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Repost | Bakit Kasama ko ang Anak ko sa Rally August 3, 2014

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by Vincent Silarde

So according to some random social media rant I read (not for the first time) somewhere, I am one of those irresponsible and misguided parents/adults who go to rallies with children in tow. And now there’s this news that according to cops, I am also a human rights violator for doing so. The current state discourse accuses me of bad parenting for bringing my child to a protest rally which, many are led to believe, are senseless and violent activities harmful to minors. While I admit that I am in fact a lousy parent sometimes, I don’t believe that making a rally buddy out of my daughter amounts to negligence. On the contrary, it is with the best intentions (because good faith already sounds like a dreary cliché) that my wife and I decide to go to a protest rally as a family. Allow me to explain why.

All year round, naysayers try to discredit the legitimacy of mass actions on account of it being violent, senseless, and obsolete. Every time I hear this, I can feel all the cells in my body erupting into a collective “DUH!”. But I don’t actually say “DUH” as I get the impression that most people who profess strong opposition to protest rallies have not actually been in one and their impressions of it are mostly informed by biased and uncritical media reportage and a faint sense of history.  They fail to consider, for instance, that most of the basic human rights we enjoy today were fruits of people’s painstaking struggle.

And because people who diss protest rallies were not in attendance, they are not aware that these events, which the media frequently depicts as some lumpen and counterproductive activity that just causes traffic,  are actually moments filled with art, imagination, good vibes, learning, humanity, and love. In here, we hear the story of exploitation of people who happens to be excluded also from social media where most of us enjoy the privilege of gratuitous ranting and self-promotion. My wife and I believe that it is important for our grade school child to hear all these so that she would be aware that out there in the big world, poverty and injustice are not just activist propaganda but real problems that lead to the suffering of families just like her own.

Protest rallies are also art fairs and music festivals attended by many of our best artists and cultural workers. Last SONA, Pinoy rock luminaries The Jerks and Datu’s Tribe shared the stage with punk bands, rap artists, and street performers on Commonwealth Avenue. Scriptwriter Ricky Lee was also there. On several occasions, I also saw Monique Wilson marching on the streets before giving a moving performance of Do You Hear the People Sing from Les Miserables. This is very important for us because while we do not oppose to our child’s choice of Katy Perry , One Direction, and Miley Cyrus, we find it our responsibility to show her that art and music have forms and uses other than hedonistic pop merchandises.

Lastly, we take our child to protest rallies because we believe she needs to experience this to realize that there is an alternative to the dreams and desires promoted as natural and honorable by the dominant culture. Many of us are too preoccupied with constructing and pursuing individual dreams that tend to consume our humanity and dissuade us from the urgent and logical task of dreaming collectively as a species and society. We are consistently and deviously led to believe that we should work our assess off to acquire penthouses in condominiums with pretentious names; vacation homes in staid resort communities that have more yayas, gardeners, delivery boys, and security guards than homeowners most of the time; big cars which make short, ugly, and pompous jerks feel and look (at least in the eyes of gold digging and equally pretentious chicks) pretty and super; overpriced meals in overrated restaurants; memberships in exclusive golf and country clubs erected on lands that used be home villages of poor farming and fishing communities.

Very little attention and action is paid to our supposedly shared responsibility of ensuring, first and foremost, that no one should go hungry, live under subhuman conditions, be prevented from swimming at the beach on account of non-membership or non-ownership, or die because he could not afford to live.  So some of us end up climbing social mountains and look utterly pathetic. Bootlicking and ass-kissing are ensconced as time-honored traditions and virtues. We forget that instead of striving to be the best and fastest social climbing bastard, we have a choice to destroy or level the mountain to the ground.

And the system has even succeeded in making more money for the already tremendously wealthy out of our insecurities and anxieties. Financial institutions make huge profits from the business of selling mutual funds, car loans, life insurance, education plans, health insurance, etc because we have resigned to the idea that basic social services such as universal health care, public education, social security, mass transit, among others, cannot be institutionalized as a right instead of a privilege.

It is in these protest rallies which oppose the privatization of hospitals and contractualization; call for the increase of workers’ wages, national industrialization, end of human rights violation, job creation, genuine land reform, protection of the environment, among many others, that we are able to, in our humble way, encourage our child to refuse to “live in a world of comforting illusions.” And unless I see for myself that these protest rallies have ceased to become the edifying and inspiring activities I’ve known them to be, I will continue to be there with my family, arms raised, fist clenched, and chanting IPBK Ibagsak!

Junk the Cybercrime Law! October 3, 2012

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Sign the petition HERE.

