Opisyal na lingguhang pahayagan ng mga mag-aaral ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas - Diliman Tomo 90, Blg. 16 Nobyembre 14, 2012 BALITA Miyerkules 27 Hunyo 2012
Survival of the Fittest REGISTRATION WOES AND THE STFAP IN THE BEGINNING OF EVERY SEMESTER, UP STUDENTS ENDURE LONG LINES AND THE LABORIOUS PROCESSES OF CLASS ENLISTMENT AND TUITION PAYMENT. ENROLMENT THIS SEMESTER IS NO EXCEPTION. AS BOTH SYSTEMIC AND PROCEDURAL ISSUES CONTINUE TO HOUND UP’S FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS, MAKING IT INTO THE OFFICIAL CLASS LISTS OF THE NATION’S PREMIER STATE UNIVERSITY SEEMS TO BECOME MORE AND MORE DIFFICULT.
TOXIC AFFAIRS Punong Patnugot Kapatnugot Panauhing Patnugot Patnugot sa Lathalain Patnugot sa Grapix
OPINYON Miyerkules 14 Nobyembre 2012
Pinansya Tagapamahala ng Sirkulasyon Sirkulasyon
Mga Katuwang na Kawani
A FOUL OFFENSE HAS DOCKED on our shores, its odor reminding us that the century-long toxic relation between the United States and Philippines must be terminated to redeem the people’s dignity and our nation’s sovereignty. In Subic Bay, once the host of tactically positioned military bases of the United States, Philippine (PH) authorities caught vessels owned by Glenn Marine Defense Asia (GMDA), a US-based private military contractor, lacking pertinent permits and documents necessary to operate in the country. Worse, the said vessels were found to have violated two environmental laws for carrying without permission 50, 000 gallons of domestic wastes and 200 gallons bilge water within Philippine territory. Instead of heeding authorities, GMDA, which was spotted collecting the contraband wastes from a US navy ship in Subic Bay, invoked the controversial Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to shield itself from any criminal liability. Both the US and Philippine governments later rejected GDMA’s claims, arguing that the private contractor was a “third party,” and thus not covered by VFA. The stench of disrespect, of blunt ignorance of national boundaries, cannot be masked.
Yet, the Aquino administration managed to do the unthinkable: a complete dismissal of US government liability and negligence of the fact that the contraband wastes came from US navy ships. The case in Subic Bay proves the PH government’s culpability in reinforcing the country’s subservience to US interests. In the recent case, the Aquino administration readily acquitted the US government of liability and wholly blamed the GDMA, and immediately watered down the insult done to our national territory by embracing the excuse that the dumped substances were household wastes. Certainly, Aquino’s words and actions only betray his real loyalty— to the superpower, not to the Filipino people. While the government kept on playing the role of a US pawn, the Filipino people consistently condemned blatant US intervention in local affairs. Pressured by the mounting public clamor to close down military bases in the country, the Senate abrogated the US-PH military bases treaty in 1991. Unfortunately, less than a decade after, Senate ratified the VFA, and thus signaled the return of American troops to the country. The VFA has resulted to various incidents that have trampled PH sovereignty. In 2009, Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, who was
convicted of raping a Filipina in Subic, was released by PH courts and allowed to return to his country. This incident established the special treatment accorded to US military through the VFA. The 12-year military agreement has also allowed countless human rights violations committed by American soldiers to prevail in the countryside with impunity. And so, while America and the champions of the free market are intoxicated with the reelection of President Barack Obama, the Philippines gets dumped with toxic wastes from the world’s waning superpower—a fitting scenario, considering the tumultuous history of US-PH relations. The relationship between US and PH is a history of subjugation, a series of uneven relations where the PH harbors dirt at the superpower’s will—without even raising a pretense of protest. It is this history forged by unfair policies that predicts how Obama’s extension in power would impact US-PH relations. The Filipinos could not expect change at the hands of Obama, not when he adheres to the same foreign policy designed to maintain US hegemony. The US has always sought to perpetrate and even assert its dominance at the expense of the peoples of other countries. By presenting the status quo as an
ideal arrangement, the US merely secures its current political hegemony through military might and neo-liberal economic policies. In this setup, thirdworld economies such as ours waste away—while superpowers like the US continue reaping the wealth of other nations. Amid brewing discontent caused by his administration’s failure to effect relevant and genuine change in the lives of the Filipino people, President Benigno Aquino III sees a policy of subservience to US interests a necessary exchange for political and economic support. With the government turning a blind eye as the US continues to pollute our shores with unfair trade and defense agreements, the people will not simply stand and watch. The collective force that has once effectively uprooted the military bases in the country will once again rise to cleanse the country’s sovereignty from the filth of its neocolonial chains.
Pamuhatan Silid 401 Bulwagang Vinzons, Unibersidad ng Pilipinas Diliman, Lungsod Quezon Telefax 981-8500 lokal 4522 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Website philippinecollegian.org Kasapi Solidaridad: UP Systemwide Alliance of Student Publications and Writers’ Organizations, College Editors Guild of the Philippines Ukol sa Pabalat Dibuho ni Ysa Calinawan
Editor’s Notes We can allow ourselves to experience vicariously the smoothness of the exercise, but can not and should not pin our hopes on its outcome. Nothing in a US presidential election asssures us of anything; not in the past and not in the future. BIG DEAL On the 1992 US presidential elections Pablo John F. Garcia 13 November 1992 As the Philippine Collegian celebrates its 90th year, we revisit lines from prized editorials that helped define the publication’s tradition of critical and fearless journalism.
Survival of the Fittest
STFAP Brackets: Who gets into which bracket and why
REGISTRATION WOES AND THE STFAP
For the current semester, 1,700 students have applied for loans, as of November 12, according to the OSSS. To pay for tuition, students can avail of loans after accomplishing a form with parents or guardians as co-debtors. Last year, two in every three, or 2,345 of the total 3,364 STFAP applicants, also applied for loans. After the release of the final bracket assignments, any over-assessed tuition amount is deducted from a student’s loan, said former OSSS officer-in-charge Richard Gonzalo. However, some students were tagged as “ineligible to enrol” due to unpaid loans in the OSSS. The ineligibility was eventually lifted, but these students still could not apply for new loans until their existing loans have been settled. Meanwhile, the Office of the University Registrar (OUR) did not process refund requests during the enrolment period to focus operations on registration transactions, explained University Registrar Evangeline Amor.
STU DE NTS PAY A MAX OF
FOR 15 UNITS (P1,500/UNIT) FAMILY EARNS OVER P1M ANNUALLY
FOR 15 UNITS (P1,000/UNIT)
FOR 15 UNITS
FAMILY EARNS P500,000 - P1M ANNUALLY
SELF-DECLARED BRACKET A STATUS TO COLLEGE/OUR
SUBMITTED BRACKET B CERTIFICATION
DID NOT APPLY FOR LOWER BRACKETS FOREIGN STUDENT SECOND DEGREE
HAS A PENDING BRACKET ASSIGNMENT
STUDEN TS PAY
1. Tuition refund requests not processed by OUR Solution: Submit refund request when normal operations resume on November 12.
FAMILY EARNS LOWER THAN P500,000 ANNUALLY
2. Re-bracketed from B to A
3. Pending appeals
Solution: Submit a letter to the OSSS stating the reason for not completing requirements and attach the missing documents on or before Nov. 16. If approved, you will be reassigned to Bracket B.
Solution: To pay for tuition, apply for loans. Even if the final bracket assignment will be released near the end of the year, refund reimbursements will still be applicable.
4. Closed STFAP applications
Common Registration Problems Solutions
Solution: To pay for tuition, apply for loans. The deadline for the 1st batch of applications for next year will be at the end of March.
5. Unpaid loans, ineligible to enrol
Solution: Write a promissory note to the Office of the VCSA specifying the expected date of full payTHE FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF ment. If approved, you will SEVEN REGISTRATION ISSUES be tagged as “temporarily COMMONLY ENCOUNTERED eligible” to enroll but cannot BY UP STUDENTS THIS apply for a new loan until SEMESTER AND HOW THEY the existing, unpaid loan CAN WORK THEIR WAY has been settled.
