Thursday, July 21, 2011

Photo entries: July 19, 2011 (National Walk-out)

SONA: one year of Aquino's lip service

“...tayo na sa isang matuwid na daan”

            This was the famous line of the newly elected President of the Republic of the Philippines Benigno Simeon Cojuanco Aquino III or Noynoy as known by many that gave people hope and courage to rise after the Arroyo regime threw the Filipino nation into dump. Just about after being hailed as the new leader, Noynoy’s promises were uttered one-by-one to the whole nation as strong point for the progress that the country ought to have and so, expectation arouse to each citizen of the Philippines. But after a year of presidency, did Aquino change the status of the nation? Or are all of these promises just lip service?

            Noynoy Aquino, aside from being the lone son of the late senator Benigno Aquino Jr., and the mother of democracy and late president Corazon Cojuanco Aquino, was elected to the House of Representatives from 1998 to 2004. As the leader of Tarlac back then, people’s trust was granted upon his leadership and gave him the opportunity to gain his power and authority as the new president of the Philippines. Despair in every citizen vanished and hope was distinguished again. A new face of administration came up to battle corruption, to have solutions to poverty, for efficient and quality services, and retribution for the former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who pushed aside citizens during her term.

            The first month after being hailed as the new leader, the promises were heard during his first State Of the Nation Address (SONA). All plans were agreeable upon the speech aside from the PPP or Private Public Partnership project that made people scratch their head. Indeed, the implication of this project is vague and one thing that many are sure of: it will be a gateway to privatize public services thus increasing fees and other expenses that will deteriorate Filipino lives contrary to what the people really need: economical services for all. The rationale behind this standpoint of Aquino is that it is more efficient if private sectors will control some of the public services of the government. This reason leads to annoy many people and make them think that this is not a good proposal. Since he was still in his first 2 months in the throne of power and authority, people were not still in agony that time until the next period came.

            It was in the month of August when the Hacienda Luisita Compromise Agreement was made. This declared that the workers of the Hacienda Luisita will be granted land title opposite to his promise to distribute land to each worker. Until now, families left behind by the people killed in Hacienda Luisita last 2004 are still in frown and shouting for justice they must prevail.

            One of the biggest and hottest issues that protesters resist is the budget cut among State Universities and Colleges in the Philippines and some health services in which in fact, should have the highest budget among public sectors as the United Nations recommend. Students urged for the rechanneling of the budget from militarization to education. In detail, the government has increased the budget of military sectors instead of increasing the budget of education. In the case of Polytechnic University of the Philippines which has the biggest number of students among the SUC’s in the Philippines, it is believed that the institution should have a budget of P1.99 billion to sustain quality education for its 65, 000 population. But the PUP has only P724 million budget for this year (no budget for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses) that supposedly can help build more classrooms, laboratories and other infrastructures and services the PUP community should have. The students of PUP are all in fear that the tuition fees will increase in just one snap because of this struggle given by the government.

            “...imbes na budget ang dagdagan, taon at pasakit ang idinagdag ng rehimeng US-Aquino para sa mga estudyante.” – This is the point of view of the KABATAAN Partylist for the implementation of K+12 or the adding of two years and technical/vocational courses in education. What makes it worse is that, despite of low budget on education, the government was still able to aggravate the status of educational institutions in the Philippines by implementing the K+12. On a different perspective, the condition of educational institutions in the Philippines as of now is dreadful because of lack of budget and effective services. What more if 2 years will be added?

            The terrible status of the nation has extended vastly because of the small subsidy and wages given for Filipino workers despite of having high prices of commodities including oil and gasoline. Jeepney drivers are all upset and annoyed for the reason that Noynoy failed to provide them economical services. The LRT fare is in queue to mount up. The oil has already increased by Php11.00/L from the moment he sat in MalacaÇıang as president. In the other limelight, Aquino promised to help informal settlers to transfer them to fine residences, but what happened is that the demolition rate in the country has increased profoundly and most of the victims are not in the proper relocation site.

               The progress of the nation that Aquino has promised is like a slug crawling slowly. Ineffective laws and irrelevant to what the Philippine essentially needs has done by the new leader in his first year of presidency. Aquino has undeniably made Filipinos disappointed since his supposed to be Filipino-friendly services was turned into lip service. Aquino has 5 more years to supply what the Filipino truly need but people are still in curiosity if he is really an answer to the disaster left by the past administrator.

