Monthly Archives: November 2004

tibak sarbey

taliwas sa iniisip ng marami, ang pagrarali’y di bumubuo ng malaking bahagdan sa mga ‘things to do’ ng mga aktibista. gayunpaman, karaniwan itong paksa sa mga reunion ng mga magkakaibigan at laging binabalikan sa mga salu-salo, gimik at paminsan-minsang inuman.

nakakasawa na rin ang iba’t-ibang sarbey sa friendster at yung mga pinapasa sa e-mail. kaya gumawa ako ng sarili kong “tibak sarbey.”

1. first rally attended: 1995 HS students protest french nuke testing, piket sa french embassy
2. last rally attended: nov 23, state universities condemn budget cut sa batasan
3. most memorable rally: nov 20,1999 rally sa ayala against erap, may bagyo pero tuloy pa rin ang rali, dumiretso sa Cojuangco building to protest coco levy, chaperone ako noon ng mga visiting korean activists at nagkita kami ni meann
4. most forgettable rally: ched piket, feb 2003, wala tao, dami media
5. kailan ka unang nadisperse: 1998 US embassy rally ng LFS against VFA ata yun
6, kailan ka unang na-tear gas: same as above
7. unang beses nahuli ng pulis: hindi pa, hehe
8. favorite speaker sa rally: ka Roda ng PISTON
9. favorite emcee: Jang ng Gabriela
10. favorite cultural performer: Concerned Artists of the Phil o CAP dahil lagi silang naiiba
11. favorite traditional day of protest: May1, ala reunion palagi ito
12. most memorable gimik: erap godzilla ata yun
13. most embarrassing moment: oil price hike protest sa caltex bldg sa makati with KMU, ang sasabihin ko dapat ay “kawawa naman ang magulang nating manggagawa”, ang nasabi ko ay “manggugulang na manggagawa”
14. naka-ilang May1 rally ka na: 6 times
15. naka-ilang SONA rally ka na: 7 times
16. favorite venue of protest: liwasang bonifacio
17. longest march: UP hanggang ortigas, edsa dos 2001
18. most memorable live media coverage: oct 1999 wage rally sa mendiola
19. memorable slogans: paskong walang erap, walang gloria ang pasko, oreta pokpok, the budget is not enough
20. favorite marching song: papuri sa sosyalismo
21. favorite chant: sagot sa kahirapan, rebolusyon!
22. most daring rally: jan2000, rally in front of gate 7 ng malacanang, rally sa loob ng wpd – 2001
23. favorite kitaan ng rally: feu
24. favorite kainan pagkatapos ng rally: delicious sa ongpin
25. favorite tibak song: awit ng petiburgesya, anak ng bayan
26. cpd o wpd: cpd
27. favorite na sinusuot sa rally: kahit ano basta may payong na dala
28. kailan ang susunod na rally: mamaya, transport strike


yes virginia, the landlords still rule the country

How terrible to read Shelley’s poem (not to mention the Egyptian peasant songs of 3,000 years ago), denouncing oppression and exploitation. Will they be read in a future still filled with oppression and exploitation, and will people say: “Even in those days”. –Bertol Brecht

Peping Cojuangco is right. There are non-workers in the picketline of Hacienda Luisita. But these “outsiders” are wives, sisters, brothers, children and family of the striking workers. When a worker loses his job in the city, he can find another employment that matches his skills. When a peasant is deprived of his land or when a peasant worker is subjected to the most depraving renumeration, his whole family will die. Land is literally their life.

Such is the uniqueness of the protest in Hacienda Luisita. Families and friends cannot detach themselves from the struggle of workers in the Hacienda.

Noynoy Aquino is also correct. Violence could have been avoided. But it was his ilk who provoked the farmers to launch a strike. The moment they began paying farmers P10 a week (after salary loan deductions) or disallowing farmers to pick even a single kamote crop in the estate, peace is no longer possible. When Mikee’s horses have airconditioned stables while the farmers live in filth, it would not take long for the toiling people to cry for better living conditions. After all, they are humans too.

