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Itanong Mo Kay Prof: Hinggil kay Robert Mugabe at hinggil sa martial law nina Marcos at Duterte

Panayam ng Kodao Productions kay Prof. Jose Maria Sison hinggil sa yumaong Robert Mugabe, dating presidente ng Zimbabwe at ang Martial Law sa panahon ni Marcos at Duterte.

ITANONG MO KAY PROF
TOPIC: 1. Robert Mugabe, dating pangulo ng Zimbabwe
2. Martial Law ni Marcos at De Facto Martial Law ni Duterte
SEPTEMBER 18, 2019

Prof Sarah: Magandang araw sa mga tagapakinig sa ating paluntunang Itanong Mo Kay Prof. Sa araw na ito ay makakasama nating muli ang Chair Emeritus ng ILPS upang talakayin ang mahahalagang sitwasyon sa ating malawak na kilusang mapagpalaya.

Magbibigay tayo ng pagpupugay sa kilusang mapagpalaya ng Zimbabwe at sa naging lider nito na si President Mugabe. Maglalaan din tayo ng panahon sa pagtalakay ng mga kundisyong bunsod naman ng mga presidenteng diktador at anti-mammayan. Bukod pa at higit rito ay pag-uusapan din natin ang pagbabalikwas ng mamamayang magigiting laban sa mga korap at abusadong lider ng ating nakaraan at kasalukuyan. At siyempre makakasama natin si Propesor Jose Maria Sison dito sa Itanong Mo Kay Prop.

Prof Sison: Maalab na makabayang pagbati sa inyo Prof. Sarah Raymundo at sa lahat ng ating kababayan!

Mga Tanong:

Prof Sarah: Prof Sison, bago tayo tumungo sa mahahalagang usapin sa ating bayan, puntahan muna natin ang isang mainit at pinag-uusapan din ngayon sa buong daigdig. Ito ay ang pagpanaw ng dating pangulo ng Zimbabwe na si Robert Mugabe, noong September 6 sa idad na 95 taon. Magkakaiba ang damdamin ng kanyang mga kababayan sa pagtingin ng kanyang naging kasaysayan bilang pangulo ng Zimbabwe, na dating Rhodesia.

Prof Sarah: Sabi ng mga matatandang Aprikano, si Mugabe daw ay revolutionary fighter at liberator. Maaari po ba ninyong ibahagi sa ating mga tagapakinig sino po ba talaga si Robert Mugabe. Tutuo ba na naging mahusay na lider siya at rebolusyonaryo?

JMS: Si Robert Mugabe ay totoong revolutionary fighter at lider sa pagpapalaya ng Zimbabwe. Sa kanyang pagpanaw, pinarangalan bilang bayani ng gobyerno at mga mamamayan ng Zimbabwe. Sa matagal na panahon, itinuring siya na bayani at ama ng kanyang bayan laban sa kolonialismo at imperyalismo ng Bretanya at sa white minority rule ng mga Ingles. Taglay niya ang African nationalism at naging tagapangulo ng Non-Aligned Movement, Organization of African Unity at African Union.

Sa ilang panahon, sinikap niyang mag-aral ng Marxismo bilang gabay sa pagpapalaya sa itim na mayorya ng kanyang bayan. Kinulong siya nang sampung taon (1964-74) ng mga kolonyalistang Ingles. Sa paglabas niya ng preso, tumungo sa Mozambique para pamunuan ang sandatahatang pakikibaka ng Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) laban sa white minority rule ni Ian Smith ng Rhodesia (dating tawag ng mga Ingles sa Zimbabwe.)

Pumasok siya sa peace negotiations na minungkahi ng Bretanya at natuloy ito sa pagtigil sa sandatahang pakikibaka. Nagkaroon ng general election ng 1980 kung kailan nanalo ang ZANU-Patriotic Front at naging unang Prime Minister ng Zimbabwe si Mugabe mula 1980 hanggang 1987. Naging presidente siya mula 1987 hanggang 2017. Sa kanyang katungkulan, pinalawak niya ang sistema ng health care at public education. Sa umpisa nakipagcompromiso siya sa Bretanya tungkol sa economic policy. Pero itinulak pa rin niya ang dekolonisasyon, laluna sa land reform laban sa mga puting panginoong maylupa.

