Tuesday, 25 April 2017

"The desire to bring back the industrial sector"

"The desire to bring back the manufacturing sector"

(Or "Notes after Rafael Alunan Sr's message,
and the desire to revive national industry)




At first, this post may find its message "idealistic" especially in an era of modern gadgets and of service-oriented economy. But, in a still-developing society yet rich in natural resources, one of the most important and immediate concerns of the country is the need to revisit, revive, and reemphasise the manufacturing sector as one of the important foundations of the national industry.

For the fact that the country needs basic industries to utilise natural resources and relieve unemployment, the revival of the manufacturing sector also means to stabilise trade and practically to promote genuine domestic-based development in spite of its long overdue.

But in spite of criticisms, of disapprovals, of favouring unbridled free trade and exploitation of raw materials for exports, national industrialisation continues to be demanded by the concerned. Also to think that the country has enjoyed some of the benefits of most modern trade agreements, disregarding the manufacturing sector, what more of agriculture, is equal to an unjust domestic maldevelopment. The trade agreements everyone sees as "developmental" are the same agreements that is, exploitative than beneficial in its very nature, it is the same agreements that pushes people to unemployment due to low wages and system's failure to alleviate, while the countryside, in spite of being exploited for export, remains underdeveloped.
If these agreements means stability, is the actually existing maldevelopements in the country and others in the "third world" be redescribed as progress under 21st century trade-centred, multi/transnational finance-oriented capitalism?


Anyway, the drive to revive, rehabilitate, and seriously giving concern on both manufacturing and agricultural sectors of the society was and is more than a showcase of national pride in a way the first bars of steel has to be shown out in national television. It is a necessity to reemphasise production all to promote national development and also to recultivate honest labour as a national virtue. Efforts to create good quality import substitutes means meeting the demands of many to ensure their daily needs with affordable prices and to utilise responsibly the both the country's natural resources and labour power that is greatly needed to ensure the nation's well-being.

In a message made last November 4, 1942, Commissioner Rafael Alunan sr., representing agriculture and commerce during the Japanese occupation stated that:

"More and more, the production of essential commodities is being increased to replace finished products that had to be imported formerly. Among the goods now being turned out by factories to replace the old imports are cassava flour, corn flour, rice flour, in substitution for wheat flour; alcohol for motive power to replace gasoline; cleanser, toilet soap, canned goods, etc. 

The production of toilet soap has been expanded to an appreciable extent, and filter mats made of coir are being manufactured to be used by soap and lard factories in lieu of asbestos. Some 1,500 local factories operating in Manila and in nearby provinces are now engaged on the processing and manufacturing of goods for everyday use, such as flour, starch, soap, matches, preserved fish, chocolate, coffee, biscuits, and other foodstuffs, etc. This is an encouraging indication of the significant changes in the phases of Philippine industries."


The message seemed to be optimistic in spite of the wartime atmosphere wherein the emphasis was on stability and of survival; but, in seeing that kind of setting one would describe it as a chance to reemphasise domestic-based development through creating import substitutes and investing on domestic sciences.
It may sound strange to put a wartime message in this present-day setting, but reality goes something that way: the need to bring back, support, uplift, redevelop local industries to resolve unemployment, to utilise natural resources and domestic skill, and to create good quality products to ensure the needs of the people.

But that desire for domestic-based development is more than a set of papers and feelings, it requires action, the more assertions the more chances of changing existing policies to those that cater to the needs of many, especially the concerned sectors such as labor, peasant, and small scale businesses desiring for a sound economic policy that is, genuinely developmental, patriotic, scientific, and progressive.
And in it also means campaigns to stir production, rationalising industries, and improving the order of distribution; as well as to create more/maintain existing foundations to generate rural-and-urban based developments, of building cooperatives and protecting/improving small and medium scale businesses, all enough to accelerate the process of industrialisation that has to achieve.


And knowing that industrial revival is more than just a state responsibility, it is itself a social one especially if one desires a progressive country. It is the work of all whose concern for the country means a demand to break from present-day inequalities to a desire for a country capable to stand on its own feet leading to its path to its idealised progress and stability.
For as what Alunan said:

"On their shoulders rests the responsibility of complementing the work of the government in carrying out is industrial development program, and in building up a sound and stable economic foundation for the new Philippines."


Monday, 24 April 2017

"Culture and the New Philippines"

"Culture and the New Philippines"

By Bienvenido Maria S. Gonzalez
Former President, University of the Philippines

Issued at "Shin Seiki" (October 1942)






Background:

Appointed during the Commonwealth regime, Gonzalez was the youngest ever to be named president of the University of the Philippines (46 yrs old) and he was the very first alumnus to be so honored. In spite of initial opposition, and a course different from the others (an Agriculturist by profession), his term as president was characterized by his open attitude to students and faculty and the encouragement of the use of Tagalog as a national language.

He also encouraged the establishment of a UP College of Nursing. Along with Juan Nakpil, future National Artist, and UP Music Conservatory director Ramon Tapales, he conceived the UP Carillon in 1940.

However, upon the outbreak of World War II and the Japanese occupation, he resigned from his position rather than serve under the enemy. President Jose Laurel of the 2nd republic designated Antonio Sison as his successor.

After the war, Gonzalez eventually reinstated to his position as the University President. But that time, it has more to do with the difficulties of salvaging remains of the institution he cared and loved with. But he still persisted with his vision and succeeded in having the United States War Damage Commission pay P13 million for rehabilitation and construction; and it was also the same era when the University's main campus was moved to Diliman, which was proposed before the war and amidst opposition.

In this work shown below showed that the former UP President, despite his actual opposition to the occupation and its "sponsored republic", talks about the need of reforming the Filipino culture, citing Japan as its example. Here it goes:


Those who have had the opportunity of studying Philippine culture agree that we as a people, in a world characterised by cosmopolitanism, have attained a relatively high state of development along cultural lines. Our culture, however, which is a result of a happy union between native and foreign influences, suffers in one aspect.

Like all progressive peoples, we have deceived and profited by the adoption of cultural features from other countries, superimposing these to the substructure of preexisting native culture. However, we have, perhaps unavoidably, but undeniably to our detriment, neglected the study and understanding of the different types of culture of our neighbours of the far east. In this sense we, like the traveller who gazes with awe at the vistas presented by distant mountain ranges yet fails to see the grandeur of the scene in the valley just below him, have overlooked the rich culture that lies within our kin and in our own part of the globe. Our cultural development, therefore, has been one sided. Such a state of affairs is to be deplored when we consider that a people who claims to be genuinely cultured must open its eyes and face realities.

There are distinct advantages to be gained in the study of the development of other peoples. Such is the case particularly when the culture we are interested in is one that belongs to a people whose home is in the same section of the earth as ours and who spring from a similar racial stock because we are thus more likely to find features in it more adaptable to our needs and temperament. An illustration may serve to clarify my point: Fine Arts in the Philippines will profit greatly by a study of Japanese masterpieces, for in those works one may observe that a distinct beauty lies in Oriental senses which only require an adequate presentation in order to equal if not to surpass western models. The understanding of the culture of our neighbours is not only important- by the sheer indisputability of the existing fact of geographical propinquity- it is imperative.

