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Kabataang handang kumilos at manindigan

“Sa bawat pagdanak ng dugo ng mga magsasaka sa mga sakahan, sa bawat binubuwag nilang picket line ng mga manggagawa, at sa bawat maralita na tinatanggalan nila ng karapatan sa paninirahan, ay ang pag-usbong ng bagong salinlahi ng mga kabataang rebolusyonaryo na handang kumilos at manindigan, buhay man ay ialay!”—Alex Danday, Anakbayan spokesperson

Image by Jo Maline Mamangun

#Batomeltdown and the Neverending Cycle Of Abuse, Rape and Murder of the Filipino Youth

By L.S. Mendizabal

June 2006—It was my freshman year at UP Los Baños. Students would scurry to and from their classes in random buildings scattered all over the campus at the foot of Mt. Makiling. They walked briskly by flyers posted on a few trees, utility poles and many a wall at jeepney stops and outside classrooms next to professors’ announcements. They were flyers of Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, also UP students, who were abducted that same month. I remember giving them a quick glance: young girls’ faces—probably as young as I was—in black and white Xerox ink, under which the words were in striking capital letters, “MISSING” and “SURFACE!” I remember not reading the rest of the text. I was worried about the time, about how my next professor sent late students home. At the back of my mind, though, I thought, “Why are they missing? Must be why they want to bring soldiers in here.” During that time, certain members of the faculty, including a reserve colonel who’d eventually become Office of Student Affairs (OSA) Director, were pushing for the placement of personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) within university grounds. Little did I know that it was the military that took Empeño and Cadapan, never to be seen and found to this day.

Unlike my high school batchmates who applied for the university residence halls, Mama sent me to a nuns’ ladies’ dormitory. We were practically monastics, too, without the veils. In fact, that’s what other people called us upon knowing where we stayed: “mga madre.” Some would take the joke further and call us “virgins.” I couldn’t blame them: we had a strict 9 p.m. curfew and by that, I mean all the cool college happenings happened afterwards. If you arrived so much as only ten minutes past curfew, the Mother Superior was already on the phone with your parents, telling on you. We had our meals cooked for us three times a day at a refectory except Sunday, which was when we felt absolutely free. My dormmates and I would do all sorts of things on this particular “free day.” We spoiled ouselves with P10-siomai (with rice!) and P15-ice cream outside (outside!) the campus, we spent hours in the internet shop, followed the dirt road to where all the cattle were, drank fresh carabao’s milk, went out with guys we were dating (secretly, of course), ran enthusiastically in the thunderstorm courtesy of Reming. On Sundays, we were free. Unstoppable. Just as long as we were home by nine o’clock and steered clear of the lovers’ common spot by the Fertility Tree (or any activity anywhere near your fertility, really) because Mother Superior would most certainly expel a resident student who suddenly got knocked up. There was also the “Neverending Bridge” which is actually Palma bridge. It earned its nickname from an old tale about a student who crossed it at midnight but never seemed to reach its end until he took his shirt off and wore it inside out. It might sound stupid but it was the kind of stupid myth any freshman would willingly believe just for the fun of it. Besides, what business could you possibly have on that bridge at an ungodly hour? Some would say that murderers disposed of their dead victims by throwing the bodies off the bridge, which was why it was haunted. One such restless soul belonged to a female student who was raped and killed in the 90s. This was, by far, the most hair-raising story, because it was no urban legend. While it isn’t true that her body was dumped under the Neverending Bridge, a female UP student was indeed abducted in 1993, gangraped and shot in the face by then Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez. Her friend who was with her at the time of her abduction was taken with her “to avoid complications.” He, too, was beaten and shot to death. Sanchez was given seven life sentences behind bars to pay for these crimes.

 For UPLB students during my time, what happened to Eileen Sarmento and Allan Gomez lay somewhere between a ghost story and a cautionary tale. It was the reason no one dared to cross the Neverending Bridge on foot past nightfall, the reason parents sent their daughters to a nuns’ house. Last week, the Gomez-Sarmento case revisited my consciousness when Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Nicanor Faeldon said that Sanchez was likely to be freed in two months due to a new law increasing good conduct time allowance (GCTA) and a Supreme Court (SC) decision applying this law retroactively. I only knew the urban legend so having the rape-slay case bombard the news once again and finally knowing it in full, harrowing detail has proven that real life is truly more horrifying than any ghost story.

