Monday, December 14, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Thank you very much!
Sunday, October 25, 2009
The Manila Times
24 October 2009, Page A-4
http://www.manilati mes.net/index. php/opinion/ 4581-response- to-stimulus- measures- must-not- peter-out- editorial-
Response to ‘Stimulus measures must not peter out’ editorial
This is in response to your editorial of October 22, 2009 with the title “Stimulus measures must not peter out.” First, we would like to commend the editorial staff of The Manila Times for discussing important issues surrounding government spending, the proposed P1.54-trillion national government budget and the unresolved question of the national debt especially in a time when the country is suffering from fiscal and climate crises.
We, from the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) agree with many of the views shared by the editorial piece especially its scrutiny of the 2010 budget and its seemingly anemic budget allocation to capital outlay with appropriations amounting only to P183 billion compared to debt servicing which has total appropriations of P340.812 billion, or 22 percent of next year’s national budget. We also agree that in a time of an enduring economic crisis, the government must instead increase social and economic spending in order to maintain liquidity, widen the fiscal space and create more jobs. This proposal has been asserted by FDC numerous times under the Arroyo administration amid the backdrop of a then looming global economic crisis which was slowly manifesting itself within our domestic economy.
However, we would also like to take this opportunity to clear our position on the non-payment of debts or the call for debt repudiation which the editorial piece seems to disagree with. We strongly diverge with the opinion that debt instruments even if vastly overpriced and tainted with corruption should and must be “humbly and sacrificially swallowed as a bitter pill by succeeding administrations and the people.” We believe such an opinion is misplaced if not outrightly masochistic as it subscribes people to a slow and painful death transcending generations and governments.
We have witnessed the result of the decades-old policy of religiously servicing the debt over and above social and economic spending. Due to underspending, actual expenditures were lower than was programmed. In fact, health spending per capita from 1980 to 2007 never exceeded P100 while basic education spending per capita from 1980 to 2004 never surpassed P3,500, or less than a $100 dollars.
This year alone, actual spending (P355 billion) for the first quarter is P6.8 billion lower than the programmed (P361.9 billion). As such, the idiom “to swallow the bitter pill” to describe the government’s alleged unpleasant but necessary decision to service all its debts is an understatement. The truth is, we are not being forced to swallow small bitter tablets of medicine to cure particular illnesses, rather, we are forced to ingest ill-prescribed medicine that exacerbates our insatiable debt addiction.
Second, such a perspective brings out the worst in supposedly noble and admirable Filipino values such as utang na loob, delikadesa and palabra de honor. In an effort not to be seen as balasubas and a swindler in the eyes of the global community, even under the threat of extreme poverty, hunger and economic degradation, we would be chivalrous to a fault rather than be merciful and charitable to ourselves. This now becomes a case not of a virtuous assertion of values but a tragic affirmation of feudal ethical moorings mixed with plain and simple machismo. We would rather sacrifice our children and the future of their children than default from an obligation which was not of our own making alone. Where are the values, decency and dignity in that?
This brings us to the issue of accountability and responsibility. While we do agree with you that our national leaders are culpable for bringing us in this mess and must be replaced and held accountable for their transgressions, international and regional lending institutions are not so innocent as they want themselves to be perceived.
Again, we stress that the country’s debt problem must be understood from a broader historical, political and economic context to determine how they are used by creditors as instruments in distorting our economy as well as the exercise of power, and the use of this power against the interests and welfare of the people. Through this, we determine not only the unacceptability and unfairness of our debts or whether all debts are in fact “institutional,” we also extract responsibility and accountability from our lenders.
Furthermore, the debts which FDC wants cancelled and/or repudiated are debts which are, by their own merits, have been found to be evidently illegitimate due to lack of due diligence on the part of the lending institutions and the government. In fact, no less than the Senate and House of Representatives themselves recognized this and refused payments for such obligations during the 2008 and 2009 National Government Budgets. Sadly, the President, subscribing to the idea of “honor,” vetoed this.
Hence, our call for the repudiation and/or cancellation of all illegitimate debts are both addressed to our government and the international lending community. In the final analysis, while debtor countries’ governments must be held accountable for the acquisition of illicit, negligent if not illegitimate debts, lending countries and institutions must likewise acknowledge and accept responsibility for contributing in the making of such debts.
Now is the perfect time.
MILO N. TANCHULING
Freedom from Debt Coalition
Note: Original editorial piece posted below.
The Manila Times
22 October 2009
http://www.manilati mes.net/index. php/opinion/ 4433-stimulus- measures- must-not- peter-out
Stimulus measures must not peter out
On today’s front page there’s a story about the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warning Asian countries against prematurely slowing down their fiscal stimulus measures. The IMF thinks the signs of global economic are still too obscure. People must not discount the possibility of the recovery coming to a halt. The IMF had to issue its cautionary remarks because some Asian countries—mostly the richer, export-dependent economies that have suffered much more than the poorer economies—taking an overly optimistic view of the faint signs of global recovery now plan to stop their stimulus measures next year.
“These plans should proceed cautiously until the recovery seems assured,” Deputy IMF Managing Director John Lipsky warned.
The IMF message is directed largely to countries starting from relatively high debt levels, such as Japan, India, and Malaysia, and those empty-cradle countries beset by aging-related fiscal pressures, such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
But the message to continue taking strong measures to stimulate the market and trigger more consumer spending applies to us Filipinos as well.
Yet, our economic managers seem to have decided to be so sanguine about the global recovery and the resiliency of our economy that they do not find it wrong to spend less on capital outlays next year than what is budgeted for the present year.
Out of the P1.54-trillion budget in the 2010 General Appropriations Act, which is 8 percent bigger than this year’s budget of P1.44 trillion, the Arroyo administration plans to spend only P183 billion on capital outlays—infrastructure and other big ticket items. These capital outlays, on roads, bridges, ports, schools, etcetera, provide employment and therefore salaries and wages that give workers’ families money to spend and keep our consumer-driven national economy humming.
Where will the bulk of next year’s P1.54-trillion budget go? The money will go to increase the salaries of government employees, which is normal in an election year. The salary increases will also end up being used by families to buy what they need. Therefore they will contribute to market activity, which will help improve Gross Domestic Product statistics.
But an even bigger chunk of the 2010 budget will go to debt servicing—or payment of loans that are maturing next year. The debt-payment share of the budget will be the same or bigger than this year’s share, which is 22 percent of the entire national budget.
The reduced capital outlays and the huge debt servicing budget made several congressmen, albeit ones known not to belong to the massive majority of Palace allies in the House of Representatives, call the administration’s priorities in the budget “weird.”
Rep. Walden Bello (Akbayan) says those who drafted the 2010 General Appropriations Act seemed to have been wrongly convinced that the global recession has ended or will surely end in 2010. But, most cautious economists would recommend caution (which the International Monetary has done).
“We will still need to resort to counter-cyclical spending,” Bello explained. “The public sector, meaning the government, needs to intervene in the economy in order to counterbalance private sector collapse.”
Basically Keynesian counter-cyclical policy means government should always be ready to counteract the bad effects on the population of the boom and bust cycles of an economy. So, government should encourage spending, and in fact do a lot spending, during downturns but tighten credit and restrict the money supply during inflationary periods.
Especially with our economy having been badly hurt by Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng and the horrible floods in Central Luzon, particularly Pangasinan, and in Metro Manila, and the destruction of farms in Northern Luzon, the government must spend billions to stir the economy back to life. But the Arroyo administration will be taking the opposite tack in 2010.
The budget cut on infrastructure spending next year “is a suicidal move,” Bello says, “for our fragile economy is projected to grow by only one percent this year.” And “the international economy . . . is still in crisis.”
Bello describes the capital outlays that the administration is reducing next year as “the very element of the budget that has the greatest multiplier effect.”
Postpone debt payments
We do not necessarily agree with the Freedom from Debt Coalition when it calls for the repudiation of debts abroad, especially those that are for projects that are vastly overpriced and tainted with corruption.
When a Philippine government signs a debt instrument, even one that gives a huge kickback to the president or some economic manager or another, it must be humbly and sacrificially swallowed as a bitter pill by succeeding administrations and the people. These debts are institutional. And we cannot make cafeteria choices of the obligations the Philippine government is saddled with. It is our, the people’s, fault for having placed in power crooks to handle our government. If we do not want them to continue office because they are corrupt and will incur debts we don’t want to acknowledge, then we must revolt or in other ways boot the rascals out.
