February is National Arts Month in the Philippines. The Third World is often at odds with concepts like “arts” and “literature,” so it begs us to question – for whom do we create art? Who do we write for? Do we write for the bliss of catharsis, or should we be working for something bigger than all of us? This month’s reading highlights includes several powerful works from the era of the COVID-19 pandemic – essays, poetry, criticism, and fiction. As we navigate the deepening contradictions of postmodernity in Philippine society, we continue to see the sharpening of the stakes in writing, education and cultural work, in general. – EIC
Katangahan, kahipokrituhan at walang kwentang paggamit ng pondo ng bayan. Ito ang totoong repleksyon ng sunod-sunod na red-tagging ng NTF-ELCAC sa ilan sa mga eskwelahan sa bansa.
Kahapon, January 26 ay naglabas ng pahayag ang National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTFELCAC) kung saan, pinaratangan nito ang 38 kolehiyo at pamantasan bilang mga pugad ng recruitment ng Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army (NPA) at National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF). Tatlo sa mga pamantasang ito ay nasa Bicol: Ito ay ang Bicol University, Ateneo De Naga University at Saint Thomas Aquinas University na ngayon ay kilala bilang University of Santo Tomas-Legaspi na.
Sa paglista pa lamang ng mga pangalan, mahahalata na tsinamba at hindi pinag-aralan ang listahang ito. Sa kabilang banda, kahipokrituhan ang hakbanging ito ng NTF-ELCAC na sabihing iniingatan lamang nila ang mga paaralan at mga estudyante laban sa mga terorista; samantalang sila ay patuloy na binobomba, pinapasara, hinaharas at ginagawang kampo ng mga militar ang mga paaralang lumad sa buong bansa.
Ayon sa datos ng Save Our Schools (SOS) Network, simula 2016 ay nasa 178 eskwelahan na ang ipinasara ng estado dahilan sa militarisasyon. Sa panunungkulan ni Duterte ay nakapagtala rin sila ng 584 na kaso ng pang-aatake sa mga paaralang lumad; kabilang ang extrajudicial killings, sexual harassment, at iba pa. Katangahan din ang hakbangin ng NTF-ELCAC na ang nais ay humubog ng mga robot na estudyanteng magiging sunod-sunuran sa kanila kumpara sa mga mapanuri at progresibong mag-isip. Ang Academic Freedom ay isang pangunahing pangangailangan ng isang eskwelahan upang makahubog ng mga estudyante at mamamayang may pakialam at kalinga sa bayan. Ito ang nagbibigay kalayaan sa mga estudyante at guro na pag-usapan, pag-aralan at suriing maigi ang LAHAT NG BAGAY NANG MALAYA upang makakuha ng mga solusyon sa mga suliraning dulot o maaaring idulot nito. Ito rin ang nagbubunga ng mga bagong kaaalaman, pagbabago, imbensyon, batas, pananaliksik, atbp. HINDI maaring ikahon ng estado o makialam ang estado sa mga paaralan pagdating sa mga bagay na nais tuklasin, pag-aralan, at alamin ng mga estudyante dahil ito ay kanilang karapatan at inilalahad din ng ating konstitusyon at demokrasya.
Matatandaang pinawalang bisa ng Department of National Defense ang mahigit tatlumpong taon nang kasunduan nila sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas na nagbabawal sa mga militar at kapulisan na pumasok sa UP NANG WALANG PAHINTULOT sa UP Admin. Ang UP-DND accord ay produkto ng malagim at matapang na kasaysayan ng mga estudyante ng UP kung saan, minsan sa ating kasaysayan ay maging ang mga eskwelahan ay nagiging lugar pandigmaan. Ito ang nais maiwasang maulit ng mga pamantasan. Ang eskwelahan ay lugar ng kapayapaan at kalayaan, subalit paano magiging mapayapa at malaya ang mga estudyante kung papaligiran na sila ng mga baril, militar, at kapulisan?