Our present relations with Japan open an invaluable opportunity of studying a culture of which we have therefore had nothing more than a superficial acquaintance. As a people we have always prided ourselves in our ability to assimilate the best that extraneous influences have to offer- for our own uplift and advantage? It cannot be gain-said that Japanese culture has much to give us- if we would put the necessary effort to see what lies beneath the smooth, placid, attractive, and inviting surface. To do this would merely constitute the fulfillment of our duty as an enlightened nation to ourselves and to the world- for adaptation is necessary to growth and progress- and there were is no progress there not only follows stagnation, but eventual retrogression.


Conclusion (and its relevance in the 21st century)

It seemed to be obvious that those hard times be like every intellectual was trying to stimulate patriotic appeal especially in a times of chaos. But as for Gonzalez who was an anti-occupation and in his heart carrying the spirit of resistance, he may've not expressed throughout his anti-Japanese appeal, but instead channeling his innermost sentiment through appealing to the people about moral rejuvenation.

In citing Japan as an example of a "nation imbued with ideals/virtue", Gonzalez, like all others who looked at Japan's modernisation and at the same time rooted in its traditions, sought how the Japanese values much of its culture rather than giving it up altogether as it favours the unbridled consumerism of the west. The Philippines, during the prewar days tries to retain its inherent culture in spite of being barraged by its occupier's cultural policy with consumerism as its greatly emphasised.

And perhaps it continues to be relevant knowing that the present setting, whose culture remains to be occidentised and exploited by the social order meant to recultivate and cherish morals, fails to upheld in spite of numerous appeals for moral reformation.
And that moral reformation nowadays has to do with reviving Filipino consciousness amidst neoliberal/globalist trends, of both revisiting one's character and to remold. The fusion of both eastern and western ways seemed to be beneficial especially for a country such as the Philippines, but to disregard its roots, its heritage is tantamount to suicide, especially in an era wherein "to move on" is a catchy phrase.

Anyway, regardless of its controversial nature, the article at Shin Seiki reflects the sentiment of a patriot than of a typical collaborator. It appears to be pro-Japanese at first citing the idea of looking at the example of the far east, but his love for country is greatly emphasised and it has to be cultivated by each and everyone especially amidst the trial such as an enemy occupation.

The actual Japanese experience may had serve as an inspiration especially in regards to the issue of rethinking for one's self, but Gonzalez wanted something that was Filipino, given that its culture was and is, itself a melting-pot of both east and west and by moral reformation means reclaiming the Filipino identity, honor, and virtue. For on the first place, his patriotism, even during the prewar period, was marked by not just using the Filipino language as the language of learning, but also promoting Filipinisation in the sciences, arts, and culture. He recognises the Filipino's adaptability to other cultures, as well as the Filipino culture as a fusion of both oriental and occidental sensibilities, yet at the same time criticises it because of it's effects.

Friday, 14 April 2017

"And the word made flesh (and dwellth amongst us)"

"And the word made flesh (and dwellth amongst us)"


At first, one teacher said that about the time of Jesus Christ's death to a very specific point in history: and it was around 3:00 in the afternoon, Friday, April 3, A.D. 33.

For the love of the oppressed and of the poor, the son of god hath joined if not led all faithful and revolutionary martyrs who sacrificed their lives fighting for righteousness as well as on behalf of the poor who desired for justice.

It may sound too political, but given the nature of Christ's suffering to his crucifixion, his death means a lesson to those who be trying to subvert an unjust order all because of proclaiming the good news of salvation.

And that salvation is both of the body and of the soul, of remolding character and of emancipating the community from its disorder.

And because of his commitment to bring the message he was suffered and died not to save mankind from sin and the torments of hell, but also to show people ultimately that defending, serving, fighting, sacrificing on behalf of the poor and of dispossessed means embracing humiliation, pain, and death.

For on the first place, he was the same Christ who teaches the children, healed the sick, fed the hungry, console the desperate. But he was the same Christ who expelled the moneylenders and of the vendors in the temple whom he called as his father's house.

And thus with his actions, be it good in the eyes of his people and bad in the eyes of the order, made him face and accept suffering and death. Ironically, his death, the crucifixion itself was a sacrifice with himself taking place of the lamb. But that sacrifice was less religious in the eyes of the order but rather a punishment for taking the side of the poor, for interpreting the law as different from the Pharisees and of the scribes, what more of seeing his acts as subversive in nature.

Sounds political isn't it? After all, his message of salvation was and is a political act that speaks about what humanity needs: nourishing the body as well as the soul.
And in it perhaps, it is the duty of the faithful to support what is spiritual with material especially if that is to support that is right, just, and moral. It may sound ambitiously ideal but ever since people be told that "kingdom of God is in them", then why not fulfill it? Faith, Hope, and Charity also paved way to the aspirations of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity; strange but for sure everyone wanted a virtuous life both man and his society.
For like any other scripture, be it the law or the sayings of the prophets, the desire for a better world is more than just an aspiration nor a desire: but a call for its realisation.

Come to think of this: Christ died on the cross, for he imparted the desire that is more than the redemption of the body, but of the spirit; and as for the faithful, and seeing the inconvenient reality, then it is the duty of the faithful not just to redeem the soul, but of the body from repression.

And that body is more than just the flesh, but of the community that is, to be liberated and be given hope.

And Christ, the word made flesh, has continued to dwellth amongst us. The martyrs followed what Christ did: by spreading the message of salvation and living amongst the people.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

My country! My people! Why are you forsaken me?!?

My country! My people! Why are you forsaken me?!?


From "Manila Today"

This may be the words of most people nowadays. For as time goes by, and everyone has seen all the inconvenient realities of poverty, repression, and various forms of social injustices, coupled by recent news reports of extra judicial killings, corruption charge, and narcopolitics, isn't it relevant that this third world country whp yearned for hope is been forsaken for so long by a system that supposed to be uplifting?

Yes, for as everyone reads about the news or rather say see the headlines amd afforded to share its post or comment in it, they would say that the country they supposed to love and to cherish is itself forsaken all because of the inconvenient realities that hinders a nation from its supposed path.

And like Jesus Christ who was suffered and died fom the cross, these people, the long suffering average Juan, Maria, and Jose who has endured all the poverty, pain, and negligence, asks everyone especially those who swore to give concern: my country, my people, why are you forsaken me?!?

From Tudla pproductions
The message may sound aloud and even strikes through everyone's heart, but obviously, most people who afforded to listen on that christ-like message does not care about it if not treating with scorn. Some would even assuming to be moralist telling that they are disobeying the law, and others be like entirely apathetic as they "move on" as if nothing happened with all their lives. The society that supposedly as Christ-like, assuming to be as righteous as the others has gone hedonistic with a smattering of knowing for law, but less of understanding right and of justice.

Worse, they afforded to be assuming as Christian as most Christians with all the pomp with its rituals, of fame-based "charity" or anything just to appear as holy as they babble something moralistic and assuming they are just and imbued with faith, but, where were they on the times people yearn not just help but for justice? Again, their ears are shut if not afforded to listen and be replied with scorn.