Prof Sarah: Tinawag din siyang diktador ng maraming Zimbabwean. Marami daw pong pinapatay si Mugabe at siya daw ang dahilan ng pagbagsak ng kanilang ekonomiya. Naging ganid daw siya sa kapangyarihan. Inabot niya ang 37 taon sa pwesto bago siya napabagsak at napaalis sa ng mga militar sa kanilang bayan. Ano ang masasabi ninyo dito, Prof Sison?

JMS: Ang pagkumpiska ng lupa mula sa mga puting panginoong maylupa para ipamudmod sa mga itim na magsasaka ang naging dahilan ng malaking paninira kay Mugabe mula sa minoryang puti, mga kasapakat nilang itim na nasa partido naZimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) at mga pahayagan ng Bretanya at Kanluran. Sinabotahe ng mga imperyalista ang mga eksport ng Zimbabwe at dahil dito napinsala ang ekonomya nito. Pero naligtas ang ekonomiya dahil sa tulong ng mga bansang hindi palasunod sa US at Bretanya.

Pinakamasamang hamon kay Mugabe ang paglunsad ng armadong oposisyon sa kanyang gobyerno. Dito nagkamatayan ng marami. Dinurog ng Fifth Brigade ni Mugabe ang armadong oposisyon sa Matabeland kung saan iniulat na galibu ang nasawi. Gayunman sa mga eleksyon, pinayagan ni Mugabe ang paglahok ng partido ng oposisyon. Hanggang ngayon, buhay na buhay ang mga legal na kalaban niya sa pulitika.

Prof Sarah: Ano ang aral na ating mapupulot sa naging kasaysayan ni Robert Mugabe, Prof Sison? May kabuluhan ba ang kanyang mga ginawa para sa mga Aprikano at sa mamamayan ng daigdig?

JMS. Malaki ang kabuluhan ng ginawa ni Mugabe sa pagpapalaya at pagpapaunlad ng Zimbabwe at sa pagtataguyod ng pagkakakaisa ng mga bansang Afrikano laban sa kolonyalismo, imperyalismo at paghahari ng puting minorya. Sa kabila ng mga tagumpay niya at pagsuporta ng masa, parang hindi niya namalayan ang kanyang pagtanda at pangangailangan na magretiro. Sa edad na 93, gusto pa niyang magpatuloy na presidente ng Zimbabwe pero pinagsabihan na siya ng militar na palitan na siya ng bise presidente. Ang aral dito ay dapat may retirement age at limitasyon sa termino ng mga lider.

Prof Sarah: Noong September 21, 1972 ay pinirmahan ng dating pangulo ng bansa at diktador na si Ferdinand Marcos and Proclamation No. 1081. Isinasaad dito ang paglalagay sa buong bansa sa ilalim ng Batas Militar o Martial Law. Ginawa ito ni Marcos para lalong lupigin ang nag-aalburutong galit ng mamamayan na noon ay nakakaranas na ng matinding pang-aabuso ng mga may kapangyarihan sa bansa. Bagsak ang ekonomiya. Marami ang walang hanapbuhay. Marami ang hindi kumakain sa maghapon at kaliwa’t kanan ang pang-aapi ng mga kapitalista at panginoong maylupa sa mga manggagawa at magsasaka.

Ipinagbawal ang organisasyon ng mga kabataan at guro sa eskwelahan. Ipinasara ang mga publikasyon at tinanggalan ng karapatan sa pamamahayag at ekspresyon ang mamamayan para hindi malaman sa buong daigdig ang nagaganap na karahasan sa bansa.

Marami ang hinuli, tinortyur, pinatay at mga dinukot na hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa nakikita.

Kasama nating muli ngayon si Prof Jose Maria Sison para magbahagi ng kanyang karanasan noong panahon ng Batas Militar.

Prof Sarah: Prof Sison, isa kayo sa mga lumaban noong panahon ng Batas Militar. Ano po ang inyong masasabi sa ginawang ito ni Marcos?

