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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.


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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!


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.

Demolition Job. It’s More Fun in the Philippines January 11, 2012

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Violence marred the demolition of an urban poor community in Corazon de Jesus, Pinaglabanan, San Juan City, Metro Manila, a known bulwark of ousted President Joseph Estrada. Several dozens residents and supporters were injured and illegally detained by police and demolition team to give way to commercial development in the prime land. Estrada’s son with incumbent mayor Guia Gomez, JV Ejercito currently serves as  congressman of the city’s lone district. Welcome to the Philippines!


photo by Luis Liwanag via Facebook

photo by Francis Malasig via Facebook

photo by Francis Malasig  via Facebook


Goodbye, Fr. Pops! Justice be served! November 3, 2011

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Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME (1952-2011)
He was ambushed on October 17, 2011 by suspected elements of Philippine military. He was a an advocate and defender of indigenous people’s rights and the environment. He ws parish priest of Arakan, North Cotabato at the time of his death.

I may not have known him personally but through his acts of kindness and courage in defense of the national minority, the environment and of just peace in Mindanao, his memory will forever reside in the hearts and minds of the people in struggle for that very same cause.

Long live your memory and struggles, Fr Pops!

Artists’ ARREST statement on the censorship of the Kulô exhibit at the CCP August 9, 2011

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At his point, any defense or attack of the artwork “Poleteismo” by Mideo Cruz is already moot and academic because it will always be subjective and it runs the danger of keeping our attention away from the more pressing concern at hand. We say this because, as it happens, the debate surrounding the artwork has been focused largely on its artistic and moral merits at the expense of calling our attention to what we think are more disturbing actions: the demand of a certain faction of the Catholic church for the resignation of the CCP officials; the vandalism of the artwork and in effect the CCP gallery in which it is in exhibit; and the decision of the CCP to close the exhibit.

People have come to the extent of calling the CCP an antichrist and Mideo a demon and the forum intended as a discussion about the exhibit turned into a rhetorical riot. But on the brighter side, some people have managed to intelligently either defend the artist’s work or attack it both based on well-placed intentions to serve the people and defend social values they think are in peril. These actions are very much welcome and acceptable. Cruz himself categorically stated that he is welcome to criticisms. And we should encourage these criticisms and discussions if only to come to the most humane and useful appraisal and attitude towards the artwork. But at the moment, there is no reason to actually evict it out of the CCP gallery or, much worse, to destroy it.

That everybody is allowed to his or her opinion is a given in this situation. In the same respect that Cruz exercised his freedom of expression in his artwork which many find sickening and offending, everybody is welcome to express their opposition and even disgust to Cruz’s work up to the extent that it is constitutional and non-violent. At this point, Cruz is in fact already subject to gnashing criticisms by those who find his work offensive and they are very much free to expose or depict it for whatever farce or travesty that they think it is—in writing, through art, or even public assembly. The half-successful attempt of an unidentified man and woman to destroy the artwork of Cruz by defacing it and setting it on fire, albeit failed, however, is beyond acceptable. For one, it already constitutes criminal intent and ramifications not simply because it destroyed Cruz’s private property. Trying to set it on fire could’ve also burned the gallery or even the entire CCP. It is pretty much like “tirang pikon” as we say in Filipino. READ FULL STATEMENT HERE.

Ref: Artists Arrest Facebook

Democracy as Religion August 9, 2011

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By Roby Alampay

(The author is editor-in-chief of InterAksyon.com. The article reflects his personal opinion.)

The latest word is that the Cultural Center of the Philippines has taken down a controversial exhibit deemed by some, maybe many, as “blasphemous”. No less than the Philippine Daily Inquirer condemned Mideo Cruz’s installation, calling it “Art as Terrorism”.

Inquirer’s editorial says that “violence should never be condoned”, but only to add that in the case of people vandalizing Cruz’s art and attempting to burn it down, it is “understandable”.

Of everything we have seen and heard in the past week, no exercise of free expression has been more dangerous.

Indeed, the CCP Board says they are taking down the exhibit not because it has been convinced of any folly, but plainly because they have been threatened. It is they who have been terrorized.

Art may be subversive, it may be idiotic, it may be senseless, and yes, it may at times be so insulting as to be expressive of a death wish. But it is by no stretch of the imagination terroristic, for the nature of art is that it may be powerful to express, but never powerful enough to hold anybody hostage. Beliefs are probably (and just as well) challenged but always remain free. Faith is tested, and may even be swayed. But art can never coerce. It does not even try to convince, but only to instigate, and at this, it has a chance only among those who bother to visit and to look.