Ang gawain ding ito ng gubyerno sa gitna ng pandemya kung saan ang mga estudyante ay WALA SA MGA ESKWELAHAN kundi nasa online class ay isang malaking KATANGAHAN at PAG-AAKSAYA ng PONDO NG BAYAN. Wala itong malinaw na batayan kung bakit nagpupumilit ang estado na makisawsaw sa mga paaralan sa panahong wala sa eskwelahan ang mga estudyante, maliban sa ibaling ang atensyon ng taumbayan at lituhin ang masa tungkol sa katiwaliang nagaganap sa gobyerno gaya ng isyu sa bakuna, Philhealth, ayuda, anti-terror law, dolomite, sobrang pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin at mabilis na paglobo ng UTANG ng bansa. Ang gawaing ito ng NTF-ELCAC ay mai-uugnay rin sa pagpapasa ng Anti-terror Law kung saan, hindi klaro, magulo at sobrang delikado ng mga batayan upang ituring ang isang tao bilang terorista. Kaakibat nito ay ang mga labag sa konstitusyon na parusa at proseso gaya ng warrant-less arrest, illegal detention, paniniktik o wire tapping, pag-freeze ng ari-arian at pagkulong nang habambuhay nang walang sapat na ebidensya at proseso.
Mariing kinukondena ng CAP-BICOL ang hakbang na ito ng pamahalaan sa pamamagitan ng AFP at NTF-ELCAC. Ito ay lantarang palabas lamang at pagsasayang ng pondo ng bayan sa kabila ng matinding kahirapang dinaranas ng bansa dahilan sa pandemya. Kung nais tapusin ang digmaan ng pamahalaan at CCP-NPA-NDF ay hindi nila ito madadaan sa pananakot sa mga estudyante o mga pamantasan. Bagkus, ay kailangan nila itong ugatin sa pinakadahilan ng hidwaan– ang usapin sa lupa, industriyalisasyon, kahirapan, gutom, inhustisya, edukasyon at medical para sa lahat at walang tigil na pamamaslang. Kung may sapat na pagkain, lupa, tirahan, edukasyon at medikal na pangangailangan ang LAHAT ng Pilipino, walang sinuman ang tatahakin ang panganib ng pamumundok at paghawak ng armas upang ipaglaban ang kanyang karapatang mabuhay.
Through Proclamation No. 760 in 2014 by then President Benigno Aquino III which declared January of every year as Zero Waste Month, the celebration aims to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.
During this month-long celebration, we will be launching different activities and events with “Zero Waste” as an advocacy campaign to guide people, businesses, and institutions in changing their lifestyles and practices towards sustainable systems in an ethical, economical, and efficient way, and to ensure that wastes become valuable for other uses.
The Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) is a global movement working towards a future free from plastic pollution. The BFFP PH project is a collaboration of #breakfreefromplastic members EcoWaste Coalition, GAIA Asia Pacific, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Health Care Without Harm Southeast Asia, and Mother Earth Foundation in partnership with Oceana International Philippines.
Asia Kakehashi Project is now open for application until February 10, 2021. High school students (born after April 2, 2003, and before April 1, 2006) who have an interest in experience studying in Japan for an academic year are highly encouraged to apply here for a full scholarship funded by the Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology.
The Asia Kakehashi Project is an initiative created by former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in order to strengthen relations between Japan and its neighboring Asian countries. The said program provides full scholarships to 1,000 Asian high school students, giving them the opportunity to study in Japan’s public and private schools over the next five years. Now in its 4th cycle, the said program will improve the scholars’ global competence skills and share their countries’ culture with more than 40,000 Japanese students.
Another goal of this program is to expose Asian high school students to Japanese culture, local communities, and industries. This means that the students will stay in Japanese host families or in a school dormitory.
Vox Populi PH, a youth writing group engaged in alternative publishing and digital media, will be premiering the third episode of its podcast, VOX POPcast, today at 9 PM PHT on the group’s Facebook page. VOX POPcast can be streamed on Spotify, Anchor, and other digital channels.
Major figures in the Vox Populi PH editorial board will be present in the broadcast, including Bryan Elijah Trajano, Micah Corin Salonoy, Marius Carlos, Jr., Maria Kristelle Jimenez and Jay-ar Paloma. Guesting for this episode is psychological first-aider Gail Sariah Castro of Project Sulong.
