RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: November 2009

A complete list of the 30 Media Martyrs of Maguindanáo

Posted on

Of the 57 victims of the infamous Maguindanáo Massacre (others report 64), more than half were journalists. Here is the complete list so far (in alphabetical order) of the 30 Media Martyrs of Maguindanáo (compiled by the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists):

• Adolfo, Benjie—Gold Star Daily, Koronadal City
• Araneta, Henry—radio dzRH, General Santos City
• Arriola, Mark Gilbert “Mac-Mac”—UNTV, General Santos
• Bataluna, Rubello—Gold Star Daily, Koronadal
• Betia, Arturo—Periódico Iní, General Santos
• Cabillo, Romeo Jimmy—Midland Review, Tacurong City
• Cablitas, Marités—News Focus, General Santos
• Cachuela, Hannibal—Punto News, Koronadal
• Caniban, John—Periódico Iní, General Santos
• Dalmacio, Lea—Socsargen News, General Santos
• Decina, Noel—Periódico Iní, General Santos
• Dela Cruz, Gina—Saksi News, General Santos
• Dohillo, Eugene—UNTV, General Santos
• Duhay, Jhoy—Gold Star Daily, Tacurong
• Gatchalián, Santos—dxGO, Daváo City
• Legarte, Bienvenido Jr.—Prontiera News, Koronadal
• Lupogan, Lindo—Mindanáo Daily Gazette, Daváo City
• Maravilla, Ernesto “Bart”—Bombo Radyo, Koronadal
• Merisco, Rey—Periódico Iní, Koronadal
• Momay, Reynaldo “Bebot”—Midland Review, Tacurong
• Montaño, Marifé “Neneng”—Saksi News, General Santos
• Morales, Rosell—News Focus, General Santos
• Núñez, Victor—UNTV, General Santos
• Perante, Ronnie—Gold Star Daily correspondent, Koronadal
• Parcón, Joel—Prontiera News, Koronadal
• Razón, Fernando “Rani”—Periódico Iní, General Santos
• Reblando, Alejandro “Bong”—Manila Bulletin, General Santos
• Salaysay, Napoleón—Mindanáo Gazette, Cotabato City
• Subang, Ian—Socsargen Today, General Santos
• Teodoro, Andrés “Andy”—Central Mindanáo Inquirer, Tacurong

Remember 11/23/09

More than a hundred journalists have already been killed since Marcos was ousted in 1986. More than half of them –74 to be exact– were executed since 2001, when Arroyo and the military (with the “covert” support of the US government, of course) stole the presidency.

This massacre will never weaken the media. Especially the new mediathe bloggers.

This senseless violence has only strengthened our resolve to uphold the truth no matter what. We shall all continue the mission of The 30 Media Martyrs of Maguindanáo, whether in print or the airwaves or via the net.

So to all you demons in coat and tie (or in terno during SONAs), wallowing in power and bloody wealth inside your respective administrative buildings — BRING IT ON!

There is no way you can stop the Fourth Estate. And you can bet your ugly spouses and goblin-looking children with that.

Man, even his putong is branded: Lacoste!

*******

Special thanks to the Facebook group WE CONDEMN THE MAGUINDANÁO MASSACRE for the photos. Add them up on your Facebook account and show your support against this evil!

PDI’s commitment to pursue justice for the victims of the Maguindanáo Massacre

Posted on

Strong commitment, thirst for justice, indignation, powerful words from my favorite source of news…

Commitment

WE WILL BE their witness.

We will retrace their steps, those early hours before their shocking extinction, when they, at least 27 journalists, set out for a day’s work. We will piece together the bloody shards of the crime—the point in the highway in Ampatuan country where the convoy in which they were part was waylaid, the guns that snuffed them out, the grassy field where they, along with the rest of the unfortunate lot, breathed their last.

We will approximate the horror, mindful of the limitations of words but galvanized by the same calling that ultimately led them to their doom.

We will keep asking the terrible question: How could this have happened?

Maguindanáo Massacre victims: you shall never ever be forgotten...

The mass murder in Maguindanáo on Nov. 23 has come to define our generation as journalists. Nowhere in our history as an endangered breed has a similar occurrence approached such a degree of enormity or the body count been so outrageously high. Yet a more significant aspect casts a large shadow on the crime—the climate of impunity that served as fertile ground for it to happen. Let not the staggering dimensions of the killings take the edge off that fact.

