Sunday, May 22, 2016

Of Letters to Mar Roxas

Many people have shared stories of how they have written a letter to Mar and then received touching responses from the man himself. You could tell so much from the text about the person, and there was so much sincerity and honesty in Mar’s responses. Must be tough though having to personally answer so many emails, but I can also imagine Mar telling himself - "I am now jobless and with plenty of time in my hands, I may as well use it to write back to people who put their faith in me; besides, it is therapeutic too."

I think we who supported the #DaangMatuwid and #RoxasRobredo2016 all have a letter to Mar Roxas - maybe in a blog somewhere, in some tiny piece of coffee shop tissue, or somehow tucked at the back of our heads, wishing they will find words and will find their way to Mar's attention.

Not so much that we need Mar to hear them, but that we need to be able express them. It’s all part of our journey of healing - of making sense of what has happened in this May 2016 elections.

What exactly did happen?

We found common cause in Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo. The more our ‘enemies’ appealed to our worst natures, the more it became clear what Mar and Leni stood for for us. It wasn’t just about getting them elected - it was making a stand for our values, our principles, our identity. Is this really who we are - foul-mouthed, spiteful, dishonest and disrespectful? When did this become the thing that made presidents of this country? Great nations have been built on the back of honesty, decency and good faith - never on the basis of fear, ignorance and anger. How is it possible that we could fail this fight?

A letter to Mar is on the one hand, our attempt at consoling Mar, but mostly our way of comforting ourselves - that we did not fight alone and we did not fight in vain. For many others, the letter to Mar that we could not find the time to write has become a chat with a kindred spirit, a friend who understood us, strangers/neighbors/family who voted just as we did, who hoped as much as we hoped - we wanted assurance we did right, that we may have lost but we were not alone, that the elections may be over but the fight does not stop. To hear Mar reply is a sympathetic fellow telling us - we’ll be side by side, wherever this fight may take us.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

#NeverAgain: A Working List of Martial Law Literature

If there's one thing we learned from this 2016 elections, it is that the ills of Martial Law have been lost on an alarming number of Filipinos - both young and old. Proof is the fact that Bongbong Marcos is flirting with a potential Vice Presidency that, as of this writing, Leni Robredo is putting up a good fight, even as the margins are very small and could change anytime. We are confident that #LeniTheRealVP, but we have to start educating ourselves, our fellowman, for the threat of a Marcos comeback to the country's top positions continue to be real as long as the Marcoses are alive and are reproducing (read: Sandro Marcos).

This list is credited to (source) and is by no means complete. Please suggest more titles in the comments. Will update this list with links to content as we find them. 

Killing Time in a Warm Place by Jose Y. Dalisay Jr.
Empire of Memory by Eric Gamalinda
Mass by F. Sionil Jose
Eating Fire and Drinking Water by Arlene J. Chai
The Last Time I Saw Mother by Arlene J. Chai
The Jupiter Effect by Katrina Tuvera
Dekada ’70 by Lualhati Bautista 
Desaparesidos by Lualhati Bautista 
Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn
Dream Jungle by Jessica Hagedorn
Dangadang by Aurelio Solver Agcaoili
Bamboo in the Wind by Azucena Grajo Uranza
State of War by Ninotchka Rosca
Tutubi Tutubi Wag Kang Magpahuli sa Mamang Salbahe ni Jun Cruz Reyes
The Secrets of the Seven Mansions by Mario Miclat 
Fish-Hair Woman by Merlinda Bobis 
Salingkit by Cyan Abad-Jugo

Bertdey ni Guido by Rene  O. Villanueva 
Si Jhun-Jhun, Noong Bago Ideklara ang Batas Militar by Augie Rivera
Isang Harding Papel by Augie Rivera 
The Pangat, the Mountains, and the River by Luz Maranan 

“Prometheus Unbound” by Pete Lacaba
“The Bells Count in Our Blood” by Merlie Alunan
“Paghiwagas sa Bilangoan” by Don Pagusara
“Etiopia Idiay Negros, Ngem Saan a Negros Iti Etiopia” by Peter La. Julian
“Pagdiriwang” by Emmanuel Lacaba
“The People’s Warrior” by Emmanuel Lacaba
“An Open Letter to Filipino Artists” by Emmanuel Lacaba
“Liham sa Kaarawan ni Pinang” by Tomas F. Agulto
“Sister Home for the Weekend” by Patria Rivera
“Sa Ala-ala ni Sister Bernard Tahimik na Tagapaglingkod ng mga Detenidong Pulitikal” by Isagani R. Serrano
“Young Rebels” by Luis Cabalquinto
“For Emmanuel” by Luis Cabalquinto
“Paglilimi ng Isang Empleyado sa Gobyerno” by Loreta M. Medina
“Kuwarenta” by Benjamin Pimentel
[Note: Versus: Philippine Protest Poetry, 1983-1986 edited by Alfrredo Navarro Salanga contains poems about Martial Law]