OUT OF THESE ISSUES GIVEN THE CURRENT 6. Ineligible-to-enlist POLICIES OF THE status Solution: Complete OUR AND ineligibilities on grades, THE OSSS
* maximum estimate
from the OSSS as of November 9, 2012
loans or tuition payment.
7. Unable to pay for tuition and unable to get a loan Solution: Write a letter addressed to OUR requesting for an extension for payment. Otherwise, file for leave of absence (P150) or residency (at least P2,000 for miscellaneous fees).
estimated from (qualified STFAP applicants) – (bracket A, C, D, E)
In response to issues raised against STFAP, the UCSFA is again planning to review the STFAP. However, no concrete plans have been set as committee discussions are still ongoing, said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (VCSA) Maria Corazon Tan. “Education has become unaffordable, and [the] STFAP and the loan[s] have not proved to be useful,” said UP Diliman University Student Council Vice Chair Alex Castro. The student regent also maintained that UP’s financial assistance programs are only “band-aid solutions” to the perennial problem of the high cost of UP education. In the long run, UP must understand that policies such as STFAP and other income-generating schemes fit into the long-standing policy of the government to abandon their responsibility to provide higher state subsidy, Arguelles explained in a statement. “In the end, the UP community must consider enacting more systemic changes in its policies in order to concretely address the issues of democratic access but it should be done within the frame of demanding greater state support to UP; not through increased student fees in whatever form or guise,” he added.
Following the June 5 memorandum on Bracket B certification (BBC), students who have not applied for STFAP are placed, by default, under Bracket A and thus have to pay P1,500 per unit. “Nadine,” a BS Math freshman who requested anonymity, was one of those automatically classified under Bracket A. She then submitted her STFAP application for Bracket D on May 30, the deadline for the second batch of STFAP results. However, she was assigned to Bracket B only on the release of the fourth batch of results on September 15. Bracket results are usually released a month after the deadline for applications. While applicants wait for the results, some choose to apply for BBC temporarily and pay P1,000 per unit under the said bracket, according to the Office of Scholarships and Student Services (OSSS). “Nadine” has since submitted an appeal to be reassigned to Bracket D, but she had to apply for a loan to be able to pay her full Bracket B tuition for the meantime. With the two-month delay in the release of the fourth batch of STFAP results, students who are unsatisfied with their bracket assignments had barely a month to submit appeals for lower bracketing to the University Committee on Scholarships and Financial Assistance (UCSFA). Composed of university officials, administrative staff, and student leaders from all UP units, the UCSFA only meets every other month. During their October meeting, only 88 cases, or less than 25 percent of the total 375 appeals, were deliberated, according to the OSSS. The UCSFA will convene again, tentatively, in January, according to the OSSS. Currently, the eight-member staff of the OSSS is conducting house visits for students with pending appeals.
Student loans, refunds
Delayed STFAP results
Unlike the previous years, the OSSS has also decided not to accept new STFAP applications during the second semester. This was done to encourage students to submit applications during the first semester, so that appeals could be processed during the second semester, OSSS Administrative Staff Jocelyn Aberin said.
NEW POLICIES ON THE SOCIALIZED Tuition Financial Assistance Program (STFAP) and stricter implementation of existing rules have caused several registration and payment issues this enrolment. Even with constant efforts to review and revise the STFAP, the system itself has inevitably caused problems, said Student Regent Cleve Arguelles. “[Based on] policy studies, as well as direct surveys and inputs from the students, the STFAP has failed to meet its objective of financially aiding and assisting the students to cope with the high cost of UP education,” Arguelles said. The STFAP is a system which categorizes students into brackets which determine their capacity to pay tuition based on socio-economic indicators, such as family income. Only undergraduate, law, and medicine students can apply for STFAP.
as of October 9, 2012
Sources: OSSS, OUR
BALITA Miyerkules 14 Nobyembre 2012
Scrap ‘no late payment’ policy in UPM—SR THE OFFICE OF THE STUDENT Regent (OSR) has called on the UP Manila (UPM) administration to stop the implementation of an October 23 memorandum which bars UPM students who fail to pay for their tuition on time from attending their enlisted classes. The UPM Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA) released the memorandum in accordance to Article 330 of the 1975 University Code, which specifies that “no student
who has not duly matriculated shall be admitted to classes.” The deadline of tuition payment in UPM for the second semester was initially set on November 16, a week after the opening of classes on November 10. The regular registration ran from November 5 to 9. With the OVCAA’s memorandum in place, a number of students were forced to file their leave of absence (LOA), because they could not meet the payment
deadline, said SR Cleve Kevin Robert Arguelles, who is also a UPM student. As per university rules, students who are not officially enrolled will be considered on absence without leave (AWOL), unless they apply for LOA. Students on AWOL are not allowed to enrol in the following semester until they fulfill readmission requirements. “[We] are adhering to the University Code [which] is very clear
OPINYON BALITA Miyerkules 27 Hunyo Miyerkules 2012 14 Nobyembre 2012
CALL FOR SAFETY. In observance of the Mine Safety Week, environment, church, indigenous peoples and labor groups stage a lie-in protest at the national office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on November 13. The group called for the passage of the HB 4315 or the People’s Mining Bill that promotes an environment friendly mining industry.
on the matter of matriculation,” said UPM VCAA Marie Josephine De Luna. UPM is one of the seven constituent universities of the UP System. The Manila-based campus admits close to 900 freshmen annually to its 31 undergraduate and 24 graduate programs, mostly in the fields of medical sciences. Through an October 30 letter, Arguelles requested that the UP administration allow students to pay tuition beyond the November 16 deadline. However, the OVCAA only extended the deadline of payment to November 23. The SR then submitted a second appeal to the OVCAA on November 7 to further extend the deadline of payment to accommodate more students. “Students who are experiencing financial difficulties are advised to avail of financial assistance provided by the university,” read the memorandum. Students who will still be affected by the memorandum are “advised to make their individual appeals to the UPM administration so [their] specific situation can be evaluated,” said UP President Alfredo Pascual. On the other hand, the university administration can be
lenient in implementing rules to provide students greater access to education, said Arguelles. In UP Diliman (UPD), for instance, 336 students who failed to pay for their tuition before the deadline were almost purged from their classes in the middle of the first semester of academic year 2011-2012, when the Office of the University Registrar also implemented the same matriculation rule. The UPD Executive Committee, however, eventually allowed payment of tuition until the last day of classes. The base tuition in the university is pegged at P15,000 for a 15-unit credit load, which is almost twice the P9,112.95 national average cost of tuition per semester. An average of 1,300 students apply for tuition loans in UPD every semester based on 2001 to 2011 data from the Office of Scholarships and Student Services. The inability of students to pay for their tuition on time and their dependence on tuition loans and other financial assistance programs manifest how UP has become inaccessible due to the high cost of tuition, said Arguelles. The university must then roll back the tuition, he added.
Palparan at isa pang akusado, nagpetisyong itigil ang paglilitis sa kaso nina Karen at She KINUNDENA NG MGA MAGULANG ng dalawang nawawalang estudyante ng UP Diliman (UPD) na sina Karen Empeño at Sherlyn Cadapan ang petisyon ng depensa na itigil ang paglilitis laban kina Ret. Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan at tatlo pang akusadong opisyal ng militar. Sa petisyong ipinasa noong Oktubre 24 sa Court of Appeals, iginiit ng mga abogado ni Palparan at M. Sgt. Rizal Hilario na hindi umano binigyan ng pagkakataong magbigay ng sariling ebidensya ang mga nasasakdal sa paunang imbestigasyong isinigawa ng korte para sa mga kasong rape, serious physical injuries, at arbitrary detention.