Dark Days Ahead for Matuwid na Daan July 24, 2012

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photo courtesy of Benhie BurnCools Cruz via Facebook

Tribute to a Fallen Comrade and Friend July 9, 2012

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Highest Tribute to a Martyr of the People


your memory will always be cherished

‘Ka Arman was former Secretary General of  Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)-Southern Tagalog. He was the son of murdered Bayan Muna coordinator Expidito and Gabriela leader Manuela Albarillo in San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro on April 8, 2002 alegedly upon orders of then Col. Jovito Palparan, commander of the 204th Brigade Philippine Army.  He became aan internal refugee from 2002-2003 due to massive militarization in Mindoro and for fear of their lives. In pursuit of justice for his fallen parents, he joined full time as activist for people’s and human rights organization until becoming Sec-Gen of BAYAN.

As a mass leader, he led various people’s mobilizations  in the region and in Manila. He was one of the signatory in the 2006 impeachment complaint against PGMA and complainant in the cases filed against PGMA and Jocjoc Bolante before the Ombudsman in 2007. He also represented the region during the 3rd international Assembly of the International League of Peoples Struggle sin Hongkong in July of 2008.

However in 2008, at the latter end of Arroyo’s OPLAN Bantay Laya II, he along with other 71 leader activists in the region now known as Southern Tagalog 72 (ST-72) were lodged with trumped up charges of non-bailable offenses forcing him to go underground and ultimately decided to spend his full time and strength with the peasants in Quezon Province, this time as revolutionary cadre of the New People’s Army.

On June 30, 2012, in an apparent barbaric and inhumane attack by Army soldiers in San Narciso, Quezon, he along with 10 other fighters were martyred.  He left with her wife three children. He was 34.

Marajaw! Sights and Tastes of Siargao May 24, 2012

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Last week, I had a chance to join a four-day trip to the infamous yet isolated surfing paradise of Siargao. I was there as part of our office’s support to the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Read-Along Storytelling session. For this event, our storybook entitled Marine Crusader was chosen to be shared to some 100 school children in Del Carmen town. Though the activity only lasted for hours, the limited flight schedule to and fro of Siargao Island forced us to stay at least two more days, meaning more time to explore and enjoy the wonders of country’s surfing capital.

Siargao is composed of several islands and islets bounded by the vast Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Dinagat Islands and the Mindanao mainland. It is composed of 8 mainland towns and 1 island town, all boast of their unique wonders . Siargao is geographically under the province of Surigao del Norte, whose capital, Surigao City is more than two-hours by motor boat. One can also take the Manila-Cebu-Surigao route to Siargao via Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines (this is our route due to full booking).

What to experience: There are many to mention about Siargao, from surfing, swimming, spelunking, partying, etc. But as far as our limited time spent there, I could only share so much. In fact, while still there it already came to me to be back there perhaps next summer, like for a week stay. Sharing here some snaps of our two day excursion:

Surfing at Cloud 9



Island Hopping 



Where to stay: There are many affordable and high-end accommodations around the island to choose from. We stayed at Cherinicole Resort and Kesa Cloud 9 Resort. For more details, please check this site for more information: Wow Siargao.

NOYNOYING. Busy Doing Nothing March 18, 2012

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by Max Santiago


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Opisyal na Pahayag ng UPLB DEVCOMSOC sa Hindi Pagproklama ng CEB kay Ynik Ante bilang UPLB USC Chairperson

Noong Pebrero 29, isang malinaw na panggigipit sa isa sa ating mga lider-estudyante ang natunghayan ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas Los Baños. Si Ynik Ante, standard bearer ng partidong SAKBAYAN o Samahan ng Kabataan Para sa Bayan at miyembro rin ng UPLB Development Communicators’ Society, ay hindi iprinoklama bilang University Student Council (USC) chairperson-elect sa kabila ng pagkakapanalo sa bisa ng 1, 479 boto ng mga estudyante ng UP Los Baños.
Bago pa man mag-umpisa ang kampanya para sa eleksyon ay kinuwestiyon na ng ilang kasapi ng CEB o Central Electoral Board ang kandidatura ni Ante sa batayang ito ay hindi pa nakapagbabayad ng kanyang matrikula at naka-promissory note lamang. Ayon sa promissory note ni Ante na tinanggap ng CEB noong Pebrero 6 (panahon ng pagsusumite ng kandidatura), kailangan niya lamang mabayaran ang kanyang matrikula sa takdang araw na Pebrero 29 (walang nakasaad na oras), upang masabing siya ay lehitimong mag-aaral ng unibersidad.
Ganap na alas-5 ng hapon ng Pebrero 29 nang tuluyang makapagbayad si Ante. Ngunit sa hindi maipaliwanag na kadahilan, isang oras bago (alas-4 ng hapon) mabayaran ni Ante ang kanyang matrikula ay nagpasya na ang CEB na iproklama si Joyce Divino ng BUKLOD, pumangalawa kay Ante sa botohan, bilang USC chairperson-elect. Ito ay matapos makakalap ng maling impormasyon ang CEB kaugnay sa kakayahang magbayad ni Ante sa itinakdang araw.