Two days later, amidst public outrage over Sanchez’s possible early release, Faeldon changed his tune: Sanchez would most likely not qualify for GCTA benefits because of certain violations he committed in the past. This was followed by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra’s explanation that inmates convicted of “heinous crimes” are not eligible for credit of preventive imprisonment (CPI), therefore making them ineligible for GCTA as well. However, there is no conclusive interpretation of the new law’s ambiguous provisions just yet. Around the same time, #BatoMeltdown went viral when Sen. Rolando “Bato” Dela Rosa verbally attacked a student leader in a public hearing, recanting his earlier statement that “Sanchez deserves a second chance” by literally yelling that Sanchez “should have been sentenced to death” in the first place, but that even he, a senator, could not change the law and even if he could, the problem was that [militant progressives] are against death penalty. The meltdown ocurred while the senate’s basic education committee was discussing the proposed revival of the mandatory Reserved Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in senior high school in which National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) President Raoul Manuel expressed that it was difficult to trust said proposal, particularly in its objectives in “law enforcement” and “human rights awareness” when one of its proponents (without naming names) publicly supports the freeing of an ex-mayor and convicted rapist while the senator finds it easy to kill the poor in the Tokhang campaigns. Fair point.

Many people were angered, even entertained, by Dela Rosa’s outburst. Personally, I found it all deeply troubling—from Dela Rosa’s pronouncements to those of his colleagues. Let us break down the rhetoric of #RespectYourSenators for those who missed the full show. Here are the takeaway points from Dela Rosa, Sen. Pia Cayetano and committee chairman, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian:

• By saying that enforcing mandatory ROTC is a misrepresentation of nationalism, Manuel was judging them unfairly;

• Manuel attacked Dela Rosa personally by citing his public comment on giving Sanchez a second chance;

• It was Manuel and other progressive activists’ fault that Sanchez may walk free because they object against the death sentence;

• Manuel must not be a true representative of Filipino students because most of these students are actually in favor of ROTC;

• Manuel must not love his country because he opposes mandatory ROTC, does not care whether China invades the Philippines and probably expects the New People’s Army to defend the nation (to which Manuel responded calmly that the youth, in fact, worry about this matter because the AFP whose constitutional task is to preserve national integrity and sovereignty are not exactly doing their job);

• Manuel’s statements on not trusting public officials in the implementation of mandatory ROTC because of their disregard for human rights were “irrelevant and not germane to the topic”;

• Manuel and other guests invited by the committee should show respect to their senators and must not criticize them during public hearings. They should take their criticisms to the media, instead;

• Oh wait, Manuel really does represent the Filipino students, which means that they share the same state of mind and dearth of discipline because, “How dare you criticize a senator?”;

• Manuel should believe and respect Dela Rosa because, aside from being his senator, he is older, too;

• Hence, mandatory ROTC should be enforced to instill discipline in disrespectful youth;

• Gatchalian already knew very well (“alam na alam ko na”) what the progressive youth groups were to say and the committee just invited NUSP “for the sake of fairness.” He then gave them a stern warning for “dragging irrelevant issues” into the hearing and “wasting their time,” insinuating that the youth groups might not be invited to these kinds of hearings thereafter;

• Once more, the youth and non-members of the committee should respect their senators;

• Manuel only incited Dela Rosa to react violently so that progressive youth groups may have enough reason to criticize him and cause trouble later on;

• Dela Rosa does not give a fuck about Manuel, who wasn’t going to be arrested for his irrelevant statements anyway so, “Go home, Manuel!”

The last one gave me shudders. They may not be hurting kids in senate public hearings but an alarmingly high number of students, youth leaders, activists and human rights workers are being slaughtered every day both out in the streets and in their very homes. What was made to sound like an assurance seemed more like a threat. What was supposed to be a public discussion with youth representation about a law that’d later affect the youth suddenly became exhausting, not exhaustive. The recognition and respect that should’ve been given to Manuel, national president of the nation’s largest alliance of student councils, was somehow dislodged by baseless red-tagging, castigation and a humiliating tirade all in one breath. If the youth have no respect for their public officials and their rules, then they do not love their country. Consequently, they must be punished with mandatory military service as early as in high school. For these “grown-up” lawmakers, it was as simple as one-plus-one.