Nagsasaliksik sina Karen at Sherlyn noong 2006 ukol sa kalagayan ng mga magsasaka sa Hagonoy, Bulacan nang dukutin sila ng mga hinihinalang ahente ng militar. Makalipas ang anim na taon, hindi pa rin tiyak ang kinaroroonan ng dalawa. Kasalukuyang nakapiit sa Fort Bonifacio Custodial Center ang dalawa pang akusado na sina Col. Felipe Anotado Jr. at Staff Sgt. Edgar Osorio, samantalang hindi pa rin nahuhuli ng mga awtoridad sina Palparan at Hilario. Kung tunay na walang sala si Palparan, dapat umanong sumuko na lamang ang dating heneral, ani Concepcion Empeño. “Humarap siya sa korte, kung wala
talaga siyang kasalanan,” aniya. Habang iginigiit ni Palparan na karapatan niyang ipagtanggol ang sarili sa mga kasong nakasampa laban sa kanya, tumatanggi naman siyang magpasailalim sa batas, ani Atty. Edre Olalia, pangkalahatang kalihim ng National Union for People’s Lawyers. Ibinasura ng korte noong Abril ang nauna nang petisyon nina Palparan at Hilario na ihinto ang paglilitis at bawiin ang arrest warrant laban sa kanila.
Cross-examination Samantala, sa huling pagdinig ng kaso na ginanap sa Malolos Regional Trial Court (RTC) noong Oktubre 29, muling humarap sa korte ang testigong si Raymond Manalo upang sagutin
ang mga tanong ng mga abogado ng depensa. Ipinasalaysay muli kay Manalo ni Atty. Abner Torres, isa sa mga abogado ng depensa, kung paano siya dinukot ng mga hinihinalang ahente ng militar noong Pebrero 2006, at kung paano niya nasaksihang pahirapan sina Karen at Sherlyn na naging kapwa bilanggo sa Camp Tecson, San Miguel, Bulacan, noong Agosto 2006. Matapos ang 18 buwang pagkakadakip sa ilalim ng militar, nakatakas si Manalo noong Agosto 2007, habang naiwan naman sa isang safe house sa Zambales sina Karen at Sherlyn. Sa ginawang cross-examination ng depensa kay Manalo, lumalabas na pinapahaba lamang ng mga
abogado ng depensa ang pagdinig sa kaso upang mapatagal ang pagbuo ng desisyon ng korte, ani Gng. Cadapan. “[T]he defense tried to discredit [Manalo’s] testimony and destroy his credibility in vain. [But] Manalo was able to explain [his story],” paliwanag ni Atty. Julian Oliva, abugado nina Karen at Sherlyn. Itutuloy ang ikalawang bahagi ng pagcross-examine kay Manalo sa paglilitis sa Nobyembre 26 sa Malolos RTC. “Sana harapin [na nila Palparan] ang batas, at hindi sa kung anu-ano pang ginagawa [nila] para mapabagal ang kaso. Humarap siya sa tao, kung wala talaga siyang kasalanan,” ani Gng. Empeño, ina ni Karen.
House passes 2013 nat’l budget without major changes WITHOUT INSERTING SIGNIFICANT amendments, the House of Representatives (HOR) approved on third and final reading the P2-trillion national budget for 2013, which several progressive groups criticize as an “election budget.” On October 15, 196 members of HOR voted for the approval of House Bill No. 6455 or the General Appropriations Bill, which the 2013 National Expenditure Program (NEP) prepared by the Office of the President through the Department of Budget and Management. The administration programmed the budget to boost the popularity of the Liberal Party among local politicians and voters for the 2013 elections, according to multi-sectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan). The House approved P156.9 billion for the operations and
programs of the Department of Public Works and Highways, P91.1 billion for the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the P56.3 billion for the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which include P44 billion for conditional cash transfers under the government’s poverty alleviation program. Highly contested appropriations including P371 billion for the Special Purpose Fund and the P117.5 billion unprogrammed funds were also retained in the House version of the national budget. Social Watch Philippines (SWP), a non-government organization advocating for poverty eradication and gender justice, has raised concern on the lump sum funds as these could be used “as the president pleases.“ The House inserted only two amendments in the budget bill. The HOR allowed the use
of the P24.89-billion budget for the Priority Development Assistance Fund, or pork barrel, for the training of barangay officials at the Development Academy of the Philippines. The House also allocated P22 billion for the Priority Social and Economic Projects Fund (PSEPF) of government agencies. The PSEPF is a lump sum of allocations for special projects proposed by particular government agencies including the DPWH and DSWD. Meanwhile, the Department of Education (DepEd) will still receive the highest budget among other agencies as the HOR approved 292.7 billion for the department. For the implementation of the K to 12 program alone, however, DepEd already needs P334 billion for next year. The country’s 110 state universities and colleges (SUCs),
on the other hand, are set to receive P32.77 billion in direct appropriations, which is only 60 percent of the P54.61-billion budget needed by these higher education institutions. The UP System will receive P9.5 billion next year or 60 percent of the P18.4 billion proposed by the university administration. For health services, the House approved P50.1 billion, or roughly P529 for every Filipino for 2013. Of the health budget, P32.8 billion was earmarked for the Aquino administration’s flagship health program Universal Health Care. “The 2013 national budget is clearly an election budget. Offices under the leadership of
petition, and support statements from the OSR, UPD USC, and local college student councils (SCs) to UPD Chancellor Caesar Saloma who will then endorse it to the BOR, the university’s highest decision-making body. If approved by the BOR in its January 2013 meeting, the P72 student publication fee will apply starting the summer term registration of the current school year. The Collegian staff initially projected the new student publication fee to take effect starting this semester but was unable to submit the necessary documents to the administration, as the BOR resolved not to convene in November and consequently meet only once every two months starting September. Launched in February this year, the budget campaign aimed to address the Collegian’s average
Collegian Readership (in UPD)
Collegian’s Relevance to UP Life Relevant 905 students Not relevant 75 students
Out of 997 valid survey respondents, 821 say they read the Collegian in print or online.
Out of 980 valid respondents, 905 students say the Collegian is relevant to their UP life.
annual deficit of P230,000 caused by the declining real value of the current P40 student publication fee amidst rising operational costs.
Survey says Meanwhile, in a stratified random sampling survey conducted by the Collegian in September, 870 out of the total 997 UPD student respondents, or 87.3 percent, said they agree with the proposed fee adjustment. The respondents were grouped into six main academic groups, each with a number of respondents based proportionally on its respective student population. Meanwhile, 821 out of a total 997 UPD student respondents, or 82.3 percent, said they read the Collegian, while 905 out of total 980 respondents, or 92.3 percent, said the student publication is relevant in their university life. (see sidebar for other survey results) Several college SCs also pledged support for the Colle-
FLICKERING HOPES. A man lights a candle at Mendiola on the eve of the November 13 hearing of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Information on the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. With only 30 working days left before the Congress adjourns this year, civil society groups call for lawmakers to prioritize the passage of the FOI bill that will forward accountability and transparency through the disclosure of public documents.
More than half of UPD students OK Kulê budget increase THE STUDENTS HAVE SPOKEN. Majority of the UP Diliman’s (UPD) student body, or 13,209 out of a total of 24,884 students, signed the Philippine Collegian’s petition to adjust the student publication fee from P40 to P72 every semester. Projected to be sustainable for at least the next ten years, the adjustment will allow the 90 year-old student institution to secure enough funds to continue publishing 32 issues every year and 15,000 copies every week. In compliance with the Board of Regents (BOR) resolution on miscellaneous fee increase implementation, the Collegian editorial board is set to consult with the Office of the Student Regent (OSR) and the UPD University Student Council (USC) within the month. The Collegian will then present the final proposal, results of the
the President’s political allies will be getting bigger chunks of the budget [at the] expense of social services,” said UP Student Regent Cleve Robert Arguelles. The national budget for 2013 is currently being deliberated in the Senate Committee of Finance. The Senate is set to pass its version by December, said Senator Franklin Drilon, head of the Committee of Finance. A bicameral conference, composed of representatives from both chambers of Congress, BALITA will then convene to reconcile differences on the bill before the Miyerkules President signs it into law. 14 Nobyembre
gian’s petition during consultations held early this year. “Bilang mga alagad ng media, ang [College of Mass Communication (CMC) SC] ay susuporta sa Collegian upang pinal [nang] maisaapruba itong panukalang budget increase,” said CMC CSC Chair Mario Urrutia III. The approval of the budget campaign will help students from all fields to make decisions based on information about
Collegian’s Readership Ratings Survey respondents gave the Collegian an average rating of 3.71 out of 5 for its website, 4.0 for layout design, 4.07 for content and 4.16 for overall quality.
current events in UP and in the country, said National College of Public Administration SC Chair Theresa Carlos. “Armed with overwhelming support from its publishers, the students, the Collegian confidently takes the challenge to continue its 90-year tradition of critical and fearless campus journalism,” said Collegian editorin-chief Ma. Katherine Elona.