The management should not complain that strikers were hard-headed during negotiations. They should be grateful that the workers agreed to negotiate in the first place. After being treated as slaves, the farmers were noble enough to agree to a dialogue with the management.

In a brazen display of landlord might, the Cojuangcos dispatched the police and military to disperse the picket. The first family of feudal Philippines hoped to show the farmers and every dissenting group that they still hold sway in this part of the world. The law protects people like them. The military does their dirty work.

Yes, there is democracy in the country, but only when the landlords need it.
It is during these times that sympathizers become active participants of the anti-feudal struggle. Soft-spoken activists become hardened combatants. Sober, peace-loving people suddenly transform into a raging battalion of peasant warriors. It is better to fight and die than to live and die of hunger, as one peasant bellowed in a TV interview. Some will disappear to seek justice in the hinterlands.

The massacre in Hacienda Luisita will finally disprove the peddled illusions of the respectable civil society groups that the state can be engaged to protect the interests of the marginalized or that we have a modernizing democracy. What state-civil society relations? What modern democracy? What crap.

The traumatizing memories of decades-long oppression under the hands of the “benevolent” Cojuangcos stirred the peasants into dynamic action. Finally, they can reclaim their humanity.

Kris Aquino was wrong when she boasted on national TV that her designer clothes were “katas ng Hacienda Luisita.” Now we witness the hardworking people who produce the wealth of Hacienda Luisita displaying extraordinary force, anger and devotion which only the most oppressed and exploited can ever show.

book hunt

curse those undergrad days when i should have spent more time in the library. after college, i realized that not only the good books are hard to find in the metro but the few ones which are actually worth reading are too expensive.

dr. nemenzo was right when he said back in 1998 that there are only two bookshops in the country: popular and solidaridad. popular is located along tomas morato avenue in QC and they offer books by lenin, marx, mao and freire for only less than twenty pesos.

the opening of powerbooks and books for less is a welcome development. but lately, powerbooks have allotted too much space for religious, inspirational and self-help books.

at the end of the year, pamper yourself with history/philosophy books from “a different kind of bookstore” in glorietta. this is how i justify shelling out more than one thousand pesos for two books: for twelve months, i spent money for prepaid cards, fries, coke and i diligently paid for greedy companies like meralco and pldt, so why deny myself a chance to buy something i really want just for once.

let us not forget the reliable booksale shops which have been sprouting everywhere. they may be overloaded with too much american crap but some gems can be found too, if you are a persevering one. jpaul manzanilla is recommending booksale robinson’s place ermita. don’t bother going to their branch in UP shopping center. the good ones are already devoured.

From time to time, bookshops err in the pricing of books. national bookstore sm las pinas once sold an edward said book for P35. powerbooks megamall sold a kafka collection for only P200 before correcting it to P700+.

friends often boast of buying great works of literature at national bookstore cubao top floor. when i was a freshman, i was able to buy a rare teodoro agoncillo book at the college textbook shelf of national bookstore quezon avenue. i think they still offer agoncillo’s filipino nationalism.

patronize megamall’s book fair. two or three stalls offer affordable books. visit the university press of ateneo and UP.

last semester, i convinced my wife who is in her senior year at UP Manila to borrow books for me in their library. why haven’t i thought of this before? i advise that you also ask friends to borrow books for you. they will not be in school forever, and we may ran out of friends who know how to spot a good read.

Dito po sa amin

Aba, may ginto raw sa ilog Dario ng San Francisco del Monte.

Una itong pinagkaguluhan ng mga residente hanggang sa dinagsa ito ng mga tao mula sa iba’t-ibang dako ng siyudad. Naakit ang atensiyon ng media at ginawa itong pinakasikat na ilog sa bansa ngayon.

Dumating ang mga duktor at pulitiko. Nabigo silang kumbinsihin ang desperadong taumbayan na itigil ang paghahanap ng mumunting ginto sa maduming tubig ng ilog Dario.

Kung ikaw ay gutom, bakit mo iintindihin ang skin allergies? Sabi nga ng isang manggagawa dun, mabuti ng maghukay ng ginto at baka sakaling palarin kaysa buong araw at gabing magpawis sa pabrika at sumuweldo ng P150.