But there is a middle way. Especially in times like these—when we have been affected, though not severely, by the global recession and are still laid low by Ondoy and Pepeng, and now face the prospect of, God forbid, more disastrous natural calamities—why don’t we make a strong case with our creditors for postponing our debt payments. The World Bank and the IFC have made some happy noises about possibly agreeing to a deferment of payments from damaged economies.
The administration should not hesitate to take that route.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
You may direct your donations here:
1) FDC office is accepting donations in cash or kind. you can reach us @ 9211985 or 09209093242, tulungan po natin mga kasama naapektuhan ng bagyong "Ondoy"
2) AKBAYAN is organizing a relief drive for Marikina, Cainta, Malabon, Pasig, Escopa and Tatalon.
The following items are badly needed:
- Ready to eat food (cooked rice, boiled egg, bread, easy to open canned goods)
- Water (bottled, or in 10-gallon containers)
- Blankets and towels- Clothes
Volunteers are also needed to help pack and deliver the items.
If you wish to help, pls call or txt: 925-58-43/ 09175381816 (Bayantel lines down so use these numbers). Akbayan office address:
#36 b madasalin st sikatuna vill quezon city. Tulungan natin ang isa't isa, at buhayin natin ang diwa ng bayanihan.
3) Other authorized relief centers:
This is the list of verified relief centers where people can drop off their donations for the victims of "Ondoy:"
UP College of Arts and Letters Go to: College of Arts and Letters (CAL) University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City Hotline: 09296454102 (Prof. Roselle
Pineda) Look for: Guard on Duty (in UP CAL) Operations: 24 hours until Wednesday tentatively You can: # Donate medicines, clothes,
blankets, food to be distributed by Citizens’ Disaster Response Center.
Erica Paredes Go to: Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City (Call or text contact number for complete address) Contact #: 09174741930 Look for: Erica
Paredes Operations: Throughout the week tentatively, from 10 am to 6 pm You can: # Donate ready-to-eat foods like hard-boiled
egg, bread, packed juice, sandwich filling # Volunteer to prepare sandwiches and distribute goods
NoyMar Relief Operations – QC
Go to: Balay Expo Center, Farmers Market, Cubao or in White Space, Pasong Tamo Ext., Near BMW, Makati Look for: Clare Amador or
Jana Vicente Hotlines: 09285205508, 09285205499, 0908-6579998, 0939-3633436, 9137122 Operations: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
throughout the week until further notice. Website: http://www.marroxas.com/ You can: # Donate drinking water, old medicines, clothing,
blankets, canned goods, noodles # Volunteer to man stations and repack food.
Miriam Quiambao and World Vision Development Foundation
Go to: One Orchard Road Building in Eastwood or at the World Vision office at 389 Quezon Avenue, corner West 6th St., Quezon City
Hotline: 0917-8623209 Look for: The guard in the lobby (on One Orchard Road) Website: http://www.twitter.com/miriamq,
http://www.worldvision.org.ph/ Operations: Until Sept. 28, 2009 (Monday), 24-hour operation You can: # Donate goods like clothes,
blankets, canned goods, crackers, mattress, hygiene kits, noodles, bottled water, oatmeal, instant coffee, sugar (for relief pack to
be distributed by World Vision) # Volunteer to help repack relief goods for World Vision starting today at 7pm # Deposit cash
donations to World Vision Development Foundation, BPI savings account number 4251002415 and BDO savings account number
Go to: Philippine Army Gym inside Fort Bonifacio, Makati or General Head Quarter’s Gym in Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, EDSA,
Quezon City Hotline: 892-3417 (direct line), 845-9555 (trunkline) local. 6464 and 6466 Look for: Any personnel on duty
Operations: Ongoing everyday for 24 hours until further notice You can: # Donate relief goods (no cash) # Call hotline for rescue,
evacuation or relief assistance. # Call to report missing persons
Papemelroti Gifts and Decorative Accessories
Go to: 91 Roces Ave., Corner Scout Tobias, Quezon City or mall branches in Ali Mall Cubao, SM City North EDSA, SM Fairview, SM
Megamall, Glorietta 3 in Makati, SM Centerpoint, SM Southmall Hotline: refer to website for individual branch numbers Website:
http://www.papemelroti.com/ Operations: Mall hours (10am-9pm), ongoing everyday until further notice You can: # Donate goods like
canned goods, clothings, blanket, cooking utensils and other relief goods EXCEPT cash.
Ateneo de Manila University Disaster Response Group
Go to: Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights , Quezon City, Manuel V. Pangilinan Building Center for Student Leadership
Lobby, University Dorm Cervini Hall Hotlines: 09089977166, 09178952792, 4266001 local 5050 Look for: Gio Tiongson, President,
Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral Website: http://www.ateneosanggu.com/ Operations: 24-hour operations for the entire week You can: #
Donate goods like bottled water, sardines, canned goods, candles, cup noodles. # Volunteer to help repack relief goods, administer
basic first aid. # Report missing persons. # Seek evacuation/temporary shelter at University Dorm Cervini Hall. Citizens Disaster
Response Center (CDRC) Go To: 72-A Times St., West Triangle Homes, Quezon City. Hotlines: 9299820, 9299822 Operations: 8 a.m.
onwards. You can: # Donate money, old clothes, blanket, bigas, munggo. # Volunteer to help distribute goods.
Go To: Veritas Tower , West Ave. corner EDSA Look For: Karla Turingan Hotlines: 9257931 to 39, 0918VERITAS Operations: 24-
hours, tentatively until Tuesday. You can: # Donate old clothes, food, assorted goods, bottled water, cash.
Our Lady of Pentecost Parish Go to: 12 F. dela Rosa cor. C. Salvador Streets, Loyola Heights , Quezon City Hotlines: 632 4342397, 63 2 9290665 Operations: 7
a.m. till 10 p.m. Sunday, until further notice. You Can: # Donate packed meals, bottled water.
Victory Fellowship – Fort Bonifacio Go to: Victory Fellowship, Every Nation Building , across Market-Market, Fort Bonifacio Look for: Pastor Bernard Marquez Hotlines:
813-FORT, 8171212 Operations: Tentatively until 5pm, may may extend hours. Entire week until Friday. Website:
www.twitter.com/VictoryFort You can: # Donate canned goods, milk, bottled water, clothes, cash. # Volunteer to help pack relief
Sacred Heart of Jesus Chaplaincy
Go to: Hillsborough Village, Cupang, Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila Hotline: 8428148, 8079847 Look for: Genelyn Sembrano,
Meanne Cuneta Website: http://www.sacredheartofjesus-alabang.org/ Operations: Tuesday-Sunday (Sept. 29-Oct 4). 8 am to 12 noon, 2 to
6 pm You can: # Donate water, blankets, shoes, clothes and other goods # Donate in cash
PASIG CITY LUZON RELIEF: Volunteer / Donate / Pray
Go to: Renaissance Fitness Center, 2nd Floor, Bramante Building, Renaissance Towers, Ortigas, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City Hotline: 0929-8713488 Look for: Warren Habaluyas, co-founder E-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org Operations: Monday to Saturday (Sept. 28-Oct. 3), 9am-7pm You can: # Donate non-perishable food items,
beddings, pillows, blankets, clothes # You can donate cash but it is not encouraged
- Compiled by Annalyn Ardoña and Patricia Faustino, GMA NEWS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS
4) For more on the donations, you may follow this link: http://www.google.com/landing/typhoon-ondoy.html
Overwhelming because of the wealth of information, the opportunity to learn all about Climate Change and to use all these in the faith-based campaign I am coordinating for my organization, the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC).
However, after the September 26 disaster that submerged more than half of Manila (mainly Marikina, Rizal, Pasig, some parts of Quezon City), I already knew that catching up with the issue of Climate Change becomes an urgent and hard reality. This time there's no more room for half-measures, half-truths and quick-fix solutions because the wrath of nature does not exempt anyone. Although at this point, the main culprits are refusing to take any accountability especially on the historical aspect, climate campaigners including myself (a newbie) have to advance and move on because much scrubbing needs to be done in as much as all people living on this planet have to realize that they too have important roles to play and they have to do their share NOW (including the ones reading this post).
More to come...
Monday, August 17, 2009
Shared via AddThis
Matuto na tayo, please lang!
Monday, August 10, 2009
- First of Three Parts: Can President Arroyo explain her wealth? Gloria gets richer, fastest, beats Cory, Ramos, Erap by Malou Mangahas
- Part 2: Gov’t spends P45M on road to lot Arroyo sold for P42M
- Sidebar: The Foggy Financial History of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Will our country ever see light?!@#
The author of this post is requesting bloggers to re-post this to as many sites as possible. She also mentioned that Sen. Mar Roxas was shaking hands to the masa who attended the funeral.
