Archive for October, 2005

GMA’s Model Government Employee

October 26th, 2005 3 comments

Executive Assistant Emerito Magdangal, a Malacanang employee under Press Undersecretary Robert Rivera has shown the nation and the world the proper protocol and procedure now being observed by Malacanang on handling written notices addressed to the President – by ripping it to shreds.

The newly formed Citizen’s Congress for Truth and Accountability (CCTA) had submitted to Malacanang a notice for GMA to appear before a Peoples Court. Everybody knows that such act was only a symbolic gesture. Of course, GMA will not budge at any and all attempts that question her credibility. She wouldn’t even want her Cabinet members to attend any Congressional hearings, much less to appear before a Peoples Court that will put her on trial.

After receiving the two-page notice of appearance and a copy of a complaint against GMA, Magdangal walked away and started tearing the documents in full view of the media and proudly saying “Kalokohan ito [This is nonsense].” He added later on that the documents have “no legal basis and was not important and will merely clutter our files.And because it is nonsense, it is but proper to trash it.”

I had once worked as Executive Assistant in a Government Commission under the Office of the President. We properly received all letters addressed to our principal regardless of its relevance. We logged it and put it in the files for proper documentation. I don’t remember assuming the task of interpreting the legality of any document addressed to our office nor was it our task to determine the clutter in our files and putting them in the trash.

Perhaps for Magdangal, and Malacanang, what he did was a heroic gesture exemplary of a good civil servant. But to many who have seen the video footage of Magdangal smiling and happily tearing the documents can easily discern that it was a display of arrogance, an indecent and improper demeanour of a civil servant and the height of utter fanaticism.

The intent of the CCTA in serving their notice might only be a symbolic gesture, but Magdangal has put real meaning to that symbolic gesture by receiving it and then ripping it apart.

In the battle of propaganda whose gain would it be?

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Sa daang Mendiola, tagumpay ang awit

October 14th, 2005 Comments off


Mabuhay ay langit sa sariling bayan
Kung ang sambayanan ay may kalayaan
Umaga ay tula ng kaligayahan
At ang dapithapo’y awit kung pakinggan.

Inang-bayan, bakit may piring ang mata
May busal ang bibig, may takip ang taynga?
May gapos ang kamay ng lumang kadena
Hanap ang paglaya sa daang Mendiola.

Taas ang kamao, tanda ng paglaban
Daan-libong anak pagtutol ang sigaw
Putok ng aramalayt, sagot ng kaaway
Ang akala yata’y uurong ang bayan.

Nagliliwayway na’t mapula ang langit
Ang bayang inapi ngayo’y nakatindig
Pakikibaka ay lalong sumisigasig
Sa daang Mendiola, tagumpay ang awit.

Nilikha ang awit na ito sa kamaynilaan noong 1970. Ang tugtugin ay hango sa isang popular na kundiman.

Kasagsagan noon ng mga sagupaan ng Pulis at mga demonstrador sa daang Mendiola. Ang mga sagupaang ito’y tinaguriang Battle of Mendiola, ang hudyat sa pagsiklab ng Sigwa ng Unang Kuwarto (First Quarter Storm) noong Dekada 70.Noong 1987 naganap ang Mendiola Massacre kung saan pinaslang ang 17 nagpoprotestang magbubukid. At noong 2001 sa daang Mendiola lumusob ang masa at niyanig ang Malakanyang.

Naging simbolo ang daang ito sa pakikibaka ng mamamayan para sa kalayaan. Dugo, pawis, luha at buhay ang idinilig sa daang ito para lamang marinig ng Estado ang hinaing ng taumbayan. Sa tulay ng Mendiola mismo itinirik ang istatwa ng yumaong Don Chino Roces, isang dakilang Pilipino na nakibaka laban sa Diktadurang Marcos, bilang paalala na ang lugar na ito ay sagisag ng malayang pagpapahayag ng mamamayan.

Ngayon pinagbabawal na ni GMA ang magprotesta sa Mendiola. Ni umapak sa paanan ng Mendiola Bridge ay bawal na sa sinumang nais magpahayag sa mapayapang paraan. Ngayon tuluyan ng naging simbolo ang Mendiola sa pagkakahiwalay ng kapangyarihan ng Estado Poder at ng taumbayan.

Ang kantang Mendiola ay muling nananariwa sa aking alaala. Ang huni nito’y muling tumutugtog sa aking isipan sa bawat hampas ng truncheon ng mga Pulis ni GMA laban sa taumbayan. Nais kong kantahin ito muli hanggang sa maangkin ng taumbayan ang makasaysayang puwesto nito sa daang Mendiola.

Ang daang Mendiola hindi ang EDSA ang tunay na simbolo ng pakikibaka ng sambayanan laban sa mapanupil na Estado. Tapos na ang panahon ng EDSA, ibalik sa Mendiola ang pakikibaka, angkinin muli ang Mendiola.

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Hasta Siempre Comandante!

October 13th, 2005 4 comments

“I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man”. These were probably the last words uttered by Comandante Ernesto “Che” Guevara before he was shot in Bolivia 38 years ago this month.

