Monthly Archives: August 2005

Ang dating tinamaang daan

Gusto mong yumaman? Pwede kang 1) maging whistleblower sa jueteng. Pagkatapos magpataas ng presyo, bawiin ang testimonya, umiyak sa camera at humingi ng tawad sa mga idinawit na opisyal ng gobyerno. O kaya’y 2) magtayo ng relihiyon. Gumawa ng sariling doktrina, mas mabuti kung tawagin ang sarili bilang tagapagligtas ng sangkatauhan.

Mas malaki ang kita sa pangalawa. Maraming malolokong panatiko at wala pang babayarang buwis. Maraming rasputin sa Pilipinas. Maraming nagpapakilalang propeta at mangangaral. Pinangungunahan yan ng Simbahang Katoliko pero hindi magpapahuli ang mga grupo o kulto (?) nina Velarde, Manalo, Soriano, Quiboloy, Villanueva, Almeda atbp.

Nakakatuwang panoorin ang mga programa ng Iglesia at Dating Daan. Sa tingin ko dapat hirangin ito bilang mga Pinoy reality TV. Daig pa nila ang Diretsahan ni Amy Perez kung magbangayan. Nangangaral ng kabutihan pero araw-araw nagsisiraan, nagpapalitan ng mga akusasyon na kesa sinungaling ang isa, manggagantso, madumi ang ugali, walan alam at mga panget.

Nagtataka tayo kung bakit walang pagkakaisa sa bansa o sa mundo samantalang eto ang nagpapatunay na kahit naniniwala sila na iisa ang Diyos at salita ng Diyos pero iba-iba ang pakuhulugan nila. Hindi raw makakapunta ng langit ang hindi kabilang sa kanilang grupo.

Ayoko sanang humusga at dapat lang dahil hindi ko gagap ng buo ang kanilang aral. Pero nagitla ako nang sabihin ng Iglesia sa TV na si Manalo raw ang sugo o anghel na tinutukoy sa libro ng Apocalypse dahil ipinanganak siya sa dulong silangang bahagi ng mundo. At ayon naman sa Dating Daan, si Soriano raw ang pobreng matandang pantas na sinasabi sa bibliya.

Akala ko dati biro lang ang mga ito. Totoo palang may naniniwala dito.

Nakakamangha at pinapayagan nating panoorin ito ng mga bata. Aba, kung nagagalit tayo sa false advertising at mga mali-maling textbook, hindi ba dapat mapoot din tayo sa divine extortion, este sa mga pekeng propeta? Mukhang hindi patas kung pagagalitan ang TV host na bastos samantalang walang ginagawa sa mga TV evangelist na nananakot na pupunta tayo sa impiyerno kung hindi tayo maniniwala sa kanila.

Sabi ko na nga ba’t hindi pa tayo handa na tanggapin ang agham at modernong kaisipan sa ating buhay.

Kaya sa mga gustong yumaman, pwede talagang magtayo ng relihiyon. Yuyuko ang mga pulitiko sa inyo. Igagalang kayo ng mga huwad na pantas. Hindi kayo sisiraan ng mga kolumnista sa diyaryo bilang mga tagapagsulong ng lipas na ideya. Para sa mga nananakam sa boto ng inyong grupo, hindi kayo bobo, kulto, terorista at masamang tao.

Matuto sa karanasan ni Robertson ng 700 Club. Di ba sabi niya patayin si Chavez ng Venezuela dahil komunista? Pero dakila at mabuting tao pa rin siya dahil pinapalaganap niya ang salita ng Diyos.

Matuto sa karanasan ng Simbahan Katoliko. May vow of poverty pero pinakamalaking landlord sa bansa. Matuto kay Velarde atbp sa kanilang kumikitang kabuhayan. Matuto kay Manalo at Quiboloy, mga milyonaryong sugo ng sangkatauhan.

Diyos ko po, ilayo niyo kami sa lahat ng masama, amen.

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sabado live

I don’t have the loud and persuasive voice of Mike Enriquez or Ted Failon but for eleven months, I was co-host in a weekly radio program in DZAR. The other hosts of ‘Sabado Live’ were Congressman Jun Lozada of Negros and Ellene Sana of the Center for Migrant Advocates.

