Pinoy Weekly » Opinyon http://pinoyweekly.org/new Philippine news, analysis, and investigative stories Tue, 12 May 2015 22:16:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.1 Binhi ng Isang Aklat http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/binhi-ng-isang-aklat/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/binhi-ng-isang-aklat/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 04:04:43 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34889 Magandang gabi po. Nang mapatay ng militar si Recca Noelle Monte noong Setyembre 2014, mabilis na bumuhos ang mga sulatin, mahaba at maikli, tungkol sa kanya. Naging araw-araw ang Throwback Thursday at naglabasan ang mga larawan kasama siya. Walang abi-abiso sa taba o payat, kinis o gaspang, kintab o tuyot ng mukha, laki o liit ng buhok ng mga kasama niya sa larawan. Sabihin pa, marami sa mga sulatin at larawang ito ang nakita at nabasa sa Facebook.

Para sa huling parangal ni Recca sa Church of the Risen Lord, tinipon ang mga sulatin at larawang ito ng matatalik na kaibigan at kasama niya at inilathala sa isang booklet. Kaunti lang ang kopyang inilimbag, dahil para lang talaga iyun sa pamilya Monte at malalapit na kasama’t kaibigan. Mahaba ang titulo ng booklet – Recca, karugtong ang lahat ng pangalan niya sa pakikibaka.

Ang booklet na ito ang binhi ng librong inilulunsad natin ngayon. Dahil sa pagluluksa at pangungulila, may mga kaibigan at kasamang paulit-ulit na binasa ang booklet. Napansin nila na iba’t ibang bahagi ng buhay at pakikibaka ni Recca ang pinaksa ng mga sulatin, at bihira ang puntong naulit. Samantala, nagtuluy-tuloy pa ang pagbuhos ng mga sulatin tungkol kay Recca at ang mga larawan niya.

Pabalat ng librong "Recca: From Diliman to the Cordilleras"

Pabalat ng librong “Recca: From Diliman to the Cordilleras”

Hanggang sa may nagkaroon ng ideyang palawigin ang booklet at gawin itong isang buo at “tunay” na libro. “Dapat lang!” ang sabi ng mga kaibigan at kasama ni Recca. Mahigit isang dekada siyang miyembro ng New People’s Army o NPA, bukod pa sa ilang taong naging aktibista. Noong namatay siya, isa na siyang lider ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas, ng isa sa mga panrehiyong organo nito. Hindi kalabisang sabihing kasama siya sa “the best and the brightest” ng aming henerasyon – at “the warmest” din, patunay ang napakaraming nagmamahal sa kanya.

Ang huwaran ng mga kasama at kaibigan niyang nakaisip na gawin itong libro ay ang Edjop: The Unusual Journey of Edgar Jopson na isinulat ni Benjamin Pimentel, Jr. Ang tinutukoy ay iyung orihinal na bersyon na nalathala noong 1989, hindi iyung UG, An Underground Tale: The Journey of Edgar Jopson and the First Quarter Storm Generation na binagong bersyon ng nauna at inilathala noong 2006. Sa huli kasi, ginamit ang buhay at pakikibaka ni Edjop laban sa NPA at PKP, na kinakasapian at pinapamunuan ni Edjop noong napatay siya ng militar.

Anu’t anuman, mahalaga sa aming henerasyon ng mga kabataang aktibista noong ikalawang hati ng dekada ’90 at maagang bahagi ng mga taong 2000 ang librong Edjop. Buhay na kwento kasi ito ng puspusang pakikibaka ni Edjop sa panahong iyun ng batas militar – una sa kilusang paggawa, sa Metro Manila, at pagkatapos ay sa Mindanao. Mababasa sa libro kung paano siya tumindig sa gitna ng mga tunggalian, sa sarili at sa loob ng Kilusan. Itinatangi ng marami sa amin ang mga bahagi ng libro na naglalarawan ng pamumuno niya, kung paano siya bilang kadre ng PKP. Sabi sa libro, halimbawa, parang barkada lang ang mga namumuno sa Mindanao noong bago siya dumating, pero naging pormal ang mga pulong nang siya na ang kalihim.

Ngayon gabi, masayang-masaya tayo na narito na ang ating libro. Palakpakan natin ang napakagandang librong Recca: From Diliman to the Cordilleras! Para sa pagkuha niya sa proyektong ito, palakpakan natin ang larawan ng makabayang guro at editor ng libro, si Prop. Judy M. Taguiwalo! Para sa napakahusay niyang pagbubuo, paglalatag at pagdidisenyo ng mga sulatin at larawan, palakpakan natin si Karl Fredrick M. Castro! Para sa mahusay at mabilis na paglalathala sa libro, palakpakan natin ang Southern Voices! Para sa kanilang mahuhusay na ambag, palakpakan natin ang napakaraming kontribyutor sa librong ito!

Nagagalak man tayo ngayon sa paglulunsad ng aklat, lagi’t lagi nating inihahabol na may mga kaakibat na panawagan ang librong ito. Isigaw natin ang mga panawagang ito. Katarungan para sa mga martir ng Lacub, Abra! Palayain si Kennedy Bangibang, bilanggong pulitikal! Syempre pa: Mabuhay ang pambansa-demokratikong rebolusyon!

Nagagalak po tayo ngayong gabi na ang booklet na binhi ng librong ito ay sumibol na at naging isang magandang aklat. Hangad natin na ang librong ito, ang Recca: From Diliman to the Cordilleras, ay maihasik sa maraming bahagi ng bansa at maging binhi rin – ng maraming malayang kamalayan, ng maraming malayang bisig, lahat para sa isang malayang bayan!

08 Mayo 2015

* Talumpating hindi nabasa, dahil nahiya, sa paglulunsad ng Recca: From Diliman to the Cordilleras noong 22 Abril 2015 sa Quezon Hall, Unibersidad ng Pilipinas-Diliman.