We will be their witness. Removed as we are from the arena of their toil, we will acknowledge the peculiar nature of their daily terrain as shaped by the unbridled, unabashed power that holds sway. We will presume that getting into the vehicles that made up the convoy heading to the Commission on Elections office in Shariff Aguak, thence to witness and record a process that would have made official Esmael Mangudadatu’s gubernatorial candidacy, they pushed trepidation aside and sought comfort in the idea, hitherto unshakable, that journalism is a power unto itself, sufficient to stand up to fear itself.

That they are dead now is heart-wrenching, and we will mourn their—our—having been proven wrong. Yet, despite having been crudely disabused of the idea that reporting on an event, for the benefit of the public that we are sworn to inform, is no longer a guarantee of even safe passage, we will persevere. For too long have we lived gripped by a particular tension as Gordimer had defined it: that of being participant and recorder of events—a necessary burden of writers and, by extension, journalists. And we will continue to record our times and the evil that men and women do even as we rail at oppression and injustice.

We will not lose sight of the fact that as many as 68 journalists, not counting the 27 murdered in Maguindanáo, have been killed since 2001, when Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took power. (Once upon a time, her husband, addressing a group of journalists in Negros, said no journalist on the island had been killed because “journalists here are responsible reporters.”) To Camus’ requirements of “courage in one’s life and talent in one’s work” we will add strength and commitment.

There will be justice for the 27 journalists (and the women and other civilians) who perished in the badlands of Maguindanáo.

We will be their witness. Though we may be under the gun, we will endure.

The reason behind the Maguindanáo Massacre…

Posted on

The below essay is currently a “hot item” among Filipino netizens. It’s a brilliant opinion about last Sunday’s horrendous Maguindanáo Massacre…

The Maguindanáo massacre predicts the eruption of wider violence and conflict as the nation heads towards the 2010 elections. Yet to dismiss this incident as “election-related” is to miss the fundamental political and economic implications of this evil deed. The massacre is rooted in the shift in politico-economic sources of violence and conflict in Muslim Mindanáo. It signifies the emergence of new-type warlords whose powers depend upon their control of a vast illegal and shadow economy and an ever-growing slice of internal revenue allotments (IRA). Both factors induce a violent addiction to political office.

Mindanáo scholars used to underscore the role of “local strong men” who were an essential component of the central state’s efforts to extend its writ over the region. The elite bargain was built upon the state’s willingness to eschew revenue generation and to grant politico-military dominance to a few Moro elites in exchange for the latter providing political thugs and armed militias to secure far-flung territories, fight the communists and separatists, and extend the administrative reach of the state.

The economic basis of the elite bargain has changed since then. Political office has become more attractive due to the billions of pesos in IRA remittances that electoral victory provides. The “winner-takes-all” nature of local electoral struggles in Muslim Mindanao also means that competition is costlier and bloodier. Meanwhile, political authority may enable control over the formal economy, but the bigger prize is the power to monopolize or to extort money from those engaged in the lucrative business of illegal drugs, gambling, kidnap-for-ransom, gun-running, and smuggling, among others. The piracy of software, CDs and DVDs, and the smuggling of pearls and other gemstones from China and Thailand are seen as micro and small enterprises. These illegal economies and a small formal sector comprise the “real” economy of Muslim Mindanáo.

The failure to appreciate how this underground economy, coupled with entitlements to massive government-to-government fund transfers, shapes prevailing notions of political legitimacy and authority in the region partly explains the inability of the central State to deal with lawlessness and conflict.

Political legitimacy in Muslim Mindanáo has very little to do with protecting people’s rights or providing basic services. People rarely depend on government for welfare provision, and are consequently averse to paying any taxes. People actually expect local leaders to pocket government resources, and are willing to look the other way so long as their clans dominate and they are given a small slice during elections. Legitimacy is all about providing protection to your fellow clan members by trumping the firepower of your competitors, leaving people alone, and forgetting about taxes. Click here for more!

Melodic melancholia

Posted on

Problems are supposed to make us strong.

We lost our maids. Nobody’s left to take care of our four kids ages seven months to nine years. Our apartment unit’s a big mess.

We still couldn’t find replacements.