JMS: Tunay na masamang tao si Ferdinand Marcos. Sakim sa kapangyarihan at sa kayamanan. Nagpataw ng batas militar sa bayan para magtayo ng pasistang diktadura at mawalan ng hadlang ang kanyang paglabag sa mga karapatang demokratiko at pantao at gayundin ang kanyang pandarambong sa kabangyaman ng bayan at sa mga proyektong overpriced at kaakibat nitong mga utang sa loob at labas ng bansa.

Noon pa mang 1965, tantiyado na naming nasa mga makabayan at progresibong organisasyon na may balak si Marcos na maging pasistang diktador habambuhay. Dahil dito, determinado kaming magpalakas ng kilusang masa hanggang maitayo ang isang rebolusyonaryong partido at hukbo. Lalong naging halata ang hilig ni Marcos noong 1969 at 1970 na gumamit ng militar para manakot at pumatay.

SR5. Kayo po ay nahuli noong 1977. Sino po ba ang dumakip sa inyo, Philippine Constabulary (PC) o mga sundalo? Paano ninyo hinarap si Marcos at ano ang ginawa nila sa inyo?

JMS: Composite forces ng Philippine Constabulary and dumakip sa akin noong Nobyembre 10, 1977. At pagkatapos ikinulong ako nang matagalan hanggang 1986 sa Military Security Unit ng Philippine Army. Parang gentlemen kami ni Marcos nang magharap. Nagkunwari pa siyang mag-alok ng national unity and reconciliation. Tugon ko na pag-aralan namin kung ano ang mabuti para sa bayan. Nagreklamo pa ako tungkol sa pagdukot at pamamaslang ng militar sa mga aktibista sa Timog Katagalugan.

Nang ibinalik ako sa aking piitan sa MSU sa Fort Bonifacio, ilang araw akong pinupuntahan ng mga imbestigador hanggang Sabado. Halata kong yamot sila na walang makuha sa akin na impormasyong makapagpahamak sa iba. Pagdating nang Sabado at Linggo, ipinailalalin na ako sa physical torture, kabilang na ang pambubogbog at maraming oras ng water cure: paulit-ulit na pagpapaagos ng tubig sa aking ilong hanggang para akong nalulunod.

Prof Sarah: Prof Sison, anong aral ang maibabahagi ninyo sa ating mga tagapakinig bilang isa sa mga naging biktima ng Martial Law?

JMS: Napakasama ang martial law. Lisensiya ito ng presidente bilang commander-in-chief at mga utusan niyang militar na gumawa ng lahat ng human rights violations, kabilang na ang mga abduction, torture, pamamaslang at pandarambong. Dahil sa martial law napakaraming dinukot, desaparesido, tinorture, pinatay at inagawan ng property. Sa pinakamababang estimate, nakapagnakaw si Marcos ng 10 to 15 billion USD.

Prof Sarah: Ngayon naman ay dumako tayo sa panahon ng Pangulong Duterte. Maaari ninyo po bang ipaliwanag muna sa ating mga tagapakinig, ano ang ibig sabihin ng de facto martial law?

JMS: Tulad ng panahon ng pasistang diktadura ni Marcos at tulad sa Mindanao ngayon magmula 2017 may pormal na proklamasyon ng martial law. Pero sa Luson at Bisayas, wala pang ganitong proklamasyon, de facto o sa katunayan meron nang martial law dahil sa aktwal na paggamit ng militar ni Duterte para manakot, manghuli, magtorture at pumaslang sa mga tao nang walang paghapag at pagproseso ng kaso sa harap karampatang husgado ng sibilyan na gobyerno. Sa ilalim ng Executive Order No. 70 ilinalagay ni Duterte ang gobyerno at lipunan sa kanyang kamay na bakal o kanyang militar na instrumento.

Prof Sarah: Napakarami na po ang mga dating pulis at militar na ngayon ay nasa Kongreso, Senado at Malacanang. Pinasok na rin ng Philippine National Police ang mga eskwelahan at unibersidad sa Kamaynilaan para daw supilin ang pagrerekrut ng mga NPA sa mga kabataan. Ito rin daw ay bahagi ng kanilang kampanya ng pagsupil sa mga pinagbabawal na gamot. Ano ang inyong opinyon hinggil sa mga bagay na ito, Prof Sison?