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King of Trolls http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/kampanya-ng-paninira/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/kampanya-ng-paninira/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 17:51:52 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34827 Sa Facebook at online sa pangkalahatan, marami nang nasulat at nasabi tungkol sa kampanya ng gobyernong Aquino na siraan ang pamilya ni Mary Jane Veloso, na ang ginamit na tuntungan ay ang pagtuligsa, at hindi pagpapasalamat, ng pamilya sa gobyerno. May ilan lang akong gustong idiin at sana’y idagdag:

(1) Ang paninira sa pamilya Veloso ay operasyon ng makinarya sa propaganda ng Malakanyang kasabwat ang midya ng malalaking kapitalista. Mas malamang, may malaking kinalaman dito sina Ricky Carandang, Manuel L. Quezon III, Jim Paredes at Leah Navarro. Pinakilos ang mga may tunay na account sa social media at pinakilos ang mga ineempleyo para magtayo ng maraming gawa-gawang account. Kung wala silang masyadong imik sa social media para iligtas ang buhay ni Mary Jane, naging hyper-aktibo sila sa paninira sa kanyang pamilya pagkatapos siyang mailigtas sa bingit ng kamatayan. Nakahanda naman ang midya ng malalaking kapitalista, tampok ang Philippine Daily Inquirer, para itambol sa pamamagitan ng pagbabalita ang masasahol na mensahe ng paninira sa pamilya Veloso, at sa gayo’y palaganapin pa ito.

(2) Marami nang nasulat tungkol sa pagpapabaya, sa kulang na kulang at halos-huling tugon ng gobyernong Aquino sa nabinbing pagbitay kay Mary Jane Veloso. Ang gusto kong idagdag: Kung susubaybayan ang mga aksyon at pahayag ng gobyernong Aquino bago nabinbin ang pagbitay, masasabing ang tindig talaga nito ay hindi ang iligtas si Mary Jane, kundi ang hayaan siyang mabitay para magsilbing babala sa mga Pilipino para huwag umanong maloko o magamit ng mga human at drug traffickers. Ganito ang paulit-ulit na mensahe ng Department of Labor and Employment at Department of Foreign Affairs bago ang takdang pagbitay. Pakitang-tao na lang ang ginawang pag-apela ng gobyerno, at kahit ang mga protesta ay hindi sinuportahan bagkus tinambakan ng kapulisan. Napwersa na lang talaga si Aquino na umaksyon dahil lumakas ang protesta at nagbanta ang malawak at malakas na pagkondena.

(3) Interes ng gobyernong Aquino sa kampanya ng paninira na pagtakpan ang pagpapabaya nito kay Mary Jane. Natatakot ito na matransporma ang nagkakaisang tinig para sa pagliligtas kay Mary Jane patungo sa pagkondena sa kapabayaan nito sa kanyang kaso. Gusto rin nitong hadlangan ang paglabas ng mga datos na nagpapakita ng kawalang-puso nito kaugnay ng kaso. Halimbawa ang hindi pagsasabi sa pamilya na ibininbin na ang pagbitay kay Mary Jane noong nabinbin na ito; hinayaan silang makinig sa mga putok ng baril at isiping napatay na si Mary Jane kahit ligtas na pala ito. Patunay rin ito ng tindig ng gobyerno na magbigay ng babala sa mga Pilipino. Pwede namang kinilala na lang ang mga sinabi ni Nanay Celia Veloso na kauna-unawang pahayag ng isang ina, nagpaliwanag ng mga ginawa, at nagpatuloy sa panawagang palayain na si Mary Jane. Sa halip, isang higanteng kampanya ng paninira ang pinawalan nito – patunay na makasarili at hindi mabuti ang layunin nito.

(4) Ang problema, pinapahina rin ng gobyernong Aquino sa ganitong paninira ang mismong laban para sa tuluyang pagliligtas kay Mary Jane mula sa parusang kamatayan at para sa pagpapalaya sa kanya. Sa ganito, nagtutugma ang interes ng gobyernong Aquino at ng sindikato ng droga. Tandaan: Interes ng naturang sindikato na protektahan si Maria Kristina “Tintin” Sergio, ang rekruter ni Mary Jane at ng iba pa, at mas malamang na tauhan talaga nito. Si Sergio na ang susunod na usapin at sa pagpapahina sa pagkakaisa ng sambayanan para kay Mary Jane, mas madali para sa sindikato at sa mga kapit nito sa gobyerno na palayain si Sergio, at posibleng sa kapinsalaan ni Mary Jane. Ang naturang sindikato kaya ang nasa likod ng napakalupit na tinungo ng kampanya ng paninira, na may bahaging nananawagan ng pagbabalik kay Mary Jane sa death penalty at firing squad para sa nanay niya?

(5) Maraming nakakagalit sa kampanya ng paninira sa pamilya Veloso. Tinumbok na nina Prop. Sarah Raymundo at Gerry Lanuza ang isa: ang pag-insulto sa mga maralitang naninindigan. May isa pa para sa akin: Kakatwa na ginagamit ngayon ang salitang “brainwashing” para ilarawan ang ginagawa umano ng mga militanteng grupo sa pamilya Veloso. Pero totoo, arogante ang rehimeng Aquino, nag-aakalang kayang-kaya nitong linlangin ang mga Pilipino. Parang multo ang arogansyang ito na tumatahi sa maraming bagay: Sa pekeng pag-abolish sa PDAF bago ang Million People March. Sa galit ni Aquino sa dapat na presscon matapos ang Yolanda: “You did not die, right?” Sa pagtuligsa niya sa Simbahang Katoliko para sapawan ang pagtuligsa ni Pope Francis sa korupsyon sa pamahalaan niya. Sa kagustuhan niyang manalo ng Nobel Peace Prize na humantong sa pagdanak ng dugo sa Mamasapano.

04 Mayo 2015

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Mary Jane http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/mary-jane/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/mary-jane/#comments Sun, 03 May 2015 17:14:53 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34796 “Literature can train, and exercise, our ability to weep for those who are not us or ours.

“Who would we be if we could not sympathize with those who are not us or ours? Who would we be if we could not forget ourselves, at least some of the time? Who would we be if we could not learn? Forgive? Become something other than we are?”
– Susan Sontag

*    *    *

May kakaiba – sabihin na nating kagila-gilalas o kamangha-mangha—na nangyari noong isang linggo sa gitna ng kampanya para matigil ang pagpa-firing squad, kung hindi man tuluyang mapalaya si Mary Jane Veloso.

Unang beses kong makabasa ng tula bilang komento sa balitang ni-post sa FB account ng GMA News. Isang OFW na nasa Riyadh, Saudi Arabia ang gumawa ng rap song para kay Mary Jane.

