Monday ∗ 16 Jan 2017

Who’s afraid of a yahoogroup?

COMMUNICATIONS Secretary Martin Andanar, that’s who.

It’s still unclear to me what he thinks his office should be doing, but it sure continues to do very little towards actually providing the public with correct, proper, and urgent information.

Instead it’s been revealed that Andanar is doing this: listening to the pro-Duterte noise on social media, printing out “information,” and making it an urgent and important concern because OMG! it has gone viral.

And what is it exactly? Well, screencaps of YahooGroup messages, with email addresses and names of anti-Duterte personalities, but also some messages that seem to have come from the staff of Vice President Leni Robredo. Reading through these messages, all of it seems harmless enough, and honestly, any destabilization plot that happens on a yahoogroup—one that is so easy to hack—should not be taken seriously by government.

Ah, but of course Andanar takes it so seriously! Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 13 Jan 2017

Selling relevance, using current events

The family drama is … ahem … a Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) tradition, one that’s produced some interesting enough versions from the Tanging Ina series to Mano Po. And so it was no surprise that the purported / sold / imagined “change” via MMFF 2016 would deem it necessary to have a “family drama.” It was “Kabisera.” And while it did fulfill all the requirements for a family drama, i.e., there was a family, and there was a crisis, and the family pulled together —… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 05 Jan 2017

Beyond the horror

I’m a sucker for the Pinoy horror film formula: a scary setting, well-done sound design, the gulat factor. I’m the person in the cinema who will scream first, and the loudest, the person who is so ready to be scared. But of course the fear factor is only one of many aspects of the horror film, and one realizes given the effort that is put into a movie like Seklusyon (directed by Erik Matti, written by Anton C. Santamaria), that there is more to doing… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 02 Jan 2017

Attempted rape as teenage dream?

At the onset, having a light romance / romantic-comedy as part of the Metro Manila Film Festival’s self-proclaimed “change” and “revolution” was a good thing: it tells us that they weren’t deciding against certain genres just because these are considered “pop” and “therefore shallow” — it is after all easy to presume that all love stories are about the happy endings, and one can spot the formula from a mile away. But even formula has allowed for an amount of creativity in the rom-com through the… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 29 Dec 2016

The septic tank as critique

Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 2 #ForeverIsNotEnough is probably the most fun I’ve had in a local film since … well, the first Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank. It’s not that I do not find commercialized comedies funny — the ones that fall back on formula, the hilarious banter of every Vice Ganda movie character, even Sosy Problems from so many MMFFs ago. But there is a layer of intelligence that ABSST demands of itself, an ability at self-reflexivity that it demands of its audience, but… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 08 Nov 2016

History #MarcosNotAHero #November8

It is utterly depressing that for such recent history, and with so many of Martial Law’s victims and survivors still alive and well, speaking up and screaming at the top of their lungs, that here we are divided about the burial of one Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Worse, that the Supreme Court would be so divided as well, right down the middle if we are to believe the grapevine, with seven-for and seven-against the burial of… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 04 Nov 2016

Media, gov’t comms, #LawinPH

One of the questions that dominated the discourse pre-Typhoon Lawin was: what the heck is government doing? The truth was, we weren’t hearing much about what was being done, who was doing what, and whether government was prepared at all. It didn’t help that too many members of the President’s Cabinet –including the heads of communications – were with him in China, and so there was absolutely no sense at all that there was anyone in control of delivering information about… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 02 Nov 2016

Sacred cows, criticism, and the media as enterprise*

When your teacher asked me to come in to speak with you, my first reaction was: are you sure? baka masira ang buhay ng mass com students mo. See, I am not trained as a journalist, nor do I practice it as a discipline. I’m not part of mainstream media, and consciously so. In college, I was a comparative literature major. My MA degree was on philippines studies. Much of my early history as writer had to do with following… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 21 Oct 2016

Brutal: the police and the President’s public

Early this month, I had wondered about the missing apology from Duterte supporters given the uncalled for, unfair, and absolute harassment of media workers in relation to the President’s failed ironic claim to the analogy between him and Hitler. It seemed important to point out that there was a need to rein the President’s supporters in, especially when the President himself is apologizes when he makes a mistake. That is extraordinary because we came from a previous government that refused to apologize for anything at all. It is ruined… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 10 Oct 2016

OVP versus NAPC: poverty, aid, vision

It was interesting, to say the least, to hear about the Office of the Vice President (OVP) holding what they were calling The Partnerships Against Poverty Summit today, October 10. I wondered why it was that after 100 days, Vice President Leni Robredo has gotten away with pretty much doing nothing as Housing Chief — promising only that the roadmap would be complete by the first quarter of 2017 — complete with the assertion that “100 days is too short to hit targets,” yet here she… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 07 Oct 2016

#EveryONE: A call to protect human rights and uphold democratic principles

Imagined speech against Sen. Leila M. de Lima hypothetically delivered by VP Jojo Binay in a place and time in the past when it was the de Lima who was in power. Sa panahon kung kelan lantaran akong pinagtutulungan at tila ba kinukuyog ng mga lalaki at babaeng kapwa ko nagtatrabaho sa gobyerno, kanino pa nga ba ako kukuha ng lakas kundi sa mga kapwa ko tao? I am still here. Huwag po kayong mag-alala. Siguro yung iba nagtataka: Bakit nandiyan pa… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 27 Sep 2016

Killings, resignation, out of context (pa rin!)