Support for Collegian’s Budget Initiative
87.26% Out of 997 valid survey respondents, 870 say they agree to adjusting the student publication fee from Php 40 to Php 72 each semester.
KULTURA Miyerkules 14 Nobyembre 2012
IT WAS THE FIRST THUNDERSTORM OF MAY. The Festival of Elections starts at sundown. The town’s name, once carved on its moss-covered entrance arch, has faded throughout years of neglect. Town roads were decorated with small, colourful flags in an attempt to make the Festival appear merry. The town has barangays marked by entrance stones—like gravestones—that are draped with “Have a Merry Festival!” banners. A barangay at the central plains is enclosed in a wall of bladed traps to cut off the feet of farmers trying to run away from their hooded landlord. Another barangay is peopled by women whose hearts are ripped off their chests at a very young age, replaced by artificial ones; they are trained since childhood to be prostitutes sold to foreigners the Pacific brings. Nearby is another barangay of malnourished children that stopped growing at the age of twelve. The rest of the twelve barangays live under the same destitution, all people barefoot under the harsh sun. An old man walks barefoot along the dusty streets of the town, while the people fall into silence at the sight of a hooded form behind the tinted windows of a passing car. Long have silence and a hooded man been the mayor of this seaside town. In whispered conversations, the townspeople share the same disgust over the politics of the hooded men. However, they are fully aware of their powerlessness. Out of fear, nobody dares touch the thinnest thread of the hood to uncover their faces. The shadowed faces beneath the hoods evoke fear and mystery among people who knew only how to secretly wonder. How have the faces changed after years of being shadowed behind hoods? Have they all acquired the same face? Has the hood already turned out to be their face? A century ago, a heavy typhoon devastated the town. It continued for a month, destroying the crops. In exchange for the downpour to end, their mayor made a pact with the town’s sun god. He surrendered himself to anonymity and covered his face with a black hood. The torrential rains stopped. A tradition of glorifying the hood persisted through the
years—a faceless mayor sacrificing himself to anonymous service. However, elected mayors felt the suffocating burden of the hood, sharing it to allies who took advantage of its power. Eventually, they began stealing crops from the barangays they represent. A deluge of such proportions never happened again, but the sun shone unusually harsher, making it harder for the barefoot townspeople to till the soil for crops they would eventually surrender to the hood. But on the day of the Festival, the sun hid behind dark clouds. As the old man nears the House, he sees the long line of voters from afar. Just yesterday at the town hall, he refused to surrender his harvest to the town officials as people lined up to give theirs. Struck by what they witnessed, some people did the same thing. There were others, however, who just stood up, too frightened to go against the rules. The Festival commenced as the first drop of rain hit the barren soil. The barefooted townsmen entered the metal gates of the House that are usually closed to them, while a dead dog lay at the foot of the entrance arch, its meat being feasted on by worms. The House’s cook was roasting dog meat. More gaudy “A Happy Festival to You!” banners hung in dreary shades everywhere. The old man—trusted by the townspeople—was the last person who witnessed the hood’s period of selfless service. He sees the hood only as an illusion of power. With or without the hood, we are starving, he thought to himself. He stepped forward, and decided to run for a seat in the House. The storm intensified as the townspeople cast their votes. The destructive wind caused major blackout. Everyone panicked in the darkness amid the sound of thunder. Young girls with artificial hearts, gaunt children, and blind peasants—all of them powerless in the commotion. In the darkness, the hooded figures stealthily abandoned the Balay amid shouts and screams of terror. Storm clouds obstructed the sunrise. At the entrance arch, the dead dog was gone, washed away by the previous night’s storm. It was replaced by the dead body of the old man, soon to be feasted on by worms.
NAKATUTOK ANG MARAMI sa pagbabalik-telebisyon ng Primetime Princess na si Kim Chiu at ng Two-time Best Actress na si Maja Salvador. Pagsapit ng 8:30 ng gabi, kinikilig ang magkakaibigan sa mga ngiti nina Enchong Dee at Xian Lim, habang nagpipigil naman ng luha ang mga nanay sa mabibigat na linya nina Cherry Pie Picache at Janice de Belen. Ang Ina, Kapatid, Anak ang pinakabagong handog ng ABS-CBN Primetime Bida. Sinusundan nito ang tipikal na kuwento ng isang anak na nawalay sa kanyang mga magulang at nakipagsapalaran sa Maynila upang makapagaral sa UP at balang araw ay makaahon sa kahirapan. Mainit na pinag-uusapan ang nasabing teleserye, lalo’t isa ang UP sa mga pangunahing lunan. At sa patuloy na pagsubaybay ng marami sa mga susunod na tagpo,patuloy ding ikinikintal ng Ina, Kapatid, Anak ang isang ideyal na imahen ng UP kung saan napagtatakpan ang ilang realidad na tunay na humuhubog sa pamantsan.
Hiram na mukha Bilang kilalang unibersidad, maraming mga tagpi-tagping pagkakakilanlan sa UP ang nasa kamalayan ng mga Pilipino— matalino ang mga estudyante, uso ang mga rally, tumatakbo nang hubad ang ilang kalalakihan, at iba pa. Sa pagsugal ng ABS-CBN na gawing pangunahing tagpuan ang UP, binubuksan nito ang posibilidad na maipinta ang isang mas buong imahen ng unibersidad mula sa perspektiba ng mga bidang iskolar ng bayan. Ngunit sa mga unang episode pa lamang ng Ina, Kapatid, Anak, kapansin-pansin na ang ilang maliliit na detalyeng hindi makatotohanan sa karanasan ng mga
isko. Ipinakitang dumadaan ang Ikot sa Melchor Hall, halimbawa, at tumatayo ang mga isko sa tuwing nagre-recite sa klase. Samantala, wala ang mga karaniwang tagpo kagaya ng mahahabang pila sa pagkuha ng student loan at pag-enrol. Itinatakda ng mga sablay na detalyeng ito ang kabuuang tunguhin ng teleserye na tila malayo sa sana’y mas makabuluhang pagpapakilala sa UP. Sa teleserye, ipinakitang mabilis na nakapasok ang bidang si Celyn sa UP sa kabila ng kawalan niya ng pera—isang bagay na malayo sa karanasan ng mga isko na naghihintay sa resulta ng STFAP at pumipila sa student loan office para lamang tunay na mataguriang iskolar ng bayan. Wala ring depiksyon ang teleserye sa militante’t palabang katangian ng mga isko, walang ni simpleng pagpasada sa banggaan ng mga pulitikal na paniniwala ng mga mag-aaral dito. Sa UP ng Ina, Kapatid, Anak, nakakulong sa mga personal na hinaing sa buhay ang tunggalian ng mga bida. Kung gayon, isang ideyal na bersyon lamang ng UP ang ipinapakita ng teleserye kung saan abot-kaya ang tuition, at hiwalay ang mga mag-aaral sa mga krisis na nararanasan ng bansa. Kung may isang bagay man na napatotohanan ang Ina, Kapatid, Anak, ito ang unti-unting nagbabagong oryentasyon ng edukasyon sa UP. Sa motibasyon pa lamang ng karakter ni Celyn, mahihinuhang itinataguyod ng teleserye ang ideyang isang behikulo ang edukasyon upang kumita’t maging maunlad ang mga mag-aaral
balang araw. Itinatali nito ang kaunlaran sa konsepto ng paramihan ng yaman, at inilalayo ang pag-aaral sa dapat na tunguhin nito — ang paglinang ng mga kakayahan at pagkatuto.
