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Kadamay chides officials for telling lies about hungry protesters

The Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) chided government officials for telling lies about the violent dispersal of protesting and hungry residents of Sitio San Roque in Barangay Bagong Pag-Asa in Quezon City Tuesday morning, April 1.

The urban poor group slammed interior and local government undersecretary Jonathan Malaya for alleging that Kadamay instigated the protest action along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue when the protesters were in fact members of a different group called the Sandigan ng Maralitang Nagkakaisa (SaMaNa).

“Saan naman galing ang impormasyon ni Malaya? Napakabilis naman niyang magimbento ng kuwento,” Kadamay chairperson Gloria Arellano said in a statement. (Where did Malaya get his information? He is so quick in inventing stories.)

Kadamay said Malaya accused the group of “fooling the residents to merely dramatize issues and make the government look bad as part of Leftist propaganda.”

But Arellano said Malaya’s allegation is false and is an attempt to misdirect the issue of hunger among urban poor communities during the government’s enhanced community quarantine order due to the corona virus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Ang usapin dito, kagutuman at panganib sa kalusugan ng mahihirap habang abusado ang sundalo, pulis at emergency powers ni Duterte, kaya inaresto sila at di tinulungan,” Arellano said. (The issue here is hunger and the danger to people’s health, while the military, police and President Rodrigo Duterte’s emergency powers are abusive. That is why the victims were arrested, instead of being helped.)

Arellano also rebuked Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy chief Guillermo Eleazar who hinted at the possibility that the action was spurred by Kadamay members from Pandi, Bulacan “looking to incite chaos.”

“Paano naman makakarating ng Quezon City ang mga taga Bulacan sa ganitong panahon?” Arellano asked. (How can those from Bulacan reach Quezon City at this time?)

Kadamay said Tuesday’s protest action was a spontaneous act by hungry residents demanding food and social services promised by President Duterte when he ordered the lockdown last March 15.

The urban poor group said that mass arrests and the gross lack of social services has been the defining feature of how the administration has handled the COVID 19 pandemic. 

As of March 30, the PNP has tallied around 17,000 arrests while only 3,000 Filipinos have been tested for the virus. 

“Simula pa lamang ng pandemic, dahas, aksyong military at tila martial law na ang naging tugon ng administrasyong Duterte. Hindi nakakagulat kung bakit biglaang kumikilos ang tao pagkat hindi na nila matiis ang gutom na hindi pinapansin ng mga nasa Malacañang,” Arellano said. (Since the pandemic start, violence, militarism and virtual martial law characterized the Duterte administration’s actions. We are not surprised that spontaneous actions are being held by hungry residents who are being ignored by the Palace.) 

Arellano also stressed that the Duterte government should stop delaying and immediately release the social assistance it promised to low income families who are subjected to risks posed by the virus. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Our struggle is not a spectacle

By Denver del Rosario

I was supposed to be in San Juan for work at around 2 pm. I left my house at noon like I always do because, oftentimes, that two-hour allowance is enough. But with the infernal Metro Manila traffic, expect the worst to happen.

I checked my phone. 3:57 pm. And I was still in Kamuning, far from where I was supposed to be. In an act of surrender, I told my editor a minute after that I won’t be pushing through with my coverage today. What should have been moments of productivity became time wasted on the road. I got off the bus, but then came a heavy downpour. I spent an hour in a fastfood restaurant to wait for the skies to clear and then I went out to wait for a ride home.

But then it was past five, and many people were trying to go home. To see buses jampacked with passengers was both frustrating and discouraging: frustrating because we don’t deserve this; discouraging because I wasn’t sure if I could get on a bus in this area with many people also waiting. So I chose to do the 40-minute walk to Philcoa. From there, I finally found a jeepney ride home.

This is the harsh reality many of us face where workers and students have no choice but to wake up a bit earlier in order to avoid the morning rush, only to find themselves still waiting for hours. Some say that the metro traffic is the great equalizer, but I call this bull—-. To say that is to be devoid of class analysis.

When the powerful and the influential romanticize the plight of the ordinary people by telling us that our daily sacrifice is the very definition of Filipino resilience and perseverance I don’t smile in gratitude, I rage. For our struggle is not a story of inspiration, but rather of gross neglect and plain arrogance, one where the grievances of the citizenry are easily ignored by those who should be listening and taking action.

Standing in the middle of an overcrowded bus while passengers still try to shove their way in is not a metaphor, so are burning railroads and dysfunctional trains. This is the reality of the masses, a never-ending cycle of waking up early and going home late while losing hope in the process. With these difficult circumstances, we have fallen into compromise; we don’t care anymore about safety and inconvenience, if the vehicle is too cramped, if the aircon is not working, because we all just want to go home.

It isn’t surprising to know that this denial of a mass transport crisis by the administration has earned the ire of the citizenry. Recently we learned about goverment officials telling us to be more “creative” when commuting, or that Superman is the only one who can save the day. When people shrug off their statements as comical relief instead of recognizing its plain insensitivity, this only manifests how much hypocrisy and incompetence we are willing to tolerate as a society just because we keep hoping change will happen. This is them not doing their mandate, and us willingly accepting that.

What government officials say is a reflection of the principles they hold in shaping public policy. For example, do we really expect a leader who catcalls female journalists and jokes about rape to strengthen laws regarding sexual harassment? Or an elected official who steals agricultural lands for profit to genuinely advocate for farmers? Go figure.

To the rich and the powerful, to hell with you and your uncalled-for sense of superiority. Your oppressing kind has the gall to tell us to hang in there as you look outside from your comfortable seats? Please. Our struggle is not a spectacle. 𝘞𝘢𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘨 𝘱𝘢𝘨𝘴𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘺𝘢𝘴𝘢𝘵, 𝘸𝘢𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘨 𝘬𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘱𝘢𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘢𝘨𝘴𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘢. We don’t need your condescension; we need you to wake the hell up.