All I can say is pa-yellow, yellow ribbon pa kayo but you can't even live up to what it really stands for, hmp!
My good friend sent me an e-mail with a blog post from a Facebook user named Happy Feraren. While she was waiting for President Cory Aquino’s cortege, she and her Mom decided to buy a yellow umbrella. They were then given a yellow beaded bracelet afterwards for free. However, when they looked closer at the bracelet, it had the picture of Senator Jamby Madrigal, who recently declared her intention to run for the Presidency in 2010. Senator Madrigal, with all due respect, I think you’ve crossed the line with your politicking. Giving away campaign materials during the memorial service of former President Aquino is just foul and disrespectful.
Here’s a picture of the supposed Jamby Madrigal Bracelet:
Full quote of the narration of Happy after the break.
Now that we’ve remembered, relived and recreated the spirit of ’86 let’s make sure this yellow ribbon doesn’t get tangled up in other people’s political campaigns.
Subtle electioneering IN A FUNERAL?!?! SHAME ON YOU. Do not ride on Cory’s wave to pursue your vested interest. The people who waited in the streets weren’t there to see you! The revolution doesn’t belong to you, phony politician, it belongs to the people. And what makes you think you could get away with such a dirty trick? Cory’s lasting impression of sincerity, humility and honesty is now the benchmark of what leaders are supposed to be. You think people don’t see through you? The respect we have for Cory is not something you acquire with falsity (or through endorsement from Judy Ann Santos) it is earned. How dare you pose as someone offering sympathy to the Aquino family while you think about the votes you’re going to get come election time.
As I waited for the cortege (news networks’ new favourite word) along the South Super Highway, my mom and I bought 2 yellow umbrellas from this street vendor who was also selling nuts. And then as we paid, he pulled out something from his pocket – a yellow beaded bracelet nicely packed in a small clear plastic bag. Upon handing it over to us, he said: “Eto o, bonus para sa inyo.”Of course my mom and I were pleased and were all “awww how sweet.”Until I actually looked at the bracelet and saw a little tag with the name and photo of Jamby Madrigal.
I called out to him and asked, “O bakit may Jamby Madrigal itong bracelet na ito” and when I looked at the vendor for an answer he had already walked away.
Maybe an hour before this incident, I saw her car passing by the growing sea of people. Window open, flashing the L sign and strangely enough, a cameraman in front filming the people. My mom started shouting “Transparencyyyy!” and then I looked at her asking if I could put up my middle finger and my mom looked at me and said I should just shout transparency, accountability or good governance. In other words “BOOOOOOOO!!!!” And then the two of us just started shouting BOO JAMBY!!!
I am utterly disgusted by you, Ms.Madrigal. And to you other filthy politicians, behave yourselves because we are all watching you, even if you’re supposedly Cory’s “favorite” mayor. Genuine democracy is People Power and everything Ninoy and Cory stood for. It also means that now, whenever there’s a phony claiming he or she is there to protect Cory’s legacy, we will be able to speak up and act with the same fearless fervour we had before.
You know sometimes I wish I could march in the government offices with a magical broom that can sweep away all the dirty politicians we have in this country. A giant clean up, but this time not just for the environment but for our government. Haha, imagine if we could really do that? I’m already writing down the names of the people I’d attack first with my magic walis!
So, before you file for candidacy (a bit too late though in this case) think again. Actually, good luck! The people have remembered.
Taken from Facebook Notes
Senator Madrigal, if memory serves me right, there were close to 300,000 people during Cory’s memorial service. By spitting at her memory by campaigning, you just lost 300,000 votes for 2010. I’m sure you will lose millions more when this piece of information spreads out to the general public. This Jamby Madrigal Bracelet fiasco is something that I just can’t stomach.
To all bloggers out there, please re-post. Let’s get the word out.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Thanks Ka Bobby!
(Met and worked with Ka Bobby at the time when she was a member of the jury for the Titus Brandsma Award Philippines. I was the Award secretariat then, 2002-2004)
Business World Online - Opinion Section
By Carolina S. Malay
(As of August 10, 2009)
We seem not to be able to stop thinking about Cory Aquino even as her mortal remains have been laid in their final resting place. There are still many lessons indeed to be learned from her life, and from the role she has played in our nation’s history.
Even more perhaps than other Filipinos, this is important for those of us who fought long and hard against the Marcos dictatorship, and who staked our very lives in the struggle for a new social order built on justice, truth, freedom and democracy.
Permit me to share with you some of the thoughts that have occurred to me these last few days.
I’ve been thinking that perhaps Cory Aquino’s charisma derives from the way (ironically, because she was born into an elite family) she had certain traits that ordinary people could relate to.
For one, the ordinary Filipino seeks to avoid direct political involvement, and will take a hand in it only when pushed too far. Cory Aquino appeared to have the same attitude especially at first, and even in recent years whenever she felt strongly about an issue.
This does not mean, however, that the ordinary Filipino is basically clueless, susceptible to manipulation, and only too willing to be led down a predetermined path. Many players in the political arena made this mistake about Cory Aquino during the tumultuous period after her husband’s assassination and well into her presidency. They were to find out that she insisted on making up her own mind, on the basis of her core beliefs and reasoning, possibly also on her intuition as to the motives of those seeking to exert their influence on her.
Just like the ordinary Filipino, this woman whose only wish was to lead a quiet life would declare one day that enough was enough, and from then on bravely confronted the challenge posed by the oppressor. We all know what happened afterward as Cory Aquino accepted the role of symbol and embodiment of the antidictatorship struggle.
We recall the intense debates within the Left around the question of support for Cory Aquino, which would signify the Reds joining the Yellows against the Marcos dictatorship. In the end, the decision was to boycott the snap election, to go the necessary extra miles in order to achieve deep-going changes in the existing system, in the structures of power, in the relationships between classes in society. Seeking a quick resolution to the crisis, according to this position, would only mitigate the people’s righteous anger, give new life to the decaying system, and revive the people’s reliance on foreign intervention. In short, taking part in this method of ousting Marcos would mean turning our backs on the revolution.
I was one of those who argued for the boycott position, and when EDSA came about I could not rejoice; I only felt sadness. It was truly disappointing to think that all our efforts — the struggle for which hundreds of thousands had offered their blood, sweat, and tears — had come only to this, the restoration of what martial law had taken away.
After the death of Cory Aquino, memories and thoughts have been stirring slowly in my mind, going back to what happened more than 20 years ago.
That span of time taught me to understand and sympathize more deeply with Cory Aquino; I have grown in solidarity with her as a woman, a fellow citizen, and a fellow human being. I admire the way she stretched the limitations imposed by society upon women, upon the wives of politicians, and upon those who were born into privilege. Although I did not share all of her advocacies, I came to believe in her sincerity, the goodness of her heart, her lack of pretense.
On the other hand, I have to say that I am not ashamed to have been a "hardliner" in the past; there was, after all, nothing personal in my refusal to go along with Cory Aquino at the time. (I think that no one on the Left had a personal dislike for her.)
Not a few times have I silently blamed EDSA whenever I hear people complain that the Philippines seems not to have moved forward from what it was before.
I do agree, however, that the movement made a big mistake when it tried to stop the people from asking Cory Aquino to take over from Marcos; I know now that it will always be a big mistake to go against the wishes of the sovereign people.
I see two reasons. The first has to do with the physical distance separating the mass movement from a central leadership that had to rely largely on reports from within the organization and from the mass media. I think that physical distance became political distance, and there was a grave misreading of the people’s temper and actual level of political commitment especially in the urban areas.
Another reason for such a costly mistake, it seems to me, was the failure to humbly recognize, and accept, the people’s judgment in casting their lot with the peaceful option offered by Cory Aquino. These two factors are probably related to a certain frame of mind, a style of leadership, that we ought to be discussing — though not here and now.
I am thankful that we have the space where we can honor heroes and martyrs of the resistance to martial law, as well as a space where together we can continue to search for the unfolding answers to the questions that history spawns in its wake.
Ms. Malay is the chair of the Museum Committee of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation. She joined the underground resistance during the Marcos dictatorship and became part of the National Democratic Front’s negotiating panel in the peace talks with the Aquino administration.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
A Leftist’s Reflection on the Death of Former President Corazon C. Aquino
By Emmanuel M. Hizon
This reflection/analysis was published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer in its Talk of Town last August 9, 2009 with the title "Celebrate what Cory truly represents."