The episode tackles various issues, including police brutality, state impunity, child psychology, and society’s role in shaping and molding its citizens.
The episode is expected to be a no holds barred dissection of violence in Philippine society. The writers of Vox Populi PH let loose their unfiltered analyses of the events that lead to explosions of police brutality. The episode also exposes how digital spectacles figure in the shaping of culture and public opinion.
Don’t miss this vital conversation; join Vox Populi PH on their Facebook page and their central publication on Medium.
The Concerned Artists of the Philippines Bicol Chapter (CAP Bikol) condemns the violence that has resulted in the loss of lives of a mother and son in Tarlac on Sunday.
During an altercation, Sonya Gregorio and her son, Frank Anthony Gregorio were shot by an off-duty police officer, Junel Nuesca. Although he has already surrendered and turned himself in, this is not just an isolated case. We are concerned at how state forces have disregarded their constitutional duty to serve and protect the people.
The shooting is the latest in a series of killings involving the Philippine National Police and we are deeply alarmed by the current situation that allows an atmosphere of fear at the grassroots level. This is pure senseless violence and the loss of lives of our fellow Filipinos is even guaranteed with impunity by the Duterte administration.
Moreover, the on-going crackdown and intensified attacks on legal progressive forces have also reached a very disturbing level. These atrocities and abuses against activists including opposition leaders and civilians must end now!
As an organization of writers, artists, and cultural workers committed to the constitutionally-protected principles of freedom, justice, and democracy, we urge the government to end impunity and stop playing witha the Filipino people’s lives.
This climate of violence and killings has distorted our sense of what is right and wrong!
We therefore stand against the intensification of attacks on our rights!
This pervasive culture of killings, injustice, fear, and impunity should STOP NOW!
Telum Media, a PR and media intelligence company registered in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia recently interviewed Marius Carlos, Jr., the Editor-in-Chief of Revolt Magazine PH.
The interview was carried out via Zoom by George Putong of the Telum Media Philippines Team. In the interview, Marius talked about the importance of continually building new platforms for writing and never giving up on the Philippine writing community despite decades-old issues that prevent writers from advancing with their craft and advocacies. The two also touched upon burning issues in literary production in the Philippines, as well as the changing landscape of PR and media in the country.
The full interview can be viewed below:
Telum Media can also help writers and journalists in publishing callouts for press materials from PRs.
The Kurit-Lagting, a collective artistic collaboration of Bicolano artists from Sorsogon, Albay, Catanduanes, Masbate and Camarines provinces with art advocacies on human rights and the environment held a multimedia production webinar for teachers in Prieto Diaz, Sorsogon.
In partnership with Good Neighbors International Philippines (GNIP) Prieto Diaz CDP, an international, child-focused, humanitarian, and development NGO, the webinar talked about creating lessons and materials for online learning using different mobile and desktop applications such as Canva, Power Director and Screen Recorder & Video Recorder.
“We know the challenges that teachers and students encounter everyday, especially those who are only able to access the online learning environment in real-time. However, we believe this webinar is a good start for teachers to have basic knowledge in multimedia production to make their lessons interesting and engaging,” quipped Gerald Jintalan, one of the speakers in the webinar and a member of Kurit-Lagting.
“The applications that we introduced to the teachers can be accessed using their mobile phones and laptops so there’s this flexibility and user-friendly interface in terms of producing contents with minimum level of computer knowledge. Teachers can also download the templates and work on the materials offline,” said Sarah Sedico and Liana Golimlim, Kurit-Lagting interns and facilitators of the webinar.
The art group said that aside from the technical limitations, the lack of physical presence to create a supportive environment in the Virtual Classroom puts the burden on students, teachers, and parents. While an online method of education can be a highly effective alternative medium of education during this pandemic, it is an inappropriate learning environment for more dependent learners.
“We can only do so much in providing training for our teachers and students but we need active actions and support from the national government and LGUs, especially that multimedia production is highly technical and it is one of the most important sources of learning. It is also important to recognize that some subjects should not be taught online because the electronic medium does not permit the best method of instruction,” stressed Geri Matthew Carretero, Kurit-Lagting’s co-founder.