Agawan ng yaman Dahil isang tipikal na teleserye, isang mahalagang elemento sa Ina, Kapatid, Anak ang usapin ng ugnayan ng mga pamilya. Isa ito sa mga mapagpasya kung paano tatakbo ang kwento; kung walang pamilya, tila hindi buo ang pagkatao ng isang karakter. Pawang mga tipikal na relasyon at diskurso sa pamilya ang inilalahad sa Ina, Kapatid, Anak. Sa isang banda, binibigyang-diin ng kalagayan ni Celyn ang konsepto ng pagsisikap hindi para sa sarili kundi sa ikauunlad ng buhay ng pamilya. Samantala, mayaman naman ang pamilya ni Margaux—ngunit dahil ampon siya, personal niyang suliranin ang pagtiyak na sa kanya mapupunta ang yaman ng kinalakhan niyang pamilya.
KULTURA BALITA Miyerkules Miyerkules 14 Nobyembre 27 Hunyo 20122012
Pop Machine Ihulog ang barya/hilahin ang batuta/ sa pop machine/ hukayin ang bulsa/ laglagan ng pera ang pop machine! Alamin kung gaano kalagkit ang langis na nagpapatakbo sa makinaryang nagluluwal ng lahat ng jologs at sikat, at kung bakit nakakaadik sumabay sa uso, kahit na pagtawanan ka pa ng mga kaibigan mo.
Sa tunay na buhay SA LIKOD NG MGA TAGPONG PUMUPUKAW SA ATING MGA DAMDAMIN, MABABATID SA INA, KAPATID, ANAK, ANG ISANG UP NA TALIWAS ANG KALAGAYAN SA TOTOONG BUHAY. “Labanan ng karapatan” ang isa sa mga tagline ng serye at pangunahing pinatutungkulan nito ang banggaan nina Celyn at Margaux sa mana’t pag-aari ng kanilang pamilya. Pinatutunayan lamang nito ang sinabi ni English-German theorist Friedrich Engels na ang pamilya ang pinakamaliit na economic unit sa lipunan na nagiging kasangkapan sa pag-abot o pagpapanatili ng yaman at kapangyarihan. Tinutumbok din sa teleserye ang mga tunggalian ng mga pamilyang mayaman at mahirap. Ngunit gaya ng sa iba pang serye, hindi inuugat ng kuwento kung paano naging mahirap o mayaman ang mga pamilya rito. Tila ipinalalaganap ng mga soap opera na tanggap na realidad na ang pagiging mahirap, at wala nang puwang upang kuwestyunin ang mga ugat nito.
Ngayon at kailanman Sa kabila ng lahat, patok pa rin ang Ina, Kapatid, Anak sa
mga manonood. Simula nang ipalabas ito noong Oktubre, laging pumapalo sa 20 percent ang ratings nito — patunay na bagamat walang bagong tema’t tunggaliang inilalahad ang kuwento, tinatangkilik pa rin ito ng mga Pilipino. Marami sa mga nakasanayang formula sa kuwento ng mga teleserye natin ngayon ang nag-ugat sa moro-moro, komedya at sarsuela na tanyag noong panahon ng Espanyol, at maging sa mga vaudeville at pelikula na ipinakilala naman ng mga Amerikano. Ayon sa Amerikanong pop culture expert na si John G. Cawelti, masasabing epektibo ang isang formulaic na likha kapag pamilyar at kumportable na rito ang mga manonood o mambabasa. Dahil paulit-ulit nang naukit sa sensibilidad ng mga manonood ang mga formulaic na tema tulad ng pagkawalay ng anak sa magulang at pagyaman ng isang mahirap na tauhan, nagiging panatag na rito ang mga manonood o mambabasa. Dahil dito, mas madali para sa kanila na unawain
ang kuwento. At para naman sa mga tagalikha ng kultural na produkto, ang pamilyaridad na ito ang nagbibigay-daan sa mas mabilis na produksyon ng mga ideya. Ngunit nagreresulta ang paulitulit na paggamit ng mga formula sa pagkasanay ng mga tao na hindi na suriin pa ang takbo ng kwento. “[They] learn how to experience this imaginary world without continually comparing it with [their] own experiences,” dagdag ni Cawelti. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit epektibong paraan ng pagtakas, o eskapismo, ang mga teleserye. Kung tutuusin, hindi tungkulin ng isang teleserye na maging makatotohanan dahil isa pa rin itong kathang-isip na likha. Gayunman, hindi maipagkakaila ang kakayahan nitong mapagtagpo ang pagiging malikhain at pagiging mapanuri sa mga napiling tema. Kung magpapatuloy ang pagiging formulaic at limitado ng mga teleserye, patuloy ding masasayang ang oportunidad at saklaw ng telebisyon upang maiangat ang kultura’t kaisipan ng mga Pilipinong patuloy na tumatangkilik dito.
O TI D G ES AN U N U , Q E D YO C E C T I N T R A U C RI S LE FFE A P NS N E O A R U LY S AT T R Y ED AN E SS . N S E M E ED O O IR PPO M C SIN CT O E U N ES BU LE E C EM IS S BY R V I N O O, P H R L THE GOVERNMENT OWNS THE O S U I C W I L S E AV E , T largest paper business in the country. L A Y H – L H E , It produces a special kind of E S – W L E Y. A AY T H P P A T P AT IN T paper that every citizen must avail – P O N ’ E U H IP E official documents that unlock I L M E P YO C A N T T PH ERN TH SS O EN certain privileges in society. E V Y H M E Possessing products such as a TH GO B NL W RN IN E ED , U ENS VE passport, for example, allow you TH ND ICE IZ GO to go overseas. Having a police T U V I F R C E clearance, meanwhile, banishes any TH SE D N criminal suspicion against oneself. A ITH W Such power to grant liberties
e c i v r Se OPINYON Miyerkules Miyerkules 14 27Nobyembre Hunyo 2012 2012
d e g r a ch
Sidebar: Shopping list OFWS ITEM
76 signatures (as document certification)
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration fee
Mandatory insurance coverage
Philhealth Overseas Worker Administration fee
Pag-IBIG mandatory contribution
is exclusively inherent to the government, giving it a monopoly in the market. Like any business, it is also susceptible to an increase in production costs and a decline in projected profits. Hence, to prevent this, President Benigno Aquino III signed last month Administrative Order No. 31 (AO 31), which gives government bodies authority to revise existing service fees or impose new ones. With safeguards in place, AO 31 assures the government that it can keep its business running, and even expand operations under the overarching policy of turning essential services into businesses.
The government’s paper business is simple: national government agencies (NGAs) and Birth certificate P140-P250 government-owned and/or Parent’s employment certificate rate varies controlled corporations (GOCCs) Statement of assets and liabilities P1-P4/ page collect fees and charges from rendered services like processing Certification of assets and liabilities P15-P20 and issuing documents. These Certificate of indigency P0-P20 collections, along with sales of Certificate of tax declaration and P 3 0 - P 7 5 treasury bonds, and shares from real properties privatization or public ventures to Birth certificate P140-P250 sell government assets, constitute the government’s non-tax revenues Parent’s employment certificate rate varies (NTR), which are remitted to the national treasury. In 2011, fees and charges make up P63.1 billion or 45.7 percent of the P138.06 billion NTR, according to the Department of Finance’s Revenue Program. Once all revenues are remitted, both from taxes and NTRs, allocations for the operation of the government’s business branches are made for the ensuing year. As such, market factors like inflation and rising costs would effectively reduce the value of the total
government budget as NTRs derived from fees and charges become insufficient. Such case prompts the use of tax revenues instead to fill in the devalued amount. To ensure the smooth operations of NGAs and GOCCs, fees must be revised to recover costs, says Trinidad Rodriguez, National Tax Research Center executive director. However, critics argue that revising charges is not the best solution to address the effects of inflation and rising costs to the budget. Citing a 2011 Commission on Audit report, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino pointed out that inefficient tax collection has drained the government P101 billion in 2010. Meanwhile, Department of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima even estimated an even higher loss at P250 billion annually. “Instead of increasing fees, why not improve efficiency by ensuring that people’s taxes are put into good use? Before the government orders for new fee hikes and charges, it should first account for all fees that it has collected in the past years,” says Palatino. However, data from the 2013 Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing (BESF) reveal the Department of Budget and Management already projects a 2-percent increase in fees and charges collection to P69.5 billion in 2013 from P67.9 billion this year. If the BESF is any indication, then the government has shown its clear preference for AO 31 over any alternative to address fiscal problems.
