if there’s anything that #noynoying must take credit for, it is more than just that it has trended and landed in international media sites. the activist youth sector — and when i say that i mean Anakbayan — must take credit too for the fact that #noynoying has annoyed the likes of Joel Rocamora enough to speak out against it.
and boy, does he speak out. and does he draw those lines like no one else has done. and boy does he reveal so much more about his kind of activism even as he imagines that what he did was discredit completely the ideological political line upon which Anakbayan and #noynoying stand.
this is the only explanation for Rocamora invoking the concept of the RA (reaffirmist) activists in his essay for rappler.com. here he was drawing a line, one that he must have thought was important to make, yet other than that title he lets it slide and nowhere in the essay does he explain what it means. then he ends with the national democrats as the bane of development as he and PNoy believe it to be.
now i will not pretend that i am equipped to discuss the RA-Rejectionist dichotomy and division at length, but it doesn’t take a genius to see that Rocamora, as does Llamas, are wanting to make a distinction between themselves and the RA activist. and while it would be exciting to find out how they identify themselves as separate from the national democrat, it seems the better question is: what have they done as non-RA activists, as non-national democrats?
alas Rocamora doesn’t quite tell us that in his defense of PNoy — which is really all that his rappler piece was. there Rocamora spoke like he’s with the President day-in day-out, he spoke with all credibility about how the president is no lazy man, about how he is hardworking and diligent behind the scenes (woohoo!). yet it seems that because Rocamora was so ready to point a finger at the kind of activism that has brought about #noynoying, he failed at properly responding to it, too.
the proper response being about oil price hikes and tuition fee increases. the proper response being one that’s about the question of what it is the PNoy government is doing about either of these two things, other than having a Dept of Energy that says it is beyond their control, and a Commission on Higher Education (CHED) that calls on schools to be “prudent” in hiking up its tuition fees. probably the better response, seeing as the PNoy government’s tendency is to think that the answer “we can’t do anything about it” is a valid one, is for Rocamora’s kind of activist to respond to the question of why.
why are they not up in arms about the fact that instead of actually truly thinking about the majority who suffer with these oil price hikes, this PNoy government has celebrated its ability at putting together short-term dole-out programs like the Pantawid Pasada program? why are they not up in arms about the growing number of children who will not have access to education because their parents will have no money for it?
why are Rocamora and his kind of activist not insisting that the CHED memorandum that includes miscellaneous fees in consultations for tuition fee increases be honored this year instead of next year, when the only reason it has yet to be honored is because it missed its February 28 deadline? what can they say about CHED statistics that say that for every 10 students who graduate from high school only 2 will go on to college, and for every 10 students in college only 2 will graduate?
where does Rocamora stand on the issue of the value added tax on oil, which presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte has said is not anti-poor, yet it is 12% of what we pay for all petroleum products? where does Rocamora stand on the fact that since the Oil Deregulation Law of 1999, we have been treated to about P15 pesos overpricing on all petroleum products? what does Rocamora have to say about the IBON Facts and Figures claim that 58% of total revenues from VAT go to debt servicing and not to social services as Malacanang claims? or the fact that a Dept of Finance official has said Malacanang is about to get a whooping 4-billion-peso windfall from VAT within March? what do the good non-natdem activists have to say about this:
Initial estimates of IBON indicate that the oil firms have been charging an additional 20-22% more for diesel, for instance, than is called for by the increases in the price of Dubai crude. Meanwhile, Shell, Chevron and Petron have reported net income of at least Php152 billion over the period 2001-2010. The government is also benefiting from high oil prices, collecting Php239.6 billion in oil VAT revenues in the last five years, or an average of some Php48 billion per year.
certainly we all knew that #noynoying was not so much about what PNoy is like behind the scenes; #noynoying was always — and is — about how PNoy has responded to the issues of these times, the ones that we feel in the pits of our stomachs because prices are at an unprecedented high, and confidence in our capacity to avail of basic services is at an unprecedented low. #noynoying is about PNoy saying the most absurd thing on this side of oil price hike earth:
“Kunwari ‘pag tumataas ‘yung presyo ng fuel, syempre magtitipid ka, gagamitin mo lang ‘yung kailangan mo. So ‘yung kailangan natin angkatin is ‘yung dapat lang na na kino-konsumo natin,” he added.
ano daw? so as more and more Filipinos cease to have the capacity to afford three square meals a day, we shall imagine it all good because they can live off just one meal, and that is the right amount they must consume? so we do not want to control the price of oil because it is teaching us to consume only what we need? PNoy seems to think that the Filipino has lived excessively and in over consumption, which is a horrid misreading of the situation that the majority in this country is in.
which brings us back to the non-natdem activist that is Rocamora, who takes pride in his position in government (wow!), highlighting it as the success of the “left” as they see it. what do they have to say about these assessments of PNoy’s, about these small but brilliant pieces of insight that give us a sense of where he really and truly stands about the dire situation the country is in? certainly the non-natdem activist has a better response than just throwing out the term RA without explaining what it means. certainly they must have more up their sleeve than just pointing at how the numbers here are a lie. certainly the answer must be about real concrete measures like, oh i don’t know, letting go of that 12% vat on oil? certainly they should know to go beyond the false rhetoric of development via stock exchange numbers that PNoy likes to revel in?
meanwhile it has to be said that if anything, Rocamora’s defense of PNoy revealed that while he is so into discrediting the activists who are out on the streets and gathering signatures and easily getting support for #noynoying beyond the online world, Rocamora and his non-natdem friends are still dependent on the idea that they remain leftist, that they are progressive, that they are the ones making the important changes from within. so you’re non-natdem, non-RA, but you remain relevant even as you do not take a stand on oil price hikes and tuition fee increases? oh right, you have to believe the rhetoric of your president. got it.
Rocamora says in that rappler piece that the national democrats “see reforms as obstacles to the realization of their illusory revolution.” it sure looks like it’s Rocamora who’s living quite happily in the bubble of PNoy’s illusory reformist government.
at least Gilda Cordero-Fernando admits that all she’s written in response to #noynoying is a rah-rah piece.