The reality behind such arguments is this: the youth frightens the state to such a degree that it is taking drastic measures to prevent more Manuels from multiplying. The youth, after all, would be so much easier to control if they did not think critically, not join organizations who might “brainwash” them into thinking critically, not have access to free, nationalist and scientific education (thus, the violent attacks and killings in Lumad schools), not question authority or even give the remote indication of an independent opinion. When the youth go astray and commit crimes, incarcerate them. Never mind if they’re minors. The younger they are repressed, the better. All these are part of a grander fascist scheme that emanates from the state’s primordial fear of the youth once they leave their gadgets and phones, and struggle together beyond social media in the rural and urban areas, united against all that is unjust: fraudulent national elections, drug wars, wars against the poor, rampant corruption in the government, etc. The youth in their sheer number, sharpness of mind and physical strength have always been a force to reckon with. That is why the state does everything in its power to deprive us of our youth by keeping us in the dark, uneducated and misinformed, sending the military to our schools and forcing their extensive set of rules down our throats—the incarceration, rape and murder of the Filipino youth, both figuratively and literally in the cases of Eileen Sarmenta, Allan Gomez, Karen Empeño, Sherlyn Cadapan, Kian Delos Santos and thousand others. The youth, the hope of our future, have been reduced to body counts, headlines and flyers pasted on walls. And the usual suspects? Armed, powerful figures of authority. Note that some of those involved in the rape and double murder of Sarmenta and Gomez were police personnel. Meanwhile, Empeño and Cadapan were not only abducted but tortured and raped by elements of the Philippine Army on then AFP Gen. Jovito Palparan’s orders, the same Palparan who is now being petitioned to also be released by pro-administration blogger, Mocha Uson, and her followers. Respect authority, they say. If there’s anything Mama has taught me and helped me more than other life lessons, it is that “Respect begets respect.” First and foremost, the authorities must know how to respect human rights. It is only then that a just and peaceful society will be able to thrive, where the youth can dance in the rain and children can run free, and not criminals in power.

Our current public servants should be examined in their utmost rawness during the #BatoMeltdown, and not in their dressed and made up selves hurrying to shake our hands before elections, promising the farmers land, the workers regularization and the youth no tuition fees and free internet for all. Gatchalian, after marching with students in protest rallies calling for accessible higher education in 2016, came off as even more absurd than Dela Rosa. Is it not their job to take their time in carefully considering their constituents’ sentiments, especially those of the youth? Is it not Manuel’s right to share his misgivings about a certain law that would do more harm than good? Don’t the taxpayers deserve to be heard, not ganged up on and bullied like what they did to Manuel? Apparently, to these senators, inviting the youth to this all-important affair was a privilege that Manuel wasted, when in fact, they wasted taxpayers’ money and the youth’s time by lecturing them on opinions best kept to themselves. There exists a pre-ordained script that everyone should stick to in this theatre that is Lawmaking where the young, marginalized and poverty-stricken can never assume roles except as props and background to the actors’ advantage. Welcome to the theatre of Moro-moro staged by and for the rich and powerful (and a handful of morons).             I do not blame Manuel for apologizing in the end. He knew that it wasn’t the right arena, and therefore, a losing game. For instance, the death penalty did exist during Sanchez’s conviction but he was not executed because of his status and power. If the death sentence is to be revived, who will they kill next? Certainly not the rich and powerful. Like I said, they run the (freak) show. If anything, Manuel’s remarks on fascism, the culture of impunity and apathy among the ranks of the government were far from irrelevant. They were relevant in 1993, in 2006, and they are relevant now. More than ever, the youth must be vigilant as they continue the struggle to be heard in this anti-youth regime. After all, it is not farfetched that Sanchez’s case merely serves as a plot contrivance for a smoother intermission before the next act, Bato’s Chorus: The Death Penalty. Like the Neverending Bridge at midnight, the horrors just won’t end. #