In a situation such as these inconvenient realities, it is the duty of the concerned to bring the gospel of struggle to each and everyone, to open eyes and minds and join in a quest for taking back justice and bring hope in a forsaken country riddled with bullets and various forms of hopelessness. Why to remain apathetic in these kinds of truths while assuming to be as Christ-like as the others especially this lent? Perhaps a message from Bishop Socrates Villegas sounds relevant nowadays:

 "Fasting is good, but without malasakit (concern) for others, it is nothing. Prayer is good, but without remembering others and laying aside personal comfort, it is just an ego trip. Helping the poor and giving alms are good, but if you do it for show or to get a “feel good” reward later, it is just a noisy bell."

So is Gerardo Lanuza, as he said:

"Because we misunderstood Jesus as a mere spiritual leader who promised salvation in the next life, we have killed Christianity. As Nietzsche says: "the word 'Christianity' is already a misunderstanding - in reality there has only been one Christian - and he died on the cross. The evangel died on the cross."

The evangel is about loving the world, not escaping it into a spiritual world."

Yes. Loving the world, loving by helping people struggling against the tide; loving the world by going beyond the parameters to realise hopes; loving the world by putting an end to an eternal infamy.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Bringing back National pride with Class consciousness

Bringing back National pride with Class consciousness




Every nation has its own identity, and every identity must have been imbues with a unique feature that classified as its own. And that feature is National pride.

However, that pride comes from a profound sense of National consciousness, that likely to have conquered and survived in a hostile environment set upon to us by nature and fate. And though this, it survived the wave of time, though progressive means and through the acceptance of what the person is, to uplift and to reach what is supposed to. Unlike those whom accept-only to become extinct or in the verge of destruction.
National pride, in this person's view does not mean superiority as what other people used to think of but rather as consciousness as a part of a nation, a recognition since that one has uphold its tradition, faith, and honour to the land; and thus, to serve the aspirations of the people, both local or from its foreign brethren.

However, in a country wherein repression and disenfranchisement has been rampant for generations from both foreign masters and its domestic stooges, of maldevelopment and social injustice towards the labouring class, comes consciousness that is, proletarian. Proletarian in a sense that the country's majority are those coming from the ill-paid laborers, the unjustly-shared peasantry, the debt-stricken lower petitbourgeoisie, these masses, repressed by a semifeudal-semicolonial order has yearned to resolve internal as well as external class struggle, being one of the proletarian "third world" nations surrounded by the developed nations of the first world.

Sounds radical isn't it? Perhaps in this person's observation, in a reality wherein semifeudal-semicolonial repression has made National consciousness includes class consciousness, as means to liberate both as a nation and from its class.

For sure one would think “why a nation have achieve independence and yet the system remains as it is in its colonial past?” some may attained progression and perhaps even further, but third world nations be like much repressive as in its colonial days, with its once colonial masters be like indirectly ruling over. Domestic despots may have intensified further internal repression and injustice as in the past, enough to justify the need for national liberation even more.
And from these unsung masses, along with their leaders whom used to get killed for their beliefs, gave inspiration to the coming generations on why they wanted “freedom”. And contrary to an established view, that Freedom doesn’t mean “freedom as a nation” but also “freedom” from its class as they build a just society, through national consciousness, merit, and of hope towards one another.

And in it Filipinos can be classified as an example of this. After centuries of subjection by its coloniser and its domestic stooge, of their efforts to degrade and enslave the inhabitants, Filipinos, especially those of the oppressed masses in both urban and rural areas tried and failed but their heart of being a “free” man and its identity as a “Filipino” prevail (for before "Filipino" was meant to be the Spanish Insulare as well as a privileged principalia loyal to the Spanish crown), and so its class consciousness as a working class, be it a laborer or a farmer. Also to think that in spite of hardships given, their deaths or banishments, still their identity and their hope remain as they continue fighting, knowing that their desire for a just society has to realise.


And even today it continues to carry over. Knowing that in spite of being independent, or what the others called as “sham” independence, the remnants of the old system prevailed, and so are the classes. Being a semi-feudal, semi-colonial country always carries a large strain of this rotten system in which weakens the nation and makes further vulnerable to foreign and domestic oppression.
The struggle to destroy the old order remained still as in the past, for as the oppressed, imbued with hope and faith as a part of the nation, as makers of history wanted to destroy every piece in order to set a new society under them, as what Karl Marx said a “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” must have take place of the old. Also to think that a third world nation nearly lost its identity because of that rotten system prevailing, with all its occidentosis becoming the culture itself, then it is the duty of the aware to revive national consciousness that is, based from the aspirations of the people than those of the ruling order. After all, of what is independence if the ones who rule still clings to its colonial master? It makes independence "sham" than true.

For sure one would notice that National pride seemed to be but a façade, a cosmetic in a face a puppet state. Through meaningless slogans to the "fashionalistic" sentiments that carried little or no patriotism, I really think that Nationalism as of now becomes worth nothing-especially to nations wherein opened much to free trade and lessening its patriotic, working class appeal to accumulate more foreign aid and support-in other words, sacrificing its own dignity for a few bucks.

Imagine, everyone has encountered the mercenary traditions of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the curtailment of civil rights and freedom of thought especially amongst activists and other progressive leaning persons who advocate genuine national pride and class consciousness, of several scandals wherein corrupts the country and of life itself, and even the "rise" of false "patriots" who are in fact mere puppets of a foreign oppressor, who utilizes a "washed-out" patriotism and blaming the genuine patriots who supported a dignified state and a progressive community of peoples imbued with patriotic sentiment and of class consciousness as members of the working class.

Noticing about these facts, it seems that "a need for genuine national pride through working class patriotism" is encouraged as a means to counter the growing effects of wholesale westernization, of globalization also encouraged by vested western interests, as well as of bourgeois-chauvinist "nationalism" that is limited to buying goods and watching boxing matches and of the like, including those of its own contemporary culture which in fact emulates too much from the west. Sorry for the words but to see such occidentosis would say that is there any patriotism left? The so-called "Pinoy pride" of the present is a mere aesthetic as everyone has their minds embedded with those of the west and its materialistic illusions.
But in spite of all the façade of "pride", the laboring class has still demands peace, land, bread, and justice knowing that the country known for that "pride" is still backward thanks to an unjust order that makes a nation "proletarian" as any third world nation.
People somehow may ought to understand the fact in order to break off ties from it, it needs modern-day Bonifacios not Aguinaldos, of needing De Los Reyeses, of Evangelistas not those of collaborationists a la Paterno, Roxas, and others including those who bannered buying Filipino goods yet kissing the shoes of the imperialist.