I will readily admit, when news of former president Corazon C. Aquino reached me, I couldn’t care less. Why would I sympathize with somebody who was given the unique opportunity to lead a revolutionary government, only to squander almost all the opportunities that came with it to realize the people’s dream of a truly transformative democratic transition? Whom instead of repudiating Marcos’ odious debts and thereby putting some closure to his nightmarish dictatorship, instead, chose to honor it to the last cent and in so doing prescribed the future generations to a life of poverty and forced indebtedness?
I have learned, then as a young activist, how Mrs. Aquino as President, sinned by omission on the issue of Mendiola massacre. In this case, would it be just to give my condolences when the martyrs of that fateful day are still without justice while the perpetrators are free and unaccountable – the foremost of which is now the mayor of Manila.
Why would I shed tears for her when the farmers and workers of Hacienda Luisita are still tied to the same grueling class conditions which her government had perpetuated? Clearly, as much as she was a symbol of liberal democracy, is an agent of, consciously or unconsciously, by flaw or by will, her own class compulsions.
And why would I mourn with Mrs. Aquino’s family when they did not even bother to express their grief to the countless farmers, unionists, activists and leaders who were summarily executed under the Aquino administration? How could I possibly identify to such interment, when ordinary people cannot even afford their own coffins much less have the attention and help they so badly need from the media, the church and the do-gooders?
Why will I then mourn the death of a reputed member of the oligarchy, a known cacique, a defender of elite democracy, an unrepentant associate of the landed and elite class which for almost all written history has treated the masses, “the great unwashed” as mere subjects, possessions and playthings to advance their whims and elite dispositions?
Who could forget the Aquino government’s pro-US military bases stance? Who could not recall her government’s US-backed low intensity conflict and total war policy against “insurgents” which in truth harmed the masses more than its perceived enemies?
Are we not entitled to our anger, to our discernment, to dredge up old yet throbbing wounds, to tell the people’s real stories which many of us have chosen to disregard? Why not? Because it’s rude? Because we are disrespecting the dead? How about our dead? Is it ill-timed or inappropriate? Then when is the right time? When will the time of the people come?
These are just some of the many questions that swirled on my head these past few days like confetti dropping wildly from some high-rise building in Makati. Nevertheless, I contented myself with the proposition that my current disposition is valid, politically correct and consistent with the masses’ interest and pulse. Cory will not have my sympathy.
But then again, as I was watching Mrs. Aquino’s funeral service, I cannot help but notice the continuing pouring of support and sympathy from many people. I am not talking about here of middle class people who we often associate with Cory but rather, of ordinary, everyday people; the labanderas, the obreros, the manangs, the urban poor, the probinsyanos; the very same masses we from the broad left movement have sworn to serve with utmost passion and dedication.
They have no anger in their eyes, no impassioned tirades on the Aquino government’s horrible mistakes, no finger pointing, no rage, no resentment. All I saw on television was a long yellow line of sad heart-broken faces waiting for their turn to view their president one last time; mourning as if they too have lost a loved one, grieving as if they too lost something important in their life.
My first reaction was sheer amusement and bewilderment which immediately turned into anger. How could the people have possibly forgotten? How could have they possibly forgiven Cory and her regime when they were never given any exoneration from their misery and poverty in the first place? How could they idolize her and identify with her?
I concluded this could be the result of the Filipino people’s overt romanticism, its legendary propensity to easily forgive and forget which inevitably fused with corporate media’s proclivity for creative spins and spectacles. I said to myself, this would quickly fade as it was quickly created with the people going back to reality; back to their wowowee dreams, back to our same old rubbish shitty lives.
However, each passing day was a revelation. Particularly, what struck me most was when people were asked why they were there. Almost all answered that they wanted to pay tribute to the woman who helped them restored democracy, who helped them reclaimed what was rightfully theirs. From the mother who brought her daughter all the way from Isabela to teach her about democracy, the students who were too young to even remember Edsa 1 up to the laborers and the poor who proudly claimed to have been participants to people power 1, 2 and even 3, all said it was because of democracy.
Then it finally dawned on me why this woman despite her regime’s numerous social and economic transgressions is so loved and cherished by a people representing three generation of Edsas. It’s not so much because she is religious, a mother-like figure to many, a glorified widow or simply a martyr; beyond the labels, our ideological flexing and the comfortable branding of pundits, Cory has been duly recognized by the people as an icon in their transition from despotism to rule of law, their struggle from tyranny towards a sense of freedom and democracy. Cory is first and foremost the representation of that ideal, of that difficult journey towards democratization, of that collective national experience.
And it did not stop there. She will also be remembered as a defender of that particular form of democracy flawed and wanting it may be in so many ways, not measuring up to our Marxist concept of a democratic archetype. From people power 2 which removed an incompetent and corrupt regime up to her participation in the fight to throw out the illegitimate Arroyo regime and its sinister plan to amend the constitution, Cory will be remembered and respected as a person who despite her privileged status joined the people in their most trying and important political junctures.
She will also be remembered for her seemingly incorruptible disposition and her lack of desire to cling to power more than what was bestowed to her. This is in sharp contradiction with the succeeding governments that followed her especially the current Arroyo regime which has shown its penchant to further its illegitimate rule through a combination of brute force and fake consent.
However, beyond Cory and beyond the mourning, the public must also be encouraged to use this period as a time of reflection and deliberation. We, the Filipino people and as a national polity must realize now more than ever that Philippine democracy and freedom must not only be celebrated and acknowledged as it is; it must be furthered, deepened and enlarged.
While leviathan icons may emerge in historic political moments, the people must become conscious of the fact that they themselves are their own icons. They are the real power behind the people power uprisings, they are the undeniable force which restored and have defended this young and fragile democracy; and yes, they are the image and symbol of the struggle for meaningful change. Once the people have realized and embraced this basic yet powerful fact, any conversation concerning the so-called poverty of icons will be naught.
Moreover, while the nation grieve Mrs. Aquino’s passing, let us also remember and grieve for the countless and nameless people that have been wronged, oppressed and in so many ways been deprived because of decades of systemic neglect and elite rule which unfortunately, Ms. Aquino’s government was a part of. Justice and accountability must be extracted from the “invulnerables”, the so-called privileged ones, the ruling class without any exemption to a particular regime or personality; even it means revisiting old yet unhealed wounds and/or bringing to the ground heaven-like reputations.
Let us not forget the martyrs and survivors of Mendiola massacre, the workers and farmers of Hacienda Luisita, our beloved Lean Alejandro and all the brave kasamas who were tortured, incarcerated and summarily executed before and under Aquino’s term as well as the succeeding regimes. Any celebration of democracy without the accordance of justice to those who thirst for it will not only be empty and meaningless, it will also be insulting and degrading to us as a people.
Hence, we as a people must undergo this profound process, a period of mourning and grief for the loss of a symbol as well as a time of contemplation and renewal of our national aspiration for genuine change, justice and equality. This is the only way to have a complete and truthful celebration of what Cory represents and symbolizes without the illusions, the frills, the romanticized concepts and wrong notions while remaining faithful and true to the people’s cause and interest. ###
by Sj San Juan
Instead of using her vast dictatorial powers under a revolutionary government to craft a genuine land reform program, President Aquino tossed the issue to a landowner-led Congress. In turn, Congress enacted a watered-down version full of loopholes that destroyed the intent and spirit of agrarian reform. But perhaps she cannot go against her own comprador roots, hailing from the landed Aquinos and Cojuangcos of Tarlac.
President Aquino could have made the transition to peace relatively easy by pushing through with a general amnesty to all political rebels. Instead, her military prevailed on her to continue with the all-out war. She even endured the Mendiola Massacre in 1987 when 13 farmers were killed and scores of other protesters were hurt, right at the doorstep of Malacañang.
For most of us, President Aquino represented subservience to the interest of the United States, with her unequivocal support to retain the US military bases in Subic Bay and Clark, only to be chastised by a nationalist Senate that rejected a new military bases treaty in 1991.
Amid all these transgressions done to the Filipino people under the Aquino administration, most are willing to forgive her inequities and omissions. Why?
Was it because she allowed herself to become the public face and icon for the fight to restore democracy?
Was it because of the good will and enormous amount of political capital invested to her Presidency by a grateful nation and a global order that is conscious of the demands of stable democratic institutions?
Was it because she reluctantly accepted the mantle of leading a torn and unstable nation, then eagerly gave up that mantle after six years of tumultuous rule?
