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Junk the Cybercrime Law! October 3, 2012

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Sign the petition HERE.

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Tribute to a Fallen Comrade and Friend July 9, 2012

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Highest Tribute to a Martyr of the People

ARMAN ALBARILLO (1978-2012)

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.

NOYNOYING. Busy Doing Nothing March 18, 2012

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by Max Santiago

SI YNIK ANTE ANG ATING USC CHAIRPERSON March 7, 2012

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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!

DEFEND OUR VOTES!
PROCLAIM YNIK ANTE!

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!

Negros Earthquake Destruction February 10, 2012

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Landslide area in Bgry Planas, Guihulngan City (photo by Florence Baesa)

Brgy Planas, Guihulngan City (photo by Florence Baesa)

Brgy Planas, Guihulngan City (photo by Florence Baesa)

The ground zero of the landslide (photo by Florence Baesa)

Damaged house in Guihulngan City (photo by Florence Baesa)

A vehicle damaged by a collapsed structure in Guihulngan City (photo by Florence Baesa)

A collapsed building in Guihulngan City (photo by Florence Baesa)

Weary residents and their children (photo by Florence Baesa)

'Our houses are not safe' (photo by Florence Baesa)

'Outdoor meal' (photo by Florence Baesa)

A damaged road in the Guihulngan City-La Libertad boundary isolates the city. Walking from a far is ABS-CBN reporter Jorge Carino (photo by Florence Baesa)

AFTER SHOCKS. Residents are rendered in their feet as the ground continue to shake due to prevailing aftershocks. (photo by Florence Baesa)

Guihulngan City, perhaps one of the hardest-hit area after the 6.9 magnitude earthquake suffered tremendous loss of lives and destruction of property as shown in these photos courtesy of Dumaguete-based journalist Florence Baesa via Facebook thru Negros By Night blog.

Notes of the Week February 2, 2012

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Impeachment Trial. Despite my busy days as my end-of-contract is just around the corner, I still manage to follow the daily Impeachment Proceedings and be educated and amused with it. So amusing that my office mates are wondering of my sudden and random burst of laughter usually between 2 to 5pm. Special mention to ANC (when I’m at the office) and to Radyo 5- 92.3 FM (accessible via my phones’ FM Radio, whenever I’m already heading home) for the coverage and analyses.

New Vocabulary: Llamas. Someone from Twitter coined a word called llamas meaning pirated or piracy. Ex. Hindi ako bumibili ng na-llamas na DVD  (I don’t buy pirated DVDs). Obviously, this is inspired by no less than the controversial PNoy’s Political Adviser Sec. Ronald Llamas who is now referred to by some to as the ‘Pirate King’. As of posting time, Llamas purportedly had already asked apology to the President. Llamas is also an identified Akbayan stalwart before his appointment in Malacanang. Late last year, his bodyguards were intercepted and caught in possession of several high powered firearms, including an AK-47 inside his SUV.

Beauty Contest Bloopers & Sen. Gordon. Spot.ph‘s Top 10 List of Most Unforgettable Pinay Beauty Queen Answers just made my night the other day. While I was amused by the unintended blunders and shortcomings in said events, I was equally tickled seeing former Sen. Richard Gordon’s reactions while Jeannie Anderson (Top 1o in the list) was answering the the question thrown by Ms Universe ’69 Gloria Diaz. See for your self HERE.

Youngblood: A Simple Man January 24, 2012

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I am sharing/reposting below an article written by a friend, Roge Gonzales which appeared at the Youngblood section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Roge, 23 is a development journalism major at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. He was a former regional chairperson of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines:

Youngblood, PDI — My dad died several months ago. A heart attack triggered by complications from his diabetes ended his life at 62 years.

It was most painful to see my father lying inside a casket especially because I had not yet fulfilled the dreams I wanted to accomplish for him. But his passing also gave some kind of strength to every one of us in the family.

He did not have political power because he was not a public official. Neither did he have fame since he was not an actor or celebrity. But his funeral rites drew almost a thousand people. He was a simple man but a great man nonetheless.