Patriots of the working class type, true to its idea that they wanted a real, dignified homeland within the international community of peoples, also wanted to realize what the late Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's statement:

"In the past we had no fatherland, nor could we had one. But now that we have overthrown capitalism and power is in our hand, in the hands of the people, we have a fatherland, and we will uphold its independence. Do you want our socialist fatherland to be beaten and to lose its independence? If you don't want this, you must put an end to its backwardness in the shortest time and develop a genuine Bolshevik tempo in building up its socialist economy. There is no other way... "

And in it somehow it is true for as workers of every nations, living in a nation in fact a nation of profiteers wanted genuine national pride, but this time imbued with class consciousness to counter, destroy the age-old chauvinist "nationalistic" appeal of the profiteers and of the like, as well as to build a real homeland wherein it genuinely uphold its independence whilst cooperating with all nations in building a community of peoples: just, peaceful, prosperous.
Due to the fact that nationalism, in a proletarian sense, is more national than those from the ruling class, of the present system itself, since they (the proletariat) have showed its real contribution to the country; however they remained poor since their fruits of hard work are destined to those whom are greed in nature.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

"Poems from the Trenches"

"Poems from the Trenches"



"In pursuit of future: Memories of Barrio Ugong"

Each day I see the silos
Remembering an Idealistic past
With the scent of wheat
Recalls the productive fervour

Each time I see the laborers
The machinery, the concrete edifice
That once towering over Pasig river
A legacy of an almost abandoned splendour

All because of a failed order
They hated to be competed
By those whose ideal is worth remembered

Whose concern is rooted in truth
A fertile land yet a poor mass
Prosperity allegedly "trickled down" 
Yet benefited the corrupted

Imagine all the edifices of glass and steel
Of malls thriving with the well paid
All these made by the ones in the shanties
All coming from the mismanaged estates

Of unfair wages and widespread maltreatments
Of strikes end up in bloodsheds and disappearances
Is this the prosperity proclaimed by the papers?

What a bullshit those articles then
All contrary to the truth 
How poor the supposed prosperous country is
How backward the supposed progressive nation is

Or perhaps a continuing "was"
All because of its continuing past
Again all thanks to a failed order
And its rulers thereof

And in it no wonder why strikes happen
Be it in the street or in the countryside
Be it with a burning effigy or a bloody ambuscade.

"My Father's house"

Inspired by Gabriel Aresti's poem of the same name

I will defend the house of my father.
I will defend it against wolves,
Thieves,
Usurers,
And various forms of Injustices;

I will defend the house of my father.
Thinking that they're all coming to exploit
Yet still I trying to resist
Time to time,
day after day
I will defend his house as much I can stay

I may lose all the cattle,
Orchards,
The produce I tilled and sown;
I may lose all my remains,
The goods,
Possessions,
But I will still defend his house.

They will take off my gun
But with my hand I will still defend it;
They will cut off my hand
Yet with my arm I will still defend it;
They will leave me without arm nor shoulder,
Even the soul that makes me defend
The house of my father.

In spite of pain enduring,
I will still die fighting,
But even without me still,
His house-my house, will remain standing.

And one will soon take over mine
Out of what I am struggling.

"Change is Coming"

Change is indeed coming said by the papers, and
Hope is bringing says by the reports
Amidst the existing inconvenient truths
Not one admitted by the apologists as they proclaimed:
"Gone is the corrupted and the oppressive, for
Everything will be given justice!"

"Impossible!" says the skeptic, knowing that the reality is contrary
Such as widespread hunger, poverty, murder, a series of idiosyncrasy

Coming from a corrupted order
Outsmarting the struggling commoner
Making hell to a country
Its people, even its history, until
Nothing, for they made it all
Gone.

"Nighttime offensive"

I swore to the blood red banner
And to the graves of my comrades
And take the gun to me given
As I take the road less taken

Tonight the offensives been set
As the campfires been set off
Tonight will traverse the forests
As the foes sleeping in their encampments

The bells of struggle continues to chime
In spite of numerous deaths
If not survivors end captured
Tortured, imprisoned, or disappeared

For their "heavens" be shaken with fear
As the action begins in the waxing moon
With the barrage of bullets
Surprising the sleeping attack dogs

One screams in pain
Another felt its untimely fear
As the partisans vent their wrath
On a plantation that blocks the path

Of peasant folks desired for land
Of farmworkers desired for decent wage
Of people sick and tired of hell
Brought upon by a state sponsored brigandage?

As storms continue, seeing blood and death
Comrade and foe alike felt the pain
Bright red blood will water all the trees
Staining the flags whose word is liberty

And end cleared all the noises
And comrades taken all the enemy guns
Foes end becoming captives
Criminals waiting their untimely fates.

Enough to be part of an epic
"The people's war" as what they proclaim.


Monday, 27 March 2017

"Still, taking time struggling for decent housing"

"Still, taking time struggling for decent housing"

(Or all after revoking the eviction order against the urban poor
Over the disputed Pandi housing project)



Amidst criticism pointing against the urban poor "occupying" an abandoned yet still disputed housing project at Bulacan, it seems that the government had no choice but to question the program that involves one of the basic calls of these neglected masses: housing.

As Cabinet Secretary and Housing Czar Leoncio Evasco revoked Malacañang’s forced eviction order against Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) members who have occupied thousands of idle government housing units in Bulacan.

Evasco, through an interview over DZMM last saturday, announced that Malacañang will not forcibly evict occupants of idle government housing projects in Bulacan, but instead promised to provide housing projects to KADAMAY members.

Sounds promising isn't it? Thinking that as the administration initially calling the occupiers as anarchists if not provoking chaos, of apologists describing them as not undergoing due processes, rather end admitting that there is a problem regarding housing: that no one lives in a housing project that is, costly if not unlikely to be habitable.

But as for KADAMAY and its supporters, the said occupation is just enough, thinking that these houses are long unoccupied, with foliage almost overgrown its walls. 


Is it really for the Police, Military,
Or for the evictee?

According to Katrina Stuart Santiago in her Manila Times article, The long abandoned project was started last 2011 when former President Noynoy Aquino signed Administrative Order No. 9, which directed the National Housing Authority (NHA) to implement and manage a housing program for military and police personnel.

The project, which was called the AFP/PNP Housing Program,nreceived an allotment of P4.2 billion, and its goal was 21,800 housing units to be distributed in 2011 alone, across 12 different locations (Interaksyon, July 14, 2011).

But no press release mentions Pandi. Only last 2016 when a press release from the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council then under Vice President Leni Robredo, lists down the said town as part of 65 sites where houses for the military and police have been built.

However, according to the Housing Board of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, “many soldiers were not satisfied with the design of the houses” while Philippine National Police Senior Superintendent Wilfredo Cayat said that “there was a mismatch in the location of the housing sites and the needs of the police.” The same 2016 press release from HUDCC also states that the “AFP, PNP and NHA” had concerns about the size of the units.

Even militarymen turned lawmakers expressed critcism over that project, for last October 2015, Magdalo party-list lawmaker Gary Alejano talked about how less than 10 percent of government housing for military and police (such as the one in Pandi) were occupied, because these “were poorly designed, built with substandard materials, and lacked utilities and basic services” (Inquirer.net, October 2, 2015).
In March 2016, he would also say: “The reason for the very low occupancy rate … is because the units are not livable. It is hellish to live there. The government would only make their lives miserable and our soldiers and policemen would not be able to carry out their jobs if they would worry about the families they leave behind. There is no drainage, no water, no power, not even a playground for children” (The Standard, March 27, 2016).

But in spite of the dissatisfaction coming from the supposed recipients, the previous administration pushed through with the million-peso project.

On the other hand, Pandi used to appear in government press releases last 2013, in relation to the relocation of informal settlers that live in danger zones in Metro Manila. Then HUDCC Chair Vice President Jejomar Binay announced the availability of 4,800 housing units in Trece Martires, Cavite, and San Jose del Monte, Bocaue, Norzagaray and Pandi, Bulacan, to which illegal settlers in danger zones would be relocated.
However, last 2015, on Aquino's last year in office, an urban poor protest told that the Pandi housing project was also where victims of demolitions of informal settlements in Metro Manila were relocated. For around April of that year, 700 members of the urban poor from Navotas who were to be displaced by a road-widening project, talked about how the National Housing Authority and the local government were forcing residents to transfer to Pandi.

