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A giant of a film waiting to be born

“Yield” is a film that has already made history by being included as finalist to six categories in this year’s 66th Famas Awards. It may be the first ever documentary film to be nominated in the best film and best director categories–traditionally exclusive to full-length feature films. It is also a finalist in the best cinematography, best editing, best sound, and best documentary film categories.

Yield’s co-director, cinematographer, editor, sound engineer Victor Delotavo Tagaro told Kodao the film will finally be launched after the Famas Awards ceremonies.

Following is Kodao’s short review of the film. (Tagaro was once a Kodao filmmaker.)

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Filipino feature films usually rely on long-winded dialogues to move their stories along.  Video documentaries, on the other hand, mostly rely on voiceovers to stitch its sequences together.  In both cases, they betray their radio drama roots by almost always describing what is already being shown.

Comes now Yield, a 90-minute pictorial feast that eschews the voice-over and the dialogue as story-telling tools.  The film relies almost entirely on the visual to bring the viewer from one situation to the next, in a bracing roller-coaster ride of both despair and hope.

The documentary does not reveal a script—an unconventional approach realized successfully by its directors.  There are no interviews either, the film firmly sticking to the unhindered interaction between the camera and the subjects.  Thus, there are no perspectives but the subjects’ and the viewers’ reactions are entirely their own, unencumbered by manipulative dialogue or an interviewer’s questions.

Instead, the film relies solely on gorgeous sequential cinematography to move the story along.  The deliberate composition of each frame and the beautiful movement of each sequence offer the viewers a visual tour-de-force that is unlikely to be forgotten in a long while.

Yield’s narrative benefits from this unusual and brave approach in filmmaking.  It is a presentation and discussion of the lives of poor children all over the Philippines that is un-proselytizing but pregnant, silent but incendiary.  It lets poor children tell their stories just by living, the camera recording them almost incidental.  It lets them tell the viewer a thing or two about their struggles to live—and die—with dignity.

Within an hour-and-a-half, the film takes us to five years of these children’s lives.  It also subtly reminds us while watching of the epic amount of dedication and creativity spent to produce it, as well as bonds and relationships formed between the filmmakers and the subjects in those five years of pain and joy, of loss and creation.

Yield is co-directed by its executive producer Toshihiko Uriu and Victor “Onin” Delotavo Tagaro who, to date, is most famous for his 2004 Hacienda Luisita massacre documentary, “Sa Ngalan ng Tubo.”  He is also the primary cinematographer and editor of this TIU Cinema production.  The film’s unobtrusive yet powerful music is by Diwa Felipe de Leon

Whenever this documentary’s launch date may be, it should be marked as the day Philippine cinema gave birth to a giant of a film.—Raymund B. Villanueva

TRAIN-induced price increases are permanent—IBON

The inflation spike marks the start of increases​ driven by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN)​ in the prices of basic goods and services for the next three years, research group IBON said.

Further inflationary surges are likely to happen in 2019 and 2020 when the next two rounds of additional taxes on oil products take effect.

The Duterte administration’s banner TRAIN is among the biggest factors driving the inflation rate to its highest in over six years, said the group.

IBON noted that the headline inflation rate of 4.5 percent year-on-year in April is the highest since late 2011, bringing the year-to-date average inflation rate to 4.1 percent.

This already breaches government’s inflation target for 2018.

As it is, food, vegetable and fuel prices are already higher from a year ago, IBON observed.

The price of regular milled rice has increased from Php35 to Php40 per kilo, of galunggong from P140 to Php160, of pork liempo from Php225 to Php240, sitao from Php60 to Php100 per bundle, and red onions from Php50 to Php80.

Just since January, the price in Metro Manila of diesel has gone up by over Php7 per liter to Php44.35 and of gasoline by some Php6.80 to Php55.37.

LPG is also already much more expensive at some Php650-750 for an 11-kg cylinder.

“The higher prices of basic commodities hit the country’s poorest 17.2 million families who do not get any personal income tax (PIT) benefits the worst. This burden belies the Department of Finance’s (DOF) fake news claim that ’99 percent of taxpayers’ will benefit from TRAIN,” IBON executive director Sonny Africa said.

Africa also said that government economic managers are being dishonest and insensitive when they downplay the impact on prices by saying that the inflation spike is only temporary.

“The price increases from TRAIN are very permanent and even if inflation rates moderate this does not mean that prices will be lower,” Africa said.

“It is grossly deceitful for economic managers to give the impression or claim otherwise. Prices will continue to rise for the poor from TRAIN’s new and higher taxes unless the government says that the inflation rate will turn negative, which is unlikely,” he added.

According to Africa, while there are many reasons for inflation the government only seeks to divert from its direct accountability for TRAIN-induced higher prices by exaggerating the effects of global oil price and the peso depreciation.

Dubai crude has been at US$62-66 per barrel and the peso at up to Php52.10 per US$1 since the start of the year.

However, even when the price of Dubai crude reached US$105 per barrel in 2013 inflation only averaged 2.6 percent.

Similarly, when the peso was at over Php54 per US$1 from late 2002 to mid-2004 inflation only averaged 2.5 percent , Africa explained.