*    *    *

“Ano ang isang ina?
Mayamang hapag ng
gutom na sanggol
Kumot sa gabing maginaw
Matamis na uyayi
Tubig
sa naghahapding sugat.”
Ina, Ma. Lorena Barros

*    *    *

Bumaha ng tula. May iba’t ibang persona at lunan. Nahipo ng sitwasyon ni Mary Jane ang puso ng maraming Pinoy. Ilang pamilya ba ang may kadugong OFW?

*    *    *

Sa tulang Inay, hanggang sa kabilang buhay ni Lee Harvey David, anak ni Mary Jane ang ipinalagay na nagsasalita. Pansinin ang paglalarawang ito na totoong-totoo sa milyon-milyong anak ng mga OFW:

“Inay, gumising ako sa malamig na banig,
Dumilat, sumilip, ngunit walang natatap ni katiting mong tinig.
Tumungo sa kusina pero ni anino mo’y hindi ko nakita.
Inay, nasaan ka ba? Tayo’y kumain na.”

*    *    *

Hindi ko alam kung anak ng isang OFW si David. Gayunman, naikuwento niya ang inosenteng pait ng karanasan ng isang batang ni hindi matagpuan ni anino ng kanyang inang nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa.

Higit pa rito, naibulalas sa tula ni David ang lalong mapait na kalagayan ng isang anak ng OFW na nakulong sa ibang bansa. Mababasa ito sa ikatlong saknong:

“Inay, mula sa bintana tinatanaw ko ang ‘yong pagdating.
Upang maibulalas sa ‘yo lahat ng aking kinikimkim.
Tinutukso, ako raw ay anak ng isang salarin.
Masakit. Mahirap. Hindi ko matanggap kanilang mga pasaring.”

*    *    *

Inilarawan naman sa tulang Ulat Ulap ni Luchie Maranan ang lungkot na lumambong sa papawirin—nagbabadya ng kamatayan ng isang inosente.

“Kahit di man umulan ngayon, / Kulimlim ang lumatag / Na mga balita,” paglalarawan niya. At, “Di man umulan ngayong araw, / Kay bigat ng ulap, / Na nais bumagsak / Sa mundong inagawan ng mga pangarap.”

*    *    *

Muli, anak ni Mary Jane ang ipinalagay na nagsasalita sa tulang Ermat ni Erwin Escalante. Tumatak sa isip ng bata ang insidenteng tinutukso siyang mangmang at forever nang magiging mas mahirap pa sa daga.

Tulad ng Ina ni Barros, ipinakita ng tula ni Escalante na ang ating mga ina ang siya nating kanlungan. Umiyak ang bata at tumakbo sa kanyang inang nagpatahan sa kanya; niyakap siya nang mahigpit at pinunasan ang kanyang mga luha at uhog. Ibinili pa siya ng lobo.

Pero ang tuwa at pag-asang simbolikong nailipat sa natanggap na lobo ay nawalang parang bula. Sabi sa tula:

“nabura rin at nadamay
ang kinabit mong lobo
sa aking hintuturo,
nang umalis ka
at pumunta sa malayo.”

Ang tali ng lobong nagsilbing paalala na nasa tabi lang ng bata ang ina ay nakalas. “Hinubad ito ng ka’sungit na hangin. / Nabura ito sa himpapawid.”

*    *    *

Ang inaasahang kapanatagan ng singsing na nabuo sa tali ng lobo ay naging singsing na pangkasal naman sa tulang Kasal ni Valentine Dula. Paghahambing niya:

“Tulad ng ibang babae
sa ‘sang wedding proposal,
nagulat si Mary Jane
nang sa airport ‘to gawin
nang sa airport isinuot
sa kanyang daliri
singsing na heroin
halaga’y $500,000
may bigat na 2.6 kilos.”

*    *    *

Nahirapan akong magsulat ng tula tungkol kay Mary Jane. Noong nakaraang Lunes, magbabasa ako dapat ng tula sa vigil sa tapat ng St. Peter Parish sa Commonwealth.

Ang isusulat ko sanang tula ay cataloguing ng mga datos tungkol sa mekanismo ng firing squad—pwedeng tumayo, lumuhod, o umupo ang babariling bilanggo; iisa lang sa kabataang babaril (naglalaro sa 20 ang mga edad nila para raw hindi dumaplis ang bala) ang may bala; itututok sa puso ang mga baril; kapag buhay pa ang binaril, lalapitan ito at saka babarilin sa ulo.

Ayaw tanggapin ng utak ko ang brutal na mekanismong ito ng death penalty sa Indonesia.

*    *    *

May katulad ko ring nahirapang magsulat ng tula para kay Mary Jane. Sa kanyang tulang Kagabi Habang Sinusulat Ko Ang Tulang Ito, inamin ni Bayani Banzuela ang kanyang kahinaan. Aniya:

“Pero di ko maumpisahan di mabuo sa isip ko ang mga tulang
Aangkop sa ganitong pagkakataon.

Ang resulta’y isang mababaw na tula.
Uulit akong muli huhugot ng mga linya.
Magbubuo ng mga berso.
Tila huling sandali ang bawat pitik ng oras.”

Nakakagulat ang naabot na pagpihit ng tula ni Banzuela. Naisalarawan niya ang ligalig ng isang malapit nang bitayin.

*    *    *

Ang ligalig na ito ay hindi nagdadala ng takot. Kundi ng pagpitlag kahit hanggang sa huling sandali.

Ang larawan ng isang ina – si Mary Jane – sa mga tula ay naitawid na rin sa kanyang inang si Nanay Celia.

Hindi na nakuntento ang mga bayarang media sa panloloko sa mga tao tulad ng headline na “Aquino Saves The Day” ng Manila Bulletin (sa katotohanan ay sumuko na ang gobyerno sa paglaban para kay Mary Jane gabi pa lang bago ang iskedyul ng execution). Inilabas pa ng Philippine Daily Inquirer ang “Netizens: #Firing squad for Celia Veloso” bilang bahagi ng pagyurak sa pagkatao ni Nanay Celia.

*    *    *

Inulat ni Rommel Rodriguez sa kanyang tulang Kay Nanay Celia ang pakiramdam ng masang api na nagmartsa sa Mendiola:

“Hindi na kami magtataka sakaling
sa iyo ipukol ang sisi at bala
na marapat sanang dumuro
sa mga pabayang opisyal

ng bayan nating sawi.

Hindi pa man gumagaling tuluyan
ang sugat na likha ng hirap at dusa.
Sa iyo naman ngayon nakatutok
ang mga pang-aalisputa.”