Our issue with CHMI and PAG-IBIG Fund is still unresolved. The new house which we bought in Calambâ, La Laguna that was sold to us by CHMI is in danger of being cancelled. We’ve already paid more or less P100,000 of equity for that house. That is what I have to iron out today, the deadline they gave me.

Our two youngest boys, Jefe and Juanito, are still in Bacoor, Cavite, being taken care of by my wife’s relatives. But they’re contacting Yeyette; they said that they couldn’t take care of them anymore. Our two eldest, Krystal and Momay, have to fend for themselves alone in our apartment. We leave them there at night so that we could go to work. But, my golly, they’re too young…

My boss already talked to me about my performance and attendance. My performance is not that good because –he’s right– it has something to do with “dedication” issues; I have a hard time balancing my life as an employee and as a writer-historian. And I’ve been absent for a couple of days because of my domestic issues.

My wife’s performance is also under fire. She works in a call center, outbound. She was given a quota. She’s having difficulty in meeting them. For the past few days, her voice is not cooperating with her. Today, she completely lost her voice.

Our credit card debt is ballooning. I was supposed to pay everything today, but then…

…just a few minutes ago, my wife texted me that she lost her wallet with more than P4,000 and other valuables to a pickpocket while she was inside a jeepney on her way to assist Krystal and Momay in preparation for school.

My wife needed to see a doctor regarding her throat problems. But her medical card is inside her stolen wallet.

Both Yeyette and I freaked out last week because of these problems. We almost separated. We’ve patched things up, though. But our domestic troubles aren’t over yet.

Who will take care of our children? I still haven’t had enough sleep for days.

And then depression sets in.

Worse, the Muse seems to have forsaken me; I do not feel the “itch” in my hands anymore…

Problems are supposed to make us strong.

Is Malacañang Palace afraid of the Ampatuan clan?

Posted on

“Is this government afraid? Or inutile? Or simply powerless against the powers-that-be in Maguindanáo?” asked Carlos Isagani Zarate, secretary general of the Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanáo, commenting on Malacañang Palace’s seemingly kid-gloved treatment of last Monday’s Maguindanáo Massacre.

Secretary Raúl González, chief presidential legal counsel, has this to say: “If we use the iron hand on them (Ampatuan political clan), they might fight back. We should take precaution. These are not ordinary people.”

They might fight back. They might effin’ fight back. So Fu©k!N what if they fight back?! And by making that cowardly statement of “they might fight back” and admitting that the Ampatuans “are not ordinary people” only shows this government’s knowledge of the Ampatuan warlords’ capability of raising hell.

Why not give them hell if that is their game?

Because… there you have it — Secretary González already gave hints about this administration’s C-O-W-A-R-D-I-C-E.

Maguindanáo Massacre: is our country the most dangerous place for journalists?

Posted on

Is our country the most dangerous place for journalists?

Throughout the years, countless media men in the Philippines have died in the line of duty. It is not uncommon for human rights groups to criticize the government over its lack of ability to counter these harrowing tales of violence against members of the Fourth Estate. Not too long ago, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility declared the Philippines as the second most dangerous place for media practitioners, second only to war-torn Iraq!

Some found this declaration offensive, yet many claim this to be true. But early last Monday, all debate regarding this matter was silenced when more or less 50 people –30 of whom were journalists– were abducted and brutally murdered. All in the name of political warlordship.

Campaign season hasn’t even begun.

It’s saddening how our country makes news. Recently, Manny Pacquiáo and Efren Peñaflorida made headlines, bringing glory to our country. But all that fame and honor were quickly wiped out by this bestiality courtesy of (allegedly) Datu Unsay town mayor Datu Andal Ampatuan, Jr.’s men. If they are men at all.

The Ampatuan warlords of Maguindanáo are known political allies of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Is this the way she wants her administration to end — with a big and bloody exclamation point?

But before Malacañang Palace answers that question (if they ever will), let us go back to the original query: is the Philippines the most dangerous place for journalists?

Sadly, Iraq will have to move down from being number one.

*******

Inquirer man recounts harrowing tales of survival

TACURÓNG CITY, Philippines—Ian Subang, a long-time friend and former colleague in the now defunct Gensan Media Cooperative, was in his usual jovial mood, poking fun and exchanging jokes with us.

Alejandro “Bong” Reblando, Manila Bulletin reporter covering the Socsksargen area—South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos—was, as always, in his fighting mood—insistent and persistent with his own opinion.