Whatever the reasons are, the legacy of the Aquino Presidency is clearly spelled out: history clearly favors a brand that has a consistent and stable dominant image. Its flaws and insufficiencies have been masked by managing the message: a fledgling administration that has inherited a vast amount of trouble should be allowed to make mistakes.
History favors a brand that has shown consistency and stability. History frowns upon brands that says one thing but does the opposite. And no amount of press release and message management can cure an already damaged brand. ###
Cory after death
by Herbert Docena
Funerals are not so much for the dead as for us who have to go on living.
The dead have passed on; they can no longer hear us weeping. It is we—we who must scatter the flowers over their graves—who have to be comforted for our loss and who have to confront what lies ahead.
Cory has left but it is we who now have to come to terms with her contradictory legacies. Contrary to the impression conveyed by the media’s almost hagiographic coverage of her passing, the burst of emotions that followed Cory’s death has not simply been that of bereavement and pure adulation.
Indeed, how many of those who queued for hours through the cold raining nights nursed a deep disappointment at Cory’s presidency but walked up solemnly, full of gratitude, to her coffin nonetheless? Of those who walked out of their offices to bid goodbye as Cory’s coffin passed, who did not harbor a lingering sense of waste because of what Cory has squandered—but flashed the “Laban” sign without hesitation? How many prayed for Cory’s soul—but also prayed for the souls of the farmers mowed down with bullets in Mendiola in 1989?
Losing someone is not easy; more so when our conflicted feelings towards the departed could not be so easily reconciled, even by death. On the one hand, Cory inspired us to believe—by leading the movement that toppled the dictatorship—that what we often come to accept as impossible may actually be possible through our actions. On the other hand, Cory also demonstrated—by squandering a historic opportunity to push for meaningful social reforms—how power can make the possible impossible by fiat.
In ending tyranny and, later on, foiling right-wing militarists from taking power, Cory averted the worst. But, by pursuing policies that restored the power of oligarchs and that abandoned society to the whims of the powerful, she also prevented what could have been better alternatives for millions of Filipinos. Cory ushered back democracy but, at many critical moments, she stood in the way of freedom.
After the EDSA revolt, when the passage of a land reform program became a real possibility, Cory instead chose to exempt her family’s hacienda, thereby fatally weakening a program that could have freed millions of farmers from generations of bondage. Corruption is not something usually associated with Cory but if corruption is to be objectively defined as the use of state power to further personal interests, then Cory’s action towards land reforms ranks up there as a monumental, if less obvious, case of corruption. Today, tens of thousands of peasants remain consigned to a life of poverty and misery as a result of this historic decision. Charity is not what they need, but it is a basic Catholic virtue of which Cory proved incapable at that moment when it could have made a lasting difference.
At the height of the negotiations over the US bases in the late 80s, Mt Pinatubo erupted. Zambales residents pleaded with the US military to allow them to pass through the Subic base in order to expedite their evacuation. But the US military refused, thereby cementing growing opposition to the bases, already fired up by cases of abuse suffered by many Filipinos at the hands of US soldiers. And yet, on whose side did Cory march—in one of the rare instances when a sitting president actually joined a public mobilization? On the side of those pleading with the American troops to stay on.
Cory’s failings were historic but her choices, it must be said, were far from easy. Indeed, few have been burdened with a cascade of difficult choices: A widow given the choice to lead an uprising against an entrenched dictator or to continue living in comfortable anonymity. A haciendera challenged to give up her family’s landholdings to set an example. An embattled president who had the choice to pander to the right-wing or to face them down. If we are judged not just by what we do but by what we have to give up, then some of Cory’s choices could readily qualify as acts of heroism. Her other choices, however, have only raised the need for even more of it.
And yet, despite our disillusionment, no other death has moved us to spill out into the streets in such great numbers in recent years. Perhaps it’s not just to say goodbye but to partake in a collective act of grieving—not so much for the dead but for ourselves. Cast between the tyrants and thieves that preceded and succeeded her, Cory’s virtues—her simplicity, her sincerity—seem even more precious and her faults minor—maybe even forgivable?—for a people who are now left to deal with so much worse.
Pity the nation that needs heroes, goes the cliché; pity the nation that has lost one. We weep because we know that our continuing dependence on and continuing need for heroes speaks of our continuing tragedy as a people.
But as we pick up the pieces, just as we did after we buried Cory’s murdered husband Ninoy, we are left with no choice but to confront what lies ahead. In so doing, we are reminded of what Cory herself has demonstrated in those days at EDSA that changed hers and our country’s destiny: that she wouldn’t be there, that it all wouldn’t have happened, if the people weren’t there with her. Without Cory, we may be on our own and yet, as we kept assuring Ninoy, we are not alone.
Funerals are not so much for the dead as for us who have to go on fighting.
Herbert Docena is a former Benigno S. Aquino Jr Foundation scholar.
Cory Aquino and the Filipino People
by Prof. Roland Simbulan
This is being written the day before Cory Aquino is finally laid to rest. Widow of our martyred national hero Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Cory as she was was fondly called, was suddenly thrust into her destiny of uniting the Filipino people against the Marcos dictatorship, and succeeded in toppling the dictatorship. She was the only person who could do this, since there were several leaders of the opposition who had not gotten over their personal ambitions. Cory perhaps embodied and represented the Filipino people who were victimized by the Martial Law dictatorship of Ferdinand E. Marcos. Her husband, Ninoy was put in prison for seven years by the dictatorship, and Cory endured the humiliation and suffering inflicted by the repressive regime like the rest of the Filipino people.
When her husband was assassinated, she was called upon by the people to challenge Marcos in the 1985 snap elections but the unpopular dictator used all the machinery of fraud and state terrorism to snatch away Cory's victory and rob the people of their true choice. Some of us thought that it was useless to challenge the dictator in any election. But Cory believed in the people. Cory summoned the people to recover their sovereignty and their government from the clutches of a corrupt and brutal dictator which had killed, disappeared , tortured and imprisoned tens of thousands of Filipinos.
Cory and the Filipino people triumphed in what is now known as the historic EDSA 1 People Power Revolution of 1986, thus ending the dark years of the Marcos dictatorship. The EDSA 1 People's Revolution would soon become an inspiration for the rest of the world in the bloodless transitions to dismantle any form of tyranny and restore democratic institutions and the power of the people.
Cory Aquino led the transition from dictatorship to the restoration of constitutional democracy. This was highlighted by the drafting of the 1987 Constitution, a constitution that contained strong provisions on the protection of civil liberties, recognition of people's organizations and civil society and a government with a system of checks and balance. Yet, Cory's six year administration (1986 - 1972) as president was still seriously threatened by a segment of the military that believed that only a military junta could effectively govern the country.
The Cory administration was threatened by military adventurists who thought that the EDSA 1 Revolution was their (the military's) victory, not the people's, especially when the military eventually shifted their support away from the Marcos dictatorship. They thought Cory was weak because she was a woman, was a mere housewife, and that she was even coddling Communists by releasing all political prisoners including known Communists who fought the dictatorship.
The military adventurists even accused Cory of appointing Communists in her government when she appointed known human rights advocates like Joker Arroyo, Rene Saguisag, Jose Diokno, Augusto Sanchez in her cabinet. But Cory proved them all wrong, for she was really deeply a strong woman , tempered by adversity during the Marcos dictatorship. She crushed all nine coup attempts during her administration, and succeeded in consolidating the threatened democracy.
The Filipino people again, rallied to her cause to prevent the restoration of repressive military rule. We in the people's organizations and social movements may have had differences with Cory on the issues of debt servicing, genuine agrarian reform, and U.S. military bases, but we were always sure that she meant well, was uncorrupted by power, and also supported us in critical issues like the mothballing of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.
Together with the rest of the Filipino people, we supported to the very end her valiant defense of democratic institutions against military coup plotters inside and outside her government. We knew that if these people in uniform gained power it would spell the restoration of even a more repressive regime that would not tolerate any form of criticism or opposition.
Though Cory became even more popular by 1992 and could still run for president under the 1987 Constitution, she humbly chose to step down and hand over the reign of power to other Filipino leaders whom she believed were more prepared than her in governing the country. This was Cory.
Cory did not stop being involved in many causes of the Filipino people. As citizen Cory, she took up the causes of the Filipino people like the campaigns against corruption and the illegal threats, again , to extend the rule of ambitious and corrupt politicians.
Cory Aquino now joins the list of heroes and heroines of the Filipino people, etched in their hearts forever. Her spirit and example reminds us that state power is there to be used for good. State power deserves to be held by people who are selfless like her, who do not aspire for state power, and who believe in the power of the Filipino people. And like most Filipinos, Cory believed in the power of prayer.