Kalakip nito ang panata. “Nandito kami nakikiisa, / kahit hindi mo pa kami kilala. // Sapagkat ang tulad mong / may layon na isiwalat ang katotohanan / ang siya naming pinaghahawakan.”

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#FiringSquadforCeliaVeloso: New low for PH journalism http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/firingsquadforceliaveloso-new-low-for-ph-journalism-and-the-ingrate-that-is-aquino/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/firingsquadforceliaveloso-new-low-for-ph-journalism-and-the-ingrate-that-is-aquino/#comments Sat, 02 May 2015 18:39:12 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34783 komentaryoI almost do not want to type the words #FiringSquadforCeliaVeloso. It brings for me an avalanche of shame and anger—shame for my countrymen, who have seemingly lost all sense of decency, and anger at, well, almost everything that brought Mary Jane Veloso to the brink of death and moved sympathizers around the world to act up until the last-minute reprieve, early morning of April 29.

Three days after, Philippine Daily Inquirer comes out with a report that “the tide has shifted”–from overwhelming support for Mary Jane and her family, to that of disdain and outright violent calls for their execution. All  simply because the Velosos dared to criticize President Aquino—a right of every citizen, more so of those who have been highly aggrieved.

It is “public opinion” that is difficult to swallow: #BitayinNaYan sounds something like only a soulless person would say, and I refuse to believe that that many Filipinos have traded their souls for access to the internet and the opportunity to trend on Twitter. So I took a peek at the timelines of some of these “netizens” to try to get to know how these people think, as their apparent barbarism confused me.

The first “netizen” that PDI quoted was a certain Stewart Sotto, who supposedly used the hashtags #ItuloyAngBitay and #IsamaSiNanay.  This is the whole of his Facebook post:

"Stewart Sotto"

So he’s an obvious anti-communist—that was conveniently omitted in the Inquirer report. I then took to Twitter to randomly search for netizens advocating #FiringSquadforCeliaVeloso and stumbled upon @JMiguelO, who has for his profile a photo of a guy’s naked chest and no further information. With a total of 10.7K tweets, he sure does have a lot of time on his hands, spewing vitriol like this:

JMiguel

Interestingly, he also often takes to attacking what the media calls “militant groups,” with no other basis than the anti-communist line.

JMiguel2

Also using the hashtag #ItuloyAngBitay is @lehmargaretjoy1. She created her account on April 16, and of the 31 tweets that she has sent, almost half bashes the Veloso family. Her cover photo is that of a Japanese cartoon, and no other information is available.

Dream Pearl

Aside from anti-communist posts, another thing these “netizens” have in common–if you scroll down their timelines far enough–is an enormous amount of anti-Binay posts. Most likely, these are the same “yellow trolls” most active in vilifying the vice-president online (thus making sure he poses no threat, politically, to the president).

This is not to say that everyone who bashed Celia Veloso was a troll—I did see real persons posting, expressing close to the same sentiment, using the hashtag #Ingrata. But it does seem highly plausible that the most vicious attacks on the Veloso family was a move instigated by trolls, also known as “government shills” in social media.

According to a research paper entitled Practical Steps for Dealing with Government Shills in Social Media by Hadrian Mâr Élijah Bar Israël of the Libertarian Center for Peace and Justice, “The United States and other governments are now using advanced propaganda campaigns, aided by years of psychological studies to train shills to troll the Internet and actively change our national (and international) narrative….these are ‘seemingly random antagonizers who always end up diverting the conversation in an online chat room or article comment section away from the issue at hand, and towards a much different agenda.’”

Israël lists several ways to identify government shills. First, “Their profiles rarely have photos of themselves on their profiles or much personal information.” Second, “They use foul, offensive and often racist language without needing to. In part to overcompensate for their lack of knowledge or interest in the specific subject, and in part to stigmatise those weaker persons who are scared to be called names online.” (In the case of Celia Veloso, the victim is so marginalized she doesn’t even have her own social media account to defend herself.)

That the online demonization of Celia Veloso is a desperate and calculated move by government shills mobilized by the Aquino government’s communications team (the former head of which you have suddenly appearing out of the blue and being quoted by PDI), seems to me the only logical explanation to the seemingly abrupt shift in public sentiment–unless we are ready to accept that we are, indeed, a nation of heartless schizophrenics.

But the question begs to be asked–will such an online smear campaign succeed without the participation of big media outfits? I think not. Fact is, things that go “viral” on social media are only legitimized once picked up by the “reputable” mainstream media.

And this is where Philippine journalism–at least the one that splashed the hashtag #FiringSquadForCeliaVeloso all over its front page–utterly failed us. If there is one thing taught in journalism school that I agree with wholeheartedly, it is that the media has an obligation to lead and responsibly shape public opinion. Instead, for breakfast, it made us digest as legitimate news and views the kind of irresponsible and insensitive trash talk usually only found in troll havens, or the comments section of online news articles.

One could have chalked it up to a merely sensationalist bent– after all, this is the same newspaper that “killed” Mary Jane in their April 29 headline, a major blunder that will go down infamously in journalism history. But then came another headline, Militants use Velosos in labor protest rallies. The story itself is faultless, a fair account of the Labor Day protests and the Veloso family’s participation. The story itself served to amplify the lack of basis and maliciousness of how the headline was written. This is, I think, a new low for the newspaper, the obvious making not so much of its reporters, but those in its highest echelons.

With disregard for the most obvious facts of the Veloso case (a conviction based on government neglect), and in violation of even the most formalist standards of journalism (which says you do not put in the headline what is not in your story), the Philippine Daily Inquirer allowed itself to drown in the very muck of “public opinion.” At worst, it allowed itself to be “used” (employing their own term) by government spinners. At best, it was remiss in its basic duty to enlighten the public, instead pandering to the vulgar and the uninformed.

The thing that saddens me most about what has transpired online since I first joyfully typed the hashtag #MaryJaneLives, is the disunity that it has sown among the same people who just a few days ago exhibited an inspiring show of unity. For a few, brief elatory moments, we Filipinos were on top of the world. We saved from imminent death our kababayan Mary Jane, who symbolizes the deepest exploitation of our most commonly-held dreams. We made 200,000 individuals from more than a hundred countries rally to our cause. We caught the attention of celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Axl Rose. Indonesians interceded and cried in front of their own president, for us. Through everyone’s effort—yes, including President Aquino’s, when it was obvious that he needed to step it up—we made a foreign government listen and act.