JMS: Ang mga binanggit mo ay pruweba ng de facto martial law. Sa utos ng commander-in-chief, nagiging dominante ang mga militar sa gobyerno at sa lipunan. Pinakikialaman ng militar ang lahat ng bagay para maghasik ng lagim at gumawa ng anumang krimen sa ngalan ng anti-communism at national security.

Prof Sarah: Noong May 23, 2017 ay ibinaba ang martial law sa buong Mindanao. Kasunod nito ay kinansela ng gubyerno ang panglimang round ng usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) at National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), na noon ay parehong nasa (The) Netherlands ang mga negosyador. Ano po ang inyong masasabi dito, Prof Sison?

JMS: Magmula sa petsang binanggit mo,, nagproklama ng martial law sa saklaw ng buong Mindanao para umpisahan niyang labanan nang lantaran ang CPP, NPA at iba pang pwersang rebolusyonaryo. Sadyang sinira ni Duterte ang peace negotiations nang sa gayon magawa niyang dahilan ang armed conflict o ang CPP at NPA para magtayo ng pasistang diktadura.

Prof Sarah: Prof Sison, hindi lamang isang taon ang martial law sa Mindanao. Ito ay naextend pa hanggang matapos ang taong 2019. Ano po ba sa inyong pagtingin sa dahilan ng pamahalaan at bakit kailangang ipagpatuloy pa ang martial law sa Mindanao?

JMS: Ipinagpatuloy ang martial law sa Mindanao bilang pundasyon ng de facto martial law sa buong Pilipinas at bilang pundasyon na rin ng pandaraya sa nakaraang eleksyon at anumang susunod na eleksyon. Dominado na ni Duterte ang Kongreso at local governments dahil sa malaking pananakot sa oposisyon at pandaraya sa eleksyon sa Mindanao. Isa pang mahalagang punto, dahil sa martial law sa Mindanao, napadali ang pang-aagaw ng lupa at natural resources mula sa mga kawawang lumad at mga magsasaka.

Prof Sarah: Ano po ang epekto ng martial law sa Mindanao? Sa inyo po bang pagtingin Prof Sison, malulupig ng pamahalaan ang mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa ng CPP/NPA/NDF?

JMS: Sa palagay ko, hindi malulupig ng bulok na gobyerno ang pwersang rebolusyonaryo sa Mindanao. Lalo pang lalakas ang mga ito dahil sa ibayong pang-aapi at pagsasamantala at dahil taglay nila ang tamang linya ng demokratikong rebolusyon ng bayan. At tama rin ang estratehiya nila na pangmatagalang digmang bayan at mga taktika ng digmang gerilya na malawak at masinsinan batay sa malawak at malalim ng suporta ng masang api.

Prof Sarah: Sa September 21 ay aalalahanin ng mamamayang Pilipino ang ika-47 taon ng Batas Militar sa bansa. Ano po ang inyong pabaong mensahe sa ating mga tagapakinig, Prof Sison?

JMS: Mensahe ko sa lahat ng ating kababayan na tandaan ang malalaking krimen ng pasistang diktadura ni Marcos at ipagbunyi ang dakilang pakikibaka ng masang Pilipino at mga makabayan at demokratikong pwersa para ibagsak ang diktadura iyon. Matuto sa karanasan at labanan nang puspusan ang balak at mga hakbang ng tiraniyang Duterte na magpataw ng martial law at pasistang diktadura sa sambayanang Pilipino.

Prof Sarah:

Prof Sison: Nagpapasalamat ako muli kay Prof. Sarah Raymundo at sa lahat ng takapakinig. Mabuhay kayo!

Prof Sarah: Maraming salamat Prof Sison sa isang mayaman at matalas na diskusyon. Maraming salamat sa ating mga tagapakinig.

Apat na pu’t pitong taon matapos ang deklarasyon ng Martial Law ay nahaharap na naman tayo sa malalagim na kundisyon. Mabangis ang gobyernong Duterte at ang galamay nito lalong-lalo na sa mga manggagawa at magsasaka. Tintatakot at pinapatumba rin nito ang mga nagtatanggol sa karapatang pantao at nais magsulong ng kapayapaan.