This was unacceptable because according to Elgar Cornista, president of the Nagkakaisang Lakas ng Navoteno Federation: “There is no livelihood there. In fact, those who have already agreed to be relocated came back, and just erected shanties again here near the fishport. In the relocation site there is no livelihood, no water, no electricity.” (PinoyWeekly, April 19, 2015)

That same month, 378 Bureau of Fire Protection firemen were awarded houses in Pandi (Inquirer.net, April 20, 2015).

It seems that the project is really long stalled yet insisted that the project was for the policeman and the soldier (and for awhile the evictee). However, coming from the statements it showed that the project was overpriced yet the materials used were substandard, of having lack of water nor electricity, as well as far from the needs every supposed resident has to insist.

But knowing that these houses were long stood and enduring its deterioration (thanks to those government officials), and at the same time there are homeless who had enough of unjust "due processes" that requires unjust queues and overpriced amounts to pay, isn't it just to take it over?

After all, according to the constitution,

"The State shall, by law, and for the common good, undertake, in cooperation with the public sector, a continuing program of urban land reform and housing which will make available at affordable cost decent housing and basic services to underprivileged and homeless citizens in urban centers and resettlement areas. It shall also promote adequate employment opportunities to such citizens. In the implementation of such program the State shall respect the rights of small property owners.

Urban or rural poor dwellers shall not be evicted nor their dwellings demolished, except in accordance with law and in a just and humane manner. No resettlement of urban and rural dwellers shall be undertaken without adequate consultation with them and the communities where they are to be relocated."



How a government official
Rather takes the side of the urban poor

In spite of administration wanting to evict the so-called "lawless anarchists", one of them rather took the side of these less fortunate "occupiers". It may sound ironic, but the action taken by that person showed how public service transcends sectors.

As Judy Taguiwalo, secretary of Social Welfare and Development, was questioned by journalists during a press conference last Friday on the issue regarding the agency’s distribution of food packs in Pandi, Bulacan last week and on accusations that the agency is giving special treatment to the “occupiers.”

There were accusations that the Department of Social Welfare and Development, who happened to be an activist, is “tolerating” KADAMAY members who occupied vacant housing units in Bulacan province by providing them assistance like food packs.

However, in spite of accusations, the secretary tried presenting and discussing other DSWD programs as well as stated that all of department's programs are for the poor. She also said that the agency is always ready to give help to those who ask, especially the poor.

Obviously, her actions showed public service as a public trust if not emphasising administration than those of politics her predecessors did. The immediate action such as providing support including those from KADAMAY shows that in the end these people are poor and in need of help, regardless of its politics.


Still, taking time struggling for decent housing

It may sound "Victorious" for KADAMAY in seeing NHA having its withdrawal, however, that withdrawal from that disputed site is not yet final knowing that there are still negotiations ongoing between two groups, especially after reports regarding its supposed recipient's dissatisfaction over the site and the occupier's desire for a decent housing.

And inspite of the just intent of the "Urban Development and Housing Law" there are still loopholes that may use for corruption. There are reports about "providing houses up to ten units to those who are able to pay" only to be rented; there are instances of overpriced housing that somehow contradicts the idea of affordable housing for least paying families.
Strange isn't it? Of what is that law or the agency that abides from it if it end treated as a goddamn enterprise motivated by profit than of service? Not all of these urban poor folks having a high paying job as well as wages or earnings insufficient to meet demands ranging from basic needs to paying rents.

But to call them lumpens or lawless elements seemed to be too much.

Currently, the occupiers continue to reside in those disputed units, struggling to have a decent housing as they're trying to clean every wall from its initial abandonment and making it habitable enough for a home. Supporting groups and individuals continue to provide them any help as possible, and in case of DSWD, it is their duty to serve these folks all according to its law.

And perhaps within these poor folk's eyes they all hope that from the place they have occupied for days means the community they desired according to their aspirations, far from their existence in the shantytowns and in the streets.



Saturday, 25 March 2017

NARROWING DOWN THE GENERAL EDUCATION PROGRAM OF THE UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES DILIMAN AS A DISSERVICE TO THE NATION

NARROWING DOWN THE GENERAL EDUCATION PROGRAM
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES DILIMAN
AS A DISSERVICE TO THE NATION

By Dr. Gerardo Lanuza Ph.D
Sociology Professor, University of the Philippines



I have been teaching general education courses for twenty-two years. And as a young Instructor at UP Diliman in 1995 all the first subjects I handled were under the general education program. I taught Social Science 1 (Foundations of Behavioral Sciences), Social Science 2 (Social, Political and Economic Thought), Social Science 10 (Gender and Society), and Sociology 10 (Being a Filipino: A Sociological Exploration).

Honestly, I found it difficult, as a young University Instructor, to teach GE subjects. It demanded mastery, if not, at least, sufficient grasp of all the disciplines and perspectives from social sciences that are necessary to come up with an integrated view of a certain topic or a theme. That is why senior faculty are better equipped to teach GE. But I survived. And I found myself loving GE subjects more than teaching the major subjects in Sociology. The reason being that GE subjects gather together students from different disciplines, with different backgrounds and year levels, who have to undergo a common and shared knowledge before they specialize.
As the UP GE Task Force (2015) puts it, “The GE program is the embodiment of the UP tradition of liberal education which “aims to provide... students with a broad perspective that would enable them, outside their own field of specialization, to engage with issues and realities of their own times as citizens with sturdy moral and intellectual integrity.”

UP GE program has underwent several revision specially in 2001 when the GE curriculum shifted from all-prescribed courses to “cafeteria-style” approach that allowed students to choose their GE subjects. Then came the hybrid program that was implemented in 2012 because of the failings of the “cafeteria-style” curriculum. Recently, last March 20, the UP Diliman University Council voted to further revise the Hybrid GE program so that each college will have the leeway to choose the number of units from 21 to 45. These shifts are not only internally generated by the UP Diliman system. These changes are mostly shaped by the forces operating outside the University especially neoliberal globalization, the internationalization of education, and the currently implemented K to 12 program. In all these epochal shifts, the University has always maintained its vision to define its general education as preparing students to become good leaders with moral integrity and critical minds.

We have now come full circle. The University has revised the GE program from a tightly prescribed curriculum to a market model (free reign of electives), then to a hybrid system (electives and required core units combined), and finally, the reduction of GE units. And if this is the way the University defines GE program as any other accessory that can be retrofitted as the needs arise, we can expect further reduction, if not, the total elimination of GE from University education in the not so distant future. The reduction of GE units from 21 to 45 means that some colleges can opt for 45, some colleges are also given the leeway to reduce their GE to 21 units. Two major problems arise: will 21 units of GE be enough to provide holistic university education for professionals? Absolutely no! This goes against the global trends in higher learning institutions that are now strengthening their GE program to combat over-specialization. Next, does allowing each college to adopt different number of GE units a healthy sign of an academic community that is supposed to foster a common and shared learning culture for all the students regardless of specialization? Again, no!