Our troika worked in this way: Sir Jun would give the opinion of a politician disgusted and disappointed over his former colleagues in the government. Ate Ellene would discuss the issue from the point of view of civil society and I would try to articulate the perspectives of young Filipinos.

For almost two hours every Saturday morning, our program tackled a variety of important local and even international issues. The memorable ones were the voters’ registration, absentee voting, election canvass, Angelo dela Cruz, fiscal crisis, and the landslide disaster.

Because my co-hosts were veteran and respected luminaries in their field, I had a free crash course on the migrant situation, international diplomacy and realpolitics in the Philippine Congress. I also enjoyed studying the basics of radio broadcasting and media work.

But the real fun would always begin after the show. Out troika, together with our producer Liza, would have a coffee break in the station or in a restaurant where we could have a quiet time to exchange political gossips and report how our lives went by for the week. We would share our funny and sometimes boring activities then we would plan the week ahead.

I had a good time listening to Jun’s tirades against the imbecile trapos in Congress and Malacañang. It was amazing to hear Ellene’s stories of her foreign travels and Liza’s interesting queries on our lives. I really miss their company.

To become a radio host for a brief time like my TV character idol, Frasier, is enough consolation for my stint in DZAR. But the best reward for the trust Jun, Ellene and Liza placed on me was the memorable experience of reaching out to a broader public. What joy it was to answer the questions of listeners or to hear their feedback on our program. The interaction with our listeners was satisfying and it pleased me to know that many people were listening to my views.

I may not have the admirable voice which radio hosts possess and our troika may not have had the most popular radio program in town, but we excelled in sincerely reaching out to the people and practiced the best public service we can ever give.

Books for Coke

The Department of Education has inked a partnership with Coca-Cola company in the delivery of textbooks throughout the country. For the past two years, the private sector was tapped by DepEd to avoid ‘ghost deliveries’ of books. It is part of an ongoing effort to reform the inefficient and corrupt practices in the department.

But why Coca-Cola?

Just two months ago, DepEd revitalized its school nutrition program by launching the Universal Medical and Dental Check-up in public schools. Even the President ordered the release of P30 billion for the school feeding program.

How could DepEd not see the irony of vowing to make children healthier and at the same time forging a deal with a company not known for making healthy drinks?

Imagine the Lung Center of the Philippines tapping Philip Morris to deliver wheelchairs for its patients. Imagine the Philippine Heart Center allowing Lydia’s Lechon to open a canteen in its building. That is how I appreciate the deployment of Coke to deliver books for our children.

DepEd has always invoked globalization to justify changes in the school curriculum. It should also recognize the global trend of ridding schools of unhealthy food products, which include soda. In the United States, junk foods are banned in the states of Alabama, Arizona and Connecticut. Even California Governor and former bodybuilder champion Arnold Schwarzenegger wants school vending machines to sell only juice and cereals.

How can schools effectively teach our kids to avoid eating food with too much sugar content or to patronize healthy native drinks when you have the big truck of Coke happily welcomed in school premises for distributing textbooks?

Educators have pointed out that students can learn more from the ‘hidden curriculum’ in schools or from messages that are conveyed through actions and statements sanctioned by school personalities. If you have Coke doing a good deed recognized by the school, students may not question the nutrition facts of its products. Students would only remember Coke as a tireless champion of education and not a devious profit-hungry company responsible for making the drink which cannot make children more healthy and intelligent.

Coca-cola is not an innocent donor motivated only by the desire to help our schools. It wants a market for its products. What is the hassle of delivering books if you have a potential twenty million Filipino students who will be enticed to drink coke while they read?

Public schools need money. But we must choose the source of the resources to be used for improving the quality of education in the country. Liwayway Chato needed money for her election campaign expenses but she refused the pledge of Lucio Tan because she knew that she has to give a favor for Tan in the future. Can DepEd also be more discerning in choosing the donors of our schools?

If Coke is tapped because it has a nationwide organization that can reach the grassroots level, then why not ask the Church for assistance? Or the Barangay and SK units?

We are a country with predilection for textbook scandals. Before, we have the textbooks of mass idiotization. Now that Coke will deliver the books, we may have textbooks of mass idiotization and malnutrition in the future.

