempered with courage."

"Beauty is in the streets, tempered with courage."


Responded by the call of times and of existing realities, women took to the streets and in the fields demanding better working conditions, peace, bread, and justice to take part in the daily doings then dominated by men. And nowadays have come a long way ever since women made those demands, but still have yet to finish what they started.

Amidst reports about unprecedented expansion of women's rights, of girls attending schools and workplaces opened for their employment, seems that age old repressions both from east and west still dominating, be it feudal or capitalistic in character, be it violent, subjugating, or disenfranchisment, simply because they are women.

And still it is an issue. They are limited within the parameters, complimented by fantasies that often disregards prestige and honour, oftentimes even justified by "choice" and "decision". Once this person heared a song about women as if were boxed in a "soapbox" and labeled whether for the home or for beauty, quite limiting isn't it? And if they afforded employment, comes less pay, worse conditions, harassments, of what is equality then and justice? Again it is still an issue. Worse, those who assert rights be end harassed, imprisoned, killed, or simply disappeared simply because for the order's time-repeated view that "it destroys moral fiber."

But amidst the threat still the existing realities is worth compelling to assert changes. If peasants yearned land, workers yearned bread, so is women for justice and opportunities. Opportunities that is different from what is commonly seen in the screen; of beyond parameters the way Women of Sparta willing to take arms than limit into their homes as a form of defending honour, of Soviet nurses be end carrying rifles on the other to to make sure that while tending the wounded comrade was also at the same time kill the invader with her gun, or even women writers like Clara Zetkin, the one behind this event, whom also speaks on behalf of the working class and its rights.

If the old afforded to say that war is for men and motherhood is for women, of girls limiting to church, kitchen, and bed, and still asserted by most even by replacing the church by the shopping mall, perhaps today it isn't for those women who is enlightened and enduring the daily doings of the latter three also decides same as those of men. If the latter continues to assert limiting to those of church or the shopping mall, kitchen, and bed, as well as women agrees upon to it, then of what is Joan of Arc or Gregoria de Jesus? Hua Mulan or Gabriela Silang? Both of them did raise the sword and raised voices high as those of men in armour! They do raise their children but imbued with courage as their partners do in the farm, factory, school, and even the so-called "corporate world" mostly dominated by men! Again, they want to be co-equals of men in both decision and in action, in formulating theory and practise, hence, has to be appraised. Such as what Lenin said:

“Not bad, not at all bad. The energy, willingness and enthusiasm of women comrades, their courage and wisdom in times of illegality or semi-legality indicate good prospects for the development of our work..."

Pardon to use Lenin's, but his message did recognize the capability of women whose experiences did provide wisdom and courage same as those of men. Today's nonsense may again trying to roll anything backwards but with awareness of most should not pass. Limiting women to the house and consumerism? Sorry but women held half of earth and sky, hence women is also in the streets provoking against the order who, whilst behind the trappings of equality and justice is trying to roll anything backwards such as limiting beauty and womanhood to those of superficial fantasies?


Such as today's women's month to be celebrated by mere free passes to light and mass rail transits? Of discounts for shopping sprees? Not all women are like Marie Antoinette as some are willing to be like those of Countess Markievicz! Even the Virgin Mary was chosen by God not to bear his son but to bear the one who redeems by his blood and by her sacrifice! Simply because they are not born for beauty itself alone, but also for courage, the way a rose has both the flower and the thorns.

Hence, beauty is in the streets, tempered with courage.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

"Why the paranoia?"

"Why the paranoia?"

(Or all after an incident involving film-makers 
and those "keeping peace and order")


Its been few weeks ago when reports about Policemen unjustly entered and harassed people participating in a film showing event at a memorial centre in Quezon City.