Africa said that among all the major factors driving high prices, the government has the most control over the taxes it charges.

“If government wants to it can immediately lower inflation and prices for the people by suspending implementation and then repealing the grossly regressive TRAIN law,” he said.

Revenues can and should instead be raised with progressive tax reforms that increase the burden on the country’s super-rich and that relieve the poor majority while their incomes are still so low, Africa concluded.​# (IBON.org)

 

AGAW WEN Episode 2: TRAIN to Bankerohan Market

by Kilab Multimedia

Panoorin ang spectacular na pagdiskubre ni Agaw kung bakit mas matamis pa ang asin kaysa asukal.

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Slow TRAIN cash transfers highlight govt’s insensitivity–IBON

“The poor will get relief about three months into suffering TRAIN-induced price increases with millions of others only getting it much later.”

 Research group IBON said that the slow implementation of the Duterte administration’s social mitigation measures including its cash subsidies highlights how these are just an afterthought to cover up how the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion’s (TRAIN) program is anti-poor and pro-rich. TRAIN was railroaded last year to already be able to raise revenues starting January 2018 even if the supposed mitigation measures were not yet clear.

This is in reaction to the Department of Finance (DOF) announcement about the looming implementation of the government’s unconditional cash transfer (UCT) to supposedly help the 10 million poorest Filipino families cope with the impact of TRAIN. The DOF said that the 4.4 million existing Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries and three (3) million indigent senior citizens will start receiving the Php200 per month cash subsidy in March. The balance of 2.6 million households are supposed to start receiving theirs in August.

IBON executive director Sonny Africa noted that the DOF was last year quick to undertake the staff work for raising taxes on the poor and giving income tax relief to the rich. Yet, in contrast, it was grossly unprepared to implement any of the supposed social mitigation measures even nearly two months into the law’s effectivity. As it is, the poor will get relief about three months into suffering TRAIN-induced price increases with millions of others only getting it much later in August or after eight months.

Africa also said that the DOF was merely scrambling to report 10 million helped “no matter how sloppy the figures.” “The numbers don’t even add up,” he said, “because many of the 3.3 million poor elderly will likely already be among the 4.4 million CCT beneficiary households so double-counting is already happening, more so two or more elderly are in these poor households.”

Meanwhile, TRAIN’s promised fuel subsidies for public utility vehicles (PUVs), fare discounts for the poor and other social mitigation measures still remain unrealized, said Africa.

Lastly, Africa said, it is worth repeating that the cash subsidies are temporary and only from 2018 to 2020. “These are also the three years when oil taxes keep rising and prices keep getting pushed up higher and higher,” Africa noted. “The real TRAIN shock happens in 2021 when the UCT gimmick is gone but the prices that the poor pay for their basic goods and services will be immensely higher,” he said. (IBON News / February 27, 2018)

Taguiwalo admits ‘tolerating’ Kadamay members, poor citizens

FOLLOWING accusations the Department of Social Welfare and Development is “tolerating” Kadamay members who occupied vacant housing units in Bulacan province by giving them assistance, Secretary Judy Taguiwalo called a press conference last Friday.

Taguiwalo tried presenting and discussing other DSWD programs but majority of journalists present were focused on the agency’s distribution of food packs in Pandi, Bulacan last week and on accusations the agency is giving special treatment to the “occupiers.”

Taguiwalo said all of DSWD’s programs are for the poor.  She said the agency is always ready to give help to those who ask, especially the poor.
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Progressives protest, House approves death penalty bill

THE government must focus on ending poverty and its roots instead of killing the poor, progressive groups said at a rally at the House of Representatives yesterday said.

The protesters, led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, marched to last March 7 in protest of House Bill 4727 that seeks to re-impose death as punishment for drug-related crimes.

The Lower House nonetheless approved the bill on its third and final reading last night, with 216 congressmen voting in favor, 54 against and one abstaining. Read more

NAPC leads anti-poverty mapping conference

National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) lead convenor Liza Maza and consultant James Miraflor present the database launch of Tala ng Bayan laban sa Kahirapan (Talambayan), a multidimensional approach to assess and map poverty in the country. Miraflor noted that “where there is development like urbanization, pockets of poverty also arise.”

The event is the first such consultation organized by NAPC under Maza that culminated in the launch of the anti-poverty movement called Talambayan.

It was held at the B Hotel in Quezon City last November 10-11.

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One Billion Rising 2017 to focus on violence of poverty

One Billion Rising international coordinator Monique Wilson led the launch of the fifth year of its annual event with the theme “Solidarity against exploitation of women.”

Through dances and songs it has popularized since 2011, Wilson said their next celebration would focus on poverty and how it worsens the other injustices they suffer.

The One Billion Rising campaign again expects millions of women to gather on February 14 in countries all over the world.

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Kidapawan victim’s dad charges ‘witness’ for perjury

EBAO SULANG, father of Kidapawan shooting victim Darwin Sulang, filed perjury charges against Senate witness Charlie “Longhair” Pasco at the Department of Justice yesterday.

Pasco testified before Senate investigative committee hearings last April that the younger Sulang was carrying a gun when he was gunned down during a violent dispersal of protesting farmers last April 1. Read more