Ito ay malinaw na pambabastos at pambabalewala sa boses at lakas ng mga estudyanteng bumoto at nagluklok kay Ynik Ante upang mamuno sa konseho. Ang kawalan ng kapasidad ni Ante na makapagbayad ng matrikula ay isa lamang indikasyon ng lumalala pang komersyalisasyon at pribatisasyon ng edukasyon, hindi lamang sa UP kundi sa iba pang state colleges at universities sa bansa. Ito ay tahasang pagsagasa sa karapatan ng mga lider-estudyanteng handang maglingkod upang isulong ang karapatan ng mga Iskolar ng Bayan. Hindi magiging malaking isyu ito kung iginalang lang sana ng ilang miyembro ng CEB ang karapatan ng mga mag-aaral na tulad ni Ante.

MARIING KINUKONDENA NG UPLB DEVCOMSOC ANG DESISYON NG CEB AT AMING IGINIGIIT NA SI YNIK ANTE ANG DAPAT IPROKLAMA BILANG USC CHAIR. Kaisa ng pinakamalawak at natatanging alyansa ng mga organisasyon sa UPLB na nagsusulong ng interes ng mga mag-aaral, ang SAKBAYAN, at ng kalakhan ng mga nagkakaisang Iskolar ng Bayan, hindi natin hahayaang manatili ang mga represibong hakbangin tulad nito. Hindi natin hahayaang manaig ang interes ng iilang ganid sa kapangyarihan. Bagkus, ating patuloy na itataguyod ang interes ng higit na nakararaming Iskolar ng Bayan. Patuloy tayong maninindigan laban sa komersiyalisasyon at pribatisasyon ng edukasyon upang hindi na maulit pa ang mga insidenteng tulad nito at hindi na madagdagan pa ang mga estudyanteng kapos sa pinansya at hindi makapagbayad dahil sa napakataas na matrikula sa pamantasan.
Higit sa lahat, nananawagan kami sa CEB na manindigan sa tama at nararapat. Huwag pigilan ang proklamasyon ni Ynik Ante bilang UPLB USC Chairperson sa dahilang walang kakayahang magbayad ng matrikula. Siya ay lehitimong estudyante at siya ay nararapat na mamuno sa konseho.

I-abante ang karapatan ni Ynik Ante, ang karapatan ng mga Iskolar ng Bayan!


Tribute Video to the Victims of Lawlessness and Violence in Los Banos March 6, 2012

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Justice to Ray Bernard Peñaranda, Rochelle Geronda and Gicen Grace Cebanico!

Tungkol sa pag-upo ni Ynik Ante, mga rally, at anik-anik pang cheverloo March 3, 2012

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Note: This repost is an opinion essay by an org brod on the case involving our sis, Ynik Ante (SAKBAYAN), the duly elected Chairperson of the UPLB University Student Council last February 22-24 elections. Despite the legitimate mandate of the Iskolar ng Bayan of UPLB, the Central Electoral Board maliciously decided not to proclaim Ante and instead recommended the proclamation of BUKLOD-UPLB’s standard bearer, Joyce Divino (2nd Place) on grounds of technicality due to a supposed late-payment of tuition fee of Ms Ante. Apparently, Ante was able to have her Form 5 marked registered on the same day the CEB ruled against her. This is in effect rendered the CEB ruling moot. However, the CEB led by OSA Director Lt. Col Vivian Gonzales continues to disregard the mandate of Ms Ante, which is an utter insult and brazen violation of students rights. 

ni John Mervin Embate

Studyante ka muna bago ka maging leader?

Sa ibang aspekto, oo, maaari. Subalit sa kabilang banda,alalahanin mo na mamamayan ka muna ng bayan bago ka naging estudyante, at tungkulin mo na maglingkod. Mandatory yun, mga hijo at hija. Kung mag-aaral ka ng Pamantasan ng Pilipinas, wala kang choice kung hindi ang maglingkod. Yun nga lang, may tunay at may japeyk — kahit naman sa totoong buhay hindi ba?

At papaano mo ihihiwalay ang mga tunay na naglilingkod sa naglilingkod-lingkuran lang?

Ang naglilingkod, kayang magsakripisyo. Kayang ihanay ang prayoridad sa buhay — iuna ang pagsisilbi kaysa sa gimik, kaysa pamilya, kaysa sarili, at oo, sa pag-aaral.