An activist son

A reader asks why I chose and continue to be an activist. I replied by attaching an article I wrote which was published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer in the Youngblood column about three years ago. Here it is….

I CAN still remember my father telling me not to join any fraternity or activist organization on my first day as a freshman at the University of the Philippines back in 1996. He was very convincing with his warning: I would end up as dead meat if I became a member of the first; and a heartless, godless communist by joining the second.

Of course, my father was exaggerating. But I could not blame him for thinking that way since many Filipinos have the same false impressions about the two distinct organizations.

By the time I graduated from UP two years ago, I was an active member of the most radical student organization on campus and a full-fledged member of a young fraternity.

It was quite easy to make my father understand that I ended up disobeying his order not because I was rebelling against him. What he cannot completely understand to this day is why I am still very passionately involved in militant causes.

I love describing to my friends the look of shock and unbelief on my father’s face the day he found out I had become an activist. One quiet Sunday evening, I appeared for the family dinner wearing a white T-shirt with the portraits of Marx, Lenin and Mao staring at my father and the fighting words: "Workers of the world unite!” He thought it was just a cheap shirt I bought in Baguio’s famous ukay-ukay, so he convinced himself and my mother that I would never really be a member of any radical student group. Later that evening, when my elder sister was going over her macroeconomics textbook, I handed her the Shanghai book on socialist economy and planning, much to her chagrin and that of my parents.

The next few months saw me undergoing rigorous training and maturing as an activist as well as the continuing self-denial of my parents that their eldest son had indeed become one. My mother once told me in an amused tone of voice that it was amazing to see her son on television holding a red flag and shouting for change, but it was completely different to see him being dragged out of the House of Representatives by the marines and police for disrupting the session. My younger brother did not talk to me for a long time after our group held a lightning rally in front of the US Embassy on the very same day he was scheduled for an interview on his visa application, forcing the embassy staff to close for the day.

Once, I overheard my father telling my mother that I was just passing through a phase in life. Sooner or later, he said, I would outgrow my idealism and realize the opportunities I had missed.

But when it became obvious that my chosen "vocation” was not just a "temporary insanity," as my sister called it, my father and I had a serious talk about my life and future. He told me that when he was my age, pimples and safe sex were the only things he had to worry about. Then he asked why I wanted so much to carry the heavy burden of trying to oust the President, not to mention the many other problems of society.

I wanted to laugh after listening to him, but the probing, sober look on his face prevented me from doing so.

Next my relatives would come for a visit and try to convince me that I was a victim of some kind of indoctrination and was being used to help advance a sinister political agenda. A policeman-uncle of mine never failed to remind me that crooked traditional politicians were funding the activities of our organizations. But it was my cousin and best friend in the family who had the most humorous insight into what everyone in the family considered to be an odd direction my life had taken. My cousin began by pointing out that we had grown up together in the same neighborhood, eaten the same food and taken the same vitamins when we were young. We had attended the same Catholic school in elementary, played the same sports and watched the same television shows. So, he asked, how did I wind up being communist?

Looking back, I think I am partly to blame for my family’s lack of appreciation for my being an activist. I never bothered to sit down with them and explain carefully the nobility of what I am doing. I never made them see how much fulfillment I derive from being an activist. I wanted to tell them that the most sincere and truest persons I have ever known in my life I met in the student movement. I found the woman I will love forever in our organization. I have chosen "the road less traveled" not because of some flimsy reason or emotional weakness on my part, but because I firmly believe that it is the right thing to do.

I will forever be grateful for the love and warm affection my family has generously showered on me since I was a child. Without this love, I would never have become part of any movement seeking to make our present society a better one. It is the joy of being loved that moves a person to give love. I know that behind the fear, irritation and frustration my parents feel concerning my decision to become an activist is the deep and comforting love only parents can bear for their child. They may not always say it, but I know and I feel my family is proud of what I am doing.
___________
Mong Palatino, 22, joined the UP Center for Nationalist Studies in 1997.

Most admired Filipino politician

Raul Roco may have lost two presidential elections but he will be remembered as the most admired Filipino politician among young Filipinos. And for a country with half of its population below twenty-five years old, that is no small feat.

Raul Roco was a legend in the student movement. He was not only the youngest president of NUSP, he was also one of the young members of the 1971 Constitutional Convention.