Market potentials Several institutions have required the paper business’ products, turning it into a big compulsory hit. Overseas employers and college administrations have made overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and students frequent customers. Before OFWs can work abroad, they have to acquire several government documents (see sidebar). OFW welfare advocate Migrante International estimates that an OFW must spend at least P25,367 for government documents to be able to work abroad. Meanwhile, UP students especially those applying for the Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP), also need to retrieve certain government documents. Indeed, people are compelled to patronize the government’s paper
business for various purposes. However, accomplishing this need is a daunting task considering the present living conditions of most Filipinos. “At present, Filipinos already find it expensive to secure essential government documents. What more if government agencies increase charges?” asks Palatino. In Metro Manila alone, the minimum cost of living for a family of five amounts to P957, according to the National Wages and Productivity Commission. Independent think-tank IBON Foundation, on the other hand, estimates an even higher amount at P1,017. Meanwhile, the daily minimum wage for workers in the National Capital Region ranges from P424 to P446, while others earn much lower. Clearly, as the amount an ordinary citizen earns for a living lags behind its daily needs, the government’s products become unaffordable as it already is. Thus, implementing AO 31 will only aggravate the situation.
Double whammy Over the years, various executive orders and memorandum circulars mandating rationalization of fees and charges like AO 31 have been released to boost NTRs, allowing more room for the government to pursue other programs. Failing to recover costs would strain the budget for these other pursuits, explains Rodriguez. In the 2012 national budget, some seemingly more important programs are Aquino’s hotlydebated anti-poverty strategy Conditional Cash Transfer and debt servicing cost P34 billion and P333.1 billion, respectively. Meanwhile, services already paid for with fees and charges are allotted less. OFW legal services, for example, are only given P100 million. Clearly, the government is passing its burden because it is pursuing other programs in its agenda leaving little for services actually needed by the people, says Gina Esguerra, secretary-general of OFW welfare group Migrante International. As the government pushes some services to become dependent on NTRs, it assumes the form of a business, as it is forcing people pay for services already financed by taxes. With AO 31 in place, Filipinos are forced to become overcharged customers, held hostage by the state in bureaucratic processes that drill deeper holes in their pockets.
GUNSHOTS BROKE THE EARLY morning peace of Kiblawan, Davao del Sur on October 18, 2012. Without warning, the 27th Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forced of the Philippines (AFP) rammed gunfire on the hut of Daguil Capion, a “New People’s Army (NPA) sympathizer,” but missed him. What the military did hit, however, were unnecessary civilian casualties: Capion’s pregnant wife Juvy, and two of his four children. The Capion residence, after the massacre, resembled a slaughterhouse complete with detached limbs, open skulls, and splatters of blood and brain. Public condemnation forced the AFP to apologize half-heartedly, justifying their actions by saying that they were after Daguil Capion, not his family – as if a different outcome would have justified their inhumane actions. Although the soldiers who massacred the Capions faced court martial, the proceedings have been delayed indefinitely, much to the dismay of Capion’s relatives. For joining the struggle of the B’laan tribe in defending their ancestral lands against the intrusion of multinational mining company Xstrama-SMI, Capion was tagged as a communist rebel, an accusation that cost him his family.
The harsh case of the Capions vividly illustrates the inherent dangers of red-tagging, a pronouncement as good as a death sentence.
The victim Red-tagging refers to the act of publicly accusing people as members of armed rebel movements like the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA. Legal activists and progressive individuals who campaign for the legitimate interests of marginalized sectors—like the B’laans in Capion’s case—are the frequent victims of red-tagging. During the Arroyo administration, the bloody counterinsurgency plan Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) practically institutionalized red-baiting when it tagged organizations critical of government policies like Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Kilusang Mayo Uno, and its allied party lists as “communist fronts.” OBL effectively blurred any distinction between legal activists and armed rebels, a policy widely criticized by local and international human rights (HR) groups, and even Philip Alston, United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions. OBL, human rights organization Karapatan asserts, is responsible
THERE ARE THOSE WHO BELIEVE THAT THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH RED-BAITING. FOR THEM, THE INNOCENT HAS NOTHING TO FEAR OR HIDE. YET, HAUNTING STORIES OF ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES AND EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS – HEINOUS CRIMES THAT STEM FROM RED-BAITING – REMIND US OTHERWISE.
for the 1,205 reported cases of extrajudicial killings committed during Arroyo’s regime. UP constituents are no strangers to red-tagging, especially those who espouse political beliefs perceived as threats to the establishment. UP Diliman students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, who were conducting research on the condition of farmers in Hagonoy, Bulacan for academic requirements, fell victims to red-tagging, and have joined the ranks of countless victims of enforced disappearance. Among the recent cases of UP-related red-tagging include the separate cases of harassment against social work students from UPD, and development studies majors from UP Manila, who like Karen and Sherlyn, were merely doing their field work in far-flung communities. “Tuwing tinutukoy ng mga militar na communist ang isang tao, it’s as if may right sila na ipapatay ‘yan,” says Karapatan Secretary-general Cristina Palabay. Under the current system, mere suspicion of being a communist already warrants abductions and other forms of human rights violations, she adds. Currently, there is no law criminalizing membership in
communist organizations like the CPP-NPA, as Republic Act 1700 or the Anti-Subversion Law was already repealed in 1992. Internationally, espousing communist ideologies does not merit any sanction or punishment. The perpetration of red-tagging surmises that being a communist is evil, which is wrong, says Jigs Clamor, national coordinator of anti-enforced disappearances organization Selda. There is widespread belief that a true accusation is an acceptable one, a mindset HR advocates strongly oppose. HR advocates insist the accusation – true or not – still carry the dangers perceived with being a communist, such as the AFP taking the law upon their own hands and executing people they suspect are communists. Hence, beside the clear threat to security and the absence of legal grounding, lies the inconvenience brought by red-baiting to the person tagged—stigma coming from the socio-cultural meanings attached to communism or being communists.
The culprits Red-baiting is reminiscent of witch-hunting practices during the medieval times when the Church and all available media depicted witches and infidels as demons who deserved purging. The modern-day witches, however, are not those who hold unconventional religious beliefs but those who hold out-of-line political ideologies. The incessant vilification of insurgents by the mainstream media, a campaign which include blaming these groups for any untoward incidents and unrests, has misled people into believing that rebels deserve to be killed, says Palabay. Red-baiting was at its worse during the height of the Cold War. In the 1960s, 10 UP professors including Ricardo Pascual and Leopoldo Yabes were arrested by the now-defunct Commission on Anti-Filipino Activities, a congressional committee that persecuted subversives. UP students rallied in Congress, demanding for the release of the professors and the end of the witch hunts. Unfortunately, the practice of red-baiting has proliferated outside military ranks. Several students and government officials likewise practice red-tagging, unaware of its repercussions. In 2009, then UP Los Baños Chancellor Luis Velasco did
nothing to stop the circulation of flyers labeling 111 students as members of NPA, effectively giving consent to the red-tagging of his constituency. Unfortunately, constant victims of HRVs are those who assert the rights of the marginalized, says Palabay. Indeed, countless activists and progressive individuals like Capion, have been rewarded with threats and harassment for the dedication they have shown for their selfless causes.