He always came late to media events, the reason why we used to tease him “The Late” Bong Reblando. Now, he will forever be called such.

That was last Monday morning, a few hours before the mass killing took place in Maguindanáo province.

The painful truth that these guys together with 32 other media colleagues met death in the hands of a ruthless band of goons just won’t sink into my consciousness, not even now.

Ian would usually play the role of a clown and he could easily make anyone in the group smile with his jokes.

Bong, the most senior among us, was contented with the role of big brother to us. He was already a radio reporter when I was in high school way back in the 1980s.

Early Monday morning, a few hours before they were abducted and slaughtered, we were enjoying a breakfast of “pastel”— a kind of stew—served to us by our host.

An intense yet cordial exchange of ideas ensued as this reporter, Reblando and two other journalists discussed with ARMM Assemblyman Khadafy Mangudadatu the security concerns and the scenarios that may arise later that day.

Subang and his group, including several other reporters, were gathered outside the living room of Mangudadatu’s mansion in Buluan town, Maguindanao.

They were waiting for the result of our brainstorming inside. There were just six of us in that discussion—Mangudadatu legal counsel Cynthia Oquendo-Ayon, Khadafy, Reblando, Joseph Jubelag, Paul Bernáldez and myself.

We were insisting that reporters covering the scheduled filing of certificate of candidacy of Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu must be assured of their safety. Toto is eyeing the gubernatorial seat in Maguindanao.

Toto had requested for security escorts from Chief Superintendent Paisal Umpa, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanáo (ARMM) police regional director, but his request was turned down.

He turned to the Philippine Army for help but his request was also denied.

Had the police or military provided security escorts, the mass slaughter of defenseless women and journalists might have been prevented.

According to the Mangudadatus, a week before the massacre, there were massive movements of the Ampatuan’s armed followers—police, civilian volunteers and Cafgu members—in the area.

Believing in the power of the media, Mangudadatu, who felt helpless then, asked help from the media.

He requested several journalists—through Henry Araneta of DZRH—to cover the scheduled filing of his certificate of candidacy at the Commission on Elections provincial office in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanáo.

Araneta managed to invite 37 journalists from the cities of General Santos, Tacurong and Koronadal.

“Maybe, they will not harm us if journalists are watching them,” Mangudadatu said.

Mangudadatu disclosed that he organized a group of women led by his wife, Genalyn, elder sister Vice Mayor Eden Mangudadatu of Mangudadatu town, Bai Farinna Mangudadatu, the youngest of the Mangudadatu siblings, and lawyers Cynthia Oquendo-Ayon and Connie Brizuela.

The gubernatorial aspirant claimed reports had reached him that the Ampatuans had threatened to chop him into pieces once he filed his COC with the Comelec.

“Under our tradition, Muslim women are being respected. They should not be harmed just like innocent children and the elders,” Mangudadatu stressed.

Governor Andal Ampatuan ran unopposed in the 2007 elections.

Mangudadatu claimed that the Ampatuans were considered above the law, warlords and political demigods in Maguindanáo.

But, he said, someone must come to the fore to bring about change and improve the lives of the Bangsamoro people.

He said that women from Buluan should be the ones to file his COC, no security escorts, only journalists to avoid creating tension.

Eden, along with his sister-in-law and younger sister, was in a jovial mood before the departure. She was saying that Muslim women should play a more active role in Maguindanáo politics to attain genuine social change and economic progress.

“This is women power in action. Let’s help our men chart a better future for the province,” she was heard as saying.

We were confident nothing bad would happen as some of us in the convoy had been frequent visitors to the Maguindanao provincial capitol.

Even while inside the vehicles, the group enjoyed each other’s company. There was no hint of the heartbreaking and vicious fate awaiting them.

All in all, there were 58 persons—37 journalists, 16 Muslim women who handcarried Mangudadatu’s COC and five drivers—in the convoy.

After several attempts, I was able to contact Major General Alfredo Caytón, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, through a mobile phone.

He gave an assurance that the national highway going to Shariff Aguak had already been cleared and was safe for travel. He even added that police checkpoints littered the long route from Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat to Shariff Aguak.

Five convoy vehicles left Buluan around 9:30 a.m. Monday. The lead vehicle was an L-300 van of UNTv.

Aside from UNTv reporter Victor Núñez, his cameraman and driver, Paul Bernáldez and myself joined in.

