I am against the war on drugs and the way it is being implemented at this point. Where the lists of drug suspects remain questionable, even as inclusion in these lists is used as justification for many of the dead on our streets. Where the excuse of “nanlaban,” is used as a way for the police to justify killing a drug suspect, a justification that’s been built on the President’s pronouncements. Where there is a lack of transparency about the… Continue reading »
The conversation about the occupation of the idle government housing units in Pandi Bulacan has unsurprisingly settled simplistically on the fact that members of the urban poor, all members of Kadamay, took over these houses outside of the process set for them by the public housing system of government. Yet one wonders how many of those who insist that the urban poor did not follow due process, actually know what that process is. Because even Vice President Leni Robredo, during… Continue reading »
It was on March 8 when I first heard of how members of urban poor organization Kadamay had taken over units of a government housing project in Pandi Bulacan. It seemed like the best way for our women (and men of course!) to celebrate International Women’s Day: to take over public housing units already overgrown with weeds and grass, neglected and idle for years, some dilapidated. Here were people willing to take these structures for what they were, without electricity… Continue reading »
If there’s anything that’s been absolutely fascinating watching the proceedings for the confirmation of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez at the Commission on Appointments, it’s how that long list of oppositors have come together solely to discredit her by misinforming the public and evading culpability for the mining crisis. Mining misinformation Mining companies and their advocates and employees want us to forget things. For two days last week, we watched miners and mining interests falling… Continue reading »
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 »
If I owned a mining company in the Philippines, and my mine was declared closed or suspended by the new leadership of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), I would fight back. I would fight back with transparency. After all, I demand it of the DENR audit; I should be able to expect it of my own mine. I would release all information on the operations of the mine, and I would allow the community, scientists and academics,… Continue reading »
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) have been busy doing some spinning. They keep insisting – complete with infographics – that the jeepney phaseout is actually a modernization plan that will make these public transport vehicles safer for the public and kinder to the environment. After Monday’s transport strike, they’ve insisted that it wasn’t nationwide at all, belittling its effect on the commuting public, towards asserting that the strike was no problem… Continue reading »
On Valentine’s Day, Secretary Gina Lopez of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) announced that her department was cancelling 75 MPSAs or Mineral Production Sharing Agreements with mining companies. Many of these projects are only in the exploration stage. The cancellation of MPSAs will not mean the loss of jobs. But of course the mining companies, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP), and pro-mining advocates will not take this sitting down.
Between the pro-mining students protesting at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) officials, and the insistence that we talk only about the jobs to be lost and the stock market crash, it is clear that we are being distracted from the more important questions about whether or not the mining projects the DENR has ordered closed have in fact been bad for the environment and our communities. For some of these mines, there is already enough proof and… Continue reading »
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 »
First, an aside. I steered clear of writing about Miss Universe, any more than I already had long before the pageant even started its activities in this country. I stood and still stand squarely against holding the pageant here, especially at a time when we face the crises of poverty and need, of climate change and intermittent floods, when the dead are being collected off our streets, when the promise of change has yet to even be felt in fundamental,… Continue reading »
The jeepney strike that kicked-off this week drove home the point that needed to be made about the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) proposed jeepney modernization program. First, that in fact jeepneys are not the main cause of our traffic crisis, because despite the fact that there were barely any jeeps on the roads, traffic was still terrible. Second, that in fact this proposed modernization program will not only disenfranchise jeepney drivers and operators, it will also ultimately affect the commuting… Continue reading »
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 »
I had started on this series on the environment – from urban development to climate change – because the early press releases on today’s debate declared that the topics would be about disaster preparedness, climate change adaptation, health care, education, and fighting corruption. Since last Sunday though, I’ve heard otherwise, and if the grapevine is correct it will be a free-for-all (yet again!) as far as topics are concerned. Also, if my news is correct, today’s #PiliPinasDebates2016 will include a… Continue reading »
Each candidate for president is talking about development and change. From those big concepts, they will reveal that what they mean by development is infrastructure and investments, towards job creation and poverty alleviation. None of them though are talking about the construction of roads and better public transport as connected to air pollution. None of them are talking about urban development as interwoven with reducing our carbon footprint.
The most important platform a Presidential candidate must have is one for the environment. It is the one that they need to be clear about, that they need to work on beyond imagining the environment as mere resource that should be, must be sold, like we have no choice. Here is where we need to hear a pro-people stance, one that will dare say no to big business, irresponsible mining, illegal loggers, oligarchs and transnational corporations. A real platform for… Continue reading »
Elsewhere in the world, election surveys are held against the light, and assessed based on where it is done, whose bailiwick(s) it chooses to survey, and how the survey is conducted. In the Philippines, it is the media enterprises like ABS-CBN and Rappler that commission or do their own surveys, justifying the practice instead of questioning it.
I wasn’t very good at doing arts and culture in the country the past year. But here’s a list of the strange, the good, the surprising in culture for 2015, not at all a best or worst list because … see the first sentence. First a critical aside: having worked as dramaturg for Kleptomaniacs and a bit with Tanghalang Pilipino in 2014 meant keeping the theater reviews to a minimum in 2015. I needed that time to let go of the little inside stories that I know,… Continue reading »
I had read about the stories of the members of the Talent Association of GMA (TAG) Network with sadness and frustration, compassion and anger. I could not believe that this institution, this high profile media network, could be so unkind to its workers of 5, 10, 15 years. I could not believe that the same space that I thought had treated me well enough for three years (or so) as a regular contributor for GMA News Online, had decided to treat its… Continue reading »
“This is why Kris Aquino’s tirade against an Instagram follower was utterly surprising; I also can’t believe how media tended to side with her on this one. <…> This is the same woman who has spent much of her TV career “making pakialam” people’s lives via intrusive questions in talk shows. The same woman who “makes pakialam” people’s lives for a living, as she endorses every product imaginable and tells the public: this product is what YOU need in your… Continue reading »
You’ve got until midnight tonight (Sunday) to download “It Will Be The Same But Not Quite The Same” for free over here. — http://www.mediafire.com/…/adam_david_-_IWBTSBNQTS_-_single… And to play with HiMaamSir. — http://himaamsir.blogspot.com/. Very sad and dismayed and angry that these sites will be going down by the end of today, because of the use of the law (and lawyers!) without consideration for appropriation, transformation, and derivative work, not to mention critical-creative engagement. These are sad times for Philippine literature, when a… Continue reading »
Here’s the statement from writers and supporters of literature on the case of Adam David who has been told to take down a website and PDF that critically engages with the book Fast Food Fiction Delivery, published by Anvil and edited by Noelle de Jesus and Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta. Here is the site — http://himaamsir.blogspot.com/ And the PDF — http://www.mediafire.com/…/adam_david_-_IWBTSBNQTS_-_single… Here’s Adam’s explanation of what his project was about — “It’s a collection of 132 stories gathered from a story-generating machine… Continue reading »