The case The Capion case is only one of a myriad of HRV cases in the Philippines. Various local and international HR groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have condemned the country’s HR climate, which has gained overwhelming notoriety. Alston’s report in 2008 have further strengthened the alarming state of HRVs in the Philippines, and has directly implicated the government and its state security forces as its primary perpetrators. This year, the UN Human Rights Council has conducted a review on the Philippine government’s compliance on the recommendations set by Alston’s report, only to find out that little to none was done. A year later, the AFP issued a directive to its members ordering them to never tag any organization as “pro-CPP” or “anti-government,” showing that even the AFP recognizes the dangers red-tagging entails. However, the country’s head of state himself seems ignorant of this. Pressed to comment during his recent state visit to New Zealand, President Benigno Aquino III categorically denied the country’s HR situation, and dismissed reports and statistics of HRVs as sheer “leftist propaganda,” effectively legitimizing state consent of HRVs and the perpetuation of the culture of impunity. Such remarks have enraged activists and HR advocates, especially the relatives of HRV victims such as Edith Burgos, mother of abducted activist Jonas Burgos, and the relatives of the Capions. To dismiss the legitimate call of ending HRVs in the country and the swift administration of justice for HRV victims as propaganda is the height of insensitivity to the hardships faced by their grieving families and friends. Red-baiting cultivates an environment tolerant of HRVs. Even worse, countless individuals remain ignorant of the inextricable connection between red-tagging and HRVs, putting more lives in risk of becoming mere numbers in the statistics of the diappeared and the executed.
LATHALAIN Martes 13 Nobyembre 2012
SA SITIO KABUTE
OPINYON Miyerkules 14 Nobyebre 2012
ISANG MUNTING DIGMAAN ANG demolisyon. Walang awang hinahampas ng mga pulis ang mga residente gamit ang martilyo’t matatabang kahoy. Binobomba sila ng tubig mula sa kanal at binabato para lamang mapaalis sa kanilang mga tahanan. Kapag napaamo na ang sitwasyon, isusugod sila sa presinto at hindi sa ospital. Sa tuwing inilalahad ang ganitong eksena sa telebisyon, laging marahas ang paglalarawan sa mga residenteng pinoprotektahan ang kanilang mga bahay na ilang taon din nilang itinuring na tahanan. Kamakailan lang, mapalad akong nakasama sa isang integration activity sa Sitio Kabute, Calamba, Laguna, isang komunidad ng mga maralitang tagalungsod. Pumasok kami sa isang maliit na eskinita mula sa national highway, at pagdating sa loob, para kaming napadpad sa isang kakaibang mundo. Gawa sa tagpi-tagping plywood, tarpaulin ng mga pulitiko, at mga nangangalawang na yero ang mga bahay sa Sitio Kabute. Halos sinlaki ng dalawang cubicle sa palikuran ng AS ang mga bahay na ito na nakatayo sa itim na putik na pinaliligiran ng mga puno, damo, at basura. Noong 2008 naganap ang unang demolisyon sa komunidad. Dahil sa takot, sila mismo ang gumiba sa kanilang mga bahay upang maitago pa ang mga materyales na maaari nilang gamitin sa pagtirik ng susunod nilang tirahan. Nanatili sila nang ilang linggo sa city hall ng
Calamba, at doon nila nakilala ang yumaong si Ka Arman Abarillo na mula sa Bayan Muna. Sa tulong ni Ka Arman, iginiit nila ang kanilang karapatan sa Sitio Kabute. Bumalik sila’t muling itinirik ang kanilang mga bahay. Walang silang tiyak na paglilipatan ayon sa mga kompanyang nagtatangkang paalisin sila sa sitio
kaya naman ipinaglaban nilang manatili. Taong 2009 nang bumalik ang demolition team. Nakakamangha na ang tanging sandata laban sa matitigas na pamalo ng demolition team ay ang kanilang inipong dumi. Ibinalot nila ito sa plastik at ibinabato sa mga nagbabantang sumira sa kanilang tahanan. Hindi pa rin tapos ang kanilang laban, ani Ate Maritess*, isa sa mga residente ng sitio. Halos 13 taon nang doon nakatira ang kanyang pamilya, simula nang mapilitan silang lumuwas mula sa Bikol sa pagbabakasakaling maiaahon ang kanilang buhay sa kahirapan. Ngunit hanggang ngayon, nagtitiis
sila sa kakaunting kita ng kanyang asawang mag-iipot o tagakolekta ng dumi ng manok. Bukod sa nakaambang mga banta ng demolisyon, may mga militar din na nagtayo ng kampo sa kanilang komunidad noong 2010. Taktika umano ng mga militar ang kaibiganin, lasingin, at takutin ang mga residente upang maimpluwensiyahang huwag nang ipaglaban ang kanilang lupa. Sa katunayan, natiyempuhan namin ang ilan sa mga militar na rumuronda sa ilang bahagi ng sitio. Naalarma kami sa ganoong sitwasyon. Hindi kami makapaniwalang sa likod ng masaya at mapayapang highway sa Calamba, naroon ang isang sitiong mistulang binilanggo ng mga itinuturing na tagapagtanggol ng mamamayan. Kailangan bang dahas pa ang maging sandata upang makamit ang kapayapaan? Hapon na nang magpaalam kami kina Ate Maritess. Sa paglabas namin sa eskinita, patuloy lamang ang daloy ng buhay at komersyo sa lungsod – kumakaripas ang mga pampapasadang jeep at bus, at matatanaw ang mga namamasyal o nagsha-shopping sa katapat na mall. Nakagagaan sa loob ang makasalamuha at makausap ang mga residente ng Sitio Kabute. Araw-araw man akong may matutunang bago sa mga leksyon sa UP, hindi naman nito matutumbasan ang aral na nakuha ko sa karanasang iyon. *hindi tunay na pangalan
to secretly make fun of annoying classmates or professors in your head. And of course—the semestral “Hunger Games” come enrolment period. All these at the backdrop of the gruelling, almost week-long ritual that is press work. Yet, it didn’t matter. In fact, this sort of things hardly matter anymore. In my almost four years in UP, I have always reconfigured my value systems to suit my dispositions. I welcome changes in views and perspectives, those moments when you suddenly begin to realize that the things you once value no longer have any significant meaning— a paradigm shift. What does getting a 1.0 mean, when what the majority of the Filipino youth really ever wanted was to get to college so they could study and reach their full potential but are barred by their financial incapacity? What’s the point of perfecting class attendance, when in the streets, the people alter the course of history one little step at a time and rewrite power relations in society, while we passively sit in our classrooms, too busy to involve ourselves with the nuances of the world outside? Why bother bragging about being an Iskolar ng Bayan, of
belonging to the pool of the best and most talented young intellectuals when in several places beyond the reach and confines of our beloved UP, thousands are displaced from their lands, suffer extreme hunger, or experience inhumane treatment. Yet we choose to be so full of ourselves. As if achieving honor and excellence alone is the most noble and only possible endeavor on earth. Somehow, there’s this personal concession, a humble sense of fulfilment. For all the things I’ve learned inside and outside the university, all the tight situations which I managed to get myself out of, which have always prompted me to silently thank the heavens and the cosmos for conspiring in my favor. I have broken one of the three sacred vows I made as a Collegian writer during my freshmen year, and is considering to break another, but I’m nowhere near troubled. Indeed, they got it right when they said people change. And who doesn’t want to change for the better? In the end, I believe no one can truly and accurately gauge how much one has learned in his or her stay in UP. Not professors, not subjects taken, or length of stay. Not even numbers.
Pumasok kami sa isang maliit na eskinita mula sa national highway, at pagdating sa loob, para kaming napadpad sa isang kakaibang mundo.