Tandaan natin, hindi magiging ganito kasahol ang paninikil sa ating mga laya kung wala ring matinding krisis na hinaharap ang ating sistema. Ang gustong mangyari ng mga nasa kapangyarihan ay panatilihin ang umiiral na sistema sa kabila ng krisis. Kaya tinatakot at inaagawan nila ng buhay ang mga nagnanais baguhin ang sistema upang masolusyunan ang krisis. Habang sila ay papahina, nais din nila tayong maging mahina. Kaya’t nararapat lamang na tayo ay humugot ng lakas sa pagtitiwala sa kilusang masa.

Ito po si Sarah Raymundo ng Bagong Alyansang Makabayan at Unibersidad ng Pilipinas. Hanggang sa muli dito sa Itanong Mo Kay Prof.

End

Itanong Mo Kay Prof: Paglalagay sa Panganib sa Mamamayan Hinggil sa Maling Pananaw sa Aktibismo

Panayam kay Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Chair Emeritus ng International League of People’s Struggle, ni Prof. Sarah Raymundo hinggil sa maling pananaw sa aktibismo at paano ito nakakaapekto sa pagturing rito ng mamamayang Pilipino.

Agosto 16, 2019

Students vow to fight police presence inside schools

Students held a rally at the University of the Philippines in Diliman last August 14 to condemn attempts by state security forces to place police and military forces in campuses. They were joined by other organizations from marginalized sectors.

Following Senator Ronald dela Rosa and interior secretary Eduardo Año’s demands that police and military presence be allowed in state universities and colleges to combat student activism, the students said such moves are in violation of their Constitutionally-guaranteed rights. (Video by Jek Alcaraz)

‘Dapat mas matakot ang mga dapat managot’

Sa umano’y pananakit ng ilang fraternity sa UP…

“Ang panawagan ng Engineering Student Council, kung tayo ay natatakot, dapat mas matakot ang mga dapat managot!” —Ralph Baguinon, Engineering Student Council, University of the Philippines-Diliman

No free tuition yet under Duterte, students say

Majority of University of the Philippines (UP) students will still be asked to pay matriculation fees despite the Rodrigo Duterte government’s announcement of an additional P8.3 billion funding to make tuition free in state universities and colleges (SUCs) next school year.

This is according to CHED and the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) April 20 Joint Memorandum setting implementing rules and regulations and prioritizing students who could benefit from the program, UP student leaders said in a dialogue with university officials Friday.

The government’s free tuition policy shall only benefit few SUC students based on their families’ socio-economic status and academic standing, they added.

Last Thursday, UP launched its online Student Financial Assistance (SFA) project to align its policies with the joint memorandum from its P367 allocation.

UP said the SFA shall accept student applications for the free tuition program which shall then match the students’ financial needs with multiple financial support and packages into a so-called comprehensive financial support for applicants.

Under the program, students may apply for the Free Tuition Policy (FTP) where recipients of Student Financial Assistance Programs (STFAP) and beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) are prioritized,

Students deemed unqualified under the FTP may apply for the Socialized Tuition System (STS), a bracket-based tuition system that measures a student’s capacity to pay based on socioeconomic factors.

Anti-student scheme

UP Student Regent Raoul Manuel slammed the scheme, saying it is “diametrically opposed to and contrary to the spirit of making tuition free for all.”

Manuel questioned the huge profit the university has collected from students from tuition and other school fees, saying the university under-declared its actual tuition collection of around P900-million, excluding income from other school charges.

He said the cash balance of the university has ballooned from P5.5-billion in 1999 to P12-billion by 2015 kept as part of the university’s revolving fund.

“With such a huge amount in the coffers of UP, we find no justification for the continued collection of fees except for the extraction of further profits from the students,” Manuel said.

Concepcion for his part said the university’s incomes are bound by legal processes.

“Ang pera na yan, earmarked, [at] naka-indicate kung paano gagastusin,” Concepcion explained.