This is just one of the solutions that online teaching can utilize in producing learning materials. It may not be technologically possible to simulate a physical learning experience, at least we can create visual communication that can help learners. Contents must also be carefully considered and balanced in order to take full advantage of the strengths of this format,” added Ronel Obar, GNIP Education and Child Protection Staff, Prieto Diaz CDP.
The webinar’s recording will be streamed live on Saturday, December 12 at 5:59pm via Kurit-Lagting’s Facebook Page and cross-posted on Sorsogon Initiatives for Culture and Arts Development, and UAPSA Area B District 5 pages.
MANILA, Philippines — In a series of nationwide protest actions held on Wednesday for the National Day of Action on Climate Emergency, environmental groups and people’s organizations belonging to No Burn Pilipinas and Break Free From Plastic PH Project (BFFP) called on the government to drop the legalization of garbage incineration in the guise of waste-to-energy plants and instead pass sustainable and comprehensive waste management policies and safer practices that would reduce waste.
The groups stressed that by allowing waste-to-energy incineration in the country amid the climate emergency declaration, this will continue to pose threats to public health that will further degrade and contaminate the environment violating existing environmental laws such as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and the Clean Air Act.
“We need the government’s sincerity in addressing the climate emergency. There must be a comprehensive plan including policies in mitigating the climate crisis and to disallow the funding of dirty energy projects by corporations that greatly contribute to climate change which endanger the health of citizens due to the release of poisonous chemicals such as dioxins and furans. Among these projects are waste-to-energy incineration facilities that proponents argue will solve the garbage crisis,” said Glenn Ymata of No Burn Pilipinas.
“A Climate Emergency Declaration must consider the environment and communities in all policies, decision making and implementation processes. Senator Win Gatchalian’s Waste-to-Energy Bill must be scrapped immediately and lawmakers should approve the green laws pending in the 18th Congress, such as the National Single-use Plastics Ban and National Land Use Act as well as ordinances that would hold culprits accountable of climate disaster and crisis,” bared Aileen Lucero of EcoWaste Coalition.
“While we welcome the resolution to declare Climate Emergency, we need genuine immediate and long term sustainable plans and decisive actions that are comprehensive in addressing the adverse impacts of climate change and disasters. We need urgent steps to safeguard our country’s lands from further misuse and degradation. There are existing and proven solutions in dealing with waste at the local level that do not require burning or incineration such as the Zero Waste approach,” added Derek Cabe of Nuclear Free Bataan Movement.
The groups also demanded an Executive Order be issued immediately so that national agencies and LGUs will be compelled to take actions to stop waste-to-energy projects in communities and the pending bill on waste-to-energy incineration.
“The question has always been “development for whom?” Projects such as the WTE facilities always tend to lack transparency about the long term effects of such projects to the communities and the people in the area. Take the WTE facility to be erected in Biao, Davao City. They promised the residents that they will be given priority when it comes to job hiring, and that their community will benefit from the electricity it will generate. However, in reality, the electricity that will be generated is only very minimal and technically, the plastics will still be incinerated, harming the community and the environment in the process,” quipped Grecian Asoy, member of Panalipdan Youth Mindanao
“Aside from the hazardous residue streams, WTE incineration blocks the implementation of Zero Waste strategies and imposes long-term financial burdens on local governments, and perpetuates the linear economic model of extraction, production, consumption, and disposal. In Cebu City for example, there is a planned joint venture with New Sky Energy (Philippines). Under the proposed Joint Venture Agreement, 600 metric tons of guaranteed waste feedstock will be required daily from the Cebu City Government. Burning this waste would exacerbate the emission of harmful greenhouse gases that contributes further to global warming. We need an EO to stop this immediately! ,” averred Teody Navea of Sanlakas Cebu.
The groups added that petitions will be submitted to the Senate as well to counter the issuance of any laws, permits and certificates for the operation of WTE facilities so that lawmakers will be obliged to allocate resources in building safer waste management facilities and sustainable practices.