What was the first thing Aquino did the next day? Instead of taking the chance to unite the nation over a rare collective victory, instead of thanking everyone around the world who helped save Mary Jane (and his sagging popularity, following the Mamasapano tragedy), he was ungrateful. Instead of begging the Veloso family for forgiveness over their years of neglect that led to such a close call, the government unleashed an army of trolls, and otherwise did everything in its power to make it seem that the people were willing to shoot in the head victims who have just been through the wringer, in defense of a president who acted only at the very last minute. Imagine that.

To be fair, not all media outfits played Aquino’s blatantly cruel game. In fact, I think only PDI did, for reasons I will not pretend to know. It gives me a sense of relief that other big media outfits seem to be pressing on with reports on the developments of the case. Lest anyone forget, Mary Jane is still on death row—so are 87 other Overseas Filipino Workers. The duty of every journalist is to uncover and report all facts truthfully, to dispel the lack of information that allowed an innocent woman to languish in jail for five years, as well as the disinformation that has further brought her family unnecessary pain, and which may yet lead Mary Jane to the firing squad.

The real people who have called Celia Veloso “ingrate” say that they are apparently miffed and baffled over her statement that Aquino owes their family (“maniningil kami”). To journalists, this makes some sense. Even the most cursory study of Mary Jane’s case–the details of which were brought to light only by their “handlers,” Migrante and National Union of People’s Lawyers, mind you–reveals the extent of neglect that the Veloso family has suffered. And yet this information seemingly has not reached the larger public that the mainstream media is supposed to serve.

Is that the fault of migrant groups, the lawyers, or the Veloso family? Or is that the fault of the government–which covered up for its own negligence, which ordered the Velosos not to speak about the case, and which even maligned the family and Mary Jane herself? And what of the media–how has it treated the information it has received from both sides? Did it verify? Did it discredit the information it certainly knew not to be true? Did it surface the most relevant facts? Did it help enlighten, or did it contribute to the obfuscation of the truth, the sensationalism of lies, leading to where we are now?

The only good news is there is no new low after #FiringSquadForCeliaVeloso. There couldn’t and shouldn’t be. All those who claim to be sincere in helping Mary Jane must now work to bring her back home. For the media, this means at least bringing decency back to the headlines.

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‘Let us not let them down again’ | Monique Wilson on Nanay Celia Veloso http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/let-us-not-let-them-down-again-monique-wilson-on-nanay-celia-veloso/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/let-us-not-let-them-down-again-monique-wilson-on-nanay-celia-veloso/#comments Sat, 02 May 2015 08:56:15 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34750 Monique with Nanay Celia in Cilacap, Indonesia. Photo courtesy of the author.

Monique with Nanay Celia in Cilacap, Indonesia. Photo courtesy of the author.

(Yesterday, May 1, the day the Veloso family arrived back in Manila after a successful worldwide campaign to secure a stay of execution of Mary Jane Veloso, Mary Jane’s mother, Celia and the Veloso family became a subject of a vicious social media “hate” campaign to discredit them and the Filipino migrants’ organization Migrante International. Celia, in a press conference at the Migrante office in Quezon City in the morning, criticized the Aquino administration for its five-year, foot-dragging on Mary Jane’s case. The family, then, graced the huge rally in Mendiola commemorating Labor Day, and once again spoke about the injustices done to Mary Jane and her family by embassy and government officials. Renowned theater artist and activist Monique Wilson was in Indonesia when the Veloso family, some of their supporters and members of their legal team arrived in Jakarta to make last-ditch legal and political efforts to save Mary Jane from the firing squad. Monique accompanied the family and the support team until Mary Jane’s successful stay of execution. Here is an article she wrote about it, in response to the hate campaign against the Velosos. -Ed.)

I was with Nanay Celia, Mary Jane Veloso’s mother, when I spent three days with the family in Cilacap, Indonesia, in the the days leading up to and right after, the scheduled execution that got suspended.

I am in utter shock, disbelief and disgust at the lack of compassion, comprehension of facts, and empathy of some people who are hitting the Veloso family for having the courage to speak the truth, and for holding our government accountable for their criminal neglect and abandonment of Mary Jane — when it is their right to do all these after everything their family has suffered. They have a right to their rage and to their pain, and a right to expose all the obstructions to justice caused by our government that kept Mary Jane languishing in jail for five years and where she continues to sit. Five years that Nanay will never get back with her “bunso“, and five years young Macmac and little Darren will never get back with their Mama.

I urge netizens not just to know the full story first (and the story does not merely begin in the hour leading up to her suspended execution), but to look at the entire CONTEXT of the case, to more importantly, to also IMAGINE if this happened to you and to your loved one. Would your pain not make you rage too? Would you not be shouting even louder than Nanay Celia for what you felt were your privileges?

I met Nanay Celia for the first time last Monday when I arrived to be with my close friends at Migrante. She cried for almost thirty minutes in my arms, this amazing woman whom I did not know but who could have been my own mother, and whose pain I could touch but whose depths of sorrow and suffering I could really only imagine. I have never been inside all the stories she shared with me for the next three days: The extreme poverty, one hardship after the other, the blatant class discrimination the family experienced their whole lives, and leading up to the hands of government officials who mishandled the case. From being patronized, being given the run around, being ignored, being blamed, and where their own Philippine lawyer, Atty Edre Olalia was being kept from them — and much of this I myself witnessed in Cilacap — the way they were treated by government and embassy officials — like the family had no agency over their decision making, how they were talked down on as if they had no value, how they were always being made to feel grateful for the food, for the hotel, for the van — when in fact, this is all owed to them and much more.

Temporary reprieve, temporary respite. Fight not yet over. The Veloso family with Connie Bragas-Regalado of Migrante International, Atty.Edre Olalia of the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers, Ini Iwenk of Indonesian migrant group ATKI and other Indonesian colleagues and Monique Wilson of One Billion Rising and Gabriela. Taken in Yogjakarta, Indonesia. Photo courtesy: <b>Save the Life of Mary Jane Veloso</b> FB page

Temporary reprieve, temporary respite. Fight not yet over. The Veloso family with Connie Bragas-Regalado of Migrante International, Atty.Edre Olalia of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, Ini Iwenk of Indonesian migrant group ATKI and other Indonesian colleagues and Monique Wilson of One Billion Rising and Gabriela. Taken in Yogjakarta, Indonesia. Photo courtesy: Save the Life of Mary Jane Veloso FB page

The way they were treated, condescendingly and with little or no value, truly and honestly because they are poor. (The deplorable patronizing ways of the Department of Foreign Affairs people and embassy officials towards them which I witnessed there is another long story which I will share shortly). I have never seen any other family go through what I witnessed the Veloso family go through in the three days I was with them. The intense roller-coaster ride of every conceivable emotion, over and over again. And the grace and humility and love and gratitude in which they went through all that with moved me to tears the whole time, and deepened my respect for the family who behaved with so much DIGNITY despite their ordeal and their unimaginable pain.