Concepcion said the SFA aims to capture data in case President Rodrigo Duterte vetoes the Affordable Higher Education for All Act, which aims to provide full tuition subsidy for students in state universities and colleges (SUCs).

Gusto naming makita kung sino yung magqu-qualify para mai-budget na natin yung perang hawak natin,” Concepcion said.

SFA also includes various financial aid, including donor-funded grants and presidential scholarships, he said.

According to Concepcion, scholarships and grants automatically becomes stipend for recipients once Duterte signs the bill.

He added that the university will ask for a supplemental budget from the government to cover other school fees since the allotted budget for UP only covers tuition.

Pangako ko naman sa inyo na hahanap tayo ng paraan,” Concepcion said. “’Di niyo ako kalaban dito. I will do all my best to make education free,” he added.

The student-administration dialogue coincided with the National Day of Walkout, where students gathered outside Quezon Hall in UP Diliman to commemorate Duterte’s first year in office and call for the end of tuition collection.

Genuine free education

Despite the administration’s promises, however, the students vowed to stay critical and to strengthen their call for free education.

The students also denounced the real nature of the Rodrigo Duterte government’s so-called free tuition program in only select SUCs and courses around the country.

Ang malinaw ay hindi tiyak na magkakaroon ng libreng edukasyon sa kanya,” Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND UP) Chairperson Almira Abril said.

Ngayon kailangan nating pag-igtingin ang ating mga panawagan, dahil ang magbibigay sa atin ng libreng edukasyon ay yung social pressure na kayang i-create ng malalaking pagkilos na ikakasa ng kabataan,” she added. # (Denver del Rosario of UP-CMC for Kodao Productions / Featured photo by Gabby Endona)

UP CSWCD names Bai Bibyaon Ligkayan Bigkay 2017 Gawad Tandang Sora honoree

The College of Social Work and Community Development of UP Diliman named Manobo leader Bai Bibyaon Ligkayan Bigkay as its third Gawad Tandang Sora recipient as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations this year.

Bigkay was cited for her leadership in the Indigenous People’s struggles for human rights and dignity. Read more

Woman warrior of Talaingod is 2017 Gawad Tandang Sora awardee

BAI BIBYAON LIGKAYAN BIGKAY was early for the nine o’clock ceremony at the University of the Philippines-Diliman College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD) today. She sat at the front row of the hall, flanked by her two companions and interpreters, a Manobo Datu and a Catholic nun, patiently waiting for the people who are to present her the 2017 Gawad Tandang Sora.

There is little in her calm demeanor that showed she was aware the flurry of preparations in the entire hall was in her behalf, that the huge event was to hail her as the Melchora “Tandang Sora” Aquino of the current and troubled times.  Ligkayan Bigkay is just the third recipient of the award given by the CSWD only during momentous occasions. The first awardee, the brave academic Prof. Flora Lansang who fought against Martial Law, was honored during UP’s centennial celebrations in 2008.  The second awardee, Salve Basyang, tireless advocate of the rights and welfare of women and the elderly, was honored during the bicentenary celebrations of the birth of Tandang Sora in 2012.

There were fears the 92-year old third honoree (earlier reports of her age varied from 70 to more than a hundred) would not make it to the occasion because she had been ill.  Sr. Noemi Degala, SMSM, one of her companions on the trip and interpreter, explained the Bai is complaining of joint pains. “It is most probably brought about by her advanced age,” Sr. Noemi said. But Bai Ligkayan made it, garbed in the traditional red and black Manobo dress and resplendent with the ginibang bead necklace and bead wristband.  Unmarried, she still honors the Manobo tradition of wearing only two bead ornaments on her body, not even the tangkuro, exclusive to datus and chieftains like her. There were the inevitable requests for “selfies” with the guest of honor and she obliged, occasionally raising her clenched fist, like on the posters featuring her around the big venue and on the front cover of the ceremony programme.