PARADIGM SHIFT I’D LOST MY BID TO GRADUATING with honors last semester—just when I was, hopefully, a sem away from obtaining that undergraduate degree. After heeding some friends’ advice, I finally mustered enough courage to see for myself that single numerical figure which supposedly sums up all the things I have to put up with throughout almost four years of college. Those countless exams. Those tons of academic requirements competing
In my almost four years in UP, I have always reconfigured my value systems to suit my dispositions. for time and attention. Morning sprints from the Collegian office so I could make it in time for the professor’s roll call. Shuttling between buildings for consecutive classes. The struggle to remain awake during boring lectures. Skills that are absolutely necessary in class, such as how
LAKAS TAMA What’s in a name?* HINDI KO ALAM KUNG kailan ako nagsimulang masanay na tawagin kang “Mama.” Noong bata pa ako, tinatawag lang kita sa pangalan mo. Okay lang sa ‘yo, chill ka lang. Lumilingon ka kapag tinatawag, deadma lang sa mga kaibigan mong pinupuna ang “bastos” na relasyon nating dalawa. Naaalala ko pa ang pagtataka ko noong Kinder. Halos lahat kasi ng kaklase ko, “mommy” o kaya “mama” ang tawag sa mga nanay nila. Nangingiti ako sa sarili ko tuwing nakakarinig ako ng “mommy” o “mama,”— nakakatuwang isipin na sa sobrang liit ng mundo, halos pare-pareho ang pangalan ng mga nanay ng mga kaklase ko. Bagaman may mga pumupuna sa akin dahil hindi ko raw iginagalang ang nanay ko, hindi ko lubos naunawaan ang pagiging “mali” ng aking asal hanggang tumuntong ako sa grade school. Tuwing tinatawag ko ang pangalan ni mama, nag-iiba ang hubog ng mukha ng mga atribidang nanay na laging present sa mga PTA meeting. Ilang “susmaryosep” at “dyusko” rin ang natanggap ko. Sa pagkakatanda ko, una kitang tinawag na “mama” nang pinagsulat kami ng thank you letter para sa mga magulang noong Grade 4. Pangalan mo lang ang inilagay ko sa bating panimula kaya ibinalik ito sa akin ng teacher. Binura niya ang pangalan mo, at naglagay siya ng komento: “Mama and Papa? Mommy and Daddy? Nanay and Tatay?” Dahil ayaw ko nang makipagtalo, “Mama” na lang ang isinulat ko. Hindi ko kayang maglagay ng Papa, o Daddy, kahit ba peke lang. Pakiramdam ko kasi, isang malaking insulto sa iyo kung may makakahati ka sa pasasalamat ko. Natawa ka nang mabasa mo ang sulat kong iyon. Nang tanungin kita kung bakit, ibinalik mo sa akin ang tanong, “Sino si Mama?” At nang sumagot ako ng “ewan ko,” tumawa lang tayo pareho. Kahit ilang araw ko nang pinag-iisipan, hindi ko pa rin matumbok kung ano ang turning point ng pagbabago ng bansag ko sa iyo. Gusto sana kitang tanungin kung ano sa tingin mo ang nangyari, pero bihira na tayong magpang-abot online. Sa huling private message mo sa akin sa Facebook, binati mo lang ako sa pagiging non-major, at sinabing naipadala mo na ang pang-tuition ko. “Salamat ma!” lang ang isinagot ko. Alam kong masyadong makasarili kung pipilitin kitang bumalik na lang dito sa Pilipinas. Pero may mga pagkakataon talagang ikaw lang ang tanging taong gusto kong makausap, at hindi sumasapat kahit ang kapit ng yosi at alak. Sa tingin ko, mababasa mo ito. At kapag nabasa mo ito, tiyak kong iiyak ka. Agad mo akong iti-text, sasabihing mag-usap tayo sa Skype, tapos hahagulgol ka sa screen at sasabihing miss na miss mo na ako. Pagdating ng pagkakataong iyon, siguradong deadpan lang ako. Stoic, kunwaring cool, at tutuksuhin ka pa kasi masyado kang madrama. Pero minsan, naiisip kong sana magpalit na lang tayo. Kung maaari lang sana kitang patahanin at yakapin na parang sanggol na humuhugot ng kapanatagan sa dibdib ko. At habang yapos ko ang mga bisig mo, lilipulin at aakuin ko ang pagod, puyat, at lungkot na dinaranas mo. Wala akong pakialam kahit tawagin nila akong bastos, o pariwara. Mahal na mahal kita, Una, at nirerespeto kitang higit pa sa respetong ikinukulong nila sa diwa ng kung ano mang salita. *pasintabi kay Shakespeare
NEVER FORGET: Ampatuan Massacre
The ermahgerd balik-klase edishun!
3rd Anniversary Commemoration
Oh, hi there. The araw ng mga dead has long past na pero I think maraming dead pa rin. Many are like still so tinatamad pumasok and gusto lang humilata sa house, no taking bath, only making gising when they want to make lamon. They’re so dead—like your love lives. Hahaha! Make landi na kasi so you have someone to arouse your love life from slumber. A yes! I have kwentos pala! Hahaha, like nakalimutan kong ‘yun pala ang reason while I’m writing this ahihihi. Ermahgerd 1: Oh, you two in the validation pila in CSSP ha! You two vaklushes were like having a heated argument about your exes. But suddenly one of you made like sorry with matching akap to the other. My gahd ha! So cinematic ha! At may kiss pa. Pasali nga! Acheruru. Ermahgerd 2: In the jeepney during enrolment, there was a girl who was strongly expressing galit to CRS because she only got like 3 units. She went on for like the entire Ikot trip then she blurted out, “Tangina ‘yan. Tinatagusan na nga ako, pinipilit pa ‘kong maglakad! Nakailang palit na ‘ko ng panty!” Ah, excuse me. You’re in a public place, so don’t rub your pussy issues with us kei. So amoy metal, eew. Ermahgerd 3: Speaking of pussy issues, there’s this girl from the college of hipsters who got bitten by a pussy, like the furry meow-meow thing. Her friends were like “Dalhin sa vetmed, dalhin sa vetmed!” When they went to the vetmed nearby, the vet asked them, “Ano bang dala n’yo, hayop o tao?” The friends were like, uh, “Tao po.” Ermahgerd ha. Tao in the vet? So telling, ano kaya hitsura ni girl? Charuz! Anyway highway my way. I’m sure this week pa magstart ang classes n’yo coz the profs were like all dead pa rin last week. I hope you have a good sem ha. And I hope your love life go from zero to bingo this sem, so you get aroused na from the dead! Ooh aah yeah!
November 16 – FORUM: WE DEMAND JUSTICE! A Forum on the 3rd Year Commemoration of the Ampatuan-Maguindanao Massacre at the UP CMC Press Freedom Hall (formerly CMC Auditorium) November 18 – PLEDGE RUN: March Against Impunity around the UP Academic Oval November 21- Impuni-Tree Planting at the CMC Veranda Brought to you by the UP College of Mass Communication, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, College of Mass Communication Student Council, CMC Graduate Students Association, Union of Journalists of the Philippines - UP Diliman, University Student Council, Stand UP – CMC, Mass Media Awareness Month Team
Water is Life
The Water for the People Network (WPN), Water System Employees Response (WATER) and the STOP Privatization Alliance invite you to “WATER IS LIFE”, a national conference against water privatization on November 20, 8am at the Bulwagang Tandang Sora of the UP College of Social Work and Community Development. There will be a registration fee to cover refreshments and the conference kit. For details, you may call 9276986 and look for Xands or Lomel.
NEXT WEEK’S QUESTIONS: 1. 2. Ano ang resolution mo ngayong second semester?
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Mark your calendars! Ibon Foundation, in cooperation with Center for Nationalist Studies, Agham Youth, and UP Solidaridad, cordially invites you to Remembering Bonifacio, the opening salvo of the nationalist economics lecture series at UP Diliman, on November 28, 2pm at the UP College of Mass Communication Press Freedom Hall. Get free publicity! Send us your press release, invitations, etc. DON’T TYPE IN ALL CAPS. And go easy on the...punctuations?!! dOn’t uSe tXt LanGuage pLs. Provide a short title. 100 words max. Email us at email@example.com
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OPINYON Miyerkules 14 Nobyembre 2012
Balatkayo Taong-Putik Festival Brgy. Bibiclat, Aliaga, Nueva Ecija June 2012 Jiru Nikko M. Rada