Thank you, Cory.
Reinventing Cory and the Dream of Democratic Nationhood
by James Miraflor
When Corazon Cojuangco Aquino died on the first day of August 2009, she as the Philippine symbol of liberal democracy did not die. Rather, she was sealed forever; and as things sealed forever, she was sealed with utmost and absolute purity of image.
I wanted to post here Ed dela Torre's reflection but I think his is more of a recount of his personal experience but he mentioned about his two causes, which gave way to the passing of two major policies during the Aquino administration - Literacy for All and Participatory Local Governance. I feel the need to mention this so that I can be reminded and therefore give an objective look of the real legacy of President Aquino in the eyes of an ordinary citizen. I want to give an undistorted view of the Philippine History to the "masa" especially those who witnessed personally in the funeral.
More videos on Cory's participation in post-Edsa struggles like Charter Change and GMA Resign call.
For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV
1) Check out the photo caption of this Manila Bulletin article.
2) Screen copy of Yahoo! Philippines News
3) From the ABS-CBN coverage
Interesting! Authentic, who knows???
Source: “President Arroyo’s coffin”: Booboo or Freudian Slip?
Oh well, I shall be leaving you with a video post just to tickle your minds about the real situation of our country's economy.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Will we be rid of TRAPOs through voters-education and campaigns with the likes of “Ako Mismo” or “Boto Mo, I-Patrol Mo”?
What prompted me to write this article is not the above stated fact but because of two instances. One is a welcome development in the political sphere and the second one is disturbing.
Ako Mismo Campaign
Let me start first with the disturbing one. It was actually a reaction from an infomercial I watched on TV, which I know everyone is like crazy about, the AkoMismo advocacy. Honestly, until now I am having a hard time understanding the cause of this campaign. Why? Because it reduces the problems of the country to a simple case of hopelessness!!! What exactly do these celebrities ask our people to do?
For me, I see it as falling into the trap of these bunches of do-gooders who do not really understand the structural problems of the Philippine society or what’s worse, know about it but refuse to do something because they do not want to disrupt the system that protects their kind (“elitist, petit-bourgeoisie”).
At first, the ad appears to be a harmless infomercial of sort. Its well-crafted, passed my artistic taste. Dapat lang, because they have the money to spare to pay for the airtime and the advertising agency/production people and besides they are in the entertainment business, that’s what they are there for. But when the celebrities started to blurb about AkoMismo this and that and Angel Locsin said something about, “AkoMismo, magsasalita ng po at opo.” Damn, nalintikan na! This is deception, I told myself. How in the world will you change the Philippines by saying “po at opo,” aber! This really motivated me and said that I have to do something to straighten this because a lot in the youth sector felt that they are making a difference by joining this campaign. In fact, they are just making a fool of themselves by believing that these kinds of campaigns are leading to something.
My reaction is so strong because it is the likes of these campaigns, which attract the youth. These people who are putting forward this panacea are actually taking advantage of the youth’s idealism, hunger for change and doing good. Most of the time (just checking the current registrants for the AkoMismo campaign – 203,664 and growing), the youth do not know that they are being misled to false change. Without studying and analyzing the real problems of the country, from the political to the economic to the social, to the cultural, it is unlikely that these people who said that they are for the change of this country will be able to apply the real solutions when they themselves (celebrities) have the wrong answer to what the problem really is, in this country. They do not even classify poverty, corruption and such as some of the worst problems here. According to them, the biggest problem is “kawalan ng pag-asa” and deduced that if people can collectively do (no matter how big or little the ways are) something good for their country, then there will be change. What’s worse, many are supporting it outside the youth sector even if, I believe, they have a grasp already of the real problems.
My only point is this – let us not fall into this trap and believe that this will lead to genuine change because the truth is until the system of inequality is intact, there will never be change. If it’s true that people doing good can bring about change, we should have been experiencing that change long before this time. There are a lot of Filipinos who mean well, who do good things to others, who do charity works, even the Church does that in their campaigns but why is it that we are always confronted with the same problems over and over again and that we are always on the verge of ousting a president?
I remember my highschool Match teacher at Siena once shared in class that her sister was an activist from U.P. and that her dad reprimanded her sister, saying to her that if you want to change the government, infect change from within. Study hard, finished College and then work for the government and make a difference inside. I believed that totally, that’s why when I entered College at CEU, Mendiola, I always questioned rallies and activists back then. I always asked myself, what do they achieve in having rallies? The only thing on my mind back then was the inconvenience of traffic; all I was concerned about was how to get home.
I am pretty sure that there are many model government employees who really do their work honestly and with integrity. But if they can alone infect change within the government system, would the government be much better now? Are the do-gooders working within the government are in fact changing the way of the government? If its happening then, where is it? I hope it is that simple as what these celebrity endorsers are showing in the infomercial because if it is, there will be no more rallies, no more picketlines, no more urban poor, no more political detainees, no more state-sponsored assassinations, no more poverty, and the list goes on. But it is not as simple as that. Our problems cannot be cured by band-aid solutions anymore, which were done in the past…a lot of times.
Mr. Edu Manzano said that this campaign is a “call-to-arms, na huwag na nating laging i-asa ang buhay natin sa iba. Kaya AkoMismo. Ako mismo ang gagawa ng paraan.” Again, it is a simplistic remark. As if its as simple as doing something in your life to effect change and bring quality to your life. How can it be so simple when the very structures of government prevent poor people from living decently, if only a few rich families have a good life and almost 95% of the population is living below poverty lines? In living a holistic life, the society and every aspect of it has to do its share. Educating children is not only the sole responsibility of parents, taking care of the sick is not only the sole responsibility of the family members. Society should have its share; the government has to make education, healthcare, and other social services accessible and affordable. They have the power and the authority to make that happen. It only takes political will. We are all interconnected as citizens of this country and we cannot say, “na huwag nating laging i-asa ang buhay natin sa iba” or even say that “Ako Mismo, hindi ko na aasahan ang gobyerno na pagandahin ang kuwalidad ng buhay ng pamilya ko.” This was a taxi driver’s commitment to the Ako Mismo Campaign told Mr. Manzano in his interview with the Philippine Entertainment Portal. For me, if the government has no responsibility to take care of its people, then we do not need one and we should just do our own thing to ensure our survival.
Actually, underneath the message, it tells us to do nothing but fixed our individual lives. If that’s the only thing they will say to us, then they just wasted thousands of pesos. I would rather have them give the money to poor communities for some civic or charity work than confuse the minds of people and make them think that change is just an easy feat. If you will spend a good amount of money to show your advocacy then be sure that the messages will not create confusion or mislead people into thinking that they can make the change by simply saying, po and opo, or by showing how proud they are as Filipinos. Good grief!!!!
All they said are motherhood statements, which give good feeling to the person who is saying it. It’s giving him/her the feeling that he/she is doing something good but not innately believes that it is his/her responsibility to help his/her fellow Filipinos may it be making him/her feel good or not and even if it is difficult. This is not just about feelings, it is breaking the structures of inequality and injustice.
To further understand the campaign, I registered at the www.AkoMismo.org site. After asking me a bunch of questions, I registered successfully. I studied the Wall of Commitments. I want to know what kind of commitments people write about. Here are some of what I gathered:
- hindi ko ibebenta ang boto ko.
- ang mag-aalaga sa pamilya ko.
- makikiisa para tulungan ang gobyerno para sa pagbabago.
- magmamatyag para sa kapayapaan.
- I exist to serve.
- mabuting ehemplo sa mga anak ko.
- ipagmamalaki ko ang pagiging Pilipino.
- aalagaan ko ang ganda ng kalikasan.
- ang tutulong sa sarili ko.
- I will vote in 2010.
- I pledge to work hard more than the company expects from me and do civic duties that can contribute to my barangay.
- magsisikap para umangat ang buhay.
- kakayod para sa kinabukasan ko at ikakaunlad ng bayan ko.
- wala akong sahod!
- ang tagapagligtas.
- ang magpapasaya sa’yo.
I stopped right here. I don’t even want to go into explaining why these statements are problematic because it is already obvious how this Campaign sees change and how they will apply these statements almost too ignorantly in their life. There are even statements that the only intent is to joke around, just read the last three Ako Mismo commitments
I still believe that changes within one’s self is important but the same way as the change of system is as important. Either of the two cannot move forward without the other or else we will all be hypocrites – changing one’s self but not changing the way the system works, which protects and maintains the status quo, making the elite live the way they are and the rest, the way they are, poorer than ever.