However, while the convoy was refuelling in Buluan, I decided to transfer to Joseph Jubelag’s vehicle to accompany him. Bernáldez followed suit.

The five-vehicle convoy went ahead and we just told them we will follow right away.

We decided to drop by BF Lodge in Tacuróng City where we stayed the night before to get some valuables and meet some personal necessities.

I didn’t expect that such digression would save our lives. I should have been there. I should have been killed together with them.

Two hotel attendants approached me and revealed that two unidentified men riding on separate motorcycles had left barely three minutes earlier.

The hotel personnel claimed the two men were asking for the names of journalists covering Mangudadatu’s filing of COC.

Luckily, the hotel management did not give any name.

This made us change our minds and we decided not to go to Shariff Aguak.

On our way back to Buluan, we tried several times but failed to establish contact with our media colleagues in the convoy.

Upon arrival in Buluan, the vice mayor told us that all the five vehicles had been seized by the Ampatuans’ armed followers.

Not only journalists, family members, relatives and supporters of Mangudadatus were abducted and killed.

Military sources disclosed that several other innocent motorists from Buluan and Tacuróng City were seized and summarily executed on mere suspicion that they, too, were followers of the Mangudadatus.

Out of the 34 journalists abducted and brutally killed, only 25 were identified.

They were Ian Subang, Leah Dalmacio, Gina Dela Cruz and Maritess Cablitas, all of Mindanáo Focus, a General Santos City-based weekly community newspaper; Bart Maravilla of Bombo Radyo-Koronadal City; Jhoy Duhay of Mindanáo Goldstar Daily; Henry Araneta of DZRH and Andy Teodoro of Central Mindanáo Inquirer.

Neneng Montano of Saksi weekly newspaper; Alejandro “Bong” Reblando of Manila Bulletin; Victor Núñez of UnTv; Macmac Arriola, UnTV cameraman; and Jimmy Cabillo, a radioman based in Koronadal City.

Rey Merisco, Ronnie Perante, Jun Legarta, Val Cachuela and Humberto Mumay, all Koronadal City-based journalists.

Joel Parcón, Noel Decena, John Caniba, Art Belia, Ranie Razón and Nap Salaysay.

On Monday evening, gory scenes of slain media colleagues kept flashing in my mind. I didn’t have a decent sleep, for the very first time in my life.

Once again, several working journalists shed their blood in the name of press freedom.

This, however, will not deter us or discourage us from doing our job as journalists.

Underpaid and under threat, be that as it may, we will continue answering the call of our beloved profession.

With blood on their hands?

What if Allen Ginsberg was a Filipino?

Posted on

WHAT IF ALLEN GINSBERG WAS A FILIPINO?
Or how I syncopated the essence of “Hadda be Playin’ on the Jukebox”
José Mario Alas

