Category Archives: pulitika

Saturday ∗ 19 Aug 2017

This is on you, President Duterte

It was a little over a year ago, in July 2016, when President Duterte first talked about pardoning policemen in the name of the drug war. He had been turning defensive because of constant criticism about the human rights violations of his war on drugs and its contingent, growing body count. In a speech in front of San Beda batches 1971 and 1972, Duterte spoke of how he is the President and therefore is not required to respect due process. And instead of addressing questions about human rights… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 09 Aug 2017

Andy-Tish, smoke-mirrors: who gains from this teleserye?

It escalated quickly and shows no signs of stopping, but the past three days of the Andres and Patricia Bautista show, with a cast of characters of lawyers and banks and bank owners, and don’t forget social / media that can’t quite keep its hands off the oh-so-juicy details slowly being revealed, is just too exciting to let go of. Or ask questions about. After all, there is nothing like the unraveling of the elite, this one with millions in their bank accounts, not to mention wads… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 07 Aug 2017

Emily Alvarez: The case for dissolution of marriage

I have absolutely no reason to like House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez — in fact he has fashioned himself as one of the worst Presidential allies, who spreads about as much false information as government’s social media army, and lays it on even thicker by being an unapologetic misogynist boor. Now, I do not doubt that he has pushed for Congress to work on the dissolution of marriage bill so that he can get out of his own marriage, and continue living with the woman / women he… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 28 Jul 2017

Writing, criticism, hope

In the five years that I’ve been doing this column, and the nine years of writing independently full-time, the most fulfilling parts of it have been about being able to talk to students who wonder about writing. Often the questions revolve around notions of fear, which automatically go to the presumption of courage: that it is brave to write about things that others wouldn’t write about, or to have a contrary opinion from what dominates the discourse. Yet it would… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 25 Jul 2017

Everything I needed to learn about writing, I learned through blogging

And I mean old school blogging via this blog, which first went up in 2008, a gift from my Kuya who had also pushed the mother to start blogging two years earlier. At the time there was an active blogging scene with intellectuals and pundits writing and discussing issues of the day, bouncing off each other, openly debating. Trolling was frowned upon, as was namecalling. Anonymity was put into question. I like to think of that time to have been pre-Joe… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 12 Jul 2017

A whiff of corruption at DoT

President Duterte has made a big deal about how his government is transparent and incorruptible. We have proven the former false. Given a toothless Freedom of Information (FOI), the threats and attacks on media and critics, and the all-around culture and rhetoric of violence and propagation of fear – we all now know that transparency is nothing but a soundbite. The latter? Well, as with the previous government, we are seeing how sometimes, it’s not even corruption that is the… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 05 Jul 2017

A year of candidate Duterte

In January this year, Budget Secretary Ben Diokno, faced with queries about the contradiction between what was promised by Rodrigo Duterte during the campaign and what he has ended up doing as President, thoughtlessly made this distinction: “Iba ‘yung candidate Duterte sa President Duterte. <…> May napapangako ka na kapag nakita mo ‘yung datos, hindi pala pwede.” It was a most convenient excuse for the unfulfilled promises of the President – in this instance about the SSS pension increase that… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 28 Jun 2017

Truth, fake news, propaganda

It was only a matter of time: after Malacañang watched its followers discredit media on the basis of the superficially discussed notion of “bias,” it then allowed for the proliferation of fake news. Of course when we speak of that now, a year into Duterte’s government, it has become clear that it also means government officials who have so benefited from the manner in which media has been put into question, that they don’t even feel the need to retract… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 27 Jun 2017

A year of anti-information

A year into this President, and after the epic failure that is this Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), I am now beginning to think that contrary to what we would like to believe, maybe what we’ve seen to be a crisis in communications IS the communications strategy. After all, look at Martin Andanar, utterly silent, getting away with releasing badly-written, ill-conceptualized pro-Martial Law videos, being paid for the bad work of all the divisions he is in charge of –… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 16 Jun 2017