Kahit burak, buhangin o metal scraps na lamang ng Bangko Sentral ang nakukuha ng mga tao sa ilog, tuloy pa rin ang paghuhukay. Ito ang tatak ng kahirapan sa bansa. Ito ang mukha ng sinasabi nilang fiscal crisis o 15 bahagdan ng mga Pilipinong nagugutom.

Para sa mga residente ng Frisco, tuloy pa rin ang buhay. Tutal, ang ginto sa ilog ay ang pinakabago sa mga mahiwaga’t kawili-wiling kaganapan sa lugar.

Noong 1994, nagmilagro diumano ang Birhen Maria sa Barangay Damayan, mga isang-daang metro ang layo mula sa ilog Dario. Naging tanyag ang mga imahen ng Birhen na makikita sa mga rose petal. Dinagsa ang barangay ng mga taong gustong magamot ang nararamdaman nilang sakit.

Noong 1995, isang milagro naman sa pulitika ang naganap. Nanalo si Reynaldo Calalay bilang kinatawan ng unang distrito ng lungsod Quezon sa Kongreso. Dati siyang Kapitan ng Barangay Damayan at naging Konsehal kahit hindi kilala, hindi nakapag-aral at hindi mayaman. Mabuti o masama, sinimulan niya ang taktika ng pagbabarkada’t pakikipag-inuman sa mga lider-barangay upang manalo sa eleksiyon sa distrito uno.

Ang Frisco ay naging tahanan din ng mga taong tanyag sa buhay pulitika ng bansa. Kabilang dito sina Edgar Jopson, Philip Juico, Rolly at Joy Kintanar, si FPJ at maging si Leo Echagaray.

Kilala rin ang Frisco dahil sa kanyang simbahan: ang Sanktuaryo de San Pedro Bautista Shrine. Dati itong retreat house ng mga pari sa Intramuros noong panahon ng Kastila. Si San Pedro mismo ang nagpatayo ng simbahan sa ibabaw ng isang burol na tanaw ang mahabang ilog Dario ngayon. Sa simbahan matatagpuan ang kaisa-isang bronze statue ng santo sa buong mundo.

Sinulat ni Teodoro Agoncillo sa Revolt of the Masses na sinugod ng mga Katipunero ang Cura Paroco ng Frisco dahil ito raw ay abusado. Nang sinakop ng Hapon ang simbahan, naghukay daw sila ng tunnel tagos hanggang ilog at nagbaon daw ng kayamanan dito. Totoong may kayamanan o hindi, nananatili pa rin ang balon sa simbahan na diretso sa ilog.

Minsang isinalarawan ni Amorsolo ang ilog Dario at ito ay makikita pa rin sa simbahan. May mga kawayan sa gilid nito at paboritong pangisdaan at paliguan ng mga residente. Nagsimula itong dumumi noong dekada sitenta nang magtayo ng mga pabrika sa gilid ng ilog sa ibang barangay.

Nakita natin sa TV na pinasok ng reporter ang barung-barong sa gilid ng ilog. Hindi natukoy na sa kabilang pampang ng ilog ay isang subdibisyon ng mga mayayaman na marami doon ang nagmamay-ari ng mga pabrika sa ibang barangay.

Sakop ng barung-barong ang gilid ng burol hanggang sa tabi ng simbahan. Nagpatayo ng mataas na dingding ang simbahan para hindi makita ang kinakalawang na bubong ng mga maralita. Ngayon hindi na tanaw ng mga nagsisimba ang ilog Dario at ang sinasaklaw ng San Francisco del Monte.

Kahit nagsisiksikan ang mga tao sa labas ng simbahan, sa loob nito ay may sapat na espasyo para sa swimming pool, basketball court at mini-forest ng mga pari. Bago ang ginto sa ilog, kabuhayan ng di-iilan ang paglalako ng puting ginto o shabu sa komunidad.

Eto ang kuwento ng ilog ng aming barangay. Eto rin ang kuwento ng mga tao sa aming barangay. Gintong pangarap, burak ang nahanap.