The existing 45 units GE, the hybrid system, requires students to take 24 core courses while having freedom to choose subjects to further enrich their University education. Admittedly, we don’t love all our GE subjects. Sometimes it has to do with our teachers and the course itself. But who says that you have to like the subject matter to learn? Most of us hate Math. But without Math our computational and analytical skills will be rudimentary, if not primitive. That is why there can never be complete freedom for choosing GE subjects. Otherwise no one will choose freely a much hated, but necessary subject. Who ever said that there is a royal road to humanistic education?

Definitely the new 21 units of GE is not a good number to fulfill the mandate of the University to produce good citizens who are connected to the collective wisdom of the past (notwithstanding the fact that UP Diliman now has the lowest number of GE units in the country beating UP Manila by 3 units and UP Los Banos by 6!). Some may argue that the skills of GE can also be learnt along the way as students take major subjects. But that would be defeating the very nature of GE which is different from the purpose of the major subjects. It is undeniably true that skills like mathematical and artistic reasoning can be acquired from various major courses. But the substance of these skills can only be honed and deeply explored in GE subjects. Why sacrifice GE subjects for the sake of specialization, when GE program can enhance the learning capacity of students to specialize? Why be so spendthrift to invest in shaping the minds of future generations?

Some argue that the K to12 program that contains subjects that were lowered from the college curriculum should compensate for the reduction of GE units. But with the rudimentary situation of our K to12 program, coupled with the ill-equipped training of the teachers handling these courses, and the logistical problems, the University cannot just close its eyes and hope that all is well with K to 12 program. Even if we improve the K to 12 program, it cannot be a substitute to college GE program. In fact, the University is challenged to come up with better GE program that can enhance further what is learned in K to 12.

It is quite sad for me as faculty who have been teaching GE subjects that my University suddenly decided to reduce GE from 45 to 21. I can afford not to teach GE subjects (who would not want to be liberated from having large classes?). But I cannot imagine our majors undergoing an impoverished GE program. This is beyond quantifying what an emancipated mind is. This is about the quality of minds of future leaders we will be producing as a University. Today we complain about our educated politicians as susceptible to corruption, our legal luminaries as having narrow view of legal system, of top-notch engineers and scientists who are inattentive to indigenous culture, of top-class doctors who treat their patients as milking cows, of excellent graduates who are not even aware of our territorial claims in south China Sea, of students bereft of any knowledge of our colonial past. We cannot solve these problems by further reducing our GE subjects.

University education is more than specialization. It is more than filling up the minds of facts. It is about equipping those young minds with the necessary skills (logical, communicative, aesthetic, etc.) and knowledge that they can use to assess “fake news”, evaluate complex local and global issues, gauge moral dilemmas, and be at home with comparative analysis of issues that cut across knowledge systems. We don’t wait for our students to graduate and work with a team composed of specialists from other disciplines to have a well-rounded education. It is the duty and responsibility of the University to train them to be specialists yet firmly grounded in general knowledge of the world, society, history, and humanity.

March 20 was a sad day for the University. It was the twilight of general education and the narrowing down of our university education to mere specialization and employability. Being employed is not a bad thing. But definitely it is not the end of general education as the proponents claim. Surprisingly, studies have shown that employers do not emphasize the majors of graduates (2013 National Survey of Business and Non Profit Leaders). They are looking for the attitudes and critical skills of the applicants.

Unless the exultant voices of those who succeeded in narrowing down our GE can come up with a better vision and perennial philosophy for general education, I will mourn the twilight of GE in UP. And for the coming days, I will join other faculty, students, alumni and concerned sectors with the future of the University to do something to this plummeting down of our University general education to mere narrow specialization and employability. If there is something I learned from my GE subjects it is that I should be able to question a consensus reached by a majority that has no scientific basis or any probative value to an academic community.


***

Originally posted in his Facebook page, Prof. Lanuza criticises the downsising of the general education program and its subsequent vocationalisation in tertiary educarion as neoliberal in orientation. One of its followers also stated that the downsising of the program as an attempt to disbar people's right to question unjust policies, particularly those of labor, economic or even social policies affecting the community.

Admittingly speaking, this person favours the Professor's statement as part of a struggle, not just to upheld the original 45-unit General Education program of tue university, but also to assert the need for a patriotic, scientific, and mass oriented education as an alternative to the present education system that caters to the dilapidated, unjust social order.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Of rigorous "Humanisation" over mere "Vocationalisation": In support of General Education

Of rigorous "Humanisation" over mere "Vocationalisation": 
in support of General Education

(Or all after reducing units in "General Education" to 21 from 45
 in the University of the Philippines,
And the clamour to oppose its "change")



Well, at first, this person thinks it is "safe" to say that Philippine education nowadays is nothing but a mere preparation for the youth to became trainable for cheap labour.

With policies tailored to the demands of international job market, it seems that education has becoming a mere quality control that requires students to meet certain requirements not according to the youth's idealistic desires but those the demands of vested interests. In it these youths are becoming less human and more of a machine whose lives meant to obey and work for the order.

And with the issue on removing or decreasing units in General education all in the name of K12 and its subsequent vocationalisation is not limited in a premier national university like the University  of the Philippines. It is nationwide in scale that affects both state and in private tertiary level education, thanks to these compradore educators and "technocrats" whose view leaned towards globalisation, Atlanticism, and its intensification of Occidentosis against students and people in general.
It may sound unusual at first, given that most people think that the premier national university is known for its 45 unit program, gaining to have a reputation as one of the qualities every UP student carries with; however, with a present situation such as reducing to 21 units, affects not just education in general but the molding of a student in itself.

For as according to Gerardo Lanuza, he said:

"What defeated UP General Education are not the sound philosophical arguments nor pedagogical concerns! What killed UP Diliman GE is the sheer overwhelming number of those who want to scale it down so they can be specialists! Max Weber laments these “last humans” in this long civilizational development" that the scaling down of GE will produce: "narrow specialists without mind, pleasure-seekers without heart..."

And like similar situations like calendar shifts, deregulation, commercialisation, and tying education to the labour market as dictated by neoliberal and Atlanticist interests, reducing or even removing "General Education" makes education itself far from creating a future wherein character is developed with intellect.
But instead reduces them into cogwheels the system benefits from it. For sure would notice that in a student who supposed to reason in the name of academic freedom and progressive instruction are rather end spoon fed and contented to a cycle wherein they are reciting from their textbooks and not expressing out of their thoughts during a discourse or a debate. And one would also even notice that some if not few have the thoughts to make research "as if telling a story" what more of putting practise especially in courses that requires good foundations as such.

However, in spite of its benefits such as acquiring a student a broader view of  its environment and social relationships, having an order whose policies tailored according to globalisation and Atlanticism sees a curriculum that humanises as unnecessary for a college student but instead invoke an utilitarian idea such as vocationalisation or opting those at an early age to take school or simply stop schooling and "take a trade", content in low wages and month long contracts. Sorry to say so but in living in a semifeudal-semicolonial order, isn't it that true enough? To become cogwheels in a dilapidated "machine" manned by corrupted technocrats and officials alike?