When the program finally began, several short videos about the Lumad struggles were shown.  Bai Ligkayan remained quiet, even when the audience laughed and applauded the video of her berating North Cotabato Representative Nancy Catamco at their Haran, Davao City sanctuary.  The confrontation was the only time she was recorded livid, reducing the national government official to momentary and stunned submission as the Bibyaon threw the proffered water bottle at the congresswoman’s feet before stomping off.  But the usually reserved Bai grew animated when a music video was shown of Lumad children running, jumping and playing indigenous percussion instruments.  She slightly swayed her shoulders and nodded her head to the music, before returning to her calm demeanor.  She even declined an invitation to join the dance by invited artists from the College of Human Kinetics, gesturing to her aching right knee in refusal.

A cascade of tributes

When the time came to present the award, epithets echoed around the hall.  Gawad Tandang Sora Committee chairperson and Social Work and Community Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said Bai Ligkayan was chosen from among the nominees because she had the vision and courage to fight for her people.  “She is the mother of the Lumad,” Taguiwalo told the audience.  CSWD Dean Jocelyn Caragay said the awardee by her life and struggles enliven the college’s spirit for the underserved. UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan for his part explained his administration’s practice to host indigenous peoples in their annual “Lakbayan” to Metro Manila. “The indigenous peoples are the visiting professors of the university whenever they visit us. Bai Bibyaon is the Chancellor,” Tan said to laughter and applause by the audience.

Sr. Noemi’s introduction of the honoree was most accorded rapt attention by the audience. She said Bai Ligkayan is known by many names.

“By the Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao, she is called the ‘Woman Warrior of Talaingod’.  To women’s groups, she is the ‘Gabriela Silang of Mindanao’.  Today, she is to be honored as CSWCD’s ‘Tandang Sora’.  By the Philippine government she has been called a ‘rebel’.  By social workers of the previous (government) administrations, she was ‘a victim of a large-scale kidnapping disguised as internally-displaced’.  And by the paramilitary Alamara, ‘a coveted trophy for war’,” Sr. Noemi said.

The nun asked, “Who is this leader of the perennially-displaced Manobos of the Pantaron (mountain) Range to deserve this tribute? Who is this woman who dwells among the outcasts to come to Manila, the seat of political power and might?  Who is this literacy-challenged leader whose education is at ‘UP’–the University of Pantaron—to be feted by the University of the Philippines?”

Sr. Noemi revealed that Bigkay does not even have a birth certificate to reveal her true age and her parents’ names.  “The nameless is now being called names.  And what an honor indeed that she is named as today’s Tandang Sora, the revolutionary woman who embodied our recent centenary as a nation.  It was perhaps fortuitous that the moment Melchora Aquino died in 1919 was probably about the same decade that Bai Bibyaon was born,” she said.

The nun drew parallelisms why the elderly Manobo woman from the hinterlands of Davao del Norte traveled to the UP campus located just a few kilometers away from where Melchora Aquino succored the Katipunan wounded and within sight of the avenue named after the “grand old lady of the Philippine revolution.”

“Tandang Sora was the revolutionary woman of the national democratic revolution of the past. Bai Bibyaon is the revolutionary woman of today’s ongoing and raging national democratic revolution with a socialist perspective and socialist practice. This distinction given to Bai Bibyaon is only possible because she has stood as the leader for the nameless, the lowly, and the cast out. To students of history the award is an affirmation of the principle that the masses make history,” the Mindanaoan nun said.

Offers back her flower bouquet

The audience was on its feet by the time Sr. Noemi reverently pronounced Bai Bibyaon Ligkayan Bigkay’s name to signify the award was about to be formally bestowed next.  The honoree, who only speaks and understands the Talaingod Manobo language, was the last to stand up, seemingly unsure that the loud applause was for and about her.  When she finally made her way onto the bedecked stage, she was uncertain on where to stand, looking at her companions, Sr. Noemi and fellow Manobo chieftain Datu Aylo Buntolan, as if asking why aren’t they joining her onstage.  They later did. True to character, Bai Ligkayan did not smile even once, most unusual of any honoree in any awarding ceremony.  The Bibyaon only had her iconic determined look, showing the reason why she is being honored–her resistance against all forms of abuse and exploitation against her people–is more a reason for struggle and less of celebration.