They are real people, and simply with aspirations for their daughter, for their children and grandchildren, to live some life of dignity and respect and value. Everything we, those of us who were born with privilege, take for granted everyday because we know they are our right. Because we have always lived with them and never had to fight or struggle to gain them.

Nanay Celia and the Veloso family deserve our support. They have been through hell and back. Let us not be part of their continued suffering by casting judgments and aspersions on their experience and pain, of which we have no right to speak. Let us not let our petty bourgeois upbringing, from our perches of privilege, lead us to do even more classist, discriminatory attacks, the likes of which they have already been experiencing all their lives.

Let us not be the ones to let them down again.

The article was originally posted in Monique Wilson’s Facebook account.
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Altermidya Pooled Editorial| Organize! Organize! http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/altermidya-pooled-editorial-organize-organize/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/altermidya-pooled-editorial-organize-organize/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 02:17:14 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34748 ALTERMIDYA_LOGO finalAltermidya, the national network of alternative media organizations and practitioners, stands in solidarity with our colleagues in the GMA-7 regional stations who have recently been laid off.

The mass retrenchment of reporters, desk editors, cameramen and other media workers by a giant media company such as GMA-7 once again demonstrates how big business regards the media as no more than just another money-making enterprise. GMA 7 chairman Felipe Gozon himself said that the layoffs are meant to increase ratings and revenues. For the dominant, corporate media, human capital is solely for exploitation for profit.

PW-editoryal-thumbIn the past few years we have witnessed how big businessmen have bought more and more controlling shares in many of the country’s big media outfits or have established their own. This development has increased the number and intensity of attacks on the rights of many journalists and media workers . The right to form and join unions, the right to a fair salary, and the right to security of tenure, among others, have all been wantonly violated in the name of profit.

Not only the lives and livelihood of journalists and media workers are at stake here but also press freedom. What kind of journalism can we expect from media organizations that treat news as a commodity, their workers as disposable currency and their audience as unthinking consumers? So long as the present situation prevails, trivia will continue to prevail over information the public needs so they can understand what is happening towards making the decisions on public issues that a sovereign people is called upon to make.

We encourage our colleagues not only in GMA 7 but also in other media organizations to organize themselves to fight for their survival and for the people’s right to relevant information. No appeal to the media moguls’ humanity or reason will work; only organization will. The time has come for the work force of every media organization to establish local unions towards forging a coalition that will eventually develop into an industry-wide national union. The history of the country’s labor movement shows us that collective action is our best weapon against oppression and exploitation. Organize, organize!

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Not The Month Of Flowers Is May http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/not-the-month-of-flowers-is-may/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/not-the-month-of-flowers-is-may/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 06:11:25 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34680 (For Labor Day and the continuing struggle of the working class)

NOT THE MONTH OF FLOWERS IS MAY

not the month of flowers is may
or the procession of flirting queens
it’s not also the month of lavish fiestas
in honor of numerous venerated saints
instead it’s the blood shedding
of the likes of crisanto evangelista
of the marxist labor party
it’s the revolt of the bert olalias and crispin beltrans
of the fiery may 1 movement
yes, it’s the unfurling of red flags
by the exploited working class
it’s the rumbling of thousands of feet
on the heaving street of mendiola
it’s the reverberations in the air
of the liberating message
of the “internationale”
it’s the month the anger of clenched fists
would be dynamites loudly exploding
and the feverish wind would carry on its wings
the collective hatred of so many fathers
the lamentations of so many mothers
and the cries of twisted intestines
could the lord of sorrows hear
the grief of an oppressed race?

yes, may is not the month of flowers
it’s the decades of may of falling tears
sprinkling the yellowish grass
so the stunted growth of fervent hopes
may finally grow and bloom
it’s the month of continuing struggle
against the exploitative class
and cohorts of injustices
it’s the month of strengthening the united front
for the coming dark nights of vigil
it’s the tight linking of arms
of the oppressed-downtrodden class
till they trek the mountain trails
and whisper to the hissing bullets
the laments of seething brains
and transform into piercing arrows
the class dignity of a race
and aim and shoot them deep
to the hearts of greedy demigods
who always embrace the vault of wealth
and see nothing but the glitter of gold
never hearing the pulsating bleeding hearts
of the long-oppressed wretched class.

yes, not the month of flowers is may
it’s our climbing up
the bloody mountain trails
and “we have nothing to lose but our chains!”


(Para sa Araw ng Paggawa at patuloy na pakikibaka ng uring manggagawa)

MAYO’Y DI BUWAN NG MGA BULAKLAK

di buwan ng mga bulaklak ang mayo
o prusisyon ng malanding reyna elena
di rin ito panahon ng marangyang pista
para sa kung sinu-sinong santo’t santa
buwan ito ng pagtitigis ng dugo
ng mga crisanto evangelista
ng partido obrerong marxista
paghihimagsik ito ng mga bert olalia’t crispin beltran
ng maalab na kilusang mayo uno
oo, pagbaha ito ng pulang mga bandila
ng inaaliping uring manggagawa
ito’y pagdagundong ng libu-libong mga paa
sa umaalong kalsada ng mendiola
ito’y pag-ilanlang sa hangin
ng sumisingasing na “internationale”
ito’y buwang dinamitang sasambulat
himagsik ng nakatikom na mga kamao
ilululan sa nilalagnat na hangin
natipong ngitngit ng mga ama
umalagwang hagulhol ng mga ina
daing ng napilipit na mga bituka
ngunit marinig kaya ng mga panginoon ng dusa
dalamhati ng lahi ng uring dinusta?