Hadda be flashing like the Philippine Daily Inquirer
Hadda be playing on Wowowee
Hadda be loudmouthed on The Buzz!
Hadda be announced over loud speakers
The military and the Abu Sayyaf are in cahoots
Hadda be said in socialite language
Hadda be said in Pinoy headlines
Aguinaldo, Magsaysay, and Aquino stretched and smiled and got doublecrossed by low life international goons & agents
Gay bankers with criminal connections
Dope pushers in NBI working with dope pushers from China working with big time syndicate Parañaque City
Hadda be said with a big mouth
Hadda be moaned over factory foghorns
Hadda be chattered on barber shop news broadcast
Hadda be screamed in a rural slaughterhouse
Hadda be yelled in the plazas where young lovers are petting it out
Hadda be howled on the streets by newsboys to jeepney barkers
Hadda be foghorned into Pásig River
Hadda echo under hard hats
Hadda turn up the volume in cheeky high school proms
Hadda be written on unused library books, footnoted
Hadda be in headlines of Sagad, Hataw, and Toro
Hadda be barked over TV
Hadda be heard in side alleys thru KTV bars
Hadda be sent via SMS
Hadda be cellphones ringing, comedians stopped dead in the middle of a comedy bar joke in Las Piñas,
Hadda be GMA, NEDA Neri, Mayor Atienza, and COMELEC Ábalos golfing together weekends or whenever/wherever —
As reported by almost all dailies across the islands
Hadda be the Freemasons and the neocolonialists together
Started war on Mindanáo, poison on Recto, assassination of Luna and Aquino
Hadda be dope cops and the kidnap-for-ransom crooks
Kidnapped all those filthy-rich scions in Chinatown
Hadda be the NBI and the military working together in cahoots against the leftists
Let Lucky Manzano campaign for both mommy and daddy… family relations, party fidelities, political madness
Hadda be religious goons bribing cross-eyed officials with vote-rich members, singing gospel gobbledygook, praising money and recruitment
Hadda be heard inside the classrooms:
Nationwide brainwashing by UP professors
Hadda be the police, and organized crime, and the military together
Bigger than Gloria, bigger than ZTE-NBN!!!
Hadda be a gorged throat full of murder
Hadda be mouth and ass a solid mass of rage
A red hot head, a scream in the back of the throat
Hadda be in Obama’s brain
Hadda be in Clinton’s mouth
Hadda be the Pinoy language committe, pidginizing our tongue,
erasing our identity, forgetting who we are, what we were…
The Palace, the military, the billionaire cronies, the police, UP historians teaching the leyenda negra,
Protestants and Freemasons,
Dope pushers and sadists,
One big set of criminal gangs working together in cahoots
Hitmen, murderers everywhere, outraged, on the make
Secret drunk brutal dirty rich
On top of a heap of slovenly prisons, industrial cancer, burned plastic bags, garbage cities, Hollywood movies, Erap’s resentments
Hadda be the rulers, wanted law and order they got rich on
Wanted protection, status quo, wanted junkies for poll watchers, wanted influence, wanted Magsaysay to die in an air crash, wanted war over the Spratlys for oil to feed their diamond-laced cats
Hadda be the police and organized crime and the military and Gary V.
Multinational capitalists’ strong arms squads,
Private detective agencies for the very rich
And their armies, navies, and air force bombing rival political clans and their hapless supporters.
Hadda be neocolonialism, the vortex of this RAGE
This “gobbleization”
Man to man
Nation to nation
Hayden to Katrina
Horses’ heads in the haciendero‘s bed, Luisita turf and farmers’ rallies, hit men, gang wars across political landscapes,
Bombing Basilan with “firecrackers” will not settle the score (because they never wanted to settle the score for hunger for funds)
Joma’s red democracy bumped off with the Palace’s pots and pans, a warning to rural local governments
Secret armies embraced for decades, the military and the Palace keep each other’s secrets, the Freemasons and the anti-Catholics/Protestants never hit their own,
The KKK and Ku Klux Klan are one mind
Brute force and full of enmity
One mind, brute force, and full of enmity!
One mind, brute force, and full of enmity!
One mind, brute force, and full of enmity!
One mind, brute force, and full of enmity!
It hadda be rich, it hadda be powerful,
Hadda hire history from US universities
Hadda murder in Indonesia — 500,000
Hadda murder in Indochina — 2,000,000
Hadda murder in Czechoslovakia
Hadda murder in Chile
Hadda murder in Russia…
Hadda murder kids over 10 in Sámar
Hadda murder in the Philippines — 1,250,000

Hadda milk us more till we fall apart…

11/24/09

A Filipino is this year’s CNN Hero of the Year!

Posted on

Read and be proud!

Pushcart educator named CNN Hero of the Year

Efren Peñaflorida, who started a “pushcart classroom” in the Philippines to bring education to poor children as an alternative to gang membership, has been named the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper revealed Peñaflorida’s selection at the conclusion of the third-annual “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Saturday night.

The gala event, taped before an audience of 3,000 at the Kodak Theatre, premieres on Thanksgiving, November 26, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the global networks of CNN.

The broadcast, which honors the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2009, features performances by Grammy Award-winning artist Carrie Underwood, R&B crooner Maxwell and British pop sensation Leona Lewis.

Peñaflorida, who will receive $100,000 to continue his work with the Dynamic Teen Company, was selected after seven weeks of online voting at CNN.com. More than 2.75 million votes were cast.

“Our planet is filled with heroes, young and old, rich and poor, man, woman of different colors, shapes and sizes. We are one great tapestry,” Peñaflorida said upon accepting the honor. “Each person has a hidden hero within, you just have to look inside you and search it in your heart, and be the hero to the next one in need.