Nakakahawa, nakakamangha

Ni Carlos Marquez

KUNG ikaw ay magsasaka ng palay na taga-Nueva Ecija at inis-na-inis ka sa Kongreso sa pagsasabatas ng taripa sa bigas; kung sumasagad na sa rurok ang kinikimkim mong galit sa mga nakakahiyang kamangmangan na ipinapakita sa mga desisyon at deklarasyon ng maraming opisyal ng gobyerno; kung hindi mo na talaga mapagkasya sa sikmura ang mga ipinalulunok sa iyong galung-galong dugo ng mga pinapatay sa tinatawag na gyera sa droga; kung nagpupuyos ka na sa himutok at galit sa pilit na panghihimasok ng mga militar sa mga paaralan at kanayunan; kung sa tingin mo’y nawawala na ang katinuan…tumula ka.

Ganito ang nasumpungang paraan ni Raymund B. Villanueva, isang aktibistang mamamahayag at makata, upang ibuhos ang naimbak na galit. Isinatinta niya ang mga galit na iyon at inilatag sa papel. Ang resulta: “Persolitika”.

LUNAS ang pagtula, o pagsulat nito – alternatibong lunas pero hindi panandalian ang bisa (palliative). Pangmatagalan. Upang guminhawa ang pakiramdam, ibinuhos ni Raymund ang marahil ay malaking bahagdan ng mga naipong likido sa katawan sa 100-pahina ng mga tula at litrato tungkol sa personal at pampolitikang kaisipan sa “Persolitika: Mga tula at larawan”. Ang mga sakit ng lipunan na nagmistula nang epidemya pagkaraan ng maraming panahon ay sinisikap lunasan ng mga manunulat – mamamahayag man o makata. Subalit habang patuloy ang matahimik na pagsigaw sa ibabaw ng papel, parang mas lalo pang dumarami ang problema. Parang mga gremlin na habang nababasa ay lalong dumarami. (Parang tagyawat ni Yolly Samson: “Sa kakaisip sa ‘yo tagyawat dumadami…”). Kaya nga, tumula nang tumula si Villanueva at may lunas na dala ang mga tula niya.

Katulad ng epidemya ang mga tula sa “Persolitika” – nakakahawa. At nakakamangha. Pati na ang mga dakilang haligi ng panulatang Filipino ay napatayo, napatigalgal, at sumaludo sa 23 tulang personal, 40 tulang politikal, at 32 larawan na may indayog din at sining. Dalawa sa mga nagpugay sa mga tula sa “Persolitika” ni Villanueva ay sina NVM Gonzales at Jose Ma. Sison. Sutsot lamang ng mga nota ng pangalan ng dalawang ito ay dumagundong na kampana na pumupukaw sa isang maingay na metropolis.

Si NVM Gonzales o Néstor Vicente Madali González ay isang higanteng nobelista, manunulat ng maiikling kuwento, at makata, na may gawad na Pambansang Alagad ng Sining Para sa Panitikang Pilipino nuong 1997. (Binigyan ni NVM ng pagkilala kung anong uring manunulat si Villanueva nuong 1995, apat na taon bago siya pumanaw). May gawad din siya ng pinakamimithi ng mga manunulat sa panitikan na Carlos Palanca.

Samantala, kilala ng marami si Jose Maria Sison bilang isang manunulat na aktibista na siyang nagtatag ng Communist Party of the Philippines.

Bakit ganoon na lamang ang pagpupugay ng mga bathala ng panitikang Filipino kay Raymund B. Villanueva?

Dumampot tayo ng ilan sa mga tula sa “Persolitika” upang malaman.

Sa tula, halimbawa, na “Sa Gabi ng Pangungulila” ay nakipagkumperensya si Villanueva sa mga salik ng gabi – buwan, kuliglig, batis, at hangin – upang punan ang nabuong gawak ng kalungkutan sa pagkakalayo sa kanyang minamahal. Romantiko si Villanueva. “Maglakbay tayo, giliw/At idampi bilang halik ang luhang naging hangin./Sana’y kanyang mabatid/Ako’y nagmamahal pa rin.” Akala ni Raymund ay siya lamang ang nakikipagbuno sa kalungkutan ng gabing iyon. Sa kabilang bahagi ng gabi, balisa rin marahil ang kanyang irog noon sa pagkakahiga.