It can also be compared to simply saying that people are poor because they are lazy. But what people do not realize is that there are structures, which prevent the people from going up simply because the elite want to contain the wealth within their families.
I will not like to leave this simple analysis of a simple citizen like me without being critical to the corporation behind this initiative. DDB Cares, the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of DDB, is said to be the institution behind this campaign. First, I see the “corporate social responsibility concept” as nothing more than a concept of “washing of hands” like what Pontius Pilate did when Jesus Christ was turned over to him for questioning. This actually can be deduced as such, its like covering up their accountability of being accomplices of the elite and capitalists in keeping their system of inequality intact.
I think I have made my point about this Campaign, I would like to move onto the next…
“Boto Mo, I-Patrol Mo”
The Campaign used the most powerful tool it has within its possession and that is media. I want to establish as early as now how you can already see clearly the flaw in this Campaign. This is led by a multi-million peso media company owned by an oligarch, the Lopezes. It has the means and capacity to instill in the youth’s mind how they can be a part of change. But again, what kind of change?
My challenge to the Lopezes is this - if in case there will be a change in the government and the government said to their family that they have to relinquish power and redistribute their wealth to all people, so that the rest may live decently not only members of their family, will they give-in, will they allow it???? I am dying to hear them answer my question.
I have read the very touching paper of Maria Ressa of how she described this initiative by ABS-CBN. For the most part of it, I believe her. I believe that even if I am not working within a media organization, I am still a journalist like her. After all, a journalist exposes the truth and works for the common good, etc. Its just that I am not as lucky as her because was able to work for CNN. Do not get me wrong, I never regretted where I am now because at an early stage, I knew that commercial/mainstream media will not satisfy my convictions and my principles in life. Some people in the media are all too concerned with the glamour and perks of the job rather than public service. Also, they need to do balancing acts for their bosses, and have to be biased at times. I do not want to subject myself to that kind of scenario. And I am sure these bosses practice an arm’s length editorial in the newsroom.
Now, I dared Maria Ressa to answer this question, “will you do anything for the “revolution” you are talking about for the sake of change? What if you will have to defy your very bosses one point in time or another and be on the side of the people?
The Lopez Family is a clear oligarch, one of those few rich families that uphold the capitalist and elitist system. And to boot out these people who cling so well in the system, cannot be changed by just having people do good in the society but to change the entire system to which the Lopezes are clearly a part of. Do you think, they will promote such change in their initiative, in this case ‘Boto Mo, I-Patrol Mo’? I really do not think so!
True it is in the people, the mass movement, that change can happen but not in the way these Campaigns have been promoting change like it’s a product. If you do not like this product, go buy another one. Same goes with the 2010 Presidential Elections, if you do not like how the government is being run by GMA, register and vote on 2010, be a part of change AS IF CHANGE HAPPENS DURING ELECTION TIME. If elections can bring about change in our society, why is it that the Philippines is still the same way as it is from before? As if, development has become stagnant.
The concept of “Boto Mo, I-Patrol Mo” is “to get the people to care and to take action”. It’s people power with new technology!” To make use of media – mobile phones, digital cams, internet, etc. to report anomalies, vote-buying, problems in registrations, etc. All these initiatives are geared towards the elections as if it is THE BE-ALL AND END-ALL. Is this the revolution that Maria Ressa is talking about? Is this the change and the brand of people power they want to promote? At first glance, you think this is a new concept, a new initiative but it is still the same quick fix solution that happened 23 years ago when Filipinos use People Power as a means to oust a dictatorship but only to install a president for the elite ruling class, Mrs. Corazon Aquino, who said to be an honest leader, yes, but did not uphold pro-people policies and exempted her Hacienda Luisita from the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARP) and push forward an, “HONOR ALL OUR DEBTS POLICY” which she even proudly informed the whole international community about it during her speech in the U.S. Congress as if trying to impress the big guys. This is despite the fact that most of the debts incurred during the dictatorship were used to finance crony projects and went to individual pockets. Mrs. Aquino should have grabbed that chance, when the international community has its sympathy and attention on us and would have agreed to cancel, if not all some of the big debts incurred. If only Mrs. Aquino had that political will to do that during her time, she has all the opportunity, the timing, etc. It was a transitional, revolutionary government during her time, it might have been different now if she only did what she has to do. It is really not enough to install an honest leader but also a leader who is “from the masa, and are still with the masa, and therefore can properly represent the masa”. Mrs. Aquino was not from that class, her family was a part of the ruling class and clearly she will push forward policies that need to protect their class. As much as I want to be blind with this reality of class here in the Philippines, it is actually very much alive.
Most of the time, “revolution, change, etc.” are terms being co-opted from the Progressive Left to make it sound that their brand of revolution is the ONE. But I am sure, the revolution that Maria Ressa is talking about is not the same brand of revolution of what the Progressive Left has in mind. Until the Lopezes recognize that they are a part of the system that upholds inequality and injustice – politically, economically, socially and culturally speaking, no genuine change can take affect through Campaigns such as “Boto Mo, I-Patrol Mo.” Moreover, this Campaign is geared for the 2010 Presidential Elections, another tool, which legitimizes the system. Why do I say that? Observe, who are the presidentiables? If anyone can tell me, with of course detailed explanation that there is one from those candidates who deserve to become president and who can properly represent majority of the people who are poor, then maybe, just maybe the system does not really exist. My first criteria again, he/she must come “from the masa, and are still with the masa, and therefore can properly represent the masa.” I believe all these presidentiables are from the elite, ruling class and none of the masa.
Another proof that this brand of change they are so hyping about is not genuine was the recent ANC-sponsored leadership forum. In that forum, there were no in-depth questions about how each presidentiable responded to the Global Economic Crisis, no questions about their platform. If we really want change to take effect, as early as now, we should be able to gauge each one of the candidates through their platform of government. ANC and ABS-CBN had that power to ask and expose these candidates, but how come questions during that forum were so lame and disappointing.
I couldn’t say anything more about these Campaigns. Let me now start discussing the other option.
GENUINE SOCIAL CHANGE IS DIFFICULT & PAINFUL BUT A COMPREHENSIVE SOLUTION
The Anti-Trapo, Pro-Masa Movement PAGBABAGO! NO MORE TRAPOS IN 2010!
GENUINE SOCIAL CHANGE IS DIFFICULT & PAINFUL BUT A COMPREHENSIVE SOLUTION
The first instance that made me write this article is this new development in the political sphere.
The first instance that made me write this article is this new development in the political sphere.
If change cannot be found in any advocacy or voters-ed campaign, where do we find it? What do we do?
The option proposed by this broad-based group is nothing new. Many groups have already claimed that they are anti-trapo. So, what is the big deal in this movement?
First, we have to clearly specify that we are not only anti-trapo but also we are pro-masa. Thus, being anti-trapo is not only “face-wise” but also “system-wise.” You cannot be anti-trapo but at the same time you are engaged in the system of “trapo politics,” or use the same methods they use, which is basically the current system in place. And pro-masa means we have a clear bias for the people and that our platform of government shall promote, pro-masa/pro-people policies unlike those who are claiming to be not trapos but are not willing to push forward pro-people economic policies and would like to maintain the status quo because they are either a part of the system or beneficiaries of it.
He has defined TRAPOs very well and named some of the prominent families that perfectly fit the criteria of TRAPO.
Trapo means traditional politician. In its narrow meaning, the trapo is the political representative of the Filipino elite. The trapos are the political clans and the political dynasty which the clans have established in several areas of the country for long years now. Some clans have in fact been holding political power for centuries.
According to the Citizens Anti-Dynasty Movement, at least 120 families control political power in more than 75 percent of the country’s 81 provinces. They also reported that practically 100 percent of major cities are under the control of one or another political clan that passes down power almost as a right on inheritance. This is what we mean when we say these are the people who are “born to rule”.
Just to give you a rundown of the trapo clans. The most prominent from North to South are the Dys of Isabela, the Marcoses of Ilocos Norte, the Singsons of Ilocos Sur, the Josons of Nueva Ecija, the Magsaysays of Zambales, the Cojuangcos and Aquinos of Tarlac, the Macapagals of Pampanga, the Osmeñas of Cebu, the Rectos of Batangas, the Gordons of Zambales, the Duranos of Danao City, the Antoninos of General Santos, and the Lobregats of Zamboanga City.
In recent years new dynasties have emerged like the Estradas of San Juan, the Arroyos of Pampanga and Negros Occidental, the Angaras of Aurora, the Defensors of Iloilo and Quezon City, the Villafuertes of Camarines Sur, and the Akbars of Basilan.