What are we to do, the insulted ask, when our faith is attacked by images and words, never mind that they hide behind the cloak of art and free expression? The answer to that is plain to demonstrate. You do what you are already doing, all the various and valid things you have been doing. Some have opened their minds to what Cruz is trying to say – whatever that is. Some have entered into discourse. Some have ignored Cruz altogether, with a few shaking their heads but accepting the truth that in a civilized society a man with a death wish does not necessarily mean everybody else’s right to oblige him. And then some use free expression and art, as much of it that they, too, can muster, without taking a knife to their offender, or a match to the CCP.

Worldwide and throughout history, there are countless examples of art, protest, and press freedom blurring the lines between art and sensibility, and more important, testing the limits of tolerance, if not therefore expanding the democratic space.

Let us take it from the experience of Muslims. (Let us be honest to start, in other words: If there is any religion that truly reels from shallow and irresponsible discourse in the Western-media dominated modern world, it is Islam.) Just before 9/11, and even before some Danish cartoonist with balls started drawing Mohammed, Islamic nations led by Pakistan had begun calling annually for a non-binding UN resolution condemning “defamation of religion”. Every year from 2001 to 2010 the proposition received a majority vote from the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.

But every year, too, that majority vote had grown smaller and smaller, with previously fence-sitting members of the UNHRC one-by-one siding with the resolution’s steadfast critics: they who had warned that the broadly-worded resolution would likely be used by repressive governments to stifle any expression that can even remotely be tied to religious sensibilities. (The Catholic Church in the Philippines, for example, ties faith and decency to everything from the Reproductive Health debates to jueteng.)

The “religious defamation” lobby, in a strategic retreat, abandoned the annual campaign for a UN resolution against defamation of religion this year. Instead, it sought common ground with advocates for free expression, who were coming to every annual vote with an ever-growing list of reports and governments that had been proving their fears well-founded. The result: the UNHRC this year voted unanimously, no longer passing a resolution “combating defamation of religions”, but in its stead, one (with a deep breath) “combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief.”

Two crucial shifts in the thinking. First, the focus goes from requiring governments to protect religion, to demanding that states protect individuals. Second, the emphasis is no longer on religion, but on tolerance.

The consensus no longer calls for restrictions on legitimate expression. Instead, it takes a more constructive and positive approach, emphasizing education, not prison and not violence, to weed out intolerance and bigotry (which, in any culture, is always seen as a symptom of maleducation, bad breeding, and an immature society.)

It is tolerance will ultimately benefit all, the heretics as well as the faithful.

Let the artists be weird. They can only try to push the boundaries of thought and expression. That is why they are called the avant-garde. They are soldiers further in advance of the army itself, slashing and burning and clearing the path for whatever may follow. The boundaries must be expanded, but the artists themselves have no power dictate where the rest of society will go.

For governments, on the other hand, as even the Organization of Islamic Conference effectively conceded, the reflex to empower itself, and to restrict rather than expand democratic space, is automatic. The notion that states can and should define and execute what is criminally insulting is an invitation to destroy all that a nation such as ours supposedly upholds: democracy as well as, ironically, faith itself.

Imelda Marcos, coming down on the side of the Inquirer, spoke of the Cultural Center of the Philippines as sanctuary for the Filipino soul. For all, she said more specifically, that is true, and good, and beautiful about this nation. She throws in the proposition that as a state institution, there is no place in the CCP for any thought that could insult any religion.

Actually, it is the other way around. As a state institution consecrated to the arts, the CCP should be agnostic to the notion of insult, and dogmatic to the possibility of expression, to the chance of happening upon art.

Art as Terrorism? Try Democracy as Religion. Where democracy is dogma, every expression is prayer, freedom is shared and miraculously multiplied to nourish the multitude – the idiots and even abusive among them. Abuse, of course, as in all religions, is a sin; but abuse of thought is also always indefinable, and so in the democratic theology, tolerance is the highest virtue. Democracy provides the only true environment where you can defend your faith, if you really have it, while also protecting the rights of others, if you really believe we all deserve it.

Ref: http://www.interaksyon.com/article/10515/democracy-as-religion