"Libro hindi bala. Edukasyon hindi giyera." Education first before war as what the students are into. More economical services are needed by the nation but efficient and effective laws in priority lane are missing. What the nation demands for is a needed-most services and not lip service. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rizal Park at its best

Rizal Monument
Rizal Park or known as Luneta park is a relaxing place perfect for every family. Located at the heart of Manila along Taft Avenue and at the other side, the Roxas Boulevard. It was built around 18th century as tribute to Dr. Jose Rizal who bravely showed his love to the Philippines.

Despite of elite malls built all around Metro Manila, people are still capable of visiting parks that are enormous and rich in culture like the Rizal Park. The renovated Rizal Park has enticed more people than it usually have before. From the Relief Map to the Rizal Monument near Quirino Grandstand.
Bridge at Relief Map

You won't be bored strolling around Luneta Park since it has lots of historical marks and places which are built to show how history affected the Philippines at the present time. It is best for people who seek for fresh oasis and relaxation. Picnic, playing around, kites, anything that will be a remedy for stress will do.

Before getting into the main park, Lapu-Lapu's monument is seen which is located near the Department of Tourism. It is a given to the Philippines from Korea as a gift for being a part of Korean War during 1950's.
Lapu-Lapu Monument

Chinese Garden
The Chinese garden is also a part of the Park's beautiful spots. It is a garden imbued with different chinese ornaments that makes it as if you are really in China. There are also Pagodas and Gazebos situated inside the garden as part of Chinese culture. At the park also, lots of vendors (Rizal Park Vendors Livelihood Project, Inc.) sell different products (Ice cream, Cotton Candy, Popcorn, etc.) for the people around and for the tourists as well. There are photographers roaming around to offer photography service to people who wants to capture moments with their loved ones.
Ice cream vendor near Quirino Grandstand

The park has improved its appearance by adding stuffs relating arts and culture that proved that the park is not left behind. It is really a world-class place that the world should know and a place where Philippine history can be reminisced. In fact, the place where Rizal was executed is also set in there. By paying Php5.00, you can tour around the exact place where Rizal was shot.
The Philippine flag
One of the lights in the park
Kite above the scorching sun
Carabao monument at Quirino Grandstand
Naruto character being played for entertainment

The engraved Mi Ultimo Adios (My last farewell) of Dr. Jose P. Rizal

The colorful and world class dancing fountain at night
Rizal park has indeed showed that culture and arts are not left behind because it has been part of our history as well as our lives. The Rizal park is a true world-class site that deserves to be known all over the world, at its best!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Matatalo na, nanalo pa..

Nakahanda na ang mga sandata at sumugod na ang mga alagad. Takbo sa taas, sa baba at sa gitna. Bawat lugar na puntahan mo, siguradong may kaharap ka. Sa bawat tira mo, siguradong may ganting aabang sa’yo. At sa bawat pagpatay mo, katumbas nito’y iyong pagkapanalo.
Nung araw na iyon, ako ang pumwesto sa gitna dahil alam kong lamang ako sa aking kaharap kasi pangmalayuan ang gamit ko. Pana dito, pana doon. Patay na ang alagad nya at umatras ang takot na takot nilang pinuno. Sugudin na ang tore! Kaboom! Nandoon pala ang isang kakampi nila, hindi ko namalayang inabangan ako at pinagtulungan ako. Patay! Hihintay nanaman ng dalawampung segundo.

Samantala, sa taas ay abalang abala ang salamangkero kong kakampi. Napatay nya pala ang isa sa aming mga kalaban. Ayos! Malaking pagkakataon ito para wasakin ang isa pang tore. Biglang may ilaw na lumabas, buhay na pala uli ako. Bumili na ako ng mga dapat bilihin para handa sa susunod na laban; mga malalaking gamit na kasing lupit ng kidlat.

Malalakas ang mga nakalaban namin, walang duda. Isang salamangkero, isang lumilipad na nilalang na di mo mawari kung ano at isang kabalyerong umiilaw-ilaw pa, jejemon ata. Pero tamang diskarte ang ginawa namin para piliting manalo. Sila, panay sugod lang, di iniintindi ang kampo nila na sinusugod na pala ng mga alagad naming puno. Umasa silang mananalo na sila kaya di na sila umatubiling bumalik sa kanila.

Napatay nanaman nila ako. Nakakainis! Hihintay nanaman ng isang minuto. Patay nanaman. Isa pa. Ouch! OA ka na ha! Pero mukhang bumabawi ako sa aking mga kasamahan dahil tila ay mas malakas na sila di tulad sa aking inaakala. Kaya ‘di ako sumuko. Susugod pa kami hangga’t kaya.

