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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!

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Dark Days Ahead for Matuwid na Daan July 24, 2012

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photo courtesy of Benhie BurnCools Cruz via Facebook

SaNA 2011 by Teddy Casino July 30, 2011

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In my dream, the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) went this way:

Noon isang taon, sinabi kong walang wang wang. Natupad na po ang pangako kong iyon kayat hindi ko na uulit-ulitin pa, baka sabihin ninyong OA. Nais kong sabihin ngayon na higit sa usping wang wang, marami pang ibang nagawa ang aking administrasyon.

Una, bilang bahagi ng ating pagtahak sa daang matuwid, naipakulong na natin si dating Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at dating First Gentleman Mike Arroyo sa mga salang plunder, graft at malversation of public funds. Nagpapatuloy pa ang kanyang mga kaso kaugnay ng electoral fraud, human rights violations at iba pa.

Nasa kulungan na rin sina Joc-Joc Bolante, Cito Lorenzo at ibang kasangkot sa GMA fertilizer fund scam; sina Ben Abalos, Virgilio Garcillano, Lintang Bedol, Zaldy Ampatuan at iba pang sangkot sa dayaan noong halalan ng 2004; sina Manoling Morato, Rosario Uriarte at mga nagpasasa sa pondo ng PCSO; at sina Efraim Genuino at kanyang mga alipores sa dating management ng PAGCOR.

Patuloy nating tinutugis ang mga may pananagutan sa pandarambong na naganap noong nakaraang administrasyon. Hindi natin sila tatantanan.

Ano naman ang hinaharap ng tuwid na daan?

Pinirmahan ko na bilang batas ang Freedom of Information Act at ang Whistleblowers Protection and Rewards Act. Itong dalawang batas na ito ang magtitiyak na hindi na mauulit ang karumal-dumal na nakawan at pang-aabuso noong mga nagdaang administrasyon. Ito ang magbibigay ng kakayanan sa ordinaryong mamamayan, ang aking mga boss, na bantayan ang sarili nilang gobyerno.

Sinibak ko na rin sa pwesto ang aking mga abusadong kaibigan, kaklase at kabarilan. Mantakin ninyo, gusto lang pala nilang palitan ang supplier ng kape sa PAGCOR na nagkakahalaga ng isang bilyong piso bawat taon. Yung isa nama’y gustong humalili sa Stradcom bilang eksklusibong kontratista ng LTO.

Natanto ko na rin na hindi porke’t walang korap ay wala nang mahirap. Kayat marami rin akong ginawa para baguhin ang sistema ng ekonomiya.

Tinanggal na natin ang VAT sa kuryente at langis. Epektibong naibaba ang presyo ng mga produktong ito at naidagdag sa bulsa ng mamamayan ang pera. Higit pa riyan, bumaba ang cost of production at nakaalwan sa presyo ng iba pang mga bilihin at serbisyo.

Sa kuryente ay binago na natin ang performance-based regulation ng Energy Regulatory Commission para ang konsyumer ay magbabayad ayon lamang sa aktwal na presyo ng kuryenteng ginagamit niya at hindi para mag-ambag ng kapital sa Meralco at iba pang distribution utilities.

Nananawagan ako sa Kongreso na madaliin ang batas para i-regulate ang power generation at ibalik sa kontrol ng pamahalaan ang TRANSCO. Kailangang ibalik sa ating mga kamay ang pagmamay-ari at kontrol sa napakahalagang sektor ng enerhiya. Inatasan ko na ang NAPOCOR na muling magtayo ng mga planta na magbibigay ng murang kuryente para sa lahat.

Tungkol naman sa langis, napabuksan na natin ang mga libro ng oil companies at napatunayang dinadaya nila tayo sa presyo at sa buwis. Dahil dito’y bumaba ng bahagya ang presyo. Napakababa pala ng ibinabayad nila sa income tax kumpara sa bilyun-bilyon nilang kinikita. Naman.

Hindi natin pinansin ang mga credit-rating agencies na wala namang ginawang tama. Kinausap ko isa-isa ang ating mga creditors at ipinaunawa ang pangangailangang ilimita ang pagbabayad ng ating utang batay sa ating kakayanan. Ngayon ay may sapat na tayong pondo para igugol sa pagpapaunlad ng sariling ekonomiya at pagbigay ng sapat at de-kalidad na serbisyo.

Pinahahalagahan ko ang pagtaguyod ng industriyang Pilipino. Sa ngayon, 90% na ng mga gamit na binibili ng gobyerno ay gawa sa Pilipinas, resulta ng ating bagong Filipino-first procurement policy. Dahil dito at sa iba pang programa ay lumalago ang pagmamanupaktura at napapahusay ang kalidad ng kanilang mga produkto.

May mga nagsasabing pinepersonal ko raw ang pag-angat ng kabuhayan ng ating mga magsasaka. Totoo po: Personal talaga sa akin ito. Kayat napakiusapan ko ang aking pamilya na ipamigay na ang Hacienda Luisita sa mga magsasaka, tutal ilang dekada na kaming nakinabang doon. Ngayon, maunlad at masaya na ang ating mga magsasaka.

Sa aking mga boss, kung may gusto pa kayong ipagawa, sabihin n’yo lang. Gusto ko, happy ka.#

FULL ARTICLE HERE

Arouse, Organize, Mobilize July 24, 2010

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I was moved to write on this post after seeing this the huge turnout in the latest University-wide walkout for Education at UP Baguio, leading to P-Noy’s SONA. When I say huge, around 1500 of the 2,000 students of UPB went out of their classes in protest of the prevailing 300% tuition fee and other fee increase (TOFI) in the UP System, the consistent budget cut for UP and the Education sector as a whole and the incessant commercialization scheme in state colleges and universities. A simultaneous protest was also held by UP Los Baños students in Congress through a State of the Youth Address, but this was faced by violence and intimidation by PNP elements.

Personally, this is the first time in recent years that I saw such a significant turnout in terms of warm bodies attending a broad protest calling for a variety of issues surrounding the education sector. And it agitated and pushed me more to continue in our task of educating the students in the university to progressively take on the challenge of every UP student to serve the people by fighting for our democratic rights and welfare for a quality and accessible education.