Nakatrabaho ko si Ynik sa maraming pagkakataon. Sis ko siya. Kaibigan ko siya. At alam ko kung ano ang inilalaan niya para magsilbi, para maglingkod sa bayan, para sa mga estudyante. Sabihin na natin, na, oo, medyo hindi nga siya kabilang sa mga estudyante sa unibersidad na laging nagta-top sa klase, hindi nga siya yung tipo na tuta ng mga professors, pero hindi matatawaran ang oras at pawis at dugo na inaalay niya para sa pamantasan, at para sa mga estudyante na bumubuo sa kalakhan nito.

Tapos sasabihin ninyo na hindi siya mabuting ehemplo sa mga estudyante?

Hindi ko ito sinasabi dahil lang sa Sis ko sya. O dahil kaibigan ko siya. O dahil pula ako (oo, inaamin ko) at suportado ko ang pag-rarally sa lansangan. Sinasabi ko ito dahil ito ang alam kong tama, at ito ang ipinamulat sa akin ng apat na taon kong pananatili sa unibersidad.

At hindi ko lubos na masikmura ang paninira sa kanya ng mga tao. Hiling niyo at pakiusap ang katotohanan sa bawat posts niyo, sa bawat rantings niyo, ngunit laman ba nitong mga “sabi-sabi” na to ang katotohanan at katotohanan lamang?

Mahaba at nakakaburat ang usapin tungkol dito sa karapatan ni Ynik na maupo bilang USC Chair. Pero nagsalita na ang balota. Pinayagan syang kumandidato. Hinarang nung una, oo. Pero pumayag din. At ngayong nanalo. Tapos biglang babawiin?! Ano to, pawnshop?

Subalit ang hindi ko mas lalong matanggap ay ang mga estudyante na may negatibong pagkiling sa pagrarally. Well, hindi naman trabaho ng mga nag-rarally na i-please at i-pamper ang lahat ng estudyante. Pero nakakatawa lang. Tila lumalabas kasi na ang mga estudyante ngayon ay wala ng utang na loob at respeto sa mga taong naglalaan ng oras, ng panahon, nagsasakripisyo na magbilad sa araw, magpakabasa sa ulan, pipigilan pa ng mga pulis, mumurahin (kulang na lang duraan sa mukha), aarestuhin, ikulong, yapakan ang karapatan — lahat ng ito para lamang maisulong at maihain ang kanilang pinaglalaban. At sa impormasyon niyo lamang po, KAYO po ang kanilang pinaglalaban. Hindi po nila ito ginagawa para lamang makalamang. Hindi po nila ito ginagawa bilang pogi-points. Ginagawa po nila ito dahil ang layon po nila ay mapanatiling matatag ang karapatan ng mga estudyante at ng mga marginalized sector ng lipunan.

Oh eto. Isang bulok pero relevant na halimbawa. Nung pumutok ang TOFI, sino ang naunang ipinaglaban ang karapatan mong magbayad ng tamang tuition para sa isang state university? At ano nga bang batch mo, hijo, hija? ‘08? ‘09? ‘10? Teh, hindi ka pa estudyante ng UP, yung kapakanan mo na ang ibinabalandra nila sa kalsada.

At pagkatapos, sasabihin niyo na naiinis kayo sa mga nagrarally? Na porke may karapatan silang magrally, e pwede na silang magrally kahit kelan nila gusto? Hindi po ito pagtetext, o pag-iinternet, o pag-mamasturbate na pwede niyong gawin kung kelan niyo naisin. May purpose po ito. May halaga. At nakakalungkot na ipinaglalaban nila ang mga taong walang-pake, mga taong-kebs, kumbaga, mga taong tae.

Ikaw ba, ano na bang nagawa mo sa pamantasan? Sa palagay mo ba ang pag-aaral at pag-eexcel sa klase ay sapat lang? Isa kang mabuting estudyante kung gagraduate ka with honors. Pero naging mabuti ka bang mamamayan?

Tandaan mo, hindi ka lang estudyante sa Pamantasan ng Pilipinas; estudyante ka NG Pamantasan ng Pilipinas. Magkaibang-bagay yun. Bitibit mo ang pangalan ng iyong bayan kaya mayroong nakapatong na responsibilidad sa’yo para maglingkod. At ang paglilingkod na iyon ay tagus-tagusan mula sa simpleng pag-upo sa klase, pakikinig sa titser, pagsusulat ng notes, pagpapaphoto-copy ng handouts, at pampeperpek sa eksam. Kung ganoon kang klaseng estudyante, sabihin mo nga, anong pinagkaiba mo sa estudyante ng ibang pamantasan? (Pero sa loob-loob mo, kung makapagsabi ka ng UP and Others, aba, kapal mo lang!)

2011 Bar Exam Results February 29, 2012

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Congrats to our new lawyers, SERVE THE PEOPLE!

2011 Bar Exam Results