After all, its apologists favouring that goddamn change agree that having "General Education" in college level is irrelevant be it because of K12 or because students has to focus on its "major subjects"; and 302 professors voted in favour of reucing its units as those of 43 who chose to uphold the original 45-unit GE. The latter knows that besides providing a humanistic foundation, having a 45-unit "General Education" means a rigorous molding of a student to someone who, in spite of having a science course, is also able to understand fully the society and its people, to be human at first and its profession second.

Also to think that in spite all the bullshit that has affected Philippine education (not just UP but the enture commercialised, colonialised education in general), may all be reminded that education is not just a product to be graded based on its exportability as supervisors looking for the quality product within the quality control room. The question in this post is not on being able to graduate and work immediately but on the quality everyone get from what they pay to the institution to become better citizens in the future.

But at the end of the day, one would think or ask that everyone had their youthful years spent just to be taught on "how to work" without having better foundations and be graduated as spineless citizens? Say "yes" when needed even when what you meant is "no", or remain silent and ask another question out of escaping from that inconvenient "it"; but work and work alone does not really gain understanding on what one is working for, for not all work, no matter how it is "highly paid" does not translate to fun. For sure everyone knows that they are not puppets in a play if not characters who has roles to partake and lines to say. And although true that subjects like Humanities, History, Filipino, even Logic and Reasoning extends years in school, General Education is an important in the educational system for it gives a better understanding of the structure of the society as a whole and not just the technicalities of it. It is important for it gives soul to education.

And education in every sense without soul is like a boat in a dry land.

Anyway, most does not care about it, they just "move on"; only to realise that they are less of a human and more of a beast of burden. Soon it will be more neoliberal "reforms" affecting Philippine education. If all countries follow the trimestral model the Philippines may follow suit. If all countries does paying students with loans with high interest rates the Philippines will also follow suit.

And no wonder why protests happen no matter how "justifiable" or even "beneficial" a goddamned policy is.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

"A Social Monarchy, with a King for the People"

"A Social Monarchy, with a King for the People"

Fragments of the message of Don Carlos Hugo de Borbón
 at Montejurra, 1959




Background:

At first, it seems that there was a claimant who happened to take a radical path as a means of restoring order and at the same time creating a radical change, and his name was Don Carlos Hugo de Borbón.

Known for his claim as King of Spain, Carlos Hugo represented the Carlist line, known for its conservative, or even reactionary line of thought that caters to "God, Country, and King" with all its feudal trappings redescribed as "traditions".

However, Carlos Hugo took a different path far from his predecessors, as he turned the movement into something radical in the eyes of the masses, that even resulted to a break between left and right Carlists with Carlos Hugo taken the former as its lead.

One of the significant ideas that made "Carlosocialism" known is its idea of autogestion or "worker's seld management." As Spanish conservatism was and is, known for leaning to the landed classes, Carlos Hugo, who happened to be representing the movement that caters to the laboring masses desired an economic society that follows under syndicalist lines, with communes and worker's-owned cooperatives taking place of the economy and perhaps even social life, all united and guided by a King who guides as well as represents his people.

Sounds idealistic though, knowing that during his lifetime and his desire to claim the throne against then-rival Don Juan Carlos of the Alfonsine line, as well as the dictator Francisco Franco, his view swung to the "left" that also brought Some followers with him; trying to replace anything that was reactionary with something that was revolutionary and at the same time clinging to its hertage as the a movement fighting for "God, Country, and King", but supported with secondary goals like "Freedom, Democracy, and Socialism."
And because of that appeal, the movement did suffered especially after attacks by right wingers, particularly those of the massacre that happened at Montejurra in Euskalherria, that also marked the final break between left and right wing factions of the Carlist movement, of both revolutionary and reactionary factions trying to insist its legitimacy as the sole representative of the movement and the Spanish crown itself.

In this writeup, this person features a note, which was originally translated from Spanish, that was coming from the late Carlist pretender himself, who, as he tries to distinguish between himself and the other claimant, as well as Franco's dictatorship, offers a program that seemed to be interesting, one of which was his idea of a "Social Monarchy" that combines two different thoughts like those of Socialism and those of the Monarchy.

Sounds like a crowned republic isn't it?

Anyway, here it goes:


"(...) Justice was and is, always the first mission of the King. Not only to secure the individual or the country within the international order, but, above all, to establish social peace.

However, it is not a matter of establishing a paternalistic state, for the paternalistic state is the last stage of liberalism. In it, the ruler gives welfare mainly to avoid discontent and to stop every revolution. The Social Monarchy, on the contrary, guarantees that the national wealth is oriented according to what justice corresponds to each one, and not according to the monopolies of the pressure groups.

To create this (Social) Monarchy requires proper social and representative structuring. Within this structure, one of the most urgent is the union. Unions constitute one of the pillars of social sovereignty. In order to truly exercise this sovereignty, they must, above all, be authentic. Because its mission is to represent the individual framed in its profession.

Another of the pillars of the Social Monarchy are the local corporations. To mediate them in the name of better administration is to nullify them as social power. Efficiency and agility in administration is not enough. Acting like this would indicate not having passed the cycle of the liberal state.

Without a system of Municipal and Regional Liberties, Social Monarchy is just a name. The Social Monarchy will only be authentic when it is a syndicalist kind of monarchy. And Spain will only be a democracy when it is a Federative Monarchy.

Over and over, the old monarchies, broken by the liberal trials that replaced them, reappear once again in the West with the need for a solid political institution, which guarantees Europe cohesion and strength, without which freedom can not reign.

In the name of democracy and freedom, parliamentary regimes, in addition to sterilizing their people, delivered more than a hundred million men to oppression. These are the ones that demand that we rescue them, reforming ourselves radically, to be true democracy and true freedom.

But both free peoples and slaves, who crave this radical reform and feel themselves cornered, reject the overcoming of liberalism by totalitarian paths ; And they look forward to the people who set out for the political configuration of tomorrow.

They are not slightly reformed monarchical restorations what today's societies need. What is imposed in the present is all the impetus of a creation with traditional roots; It demands the same reality.

The reality of today is the people themselves, with their needs and problems; A people who want a responsible power, protector of justice and capable of arousing interest and enthusiasm.

In front of him, throughout the world, there is an absorbing, impersonal and irresponsible state, which constitutes itself in order.

We (as Charles VII said) know that it is not the People for the King, but the King for the People. In history, only the princes who knew how to assemble the forces to initiate the movement and to rescue the freedom for the towns, have been able to reconquer with their service the royalty (...) An establishment that lacked these popular roots would be exhausted soon after being born. Because "the monarchy by itself is worthless if it has no roots in the people.""

Monday, 13 March 2017

"Years after seeing a mall replaced the track"

"Years after seeing a mall replaced the track"

(or Notes after remembering the San Lazaro Hippodrome in Manila)




It seems to be too nostalgic for yours truly as he sought pictures of the old San Lazaro Hippodrome.

Now currently replaced by a shopping mall and some high rise buildings inside the once known racing park, San Lazaro Hippodrome has been remembered by many as the place where horseracing enthusiasts as well as bettors went, watch, and bet for horses racing fast from start to the finish line.

And like the earlier article about Makati's own "Santa Ana Park", this person somewhat recalls seeing those buildings that, prior to its demolition, boasted of its classy architecture that also supports its purpose as a racing park. And even making a district synonymous to it.