The text on the certificate was equally glowing.  It said CSWCD’s 2017 Gawad Tandang Sora was being given Bai Ligkayan for her fight for the Lumad’s rights and dignity.  Indeed, no one carries the Lumad struggle for human rights and self-determination with more dignity that Bigkay, more so when she raised her clenched fist for the assembled academics, students, officials, former CSWCD deans, staff and alumni of UP.  Her iconic salute was borne by her people’s history of struggle at the other UP in the highlands of southern Mindanao.

The awardee only had a short speech as a response to the honor just bestowed her.  Datu Aylo’s translation from Manobo to Visayan and Sr. Noemi’s translation from Visayan to English took more time.  The awardee first remarked on her long name, which refers not only to her person but her people’s culture.  She explained that her first name is “Ligkayan” and her family name is “Bigkay”.  “Bai” is a dignified honorific to Mindanao women of stature while “Bibyaon” is her title by acclamation as her tribe’s chieftain, forced to lead when their Datus have died defending their land and people by government forces in the service of mining and logging interests decades ago. She is the Talaingod Manobo Bai and Bibyaon, who to this day leads her people against the same forces of injustice and death.

Ligkayan Bigkay thanked the CSWCD for the recognition of her contributions to her people’s struggles for self-determination.  In the second part of her speech, the oldest person in the hall addressed herself to the youth and students present.  She called on them to help the indigenous peoples defend the environment and the future as well as to contribute to the poor people’s struggles for social justice and liberation in the countryside.

Sr. Noemi struggled to capture and convey the depth of Bai’s words and admitted failure.  “Let my deep sigh represent the depth of what she said,” the missionary nun said.  She revealed that Bai Ligkayan is in fact being hunted by the military at the Pantaron Range exactly for the reasons that she is feted by the country’s premiere university.

After her speech, Ligkayan Bigkay went on showing the audience what her greatness was all about. When asked to pose for photos with her bouquet of flowers she did not want the moment to be all her own, just as she refused all the accolades given her in the past be about her alone.  She reached out and took the hands of a person who always welcomed them on campus, their ally, the surprised Chancellor Tan, who was seated nearby.

“I was touched by the gesture.  I believe she sees me either as a son or a fellow elderly.  But it also means we are very good friends,” Tan said.

Earlier, when she stepped away from the podium and was being escorted back to her seat, the bouquet of flowers earlier given her was put back on her arms.  She looked at them briefly and then offered it to Secretary Taguiwalo, a gesture that could only mean she is sharing the adulation being showered her with a kindred soul, a comrade, a fellow woman warrior. But Taguiwalo had to decline.

It was Taguiwalo who voiced how the audience felt.  “The truth is, by receiving the award, Bai Bibyaon is bestowing us honor as a college,” Taguiwalo said. # (Report and photos by Raymund B. Villanueva)

 

 

Resume talks, not all-out war – peace advocates

By Mikhaela Dimpas, UP College of Mass Communications

VARIOUS sectors and peace advocates mobilized in front of University of the Philippines’ Palma Hall to remind the Duterte Administration that an all-out war against the New People’s Army is an all-out war against the people.

“Hindi na sila natuto sa leksiyon ng kasaysayan mula pa kay Marcos, Aquino, at Erap,” Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Ysagani Zarate said.

“Ang all-out war ay napakalaking pagkabigo na pigilan ang rebelyon,” he said. Read more

Basic sectors, UP community, lawmakers urge resumption of peace talks

The University of the Philippines (U.P.) community led by Chancellor Michael Tan and Vice chancellor Nestor Castro welcomed representatives of basic sectors of workers, farmers, women and youth to call for the continuation of peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Rep. Carlos Zarate, joined by other members of the Makabayan bloc in Congress, announced that 103 lawmakers signed a House Resolution to continue the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. T

he gathering is one of simultaneous peace rallies of #peacetalksituloy held on February 10, 2017. Read more

NDFP consultants come home to UP

NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE pHILIPPINES (NDFP) peace consultants Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Austria Tiamzon, Jaime Soledad, Rey Claro Casambre, Rafael Baylosis, visited the University of the Philippines in Diliman Quezon City for the first time since their release from prison or going above-ground last September 15.

The group was welcomed by UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan and vice-chancellor Nestor Castro at the iconic Oblation and were given the sablay. Read more