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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’

How can Myles Albasin be a terrorist?

Maria Karlene Shawn I. Cabaraban

At 13, she wore a bright yellow shirt on her first day of high school. Inside the school’s covered courts, hundreds of new students like her wore the same expressions of nervous anticipation. She felt like a stranger among them, a girl from Malaybalay City who had gotten an academic scholarship in an Ateneo school. Eagerly, she listened to the various speakers who welcomed the new students. When they were given a tour of the campus, she could not quell her excitement and fired question after question to the student facilitator assigned to them: “How often do we use the science labs? Do we get to handle the microscope ourselves? What books do we read in our English classes?”

Later, she was ribbed no end for her enthusiasm. Also, what’s with her insistence on speaking in English?

At 14, she joined the school publication, writing news articles as her mother had taught her. She found out however that campus journalism at the time was more focused on the form rather than substance. News pitching consisted mostly of events in school. Who will write about the science month celebration? Can anyone cover the latest interschool math contest we won over Corpus? Let’s do an interview with newly hired faculty.

At 15, she ran for the Campus Student Government presidency under the Atenean League of Leaders (ALL), an opposition party which she just founded. The decision came with much hesitation though, as her grades already suffered from her many extra-curricular preoccupations. But the call was difficult ignore. The need to challenge the status quo is, after all, integral to the Ignatian principles that she had learned from their Christian Humanism classes. “How could one be a “man and woman for others” without minding the issues which sought to normalize itself in a system that opposes opposition? How could there be cura personalis if our compassion is confined within the four corners of the Ateneo?” Ignatius seemed to have asked Myles too many times in her moments of introspection.

She lost the race. But her passion for service, ignited by her first foray into politics, could no longer be dampened.

When she took up Mass Communications at the University of the Philippines-Cebu, she let go of an opportunity at a full scholarship to study Accountancy at both Xavier University and De La Salle University. In UP, she joined the Nagkahiusang Kusog sa Estudyante or NKE where her student activism developed.

This did not come without criticism from her friends: “What’s the point in baking yourself under the sun  and on the streets, holding anti-government placards and disturbing motorists? Are you paid to go to immersions in the slums and in the provinces? Don’t you get tired of shouting speeches in the streets instead of hanging out with us, your friends”

She was undeterred and did not tire of explaining. Activism did not mean opposing the government; it is challenging a system that claims to serve the people but only serves to push the poor farther into the margins of society, she said. Activism is not grounded on hate. On the contrary, it is rooted in the calling to be a man or woman for others, to “do more” for communities in need, and to actualize one’s love for the country through genuine service. Communitas ad dispersionem, Myles explained.

Today, as she languishes in jail, she is branded an “amazon” of the New People’s Army (NPA), a university graduate brainwashed by communist rebel groups, a beautiful twenty-something whose looks will fade away in jail. She has been accused of ransacking a barangay captain’s home in Negros Oriental, threatening farmers for money, and possessing high-powered firearms and explosives. A terrorist.

Internet trolls have reduced her to a meme, a poster-girl for what happens if one had bad parents, an all-too common consequence if you send your children to UP.

 “Sayang, gwapa ra ba unta.”

“Tsk. Crush man nako ni sa una oh”

I cannot agree with them, though. How can she be a terrorist when she held my hand when I came out of my “closet”? How can she be a terrorist when she stood by my side when the rest of the class came up on stage to receive their awards while I sat on the side silently loathing myself for failing to join them? How can someone who said the solution is “not in hating, but in educating” be a terrorist?

Myles is not a saint as she, like most humans, has committed mistakes. But to call her a terrorist is to lose sight of the systemic problem she riled against—a system that fails to uphold its mandate to enact change, a system where oppression and impunity is pervasive, a system that demonizes dissent.

She is Myles Albasin, and she is not a terrorist. #

= = = =

The author is Myle’s friend. This piece was originally written for The Crusader, Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan’s official student publication. It is republished with permission.

Myles Albasin was arrested along with five other fellow activists by the Armed Forces of the Philippines soldiers in Mabinay Negros Oriental last March 3 and charged with illegal possession of firearms. Paraffin tests conducted on them came out negative, however, belying military claims the six were New People’s Army fighters caught after a firefight.