And to us who keep enduring hell, we have no other option but to carry on. We wake up early and go home late for we have bills to pay, mouths to feed, and dreams to fulfill. As we brave the metro traffic again, may we always remind ourselves that we should never settle for less, because we deserve more. But as we all know by now, we don’t wait for the world to change. We take action, rage on. #

(The author is a sports journalist. He has contributed stories to Kodao since his student days.)

Activists commemorate 33rd EDSA anniversary ‘amid new tyranny’

Various groups commemorated the 33rd anniversary of EDSA People Power 1 in a protest action last February 23.

The “Tayo ang EDSA, Tayo ang Pag-asa” rally was attended by progressive groups, opposition leaders and religious sectors who unanimously remarked that a new tyranny has descended on the Filipino people once more.

BAYAN said that the rotten social system remained 33 years after EDSA that the country is still confronted with gross human rights violations.

BAYAN warned that the people will not allow and will resist a repeat of the Marcos dictatorship under the signboard of “Duterte”. (Video by: Maricon Montajes and Carlo Francisco)

EDSA at diktadurya

“Tayo ang EDSA! Tayo ang pag-asa, ang totoo at ang pinakamakapangyarihang pwersa laban sa diktatura!“–Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. during a commemoration of the first People Power Uprising at EDSA last Saturday, 23 January.

Progressives say fight continues 31 years after EDSA

Progressive organizations marched to EDSA to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the first EDSA People Power uprising that deposed the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

While they recalled the horrors that many suffered under Marcos’ Martial Law, they said genuine change has yet to happen.

The group did not join the pro-Aquino or the pro-Duterte activities which were held separately yesterday. Read more

REVIEW: Political comedy as symptomatic of what’s wrong after EDSA

jon santos 2

THE FIRST PEOPLE POWER uprising gave Filipinos a phenomenon that, ironically, is a symptom of its failures. The ouster of the strongman Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 gave rise to local political comedy that burst out from the gates with the likes of the IBC 13’s Sic O’clock News and ABS-CBN’s Abangan ang Susunod na Kabanata. For the first time in many years, comedians may make fun of politicians and their shenanigans. It was such a fresh whiff of air and the Filipinos breathed it in by the lungful.

Jon Santos was a product of those tumultuous, albeit sometimes funny, times. He cut his teeth under veteran comedians Tessie Tomas and Willie Nepumuceno and has never stopped looking back since. As the country commemorates the 30th anniversary of Edsa 1 this year, Santos stages his funny-sad tribute to People Power and all the political craziness and crazies it spawned with an hour and a half comedy show entitled Hugot Your Vote: WTF (Wala Talagang Forever…sa Malacañang) at Resorts World Manila.

Last March 5, Santos performed before a capacity crowd at the Marriot Grand Ballroom. Drawing from international pop star Madonna’s recent concert in Manila, he emerged onstage with a “Vogue” number that sings and dances about the Filipino’s current travails—elections, traffic, a strong-arming China, moralizing bishops, and others. The opening segment was obviously an attempt to be current, although Madonna was as 80s throwback as anyone. A receptive audience was generous with its chortles.

Santos was just warming up though. What really got the audience in stitches were two of his standards—his exemplifications of Miriam Defensor Santiago and Joseph Estrada. Although the characters now talk about the senator’s second presidential bid and her famous pick-up lines, as well as the mayor’s new “Eraptions” none of the jokes really sounded new. But Santos was so funny the audience could not help but applaud in between laughs.

dd

Election-themed and staged during yet another campaign period Santos’s show included an exemplification of Grace Poe, a candidate to be the next president of the Philippines. As amply suggested by the jokes, Poe is a unique product of our post-Edsa times. While finding political fame after the Marcos era the jokes could not help but refer to her family’s loyalty to the dictator, even rumors about her biological links with the late dictator. It was also as much Poe’s fault that Santos had to deliver many of her character’s lines ala-FPJ.

If the show had a low point, it was Santos’ exemplification of Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III. This was when the audience almost stopped laughing and the mood change was palpable. Despite the, err, headpiece, the yellow shirt, the high-waist pair of pants and the awkward gait, the character, as the person being characterized, just isn’t funny. The comedian here is tested to his thespian limits. Perhaps Santos would have better success impersonating Aquino’s anointed candidate Mar Roxas in future runs instead.

Santos’ exemplification of Mommy D is a direct contrast of his Aquino. The person is funny in her unique way in the first place. Her lines on the show however are new, referring to Congressman Emmanuel Pacquiao’s fairly recent tirade against same-sex marriage. Moreover, it is highly probable that Senate shall soon have its boxer in addition to basketballers and bowlers anyway.

As political jokes became funny again immediately post-Edsa, Santos’s WTF jokes are still funny thirty years later. One wishes though that the politicians and personalities that make our country a butt of jokes start becoming part of the past. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Enraged protesters push back police at EDSA 30th anniv commemoration

Enraged by the unexplained decision to prevent them from commemorating the 30th anniversary of the People Power uprising, militant groups overpowered the Philippine National Police to reach the EDSA Shrine at the corner of the famous thoroughfare and Ortigas Avenue.

Waiting their turn after the official program led by President Benigno Aquino this morning, the protesters led by groups such as Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Kilusang Mayo Uno and the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses in Malacañang (CARMMA) wanted to march all the way to the shrine but the police tried to block them.

During their own program, the groups took turns warning about the possible return of dictator Ferdinand Marcos’s family to Malacañan Palace with Ferdinand Jr.’s vice presidential bid in the coming national elections.

They also condemned the police actions as reminiscent of Martial Law policies.