Category Archives: komentaryo

Wednesday ∗ 19 Apr 2017

Duterte chauvinism: Sino bang walang babae?

A direct translation wouldn’t capture how offensive this rhetorical question is, coming from the mouth of any man or woman, as it normalizes and rationalizes the practice of infidelity and polygamy, because look, all men are doing it! And as long as these men can take care of the children they sire, from one, two, three women they keep in their beds, then they are doing the decent thing, they are doing what is right. Wrong. Especially when these words… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 03 Apr 2017

Portrait of a UP teacher as mining lobbyist

On Wednesday, March 29, GMA News Online ran a story about a UP teacher claiming two things: that Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) employees were ordered by an undersecretary to “find fault” in mining operations, and that students will not find good jobs in the mining industry after graduation. These are University of the Philippines students, ones this same professor has taught, ones that taxpayers’ money has put through university education, and they are being told they will… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 31 Mar 2017

That New York Times documentary: the photographer as hero

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 »

Monday ∗ 27 Mar 2017

The VP’s missed chance, the President’s opportunity

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 »

Saturday ∗ 25 Mar 2017

From neglected houses, to homes for the poor

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 »

Monday ∗ 20 Mar 2017

Losing Leni

I have no love lost for Vice President Leni Robredo, but I would rather she was VP than Bongbong Marcos. Having said that, one wishes she knew what she was doing. That she would have the sense to have a real communications team, one that will have her back and will not allow her to make a fool of herself. One that will tell her to step back, take stock, and regroup. A trusted group of people who will remind… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 13 Mar 2017

The embarrassment of mines, the fortitude of Gina Lopez

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 »

Friday ∗ 10 Mar 2017

Unwell, unjust: #NoToDeathPenalty

Here’s the thing with the death penalty bill as passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday. It’s so ill-timed, it disallowed debate and discussion, it refused any amendments – unless it’s agreed upon during the majority caucuses – and ultimately it revealed how a majority of our Congress representatives do not represent the people who voted them into power. Instead they have agreed, as per this death penalty bill, that if any of their constituents are so much as… Continue reading »

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 »

Monday ∗ 06 Mar 2017

Oceana Gold: history, abuse, mining

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 »

Friday ∗ 03 Mar 2017

STRIKE!

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 »

Monday ∗ 27 Feb 2017

Tweeting EDSA1986

It came to me on the evening of February 21: why not “live” tweet the events of the EDSA People Power Revolution of 1986 as it happened? How hard could it be, I thought. I remember one year when the now defunct (but quite missed!) communications office of the previous government, which had Manolo Quezon in charge of history, actually sought to “live” tweet EDSA 1986, too. Besides, the original chronology of EDSA’s four days by Angela Stuart-Santiago is online… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 24 Feb 2017

Andanar imagines destabilization, drowns in own false claims

We all know Communications Secretary Martin Andanar is not doing his job. He has no idea what his job entails, what it requires of him, and so he cannot even begin to meet its demands. It was as such no surprise that in the face of claims by former police officer Arthur Lascañas about the role of then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the Davao Death Squad (DDS) and the spate of killings it was responsible for, Secretary Andanar decided to… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 20 Feb 2017

The party’s over

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.

Friday ∗ 17 Feb 2017

Zambales mines: A history of questionable practices

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 »

Monday ∗ 13 Feb 2017

DENR’s daring, mining’s crisis

I was one of many who thought Gina Lopez was one of President Duterte’s more daring choices as far as picking members of his cabinet was concerned. A staunch environmentalist, she was a welcome decision for Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary, after decades of seeing our natural resources go to waste in the hands of big business, oligarchs, capitalists all in the name of investments and “development” as every government before this one has claimed. I thought:… 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 »

Friday ∗ 10 Feb 2017

Who will benefit from the jeepney phase out?

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 »

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 ∗ 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 »

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