Hindi ba kapag hindi makatulog ang mga bata, kukuwentuhan sila hanggang sa mamungay ang mga mata at lunurin ng antok ng mga ritmo ng mga kataga sa “Mga Kuwento ni Lolo Raymund”? Pero iba ang mga kuwento sa “Bedtime stories”. Ang kuwento niya’y hindi alamat ng siyudad (urban legend). Ang kuwento niya’s katatakutan. Mga nakakatakot na katotohanan. Mga signos ng panahon.

“When our children tire of stories
About our rich kings
We tell them stories of the queen’s warriors.
Soldiers well-drilled
In shooting unarmed peasants
Or defenseless workers
Mercenaries whose shield is the civilian populace
Whose commanders are foreign-trained.”

Sa halip na makatulog, ang mga bata’y magigising. Babangon, magmamasid, makikisangkot.

ANG lalim ng isang tula, ayon kay Jose Garcia Villa, ay katulad ng isang himala, may tugtugin katulad ng awit ng ibong “seagull”. Ang tulang masusumpangan sa maraming pagkakataon, kasama ang mga hinaing ng mga magsasaka, ay may talinghaga at musika.

Sa “Literal”, pakinggan po natin ang deklarasyon ng mga magsasaka sa Palo, Leyte nuong 2005. “Ang salita ng mga magsasaka: ‘Atin muling pagyamanin ang lupa./Subalit ang mga sundalo’y hindi kailangang/Maging literal.”

Sinabi ng mga magsasaka ng Palo, Leyte na “Nais naming ng matagalang kapayapaan.” Ang totoo, naging literal ang pag-intindi ng mga sundalo.

May robotikang pag-iisip ang mga sundalo. Programado.

Inilathala ng Pantas Publishing and Printing, Inc. at ng Kodao Productions, Inc., ang “Persolitka Mga tula at larawan” ni Raymund B. Villanueva ay mabibili sa Popular Book Store. #

Injustices breed activism, teachers tell Bato and Albayalde

The Filipino people’s intensifying poverty and other social injustices drive students to activism, a teachers group said in response to accusations they encourage their students to join rallies.

Replying to accusations by Senator Bato dela Rosa and police chief Oscar Albayalde that teachers encourage “anti-government” sentiments among students and the youth, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers said it is not the teachers’ fault but poverty, corruption and human rights violations under the Rodrigo Duterte government.

The two officials separately blamed the teachers following a Senate hearing where dela Rosa presented parents who complained that their children have left home and joined activist organizations.

Dela Rosa and Albayalde said teachers should “just do their jobs and not make students turn against the government.”

Dela Rosa went as far as ask that teachers who encourage students to join rallies must be fired.

“They should be removed. Parents enter [sic] their students there [in schools] to become professionals, not to fight the government,” Dela Rosa said.

Albalyalde, for his part accused the teachers of brainwashing their students.

“What they should stop [doing] is brainwash[ing] the students. You are a teacher, you act like a teacher,” Albayalde said.

Their statement did not sit well with the teachers.

What the teachers are doing

 “The two officials are not in the position to lecture us on our jobs. Their stances show that they have very little appreciation of the objectives of education,” ACT national chairperson Joselyn Martinez retorted in a statement Friday, August 16.

Martinez  said teachers are teaching their students patriotism, love of humanity, human rights, heroism, history, rights and duties of citizens, ethical and spiritual values, moral character and personal discipline, critical and creative thinking, scientific and technological knowledge and vocational efficiency as mandated by the Philippine Constitution.

“It is not the teachers’ fault if the government leadership acts in contrast to the values upheld by education. They should not blame us if the youth calls out the government for the ills that they see in society. We are only doing our job,” she explained.

Martinez said that the government should not find fault in teachers encouraging students to attend rallies as these are “real-life events that hold many learnings for the students.”

“It exposes our students to people from different walks of life who have grievances that are worth hearing. It helps broaden the youth’s view of our society and offers education that cannot be learned inside the classroom and from textbooks,” Martinez said.

It is the two officials who should show respect instead of preventing the youth from exercising their rights, the teacher said.

Part of democracy

Martinez hit dela Rosa and Albayalde for “demonizing activism and rallies which are basic constitutional rights of the people, including students and teachers.”