“Mading and Pepito” by Allen Gaborro
“Back of the March” by Denis Murphy
“Negros” by Eileen R. Tabios 
“Kabilang sa mga Nawawala” by Ricky Lee
"Generations" by Ninotchka Rosca 
“In the Garden” by Jose Y. Dalisay Jr.
“Amnesty” by Jose Y. Dalisay Jr.
"Good Intentions 101: SY '72-'73" by Menchu Aquino Sarmiento 
“The Bridge” by Yvette Tan 

[Note: Kamao: Panitikan ng Protesta 1970-1986, edited by Alfrredo Navarro Salangga, Lilia QUindoza-Santigao, Reuel Molina Aguilar, and Herminio S. Beltran Jr. contains stories and poems about Martial Law]

“Against the Dying of the Light: The Filipino Writer and Martial Law” by Ed Maranan
“Once Upon a Time in Manila by Alfredo P. Hernandez
“A Wedding, A Divorce, A Profession and Two Funerals” by Karl M. Gaspar

Martial Law Babies: A Graphic Novel by Arnold Arre
12:01 by Russell Molina and Kajo Baldisimo
EDSA by Russell Molina

Sigwa by Rene O. Villanueva 
May Isang Sundalo by Rene O. Villanueva 
Kaaway sa Sulod by Rene O. Villanueva 
Ligalig by Reuel Molina Aguila 
Buwan at Baril in Eb Major by Chris Millado

Tandaan, Kalayaan, Alagan Video Series by Arnold Arre and Gang Badoy 
Dekada ’70 by Chito Roño
Eskapo by Chito Roño
Sister Stella L. by Mike de Leon
Batch ’81 by Mike de Leon
Moral by Marilou Diaz-Abaya
Kapit sa Patalim by Lino Brocka
Barber’s Tales by Jun Lana 
Batas Militar by the Foundation for Worldwide People Power

Days of Disquiet, Nights of Rage by Pete Lacaba
Project Sea Hawk: The Barbed Wire Journal by Dolores S. Feria
Martial Law in the Philippines: My Story by Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr.
Subversive Lives: A Family Memoir of the Marcos Years by Susan F. Quimpo, Nathan Gilbert Quimpo, and others
U.G. An Underground Tale: The Journey of Edgar Jopson and the First Quarter Storm Generation by Benjamin Pimentel Jr.

The Conjugal Dictatorship by Primitivo Mijares 
Edifice Complex: Reportage on the Marcoses by Quijano de Manila (Nick Joaquin)
Not on our Watch: Martial Law Really Happened—We Were There edited by Jo-Ann Q. Maglipon
Tibak Rising: Activism in the Days of Martial Law edited by Ferdinand C. Llanes
Inside the Palace: The Rise and Fall of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos by Beth Day Romulo
Breaking Through: The Struggle Within the CPP by Joel M. Rocamora
Down from the Hill: Ateneo de Manila in the First Ten Years of Martial Law by Cristina Jayme T. Montiel and Susan Evangelista
Mondo Marcos: Writings on Martial Law and the Marcos Babies edited by Frank Cimatu and Roland B. Tolentino
More Assassinations and Conspiracies by Manuel F. Martinez
Living and Dying: In Memory of 11 Ateneo de Manila Martial Law Activists by Geraldine C. Villaluz
Dead Aim: How Marcos Ambushed Philippine Democracy by Conrado de Quiros

Panata kay Leni

"Lady Leni, I offer my services. I will shield your back, and keep your counsel, and give my life for yours if need be.

I vow that you shall always have a place by my hearth, and meat and mead at my table. I pledge to ask no service of you that may bring you dishonor. I swear it by the old gods and the new." 

*Hango po ang mga katagang ito sa palabas na Game of Thrones. Kamakailan, ito ang naging palitan sa pagitan ni Sansa Stark at Brienne of Tarth - sa Season 6, Ep. 2 - na ipinalabas kasabay ng kainitin ng eleksyon, at naisip kong ipanata rin kay Leni Robredo, gayon din kay Mar Roxas, dahil sa kanilang naging papel sa eleksyon na ito at sa pagbibigay inspirasyon at serbisyo sa maraming Pilipino.

Salamat, Mar Roxas!

Thank you, Mar Roxas, for representing the best of us in this elections. 