If we look at today’s election, the trapos are back in business once more. And we mean not just the trapos of the Administration, but also the trapos from the Opposition.
The list of today’s presidentiables reads like a whos-who on the top trapo families:
n Gilbert ‘Gibo’ Teodoro, one of the main presidential contenders of the Palaka (Partido Lakas at Kampi merger), comes from the clan related to Danding Cojuangco, who’s the brother of Gibo’s mother. Teodoro’s wife, Monica “Nikki” Prieto, is a congresswoman from the first district of Tarlac, which is the bailiwick of the Cojuangco’s and now the Teodoros.
n Manny Villar (Nacionalista Party) represents the clan which has been holding power in Las Pinas City. His wife, Cynthia Aguilar-Villar, is the congresswoman in Las Pinas. The Aguilars, together with the Villars, are the politically incestuous clan in Las Pinas.
n Mar Roxas (Liberal Party) is the grandson of former president Manuel Roxas, who was suspected as a collaborator during the Japanese period but was cleared by MacArthur, and then became the first president after the war. His father was the late Senator Gerry Roxas.
n Chiz Escudero (Nationalist People’s Coalition) comes from the Escudero clan which has been holding power in Sorsogon. The father was the former congressman in the first district of Sorsogon; Chiz uncles were the mayor and vice-governor in Sorsogon.
n Joseph Estrada (Partido ng Masang Pilipino) is trying to make a comeback. He has built his own dynasty in San Juan. His son JV is now the mayor, the other son Jinggoy and his wife Loy have both become senators.
n Perhaps, Noli de Castro is the only one who’s not identifiable as a trapo. He came in power in 2001 as a senator, and became the vice-president in 2004, so he has already 8 years in the government. But what has he done in these 8 years, and whose power has he been serving all through these years? If not GMA, is it the oligarchs who are reputed to be supporting him?
Some points to clarify.
Sometimes there are newly-emerging trapos (who are the scions of the political clans) who have not been involved in any traditional political and corrupt activities, and who therefore resist the tag of belonging to the trapos. Although the tag may not seem to fit them yet as separate individuals, they are trapos in the sense of being members of the clans which perpetrate elite rule in the country.
The trapos are usually seen as the most corrupt and warlord-like representatives of the elite. But some of the elite may be benign and modernizing, but they are trapos nonetheless as they represent the dominant forces in a system that oppresses and marginalizes the broad masses.
Sometimes they are not really part of the political clans or the economic elite in the country. But they become trapos because they have given their services to an elite group in order to be voted to and remain in power.
While the trapos may vary in their viciousness as a trapo, the point we are making is that:
First, the people deserve better. Some trapos may be benign and modernizing, but even the monarchy of the old days have kings and queens which were benign and modernizing. But even then, who needs a monarchy/dynasty-type of rule today?
Secondly, the trapos/ the trapo clans have been given all the opportunities in the world to serve in the government. In fact, the government has become them. The trapos have become the government, and the ways of the trapos have become the ways of the government.
While monopolizing power, the trapos have failed to provide for the needs of the people, they have failed to provide for employment for the labor force, they have failed to provide affordable food and services for the poor, affordable housing, land for the landless farmers and agricultural workers, education for the young people, hospital care, and others. They are a failure. They have become the stumbling block to development. They in fact have become the problems, and not a solution.
What we are saying is that enough is enough! Sobra na, tama na! Pagbabago na! No more trapo in 2010!
The solution to the country’s problems lies not in the trapos but in the antithesis of the trapos, the non-trapos or the genuine representatives of masa. That’s why we’re bringing here the non-trapo candidates who represent the masa. Not in the way in which Erap has come to represent the masa, and even named his party Partido ng Masang Pilipino, which was a misnomer given that Erap was not of the masa (in his films perhaps). We are referring to candidates who come from the masa, and are still with the masa, and therefore can properly represent the masa.
The other side of the anti-trapo movement is the pro-masa movement, which means that in defeating the trapos, we have to ensure that we put the masa in power. We do not believe in another Edsa where we overthrow dictatorial and corrupt government only to install a more corrupt one.
We are fighting the trapo precisely to promote the needs of the masa. But first we have to expose the trapos, because they have used the media and the three Gs to project themselves as the ones fit to rule the masa.
Platform of Government
One best way to expose the trapo is to do away with personality-oriented politics and to look into the platform of the candidates. Let us pin them down on their platform of governance. The trapos get away with motherhood statements because the masa fail to concretize what they want.
And this is the challenge we pose to all, even among the non-trapos and the masa that are gathered here: Are we going to look for leaders on the basis of their clan, their education, their wealth, their connections, their money… Or are we going to test them on the basis of whether they can solve our long-term problems, and therefore contribute to the development of each one, and not just a few lucky bastards.
This test would mean asking the candidate whether his or her platform of government is based on, for instance:
n An immediate moratorium to the closures of factories and lay-offs, and a program towards full employment for the labor force. We mean not partial employment, not temporary employment, but full, long-term employment based on wages that can provide for the needs of the families. Not employment outside the country, but employment in the country, in the Philippines, right now.
n A program of delivering basic services to the poor, such as free education for the poor children; no demolition but decent housing for the urban poor; genuine & comprehensive agrarian reform that provides land to the tillers and the necessary support infrastructure for agriculture; free health care and hospitalization; provision of doctors’ services at every barangay; the setting up of government-run stores at every barangay which carry items that have affordable prices for the poor.
n A program of political reforms, which include the democratization of Congress or the formation of a People’s Congress which will reverse the setup where a few trapos rule our politics while the majority of the population do not have political power, and are even called the ‘marginalized sectors’. We must also have a program to disconnect the barangay councils from the control of the local government trapos, from the trapo mayors and congressmen, and the replacement of the barangay council with a barangay assembly that represents the entire families in a barangay much like the neighborhood councils.
These are just some aspects of the pro-masa platform that we should ask each of the candidates whether he or she can deliver. And we know that these demands of the masa are not impossible. All these things are possible. We know the government has the resources to provide for the needs of the people, except that it has no political will and the trapos have no personal will to provide for the needs of the people. And this is because this is a government of the trapos where the trapos do not serve the people but their clans and immediate friends and cronies, and their own pockets.
But where can we get the money to provide for the masa? In
Lastly, the building of an anti-trapo, pro-masa movement corresponds to our call for a Revolution for Change. We declare that from hereon, we will be launching a revolution, a genuine one compared to the series of so-called Edsa Revolutions. The Edsa Revolutions were fake revolutions where incumbent trapos were overthrown to give way to other trapos. We should be reminded that a revolution is an act where a ruling class is overthrown by another class which takes power. What could be more revolutionary today than dismantling trapo rule and putting the masa in power. Let us now put in place the building blocks for a new future. Tunay na pagbabago! No more trapo! The masa should rule… #
What do this long article is trying to say? If we really want CHANGE, if we really do want to see real CHANGE, we cannot simply entrust our futures to these corporations, do-gooders, philanthropists and oligarchs. Let us not be swayed by these attractive ads and campaigns, which rely solely on emotion and the “feel goodness” of doing something for the country but not clear with the change their offering in the table. We have fallen so many times after supporting what we thought was change but look where it got us all. A day after the election, we go back to our own separate lives and comfort zones thinking that our duties as citizens end when we cast our ballots. Genuine change will only be achieved if the citizens collectively and continuously act on nationally-significant issues. Citizens can participate in the discourse, go out in the streets and express their grievances, get themselves involved in educational and other creative actions and look for more ways to help. But before any CHANGE can happen, the CITIZENS must first acknowledge/recognize the existence of TRAPOS including its system, who and what they really are. If there’s no recognition of this or there’s resistance in accepting this kind of analysis, then CHANGE will be more likely difficult to achieve.
A broad-based anti-trapo, pro-masa movement is currently being created to push forward this concept of change. Our brand of change may be painful to most of us maybe because there is a lot at stake and seemed very, very difficult to achieve though we all know, each one of us know deep down inside that this is the way forward. If we do not want another failed EDSA, then we should not commit the same mistakes again. Quick-fixes and band-aid solutions never worked and we already experienced and saw them first hand. Our country is already heavily wounded, thus, short-term solutions won’t work anymore.
If you have at least a little love left for our country, then you will want that change to happen, we owe this to ourselves, our youth and a far better Philippines.
If you decide to stand for genuine social change, you may contact this blogger for more information – 09217941407 / email@example.com.