I had woken up on Monday to President Duterte’s speeches: two, in fact, both of which I went back to and took notes on. That’s where most of my Monday went. I have found it important to take stock with this President, to take time understanding what he’s saying, and where he comes from, as well as where he’s going, because social and mainstream media are noisy and competing for online hits, with a tendency towards sensationalism and the superficial and easy either-or kind… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 20 Sep 2016

A Senate coup #Sept19

Anyare? It was an otherwise expected Monday at the Senate, televised live for all of the world to see, with Senator Alan Peter Cayetano again being given the “privilege” to speak about things he had already spoken about at last week’s Committee on Justice Hearing with witness Matobato. It was Senator Leila De Lima who had brought this witness to the Senate, who really only reminded us all of the Davao Death Squad and how (1) it does exist, and (2)… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 08 Sep 2016

Liza Diño, FDCP workers, martial law #culturalcrisis

Let me call it now. With 12 members of the staff terminated in the first week of her leadership, Liza Diño has put the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) under a version of Martial Law. And because Martial Law is about silencing critics, too, I hear that the search is on for who exactly my sources are. This, instead of Diño actually replying to these allegations — I would gladly be disproved after all. But what I’m looking at are not just 12 employees given pink slips by Diño. I’m… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 02 Sep 2016

Notes on an arts and culture agenda: a lack of representation

One of the reasons I became hopeful about having President Duterte as our country’s leader was the fact that I’ve heard him speak consistently about better treatment for workers via such measures as an end to endo, tax reform and the streamlining of government services, as well as his stance on making oligarchs and capitalists also responsible for treating workers better. I knew this would redound to the benefit of cultural workers as well.

Wednesday ∗ 31 Aug 2016

Notes on an arts and culture agenda: A situationer

The recent events in our arts and culture institutions have made me think about my relationship with these organizations, given how I stand in favor of its independence, and against all these questionable government appointments. See, the discipline I grew into in the academe was one that was critical of these institutions, looking always at the ways in which these are created to perpetuate the same forms and aesthetics that are primarily (arguably) based on the padrino system – a… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 30 Aug 2016

Notes on an arts and culture agenda: Freddie, Liza, Cecile, Nick, Irene

I take back all instances in which I said I believed in the creation of a cultural department. Because I disagree. I disagree with Freddie Aguilar, self-proclaimed, unconfirmed political appointee, who says that a culture ministry is what we need to address the needs of the cultural sector. No. Having been a cultural worker all my adult life, studying the laws that govern our cultural institutions, and now specifically in light of the unilateral decision of President Duterte to appoint… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 13 Aug 2016

A sense of cultural history #BriccioSantosAtTheFDCP

When they opened the Cinematheque Centre in Manila in December 2015, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) headed by Chairperson Briccio Santos, thought it would go the way of the four other Cinematheques they’ve opened in the provinces. That is, it would slowly gain a following as the audience for film screenings gradually grows. The slow but steady climb was a well-founded expectation. In Iloilo, Davao, Baguio and Zamboanga, the Cinematheques took time to take off, the public’s… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 04 Aug 2016

Freedom of anti-information

A little over two months since we elected a new President, there is no day that I do not reel from the change that has come, for good, better, worse – depending on where you stand on issues. It is the latter of course that has become the more critical question. “Where do you stand?” after all seeps into our daily engagements on social media: it is measured by the headlines we share on our Facebook walls and Twitter feeds,… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 28 Jul 2016

Media madness #DuterteSONA2016

It was hilarious actually, watching media make a mess of their SONA 2016 coverage — and we’re not even talking about those “power shots” of the President’s nostrils and hands. In fact, I’m not even talking about the SONA itself — for how can media mess up that coverage when we were all stuck with video from Brillante Mendoza? I’m talking about the pre-event coverage, when our congressmen and senators arrive at the Batasang Pambansa. In the past, this was the time and… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 20 Jul 2016

From #WestPHSea dispute to … impeachment? #mediacrisis

Not that it isn’t being pointed out by more and more people, which has also made our mainstream media practitioners totally defensive, but there are some glaring media mishaps that seem important to mention — before we (i) forget, and just so it’s here for future reference. The Karen Davila Headstart interview with Justice Antonio Carpio on July 14 2016 happened as expected. They talked about the West Philippine Sea dispute, the decision of the international arbitral tribunal in favor of the Philippines, and where to go… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 14 Jul 2016

From Luneta to the Hague: a timeline of the #WestPHSea dispute #mediacrisis

Still reading up — and there is a lot of reading up to do — about the decision on the West Philippine Sea, but have found it scary irresponsible that mainstream and social media have taken on this celebratory tone, with the contingent demand that we all join in with as much fervour and gratefulness to former President Aquino. But a sense of recent history, of what brought us here, is important towards understanding why Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay is correct about handling the results of this case… Continue reading »

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