Death of culture (3): Lizaso’s vision for stagnation

The shameless conservatism in Nick Lizaso’s press release about his plans and vision for the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), is ironic when one considers that we have a President who questions Catholicism and dogmatism time and again, and who insists on his freedom of speech – if not his freedom to offend – over and over. President Duterte unilaterally installed Lizaso as CCP head. But even the President himself would not pass the rules and regulations that Lizaso… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 12 Jun 2017

Death of culture (2): Cultish leadership for CCP

President Duterte’s installation of Nick Lizaso as head of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) is painfully ironic – if not dangerously so. On the one hand, it is clear that this President doesn’t care much about culture, so one wonders why he would appoint any of his men to these cultural leadership positions. On the other, one can see this as a statement in itself about what Duterte thinks about culture: anyone can lead it, never mind that… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 09 Jun 2017

Lizaso at CCP: Death of culture (1)

The problems of the sectors of arts and culture in this country are multifarious, and there is no doubt that any of us cultural workers who are at the bottom of the totem pole can only believe in the possibilities of change, and look forward to it, too. Many of us try and work towards that change, but if cultural work is your bread and butter – and you’re not one of the lucky ones who comes from privilege to… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 07 Jun 2017

A portrait of a Tourism Secretary as failure

For almost a year now we have listened to a Department of Tourism (DOT) with a Secretary Wanda Tulfo Teo, that has no vision, no gameplan, no clear sense of what tourism is even supposed to be about, given the state of the nation. You listen to Teo speaking with Pinky Webb on CNN Philippines and you realize she still knows absolutely nothing a year into her job. All she has as far as a tourism plan is concerned is… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 02 Jun 2017

Andanar sa PCO: Isang kasaysayan ng kapalpakan (1)

Walang paglagyan ang disgusto at galit sa ipinalabas na video ng Presidential Communications Office (PCO) nitong May 31. And then you realize that this is also absolutely no surprise. Under Martin Andanar, I went from being hopeful about the PCO (not once, but twice!), to utterly and absolutely dismayed and disgusted by the lack of vision, intelligence, smarts, and all-around common sense. Early into this government, say August 2016, the policy seemed to be radio silence. I thought it was just Andanar trying… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 01 Jun 2017

The Senate disappoints #MartialLaw

Lost all of Tuesday this week to the Senate. The day started with news of Senate Resolution 388 affirming and supporting Martial Law as declared in all of Mindanao by President Duterte. What we knew was that 15 Senators were signing the resolution, excluding the Senate minority of five people – Bam Aquino, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Kiko Pangilinan, and Antonio Trillanes – and Grace Poe and Chiz Escudero whose names weren’t on the released copy of the resolution.   

Monday ∗ 29 May 2017

Out of control

Someone should tell the President to stop talking, and for his communications team to take control. Because the crisis in Marawi has revealed that he is preconditioned, at the worst time, to say the worst things. It doesn’t matter if he’s here to begin with, or he’s arriving from a foreign trip. It doesn’t even matter that he has heard the public outcry against the Martial Law declaration, the fears that have been in the newspapers, on social media, out… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 22 May 2017

Duterte, Manay Judy, Ka Paeng

It has become obvious after the fate of DENR Secretary Gina Lopez that President Duterte has no control over many things, and that neither his preferences nor his stand on issues is considered in the exercise of choosing who will run our government departments. One hopes he realizes that the anti-Gina decision of the Commission on Appointments (CA) was an affront to him, especially given how he had supported her anti-irresponsible mining stand from the beginning. Ultimately, the CA put… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 08 May 2017

What mining lobby?

Note: After the President said “lobby money talks” given the CA’s denial of Gina Lopez’s confirmation as DENR Secretary, Malacañang clarified: “when he said lobby, it’s not necessarily (about) money.” *** It is hilarious hearing members of the Commission on Appointments (CA) trying to defend themselves against reports that there was a meeting between members of Congress and mining company Citinickel the night before the decision was made to deny the confirmation of DENR Secretary Gina Lopez. First on the list of… 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 »

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 »

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 »

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