It was only through this process that I have come to truly appreciate all the work that you have done for this country, through many years, under different presidents, in various capacities. Becoming president would have been the perfect tribute, but God has other plans. We saw you with your imperfections, and in the process we discovered your strengths. In this process we discovered OUR strengths, got to know our friends a little more, and came to give credit to our neighbors a little better.

I hope that among the people that work with you now or ever, are some of the same people who will carry on the task of serving the country with fidelity, as we all who supported you, would do too, in the small ways we can. I hope that among the people that have put their faith in you would now find that faith resting in themselves, to help in the task of building ourselves and our nation.

P.S. If I were you, I'd take a long vacation. You have nothing else to prove.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Grace Poe’s Identity Crisis

Grace Poe is a puzzle. One would think, that having once been a U.P. scholar before she moved to the United States, and having been exposed to a foreign land she would have developed a fair and healthy appreciation of what she is capable of, what’s meant for her and what isn’t, or at least know when the proper time and place for big moves like running for president would be.

I have that expectation of her because she appears to carry herself as though she has a good head on her shoulders and she speaks as though she is a reasonable person. This impression I had of her was incongruent with everything she has done from the moment she decided to run for president.

It really bothered me that I had to find a way to rationalize it. Why is she behaving this way?

And then it dawned on me: Grace Poe may be suffering from an identity crisis - and an issue on self worth.

From being a foundling, to being adopted, to being the only unknown among her family of big name parents, to discarding her Filipino citizenship to adopting her husband's citizenship then discarding that citizenship again to come back to Filipino citizenship, then running for President to a country that has questioned her citizenship and has cast doubts on her natural born status — so much of these issues boil down to an issue of identity.

My guess is that unconsciously, she is using her run as some sort of validation, a way to get the identity denied her when she was foundling/adoptee/non-superstar. It is a psychological issue that she needs to resolve on her own. The presidency is not something to fix issues of identity and self worth - one must already be a whole person, fully aware of personal issues and capabilities.

The way she has conducted herself as a presidential candidate seems to support this theory. We all heard her suit her language - her promises - depending on who she was talking to. She has pandered to the INC, to Danding Cojuangco (on the coco levy), and to the Ilocanos (re Marcos burial, and BBM). Largely she has parroted the programs of the Daang Matuwid (no unique ideas) and - speaking of parroting - she has started to eerily speak like Chiz Escudero. "When you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything,” it is said. That is Grace Poe for you.

Grace Poe doesn’t know who she is, what she can do, and what she brings to the table. The only reason to make sense of her running - aside from the prodding of vested interests - is that she is doing this for herself.

Identity is destiny. If elected president, where will Grace Poe take the Philippines if she is still resolving who she is?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Did she or didn't see? Sen. Miriam practically endorses Mar Roxas

I think I know what you did there, Sen. Miriam.

Short of endorsing Mar Roxas for President, you set this question up knowing full well that Mar Roxas would measure up to the 3-way test that you have just laid out on the presidency. Was that glint of a smile there a sign of satisfaction?

We see that you are sick, we wish you were better, we pray the country could have you for much longer. But why does it feel like your last hurrah and you are just wanting to do right by the country?

In this moment I caught a glimpse of your heyday, the peak of your brilliance and integrity and courage, that time when you were deemed worthy of a Magsaysay award - before the compromises in the Erap and GMA admins broke you. Or this tiny little recent one, when you ran with the dictator's son.

But nevermind. You have tried harder than most of us would. You have given more than most of us could.

May God bring you back to full health.

A Call for Continuity

The PNoy Administration has not been perfect, but it has achieved great strides - and these numbers bear it out. The admin's enemies has had 6 years to discredit it - left and right, one after the other, year after year - that we have learned to believe the accusations more and have not balanced it out with the realities of governance. 

But it did it's job, it has done well, and no doubt it could do better.

No matter the admin's flaws, out of the current crop of presidential candidates, none have offered a viable alternative nor a credible platform. If we are being truly objective, none of them, except Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo have laid out a platform that anyone can access, download, scrutinize and hold them accountable to in the future. Because it is clearly laid out, we, as citizens, also get a idea of the programs where we too could contribute -- this is not all about them.

This is why we must ask ourselves - why squander the gains of the last 6 yrs to colorful language and unsubstantiated promises? The other candidates have too many unknowns. Mar suffers from too much knowns - he has been in the public eye for more than 20 years and most visibly so in the last 6 years. In these few years - we know what he has accomplished; we also know where he has faltered.

I think that's a better place to start with, that's a known we can work with. 

This is a call for continuity, with plenty of corrections by Day 1, with citizens eyes wide open, and expectations in check.

We don't have to start from scratch again.