oo, mayo’y di buwan ng mga bulaklak
deka-dekada nang pagdidilig ito ng luha
sa matimyas na hangaring manariwa
binansot-naluoy na mga pag-asa
ito’y buwan ng di matapos na pakikibaka
laban sa uring mapagsamantala
at mga basalyos ng inhustisya
ito’y pagpapatibay ng nagkakaisang hanay
para sa pusikit na gabi ng paglalamay
ito’y pagkakawit-bisig
ng uring busabos at dayukdok
hanggang tahakin ang bundok
at isumbong sa mga punglo
tagulaylay ng utak na kumukulo
dignidad ng uri’y gagawing palaso
itutudla sa balighong puso
ng mga diyus-diyosang walang niyayakap
kundi bundat na baul ng pilak
walang nakikita kundi alindog ng ginto
at ni ayaw dinggin ang tibok ng puso
ng uring dinusta’t nilamon ang laman
nilagok ang dugo’t nginasab ang tiyan.

oo, di nga buwan
ng mga bulaklak ang mayo
ito’y pagsalunga sa madugong kalbaryo
at sa ati’y “wala nang mawawala kundi tanikala!”

(my original version in filipino)

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STATEMENT | The people have prevailed, now heads must roll http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/statement-the-people-have-prevailed-now-heads-must-roll/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/statement-the-people-have-prevailed-now-heads-must-roll/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 19:50:14 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34676 Militant jubilation. KR Guda

Militant jubilation. KR Guda

It is with utmost jubilance that we announce to all Filipinos and supporters here in the Philippines and around the world that the Indonesian government has suspended the implementation of the death sentence on our kababayan Mary Jane Veloso until all proceedings in the Philippines is finished. 

We express our most heartfelt joyous solidarity with the Veloso family – Tatay Cesar and Nanay Celia, Christopher, Maritess, Darling and the rest of Mary Jane’s siblings, Michael, and most especially to Mac-Mac and Darren who have captured our hearts and further fortified our resolve to fight for Mary Jane’s life to the end. We feel your triumph because it is also ours. We rejoice with you. You have become every Filipino’s family, and Mary Jane every Filipino’s daughter, sister and mother.

We said that only the people can save Mary Jane. We fought the good fight, we would like to think the best fight that we could have ever waged, and because of this we have prevailed.

The whole Filipino nation and the world now cry tears of joy but, collectively, with peoples of other nationalities, we rage against the injustice done to Mary Jane. We will continue to fight for justice for Mary Jane, justice for all migrant workers and justice for the Filipino people.

Now, heads must roll.

The Filipino people still unite in the stance that Aquino and his government did too little, too late for Mary Jane. If not for national and international pressure and censure, Aquino would not have been compelled to take urgent action. Right to the end, Aquino had the gall to put on a stoic face and declare, when asked why his last-minute suggestion of turning Mary Jane into a witness against big drug rings came up just now, that “details of the case came into light only in the last few days” and that Mary Jane “did not cooperate at first.” Lies upon lies upon lies to the end, nothing could be farther from the truth. Because of government neglect and passivity, Aquino had placed Mary Jane on the brink of death.

Now, heads must roll. We condemn and hold accountable the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Aquino himself for the sufferings of Mary Jane and her family. As we rejoice we continue to rage.

We now express grave concern for the lives of other Filipinos on death row and in jails abroad. How many more Mary Janes will suffer the same fate? The government has not shown transparency and accountability for failing to save the lives of Filipinos on death row. Mary Jane would have been the eighth Filipino executed abroad within Aquino’s term, the most number of executions under one regime since the Philippine labor export policy was implemented in the 1970s.

More importantly, we blame the Aquino government’s labor export policy for placing Mary Jane and millions of our migrant workers at risk and in grave danger.

Mary Jane was driven to desperation by extreme poverty, landlessness and enormous pressure as the caretaker of her children. She hailed from a poor family of sakadas (farm workers) in Hacienda Luisita. In her letters, she said so herself that she merely dreamed of a better future for her children and her family.

Mary Jane was forced to go abroad because the Aquino government had offered her nothing substantive and sustainable to address her family’s needs. Instead, what it had offered were programs that do nothing to address widespread unemployment and landlessness, the root causes of forced migration.

Mary Jane had been victimized by a trafficker, but Aquino’s labor export policy is the worst form of state-sponsored trafficking of Filipinos. In his five years in office, Aquino has indisputably become the “Trafficker-in-Chief” of migrant workers like Mary Jane.

Today, we celebrate the people’s victory by demanding a change to the very system that preyed on Mary Jane’s desperation and almost took her life. We come together for every Filipino’s life, honor and dignity. We do not want more Mary Janes to suffer because of the Aquino government’s failure and neglect.

Only Aquino’s ouster from office will give Mary Jane the justice she truly deserves.

 

Justice for Mary Jane! Justice for all migrant workers! Justice for the Filipino people! Oust Aquino!

 

Garry Martinez

Chairperson, Migrante International

2:15am, April 29, 2015

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Tayo si Mary Jane http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/tayo-si-mary-jane/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/tayo-si-mary-jane/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 06:56:34 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34642 Literal na binibilang natin ang oras bago bawian ng buhay ng gobyerno ng Indonesia si Mary Jane Veloso sa kasong drug trafficking. Hanggang sa ngayon, hindi pa rin nakikinig si Pang. Joko Widodo ng Indonesia sa panawagan hindi lamang ng kaanak ni Mary Jane at mga mamamayang Pilipino kundi ng mga mamamayan ng Indonesia at international community.

Habang nasa vigil kami kasama ng iba’t iba sektor sa tapat ng Indonesian Embassy sa Makati kagabi, pilit na pinapaalis ang mga tagasuporta ni Mary Jane. Hinahanapan kami ng permit sa araw na walang opisina. At bigla-bigla, dumating ang sandamakmak na pulis na humigit-kumulang 50 na may dalang shield at ihaharap sa mga mamamayang tanging dala ay kandila, panalangin, at panawagan sa mga gobyerno ng Indonesia at Pilipinas na huwag ng ituloy ang hatol kay Mary Jane.

Napakalapit sa akin ng isyu ng mga migrante tulad ni Mary Jane, isang ina, kapatid at anak. Ang tatay ko ay isang seaman, ang nanay ko ay isang dating domestic helper sa Hong Kong, ang mga pinsan ko ay nasa Dubai, may mga tiyo at tiya akong nasa Canada, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, at Singapore at ilang malalapit na kaibigang naghahanapbuhay sa ibang bansa.