According to its history, the Manila Jockey Club, owner of San Lazaro Hippodrome, was formed in the summer of 1867 by a group of racing aficionados led by the Spanish Governor-General Jose de la Gandara, and supported by affluent personages sharing the love for horse racing and hence, willing to create a racing park that is, the first in South East Asia.

However, its original site was on Sta. Mesa, wherein an street is named "Hippodromo" after the first race track situated in that district. But years later, it moved to San Lazaro, wherein it lasted for decades until its relocation to a much bigger complex at Carmona, Cavite, and is now called The San Lazaro Leisure Park.
What now stands on its place right on Tayuman and Felix Huertas Streets is SM City San Lazaro Mall. And behind it are two housing development projects — Celedron Park (townhouses) and Avida Towers (high-rise condominium apartments).


Obviously, only few could remember how that building stood by from the commonwealth era down to the early years of the millennium. Very few pics are being shown in various sites as yours truly was searching about the old complex with its art deco exterior prominently featured as well as the field. During this person's childhood days he sought that building as the jeepney passes through San Lazaro district and saw the words "San Lazaro Hippodrome" and "Manila Jockey Club Inc." in its edifice. 
However, with developers, such as Ayala and Henry Sy's SM took over the entire lot, that remarkable art deco edifice, in spite of being considered as an architectural masterpiece was end demolished from top to bottom, and like any other commercial establishments rose nothing but plain simple "modern architecture" that smacks of entirely of commercialism than those of heritage. 

That somehow made heritage groups and nostalgics alike surprised and initially opposed the idea of demolishing the known building. And like themse concered, one would think that the old edifice that had built during the American period and stayed for decades must be preserved for posterity while the rest be developed as any other lot, while others would wanted to see a sports complex to take over so as to meet the demands of Manilans needing a place to engage in sports activities like track and field to football; but, since commercialism dominated much of contemporary Filipino life has resulted to seeing malls taking place of parks as center of activity. 
And at its worst, it requires demolishing it thinking ot has no use or even insisting it as old, ugly, or even irrelevant and unfit to be included in the entire complex's development. SM San Lazaro and Avida towers took place of the known hippodrome, while Circuit Makati took place of Santa Ana Park; both had good, decades-old architectural features meant to be preserved, but since commercialism triumphed, these rather end as pictures if not memories of those who sought, entered, worked, and enjoyed in and out of the building.



But all despite these the commoner thinks that life goes on as time passes by, creating numerous changes and sacrificing one for another. The case of old edifices like San Lazaro, Santa Ana, or even Jai Alai shows that no matter how remarkable the edifice is, it will end under the wrecking ball so long as commercialism and consumerism exists.



Sunday, 12 March 2017

"Storm" over a so-called quiet town

"Storm" over a so-called quiet town

(Notes on the recent occupation of mass housing projects in Bulacan)


At first, people describe the action taken days ago as chaos provoking, anarchistic in a sense that these urban poor dwellers took their matters in their hands instead of pursuing long talks with the government, as they all start occupying, or rather say expropriating a government-built village project that is still left unhinhabited in the towns of Pandi and San Jose Del Monte in the Province of Bulacan.

These poor folks, or most people described as squatters or even lumpens, are all came from Metro Manila in search of a decent housing, livelihood, and a fair share of welfare as any other working class folks alike; only to have them require papers with authorities trying to sort who deserves and who deserves not the house such as those situated in those sites,
But still, in spite of that, it is undeniable that many Filipinos are rather forced to live in the streets if not forced to remain in their stanties all due to the great imbalance of their income-payables ratio, of their earnings and of low purchase to buy essential goods ranging from noodles to soap; and in this line of thought, people cannot afford to let those housing projects rot for years or even decades, as many of these people are rather sleeping on the sidewalks or in the plaza, while the money being used to construct these housing projects by the state are came from what they call "informal settler fund."

Come to think of this, as these housing units particularly situated in Pandi, Bulacan are rather covered with vines and foliage, that obviously shows it was being abandoned, that somehow made poor folks occupy knowing that they aren't even settled not even one family before them. However, the National Housing Authority insist that these houses, no matter how it is shown as abandoned and full of vines and foliage are already allocated and they are just waiting for the occupants to come in and stay in the units.
But who? Besides the soldiers and policemen whom the authorities afforded to say earlier just to justify that there are claimants in that almost forested village?

Anyway, perhaps one would say that some people, especially those from the government  and in the private sector are so used to seeing the poor unorganized and just doing what they are told to do, noticing them come during electoral period, and comfortably (and sometimes not) seeing them as indigents, mendicants, savage fools mooching around crying for help if not liable for crimes ranging from thievery, prostitution, to those of drug abuse. 

But in seeing them this time organised and assertive seems to be as if making their world upsidedown as they took over an abandoned site such as a housing project. Critics would cry illegality simply because they occupy the entire area illegaly if not disturbing the peace in a so-called quiet town by those coming from Metro Manila! Or worse, the usual red scares, red baits, seeing red on these poor yet organised folks clamouring for peace, land, bread, homes, justice!

Few years ago, the pope once said that everyone should not get used to seeing poverty, of learning to weep as possible, and few decades ago the late dictator Marcos quoted for the sake of impressing masses of what kind of democracy the Philippines has if it is not for the poor? And contrary to most statements babbled much by the authorities, having a house will not salvage these poor folks from poverty no matter how finely built yet deprived of livelihood; maybe ending contractualization, providing free education, health, social welfare, and providing the people sustainable sources of livelihood will. But in this current seting? Not even enough especially if the reason to "provide social justice" is merely to stop people from revolting further.

Now, on the topic of legality, legal processes, and "putting matters in an orderly manner" by those so-called "legalists",  for sure it is easier to say and done the idea of punishing these poor folks simply because of occupying a disputed lot, babbling words like "Dura Lex Sed Lex" most of the time as the basis of a so-called "legal means" and of harassing them "in the name of the law. The current head of state who once declared that "there will be no demolition without proper relocation" this time cried "anarchy" and calling for police action against these poor folks as if they did an unjust crime like murder or drug abuse. Truly, madly, and deeply ingrained in their minds indeed if the state frankly call them "lumpens" and just impose punishments out of their poverty.
But come to think of this, since the law is harsh but it is the law, isn’t that laws are also made to benefit the public, being the highest form of law (as the quote goes "Salus Populi Suprema Lex"), and not those who want to make profit from state projects? Remember, if the present administration tries to curb down corruption and put trust in the bureaucracy, then now is the time for the state to prove that they are on the people’s side particularly those of the poor;
and to think that this post may likely to be described as advocating senseless aggression, if not violence against the state as they piss off those from the NHA and other institutions concerning housing, sorry to say but these poor folks are there simply because they are poor and they need a house to stay, preferably free, if not a house that is affordable enough, in which they can pay with their meager wages.

Anyway, in spite all the bullshits, that issue is a socio-economic dilemma with people, driven by their clamour for housing are rather making it straightforward by occupying idle housing projects. Obviously, it is just a symptom of a more dismal social illness, as if a volcano that waiting to be erupted.

Or truly it is, a social volcano waiting to be erupted! Change is truly coming!