Category Archives: bayan

Thursday ∗ 09 Mar 2017

Mines are ours

It is difficult to stay calm when you’re watching the Commission on Appointments proceedings for the confirmation of Gina Lopez as Environment Secretary. It doesn’t help that at the center of it all, the Chairman of the Committee for the Environment is Manny Pacquiao who, without a script, reveals himself as utterly incompetent and totally lost — he can’t even keep up with the concept itself of what the DENR does, the laws that it protects and moves within, the fact… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 26 Feb 2017

Owning EDSA: Freedom in independence

I’ve been out of the literary and academic establishment since 2008, and save for finally finishing my M.A. Degree in 2013, and now imagining that I would like to work on a PhD., have steered clear of its trappings and requirements. I did not go without the requisite kicking and screaming, as I always thought of a career in teaching and writing. But what has become clear since is that I also needed to let go of my romance with… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 25 Feb 2017

Owning EDSA: Silencing the critic

The letter dated March 2, 2006 surprised me for many reasons. For one thing it was not addressed to me, but was about me. In it I was judged as a bitter iconoclast who had made a career out of attacking people. In it I was judged for being disrespectful of my academic and writing elders. In it my immediate superior – the Chairperson of the department I was teaching in – was implored to reprimand me, for something that… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 24 Feb 2017

Owning EDSA: Living EDSA

It would take me forever to get to the point where I stopped caring about the establishment. The first indication I had that I was coming into my own would ironically happen when I had both my feet in activism, and I was teaching in the Ateneo de Manila University as part of its Department of English. It was February 2006. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had declared Proclamation 1017, purportedly because of intelligence reports that members of the military were planning… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 23 Feb 2017

Owning EDSA: EDSA on repeat

By the time Angela won in the Centennial Literary Awards for her Tagalog essay on EDSA entitled “Himagsikan Sa EDSA: Walang Himala!” in 2000, I was more certain about my political beliefs and my relationship with the academe. I was not fearless, oh no! but I sure was becoming more critical. I knew enough about the literary and academic establishment to keep a healthy distance from it – thanks in large part to teachers who were still open to criticism.

Owning EDSA: A daughter of uncertain times

Mine was a generation mostly uncertain and finding its footing in the political landscape. Done with whatever EDSA euphoria we inherited from our elders, apathy was the word used to describe us teenagers, also called generation X, who were in the University in the late ‘90s. We knew of how Marcos had stopped Voltes V from showing on TV, we knew of classmates in grade school whose fathers and mothers were in jail because of Marcos. But much of it… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 22 Feb 2017

Owning EDSA: Silent in the State U

When I entered the State University in 1995, EDSA ‘86 was farthest from my mind. But of course the President then was EDSA icon Fidel Ramos, Juan Ponce Enrile was in the Senate, and Gringo Honasan was running for a seat in it. I remember being enamoured of Gringo, his rebellious self something that I could relate to. I remember a blockmate saying she couldn’t imagine voting for someone who attempted those coup d’etats against Cory, for how could someone… Continue reading »

Owning EDSA

In 2014, Angela and I were asked to write an essay each for the anthology Remembering / Rethinking EDSA (Anvil Publishing, 2015). We have since published those two essays as a zine for #BLTX, and to celebrate the EDSA Revolution of 1986 this year, we’re posting our essays in parts on our blogs, to commemorate the four days of EDSA, now on its 31st Anniversary. Her blog is at stuartsantiago.com. :)  *** When I was invited to write a piece for… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 12 Feb 2017

HTI fire: Cover-up?

On February 1, I watched with many as the fire at the House Technologies Industries (HTI) inside the Cavite Export Processing Zone grew bigger and bigger, seemingly beyond control. On February 2, at 12:30AM, the fire was declared under control (ABS-CBNNews). Yet all day the building continued to spew smoke. By early evening fire started on the building again. On February 3, at 4:15PM, officials finally declared fire out on the building (CNN Philippines). No casualties declared as of 3:19AM,… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 30 Jan 2017

Portrait of a communications secretary as failure

The rhetoric was one of change and optimism in the beginning, of a revitalized PTV4, of a Presidential Communications that did not engage in the spin that we had gotten used to for six years. The promise was information delivered promptly and with transparency, never mind the task of propaganda. After all, when you’ve got a President who is doing right by nation, enough Cabinet members doing good work, and the Left, Right, Center on your side – not to… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 27 Jan 2017

Taxes, freelancers, cultural work: Amnesty and kindness

One of the more critical battles that any cultural institution should be waging at this point is the one against the unjust taxation of freelance cultural workers. This was one of Daang Matuwid’s most unkind tax policies, which was put into effect by former tax chief Kim Henares, for whom it didn’t matter how much a person earned, what mattered was that government could collect taxes on those earnings. I had hoped President Duterte’s men would take a look at… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 20 Jan 2017

RH push overshadowed by Sotto, Leni condom-talk

Given all that has been happening, half borne of the discourse of confusion and noise, the other half just the utter lack of information, I almost missed what might be one of the best New Year’s presents we could get from President Duterte: his Executive Order 12. Here, the President essentially orders all relevant government offices “to intensify and accelerate the implementation of critical actions necessary to attain and sustain “zero unmet need for modern family planning” for all poor… Continue reading »

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… Continue reading »

Social class before beauty

The first time I heard about the tax on cosmetics, it had already been framed against the hashtag #DontTaxMyBeauty. But as with many things that happen via hashtags, there was little fleshing out of what this so-called Vanity Tax was going to be about. A day after the hashtag happened, the three-page House Bill No. 4723 was uploaded online, but many remained disinterested in what it contained: it is easier to jump on the bandwagon of calling something anti-woman, than… 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 »

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