Thirty-eight years later after his death, Che Guevara became one of the most popular figures and icons of the century. His image, noble and defiant, from the famous picture taken by Alberto Korda, with tilted beret and flowing locks, now adorns almost everything from key chains, caps, mobile phone wallpapers to the omnipresent T-shirts. Che’s image has now rivalled the Mona Lisa as perhaps the most replicated image ever. The Churches Advertising Network had even utilized his image in an advert to protray a modern Christ.

Ironically, Che Guevara, who struggled against capitalism, is now a quintessential capitalist brand. Capitalism banks on his popularity as a revolutionary leader to entice and profit from the rebellious spirit of the youth. His image is now being used as a fashion statement a la revolutionary chic. Many of those who wears his image simply puts on a Che because it’s a fad. Even most young Argentines have come up with an expression that rhymes perfectly in Spanish: “Tengo una remera del Che y no se por que,” or “I have a Che T-shirt and I don’t know why.”

Thirty-eight years after his death people from diverse political persuasions continue to idolize or vilify him all together. For the left Che remains a symbol of protest and revolution. An undying symbol of self-sacrifice and the spirit of revolutionary internationalism. His image is the Left’s ubiquitous banner in all protest actions and demonstrations against war and imperialism all over the world. While on the other hand, iconoclasts wanted to demystify him as a bloodthirsty “killing machine” responsible for the murder of hundreds of people during Cuba’s post-revolution era.

Whatever perception one might have towards Che, whether hero or villain, one cannot deny the fact that Che lived and died for his ideals. His feat immortalizes his own words “Many will call me an adventurer – and that I am, only one of a different sort: one of those who risks his skin to prove his platitudes.” History has yet to pass judgement on Che and to the correctness of his ideals. In the meantime, as Jorge Castañeda puts it ‘What he shows us is that myths are bigger than mere politics or ideology, are bigger even than the cruel drift of history.’

Some people would contend that had he lived, the myth of Che would have long since died. But after thirty-eight years, Che is Alive as they never wanted him to be!

Hasta La Victoria Siempre!

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October 2nd, 2005 2 comments

Assalamu Allaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed upon those before you in order that you may attain taqwaa (to cleanse or purify the heart and the soul).” Surah al-Baqarah 2:183

Tomorrow begins the Holy Month of Ramadan for the Islamic year Hijrah 1426. The Islamic world will observe this religious obligation by cleansing and purifying the heart and soul through fasting from sunrise to sunset and the exercise of strict control over ones tongue, eyes, ears, thoughts and deeds. Fasting in the Holy Month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam prescribed and obligatory to all Muslims.

To all my Brothers and Sisters in Islam, Ramadan Mubarak!!

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Zen and the art of cab riding

October 1st, 2005 3 comments

After buying some groceries at SM Sucat, I took a cab going home. The cab driver was listening to a radio broadcast of someone delivering a real fiery speech. At first I thought it was another blabbering politician so I asked him who was speaking and what was he talking about. Before answering me the driver turned the volume higher, perhaps thinking that I was interested to hear it. With a silly grin on his face, he said, “Pastor namin yan, nagpi-prayer-sermon”. The volume was turned up obviously as a subtle invitation for me to listen.

I sighed silently while asking him to turn the radio volume down. “Pakihina-an mo lang konti ang volume baka di na natin marinig ang bumubusina sa atin, mamaya baka kunin pa tayo ni Lord”, I said while beaming a silly grin too and added with an obvious jest, “o di kaya palitan mo na lang ng station, kahit dun sa “dapat pa bang i-memorize yan” na FM”. The bastard just smirked and murmured “marami na talagang demonyo sa panahon ngayon”, while turning the volume down but still staying tuned. I remained silent and just kept my piece. Arguing with the one holding the steering wheel can be dangerous to your health.

I attempted to bring up a conversation just to offset the mumbo jumbo blaring from the radio. I asked the driver, “Brod. anong tingin mo sa sitwasyon ng Pilipinas ngayon? tumitindi na talaga kahirapan ano?”. My questioning fell into a real bad timing. At that very instance the Pastor in the radio was just blurting “walang dukha sa atin, walang mahihirap, dahil hinanda na nang Diyos ang katiwasayan at kasaganaan para sa ating lahat na nananampalataya sa kanya. hindi na natin kelangan pang magtrabaho…kailangang ilaan natin ang ating buong panahon bilang lingkod ng Panginoon…Amen?…Amen!”. The driver just found the correct timing to badger me by re-echoing his Pastor’s holier-than-thou discourse about God and poverty.

I felt relieved when we reached the gates of our house. The cab meter read 85.00 pesos. My usual cab fare from SM Sucat to our house costs me only around 70.00 pesos. I asked him if he has a change for a 100 peso bill and he readily replied “naku wala akong barya brod. yan na lang 100 ibigay mo para naman may extra. sobra nang hirap ng buhay ngayon. ma-traffic din kanina”. I handed to him the 100 peso bill and said, “marami na talagang demonyo sa panahon ngayon, no?”.

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