Sira na ang mga tore namin at napasok na nila ang kampo namin. Pero, kagaya ng sa amin, sira na din pala ang sa kanila at napasok narin sila ng aming mga alagad. Mukang mas malakas sila. Ayan na, may lumapit na nilalang! Papanain ko na ng pampabagal ng takbo! Kaboom! Patay ang huklubang salamangkerong kalaban namin. May isa pa pala. Buti nalang malalakas ang kakampi ko, nabawi ko ang bilang ng aking pagkamatay sa bilang ng mga napatay ko. Makakahabol pa pala kami! Sugod!

Naging malaking advantage sa amin ang pagkapatay nilang lahat kaya sumugod kami habang wala sila. Malapit na, nadito na kami sa harapan ng kampo nila. Dumating ang kalabang salamangkero. Pinana ko sya ng pampabagal para hindi sya makatakas habang pinagtutulungan namin sya. Patay nanaman. Sugod pa!

Akala namin ay mawawasak na ang buhay ng aming kampo. Hindi pala. Kaya pang habulin. Kaya ‘yun, dumeretso kami at halatang takot na takot na ang mga kalaban dahil ang akala nila ay mananalo na sila. Mali sila! Ito na, nawasak na namin ang dalawang toreng humahadlang sa aming daan. Bang! Malapit na! Buti may butterfly ako. Manta style! Naging tatlo ako. Astig!
Wala nang nagawa ang aming mga kalaban kundi tingnan na lamang kami habang winawasak ang buhay ng kampo nila.

Ito na! Booom! Wasak! Panalo na kami… Matatalo na, nanalo pa.
Sino nanaman kaya ang kalaban namin bukas? Magpapahinga muna ako, buti may salve ako.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

How activism in PUP works

Students/activists making noise for their rights in front of the PUP building – the so called popeye – is nothing new to most PUPians. It has been a routine for them to either inform or entice students to know about the present issues or the past as well that are, actually, has a big effect on them. But if looking at other limelight, from shouting to vandalizing on the corners of the university, are these ways and actions conducive in resolving such problems?

Basically, as a PUPian that is in need of services the government lacks to provide, the answer to this is yes. Activism is not a waste of effort or a waste of time if being done for a goal. Being a student and activist on the other side doesn’t mean that we are pushing aside our main purpose to be in an institution – to be a student pursuing hard to gain a degree.

Let’s just say student activists are kinds of individuals who have a wide range of cognizance and a high level of eagerness to express their insights and perspective about what they think is going beyond the limit of their rights – not only for their own rights but as well as the students they are fighting for also. Rolling around the United Colleges Building – from North to South wing – is one of their ways not to distract but to let some inquisitive students know what they are really into. Having a short program in popeye is not like a noontime show that after watching it, it will vanish in your mind and just wait for tomorrow’s episode. It is a program that will help you fill in your curiosity about issues that you ought to know. It’s not just like wasting your effort and breaking your legs by walking from the PUP campus to Mendiola wherein lots of universities – especially SUCs – are united as one for a common goal. Well, for those who thinks that these form of actions are nonsense at all, for me, it is better to move up on your seat and perspire even more for a significant purpose than to stop and stare on my window doing nothing and just let repressions or whatever it is that breaks our rights and freedom happen.

People who laugh at the “iskolar ng bayan…lumalaban!” chant never know that it contributed a lot in opening the minds of those in the throne of authority and power about the needs of the masses that they lack to provide. Activism in PUP has been a big help for almost 5000 freshmen last school year. Through the help of organizations like the SKM, SAMASA and LFS, many who lack financial resources but have high potentials and capabilities of being a true iskolar ng bayan were able to enter PUP. Also, through the effort of these activists, PUP was able to maintain its student-friendly service – the Php12 per unit tuition fee. No other institution can provide this kind of service to students.

Just this last semester, the most waited moment of The Catalyst and SKM to be included in the enrolment process through SIS has been granted not only by the Board of Regents but undeniably, again, by the help of different organizations united as one. These stepping-stones of student activists to end student repression are all advantageous, indeed. Another one, and one of the most important things was about the budget cut on SUCs. Last year, I have experienced marching along from Espana boulevard to the Senate in Pasay City  and I can say that it isn't a waste of time and effort because I can see the vision of every iskolar ng bayan - from PUP to UP - existing in my head. 

Students who think that activism is a commotion on PUP’s reputation should think outside the box. Activism is not a crime. It’s some kind of eagerness of protecting people from negative effects of policies being implemented by selfish people (you know who they are). Do something significant and sweat even more! You’ll see at the end of the day, everything was worth it.

(images from - credits to the owner/s)