My father spent most of his life as an overseas worker, someone whom the government gives the flattering title of “bagong bayani.” As one of the topnotchers in the civil engineering board exam, it was easy for him to join the first exodus of professionals to the Middle East during the Marcos era. He was there even before he married my mother. They kept their romance alive through love letters.

I practically grew up without a father by my side. However, he never failed to attend every commencement exercise in my elementary and high school years. One time, he arrived as the awards were being handed out after a nine-hour bus ride from Manila and, before that, a long flight from Doha, Qatar.

Shortly after he decided to stop working abroad, he suffered a mild stroke. He was partially paralyzed and almost lost his speech. Thankfully, he recovered—but only after several months of hospitalization and therapy. His medical bills, including professional fees for his doctors and multicolored tablets and capsules, wiped out everything he had saved over several decades as an OFW.

To save money, dad had one of his operations done in a public hospital. I can still picture how the wards at the Philippine General Hospital looked like, with around a hundred patients lying in one room, each one requiring urgent medical attention, much like an infirmary in a war zone.

My father once told me that the governments of countries in the Middle East provided people like him with additional medical benefits (he was given a free supply of insulin, for example). From that point on, I always wondered why in our country hardworking people do not get the services they deserve.

Entering the University of the Philippines and getting involved in the school publication eventually provided me with the answers. I learned that protecting workers’ rights was never a priority of lawmakers. I learned that sending workers abroad was not just a matter of “personal choice” but part of the government’s labor export policy. I was awakened to the fact that allocations for social services, such as health and education, were drastically reduced during Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term.

In one of our conversations, I asked my dad why he chose to work abroad. He told me that he couldn’t bear to be part of a corrupt system that was devouring the motherland. He used to work at the Department of Public Works and Highways, but in just a few months he was seeing contractors making payoffs and politicians getting kickbacks from government projects. He said he didn’t want to feed us, his children, with food that came from stolen money. Because of my father’s example of making a living through honest labor, I find it hard to comprehend how powerful individuals can live from day to day with their conscience even as they pick the pockets of the people who pay taxes.

These days at home, I sometimes miss my dad’s frank commentaries as he read the newspapers or watched television. He had the ability to make concise analyses of burning issues. I wonder what he would have said now that the peoples of various Arab countries, where he once worked, are protesting against their fascist regimes. What would his take be on the Occupy Movement’s protest against corporate greed around the world?

I have come to realize that my political views were forged neither inside the walls of the university nor in street protests but by a whole lifetime of dad’s experiences. He was able to point out to me the conditions that need to be transformed into something much better.

These days I can’t shake off the feeling that what I believe to be the purpose of my life isn’t any different from what a mother of a desaparecido, such as Erlinda Cadapan, or a daughter of a slain journalist, such as Mika Ortega, yearn for. All of us want to attain social justice and to do away with a system that tolerates neglect by those who should be held responsible for making our society better.

During dad’s burial, I sent a text message to close friends which dad inspired during our family’s darkest hours. It read:

“We need to change this kind of society wherein parents are forced to sacrifice their love for their families and leave their homes in order to overcome the harsh realities of our society. We need to continue building our dream of a better future so that the next generations will no longer have to act this way.”

Ref: http://opinion.inquirer.net/21661/a-simple-man

Video: Lantern Flying for Sendong Victims at UPLB January 20, 2012

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Snaps: Lantern Flying for Typhoon Sendong Victims @ UPLB January 20, 2012

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On the night of January 19 (incidentally, my birthday), some 600 lanterns were flown into the sky of UP Los Banos to symbolize the sympathies of the Los Banos community to the victims and survivors of typhoon Sendong (International Name: Washi) that devastated the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in Mindanao and Dumaguete in Negros. Most importantly, the event was able to raise modest amount from the lanterns sold to individuals and organizations for the benefit of the affected residents, specifically in the rehabilitation efforts.

Heart-shaped lantern

One for Sendong Victims

Up up and away