As last February 28, a group of filmmakers, including JL Burgos, the son of press freedom icon Jose Burgos Jr, hosted a film screening event entitled: ‘Sine Henerasyon’ . The event featured social-realist inclined documentaries like JL Burgos’ Portraits of Mosquito Press, which documents the struggle to assert press freedom during the Marcos dictatorship, Ilang-Ilang Quijano’s Daughters of Cordillera, about activists among the Philippines’ indigenous Igorot people, and Ej Mijares’ Shapes of Crimson, a film about a veteran artist and cultural activist Bonifacio Ilagan.

However, that incident happened that same day as according to the reports, JL Burgos said a patrol car arrived at 10:00 a.m. in the area. The policemen supposedly told them that they intended to “sweep” the place since a VIP was set to arrive later in the day.

Two members, armed with assault rifles, remained near the venue. However, a VIP supposedly did not arrive. But instead, Another group of policemen supposedly arrived at 4:30 p.m. and asked the organizers anew of the event’s intent, trying to "watch" one of the featured films as well as further questioned organisers if the films were about the New People’s Army. They also left two officers behind when they departed.

But at 8:00 pm a third patrol car arrived at the venue and officers grilled staff again about the event’s organisers. When Burgos’ and the other filmmakers confronted the officers (even asked if they are undertaking an "intelligence gathering"), they did not explain their motives and left shortly after.

Ironically, JL Burgos is a brother of the still missing Jonas Burgos. And the incident that happened at the Bantayog did reflect the paranoia taken by the system that made harassments possible including those of a film-maker or a media practitioner. The place in which the policemen afford to invade and harass features scenes, personalities, files during the Martial Law period, in which most people be described as a dark age for press freedom and self-expression.

And if one of the cops had afforded to ask irritating questions and trying to conclude that those works are subversive (and hence be liable for arrest), then what makes the works subversive? If realities made by the system made the works subversive then there is something wrong in that system not the ones against it. If works such as Burgos or Quijano did provoke critical thinking towards viewers, of seeking truth from facts, them the system whom desperately trying to maintain order simply describing them as subversives, or worse terrorists and be liable for persecution. Of what is freedom if it does not include the right to dissent?

Come to think of this, harassments such as that event and other related incidents mocks the junking of the anti subversion law decades ago, if not the rights guaranteed by the fundamental laws of the land. Journalists and media practitioners alike are end up dead if not doing their acts clandestinely or in exile just to seek truth from facts and make people be well informed on their works. But again, vigilance is a duty for the practitioner, as what NUJP Chairperson, Rowena Paraan said:

 “By lying about the reason for their presence in the first instance and the questions they asked when they returned that afternoon, it was clear that the QCPD personnel were out to intimidate the organisers of what, to them, probably constituted a “subversive” activity that shouldn’t have been allowed at all.”

“We demand that the QCPD, at the very least, apologize to the ‘Sine Henerasyon’ organisers. But to ensure that such a display of official arrogance is never repeated, we call on the leadership of the Philippine National Police to live up to their oaths and investigate posthaste the actions of the QCPD personnel and impose the appropriate sanctions on those responsible for this ill-conceived attempt to stifle free expression."

Again, the anti subversion law has been scrapped, hence nothing is wrong in showing that is contrary to the system and its belief. Second, court documents, such as "Burgos vs. chief of staff" did recognize that no matter how "subversive" it was shown such as a report, a critique, or a movie, least it is still freedom in accordance to the constitution, a right to inform and express actually amidst all threats including from the state. The obvious question is as what the late Justice Abad Santos said:

"Why were the documents, pamphlets, leaflets, books, etc. subversive? What did they contain to make them subversive? There is nothing in the applications nor in the warrants which answers the questions. I must, therefore, conclude that the warrants are general warrants which are obnoxious to the Constitution."

Hence. The movies shown by the son of Mr. Jose Burgos (of Burgos vs. chief of staff) has the right to be shown. Again, the place wherein the cops went and scrutinise around is a place to remember the martyrs whom they call "subversive."

And by the way, since the system and its apologetics love to say pluralism, but when was pluralism be selective? Particularly those of ideas made in favor of the order? No wonder why those who seek truth from facts end pointing eyes against the so-called maintainer of order and peace.