“In the guise of attempting to curb armed rebellion, dela Rosa and Albayalde are in effect discrediting the fundamental rights of the people to free expression, self-organization and to protest. It is them who are not doing their jobs as being government officials, their constitutional duty is to respect and uphold such rights,” Martinez said.

“Rallying is not a crime. It appears that dela Rosa’s and Albayalde’s rants all boil down to this administration’s intolerance of dissent. They should stop in their desperate bid to silence critics. We’re in a democracy after all,” Martinez said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Kodao Klasik: Ruta ni Ka Roda (2006)

Sundan ang pakikipagsapalaran ni Medardo “Ka Roda” Roda sa Maynila, kung saan siya unang humawak ng manibela. Ginalugad niya ng ilang dekada ang mga daan ng syudad at nagamay ang mga suliranin ng tsuper.

At nang makilala ni Ka Roda ang Piston o Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide, nagkaroon siya ng bukod-tanging kahalagahan sa laban ng mga tsuper at sambayanang Pilipino.

  • Script/Direction/Editing: Risa Jopson
  • Cinematography: Ariel Saturay/Ron Papag/Risa Jopson/Asia Visions
  • Artistic Directors: Nes Jacinto/Raymund Villanueva

Tens of thousands brave the rain, threats from gov’t, to protest state of the nation

By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — This year’s State of the Nation Address protest could be mistaken as a parade of under the sea creatures; only that it carries significant calls like “Atin ang Pinas! China layas!”

The almost 40,000 strong protesters withstood the heavy rain yesterday to echo their grievances against the Duterte administration ranging from its subservience to China to the workers’ call for salary increase and an end to contractualization.

Called as the United People’s SONA, groups vowed to further unite against a “dictator president.”

Benedictine nun Mary John Mananzan of the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) commended the huge number of people who joined the protest, which, she said, shows the real state of the nation.

“Tuwang tuwa ang lolang aktibista nyo dito. Hindi kayo natakot sa ulan, at lalong lalo na hindi kayo natakot kay Duterte,” said Mananzan during the program. (Your activist grandma is elated. You were not afraid of the rain and most especially you are not afraid of Duterte.)

Photo by Carlo Manalansan/Bulatlat

She said now is the time to unite and show the people’s strength especially that democracy is being threatened as Duterte has made steps to control all branches of government.

Duterte’s subservience to China

Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya chairperson, lambasted Duterte’s inaction on many issues hounding China and its incursion into the West Philippine Sea.

He said Duterte, like China, continues to neglect the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling that the Philippines has the exclusive sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.

Photo by Carlo Manalansan/Bulatlat

He called Duterte, “bentador” and a traitor against the Filipino people when he admitted that he made a deal with China’s president, Xi Jin Ping, to not assert the right of the Philippines to the West Philippine Sea.

This, he added, is enough to file impeachment complaint against Duterte.

Former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares asked, “What help did China extend to Duterte during the elections that he immediately changed after he won the presidency?”

Colmenares is referring to Duterte’s brave stance against China during the 2016 presidential elections.

He said there is no truth that China will wage war against the Philippines because the international community will surely oppose it. “Our neighboring countries, smaller than the Philippines at that, is standing against China’s incursion. But Duterte does not,” he added.

Photo by Carlo Manalansan/Bulatlat

3 years of Duterte presidency is misery for the people

The groups lamented that for three years, the administration of Duterte has not brought comfort to the Filipino people.

It has been three years of misery, they said, as life has become more difficult. The government data shows that inflation has gone down from 6.7 percent in the past year to 2.7 percent as of June this year. However, people of the marginalized sector did not feel it.

Former Agrarian Reform Secretary and Chairperson Emeritus of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) Rafael Mariano said that with the enactment of Rice Tariffication Law, farmers experienced further bankruptcy with the influx of imported rice in the market. He said the price of the farmers’ produce are too cheap that they did not earn at all from their harvest. He said a palay now only costs P14 to P16 per kilo.

Photo by Carlo Manalansan/ Bulatlat

“The cost of production is too expensive and yet they only sell it at a low price. This has resulted in the bankruptcy of many farmers,” Mariano said.

Leody De Guzman of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, meanwhile, criticized Duterte for not being true to his promise as contractualization has not ended. What’s worse is that there is the Security of Tenure bill, which, he said, only legalizes contractualization.

