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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Ever since President Duterte came into power, the only time(s) we’ve ever had a sense of what he thinks of arts and culture is when he appoints people to cultural institutions. And then there are those instances when we just hear people speaking as supporters of the President. Say, Freddie Aguilar saying he had been promised a Department of Culture and in place of that, the chairmanship of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). Or that time… Continue reading »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Today is inauguration day, the official start of Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency. Yet if we were looking at the past month or so since the May 10 elections, Duterte’s been blamed for most everything that has happened, including Abu Sayyaf’s kidnapping spree, and the spate of killings since elections. Never mind that these crimes are happening under the Aquino government.