But this is not the only reason why Raul Roco’s most loyal supporters were students and the thinking segment of our population. Roco rose to prominence in the trapo-dominated Philippine politics by showing brilliance in his arguments, political will in his programs and integrity in his actions. He endeared himself to the public by championing the welfare of women and poor. In his speeches, he never missed inspiring the youth to serve the country with all idealism and vigor.

In short, Roco was everything we wanted for a politician. Principled, competent and a good man.

UP students of our time will remember Roco as the Senator who questioned and opposed the budget cuts for UP and other state universities during the term of Estrada. Roco’s crucial role in the impeachment trial prior to EDSA Dos will not be forgotten as well.

Despite objections of student groups and teacher unions to the reforms he introduced in the public school system when he was Secretary of Education, no one can question Roco’s sincerity in improving the delivery and quality of our tattering education system. He welcomed his critics in his office, including this author, to find a common cause in making education more accessible and relevant to all.

Today’s youth will remember Roco as the credible and intelligent critic of the Arroyo administration. He will be known as the best candidate during the 2004 elections who fought the mother-of-all trapos in Philippine history despite a ragtag election machinery and failing health.

Roco placed his hopes in the youth. The latter now pays its respect to the best President we never had.

Ward 7 para kay Gonzales

Ayan na naman si Sec. Raul Gonzales, binanatan ang UP dahil sa pagkanlong sa mga “kaaway ng gobyerno.” Bakit daw pinayagang manatili sa kampus ang mga sumama sa rali noong SONA ni Arroyo. Kailangan daw usisain ang badyet ng pamantasan.

Sa madaling salita, kailangang managot at ipitin ang UP dahil sinusuportahan ng maraming taga-UP ang panawagang magbitiw si Arroyo sa kanyang posisyon.

Totoo, maraming ‘kaaway ng gobyerno’ ang nanggaling sa UP. Pero higit na marami ang sumusuporta sa kasalukuyang estado ng gobyerno. Sa bawat Dodong Nemenzo, ay may mga Abueva at Angara na nanggaling sa UP. Sa bawat Joma Sison at Nur Misuari ay may Marcos, Miriam at Alex Magno na nag-aral sa pamantasan.

Iilan lamang na taga-UP ang nananatiling kaaway ng gobyerno. Marami sa alumni ng unibersidad ay bahagi ng sistema at nagbibigay ng intellectual legitimacy sa mabahong gobyerno ni Arroyo.

Kahit sabihin nating mas maraming ‘destabilizers’ ang nanggaling sa UP kumpara sa ibang pamantasan, wala akong nakikitang masama dito. Kailangang tupdin ng mga pamantasan ang paghuhubog ng mga indibidwal na may kritikal na pag-iisip. Dapat magkaroon ng malayang palitan ng ideya’t damdamin sa mga kampus.

Ang gusto ata ni Sec. Gonzales ay maging sunud-sunuran ang UP sa dikta ng Malakanyang sa lahat ng pagkakataon. Gusto niya ng mga estudyante na hindi kumakalaban sa gobyerno, yung mga nananawagan lang na sundin ang Konstitusyon at magkaroon ng kapayapaan, pagkakaisa, kaunlaran at iba pang abstraktong basura.

Nagkamali si Gonzales ng kanyang inaway.

Kanina ay nabalitaan ko na mukhang idedeklara ng mga estudyante ng UP na persona non grata si Gonzales. Mayroon din silang ibibigay na eviction notice sa DOJ dahil ang opisina nito ay nasa lupa ng UP Manila. Mukhang kailangan ding maghanap ng ibang kalye papasok ng opisina si Gonzales dahil ang mga taga-UP Manila ay magtatambak ng mga streamer at plakard sa P. Faura na tiyak hindi magugustuhan ng matandang sipsip kay Gloria.

Halimbawa sa mga nakalagay sa plakard ay ang sumusunod: Gonzales shut up, you are a bad neighbor. Gonzales, asong ulol. Gonzales, mentally incapacitated.

Mabait naman ang mga taga-UP kaya kapag pinaalis na si Gonzales sa DOJ ay may lilipatan ito sa Ward 7 ng PGH. Ito ang ward ng mga baliw.