Elmer Labog, chairperson of Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson said that under Duterte, workers work to live and not to earn.

“Three years under Duterte, workers’ wages are pegged far below living standards, contractualization remains rampant and legitimized, and unemployment is still one of the worst in Asia. The ITUC’s global index rights index listed Philippines as one of the top ten world’s worst country for workers in terms of trade union and human rights. If Duterte can’t do anything about it, then he must go,” said Labog.

Satire artist Mae Paner’s performance depicted the life of the Filipino people and how China has slowly taken over the Philippines. “Mayaman ang Pilinas, pero ang mga Pilipino naghihirap pa rin!” (The country is rich in resources but the Filipino people are still poor.) She wore a camiso chino with a net and a shark in her back painted with China’s flag.

Mothers from Rise Up for Life and for Rights also lamented how they were deprived of justice just because their loved ones were allegedly “drug users.” They appeal for independent investigation especially now that the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted Iceland’s resolution to conduct comprehensive investigation on extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay hit the Philippine National Police’s data on the drug-related killings saying that from 6,000 deaths, it is now 5,000.

“Are they like Comelec (Commission on Elections), the number changes in just a blink of an eye?” she asked.

Photo by Carlo Manalansan/Bulatlat

She also slammed the Duterte administration for attacking its critics — from Sen. Leila de Lima, the peace consultants, the farmers fighting for their land, activists and human rights defenders who are being slapped with trumped-up charges.

“To dissent against the government is not a crime. It is not terrorism,” she added.

Unite against dictatorship

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. said a dictator can be defeated if the Filipino people are united.

Photo by Carlo Manalansan/Bulatlat

“The President is acting like a dictator and there seems to be no end to his evil designs. Where could we derive our strength? We could derive our power from collective action, from our united ranks fighting for sovereignty and democracy. Our unity is the only effective obstacle against a dictatorship,” Reyes said in Filipino.

Joshua Mata of Kalipunan said now more than ever the people should unite against Duterte. “We have experienced dictatorship before, will we let it happen again now?” he asked to which the people answered with a resounding no.

The program ended with a performance by rapper Calix with his song, Giyera ng Bulag, a single from Kolateral album that tackles Duterte’s so-called war on drugs. “Di mo ba nakita, Duterte, mga tao din kami!” (Can’t you see Duterte, we are humans.) was Calix’s last line that received applause from the audience. #

Activists commemorate Bonifacio Day with protests

Activists held protest actions in Mendiola and the United States Embassy in Manila last November 30 in time for Philippine national hero Andres Bonifacio’s 155th birth anniversary.

A highlight of the activities was the burning of yet another effigy of President Rodrigo Duterte they blame for the occupation of China of islands in the West Philippine Sea.

They also condemned Duterte for his bloody human rights record. (Video by Mark Kenneth Solanoy)

 

Scholars hold National Day of Action

Nagtipon ang mga estudyante mula sa iba’t ibang kolehiyo ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, Diliman noong Agosto 16, 2018 para sa National Day of Action na tinawag nilang Laban Iskolar para sa Karapatan sa Edukasyon.

Mariin na kinundena ng mga Iskolar ng bayan ang mga atake ni Duterte sa kanilang sektor sa porma ng iba’t ibang iskema tulad ng Socialized Tuition System (STS), Return Service System, Mandatory ROTC, Budget Cuts, at K-12 program.

Ayon sa kanila, ang mga iskemang ito ay paraan ng gubyerno upang pagkakitaan ang bawat kabataang pilipino.

Patuloy na ipinanawagan ng mga kabataan ang kanilang mga demokratikong karapatan, at ang pagpapatalsik kay Duterte. (Aug 16, 2018 / Palma Hall / UP Diliman)–Maricon Montajes

Freed activist fulfills promise to fellow inmates

Anakbayan secretary general Einstein Recedes were among the 19 NutriAsia workers, supporters and journalists jailed by the Meycauayan police last July 30.

A few hours after their release last Wednesday, Recedes narrated to wellwishers and reporters about a promise he made with hundreds of fellow inmates at the Meycauayan police station. (Video by Joseph Cuevas)

 

‘Ipinaglalaban ang kalayaan’