Si Mary Jane ay anak ng isang manggagawang-bukid o sakada sa Hacienda Luisita na pagmamay-ari ng angkan ni Pang. Noynoy Aquino. Kalunus-lunos ang kalagayan ng mga sakada ng Luisita na nagtitiis sa barya-baryang pasahod habang nagpapasasa ang mga Conjuangco-Aquino sa yamang nililikha ng mga tulad ng tatay ni Mary Jane.

Dahil na rin sa sobrang kahirapan sa kanayunan, napilitang makipagsapalaran si Mary Jane sa Dubai bilang domestic worker ngunit bumalik makaraan ng ilang buwan dahil pinagtangkaan siyang gahasain. Muling nagbaka sakali si Mary Jane sa Malaysia. Ngunit ‘di niya alam na siya’y lolokohin ng isang kaibigan.

Si Cristina Sergio, kinakasama ng kinakapatid ni Mary Jane, ang nagrekrut at nagpakilala sa isang lalaking Aprikano sa Malaysia kay Mary Jane at inutusang dalhin ang maletang may lamang heroin. Hindi alam ni Mary Jane na may lamang droga ang bagaheng ipinadala sa kanya dahil nakatago ito sa lining ng maleta. Ang sabi sa kanya, magbabakasyon lang daw sa Indonesia tsaka babalik sa Malaysia para muling maghanap ng trabaho. Ngunit paglapag ng Indonesia, nahuli, nilitis, at nahatulan ng kamatayan si Mary Jane noong 2010, taon kung kailan nailuklok sa puwesto si Aquino. Ito’y isang trahedya hindi lamang sa pamilya ni Mary Jane ang kanyang sinapit, kundi maging sa mga mamamayang Pilipino.

Iniisip ko habang nasa vigil ako na kahit kaninong migrante ay maaaring mangyari ang nangyari kay Mary Jane. Naluluha na ko habang nagbibigay ng mensahe ng pagsuporta sa pamilya ni Mary Jane.

Hindi natin maaaring sabihing, “Ang tanga naman niya. Bakit ‘di muna niya tiningnan ang laman ng maleta? Bakit ‘di muna niya sinigurado na ligal ang pagpasok niya sa Malaysia at Indonesia?” Mga kababayan at kaibigan, hindi kasalanan ni Mary Jane at ng iba pang migrante na wala silang mahanap na disenteng trabaho at nakabubuhay na sahod sa loob ng bansa. Hindi kasalanan ni Mary Jane na maging mahirap. Hindi kasalanan ni Mary Jane na hindi siya nakapagtapos ng pag-aaral.

Ang babata pa ng dalawang anak na lalaki ni Mary Jane. Hindi ko maisip kung anong uri ng kalungkutan ang nararamdaman nila. Mahirap na ngang umalis ang iyong magulang para magtrabaho sa ibang bansa, paano pa kaya na malaman mo na papatayin ang iyong ina dahil sa kasalanang ‘di naman niya ginawa?

Sa patuloy na pagtutulak ng rehimeng Aquino sa programang K-12 at labor-export policy, lalo lamang palalalain ng gobyerno ang kalagayan ng mga manggagawa at migranteng Pilipino. Ang tugon ni Aquino sa kawalang ng hanapbuhay sa Pilipinas? Mag-abroad at magpakaalipin sa mga dayuhan! Ang galing, ano? Lalong dadami ang mga mangingibang bayan sa murang edad pagkatapos ng senior high school dahil walang trabaho kayang likhain ang pamahalaan sa loob ng bansa. Hindi na natuto sa kaso ni Flor Contemplacion na nahatulan rin kamatayan sa Singapore noong 1995. At 20 taon ang nakalipas, mayroong Mary Jane Veloso na isang biktima ng human trafficking at krisis ng lipunang Pilipino.

Kumilos tayo habang may oras pang nalalabi sa buhay ng ating kababayan. Huwag nating hayaan na isa na naming inosenteng buhay ang kitilin dahil lamang sa kapabayaan ng isang pamahalaang wala ng ginawa kundi magpapogi sa mga amo nitong dayuhan habang unti-unting pinapatay ang kanyang mga mamamayan. Sama-sama nating ipanawagan kay Pang. Joko Widodo na huwag ng ituloy ang pagpatay kay Mary Jane, dinggin muli ang kanyang kaso at sa maksimum, bigyan ng clemency at pardon at pauwiin sa kanyang pamilya.

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No More Will I Pay You A Visit http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/no-more-will-i-pay-you-a-visit/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/no-more-will-i-pay-you-a-visit/#comments Sun, 19 Apr 2015 14:30:01 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34560 (In memory of a departed comrade)

 

no more will i pay you a visit
on your last moments of heroic struggle
against the world of grief
i know now or tomorrow
or on a day in this rainy month of july
you’ll suddenly leave
the defiant bloody struggle
you’ve embraced against
the exploitative ruling class
no more will i pay you a visit
though i still wish to see
your stares full of sacred aspirations
those two emerald eyes
glittering with flaming
and undying love of country
those lips always expressing
the rebellious sentiments of an oppressed race.

no more will i pay you a visit
now that your breath is being sucked up
by the tender wind kissing your haggard face
a face full of determination
to carry-on the struggle
for the freedom and glory
of the masses and beloved land
which you so fervently desired
during so many nights of vigil
for sure, i know,
you’ll not shed a tear on your impending death
but you’ll consider it your great honor
that you’ve poured your sweat and blood
on the yellowish grass
and the land made barren
by the forces of darkness
of abusive power and injustices
i know the tender or whirling wind
will always be humming
the lyrics and melodies of your legendary life
so gladly dedicated to your beloved land.

no more will i pay you a visit
now that the fireflies are gone
now that the rolling clouds
are embracing the breast of darkness
enough for me to be with you
in our intertwining memories
enough for me to be with you
in crimson gumamela flowers
in crawling cadena de amor vines
on hills and mountain slopes of hope
and in crying amarillos
jumbled cogon and wild grass
along the savannah of love
though your body will soon be buried
in a waiting lonely grave
unmarked even by a wooden cross
nameless and no epitaph on gravestone
our eyes would still meet
our blood would still mix
our veins would still be conjoined
in every heart of the dispossessed
in every tear and sob of the enslaved
whether in cities or fields of grief.

our rumbling voices still would sing
the fragrant lyrics of freedom
for our incarcerated and suffering
beloved la tierra pobreza!

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