“So to each and every person inside in this theater and for those who are watching at home, the hero in you is waiting to be unleashed. Serve, serve well, serve others above yourself and be happy to serve. As I always tell to my co-volunteers … you are the change that you dream as I am the change that I dream and collectively we are the change that this world needs to be.” CNN.com

Our treasured family values: scribbling like a mad potato like the one I saw in a run-down wet market filled with earthworms, screaming beggars, fighting vendors, and siesta-fanatics eager to forget the trauma caused by Ondoy and Pepeng who weren’t even invited to attend Pacman’s victory party over Pacmom’s debut movie about happy families resembling one another but that every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, only to realize that it was Tolstoy who said that in Anna Karenina (not the TV soap) just to prove that he’s a prrrrrrrroud Rrrrrrrrrussian and that I’m not… but there’s still sunshine left!

Posted on

Like all the best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters and of family disagreements. –Queen Elizabeth II–

The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation into a mere money relation. –Friedrich Engels

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family:
Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.
–Jane Howard–

I just got to have a family. –Pepe Alas–

*******

Facebook: What’s on my mind?

Pepe Alas Going through very difficult times again: still no nannies for our kids; no choice, can’t go to work; writer’s block; depression; frequent low blood pressure attacks; and worse, our rent-to-own house might be cancelled, and it’s not even our fault. Good grief… why us??? =( Thu at 6:52pm
Pepe Alas I’d really appreciate it if anyone of you would take care two of our four kids for just a few days. Don’t worry: they’re polite and nice and loveable… exactly like their dad! And they’re fun to be with! They might even teach you some Spanish. Por favor, help us… Thu at 7:31pm
Jaime Martinez del Rio Pepe, animo! Ojala pudiera ayudar y estoy seguro de que muchos amigos tuyos lo haran. Si de algo sirven mi apoyo moral y amistad eso lo tienes! Aun cuando nos cubren los nubarrones mas negros aun ahi hay esperanza, y siempre vienen los tiempos mejores. Dios nos ama, ya veras que todo estara mejor! Thu at 7:37pm
Anmie Samson Martinez Relax lang. This too shall pass. Why will your “rent-to-own” contract be cancelled? What happened? Thu at 8:13pm
Leslie Nobleza hay mdmi tlg may gnyang problema.. ngka2ubusan n ata ng yaya ah.. ako pwde, mga 100k/month.hihihi Thu at 8:30pm
Arnaldo Arnáiz hang on there hombre, help is chopperin’ down… Thu at 11:34pm
Ragna Ivez pWdE b kO magAppLy, bUkoD s FrEe TuTpAsTe, sHampU at sAbOn..kLangAn mAy fRee mEaL, 2LuGan, dAILy gMik aLloWaNce (xMpRe pSyaL kMi ng mGa kIdoz) at ang rAte kO eh 3K a day wIth TutOriAL uN ah.. ahahha… kYa nYo yAn… sMiLe p rIn.. aJaaaaaaa!!! Thu at 11:46pm
Joaquin Montenegro Pertierra galing ren ako diyan more than a week ago, hirap talaga! Yesterday at 1:52am
Ann Cecil Evora kaya mo yan cuz! Yesterday at 1:56am
Levi Landrito Soledad You’ll get past through this Panyero, steady lang. Yesterday at 6:52am
Lian Gabrielle Santos Tado!! Este Pepe pala!!! Yakang yaka mo yan Peps!! Kaw pa! You’re no spanish speaking rep for nothing!!! Yesterday at 12:11pm
Pepe Alas Thanks everyone, for the moral support. Being a depressive, I really need it. My wife couldn’t take the pressure. Partly, it’s my fault; I’ve been grouch, myself. Now she already left our home together with two of our youngest boys. Pacasalán co na lang daw yung mga pinagsúsusulat co. I shouldn’t be writing about this here in Facebook. Caso grabe ang samá ng loób co ngayón. Waláng macá-usap, eh. =( Yesterday at 4:58pm
Ragna Ivez wKa n sAd JoMz… sUNdUin mO n cLa, ngHhNtay cLa s u.. b sTrOng.. bOth of U ni JenNy.. oKi?! kEeP oN rOckIn.. aJa… Yesterday at 5:09pm
Ria Gee D hey cheer up its just one of those days..mahal ka non..alam na alam ko yun Yesterday at 6:16pm
Leslie Nobleza sad.. espero q todo salga bien amigo. el Señor va a ayudarte. Today at 1:31pm
Anthony Castillo nid lng ni yeyette ng time space warp, be patient.

Pepe Alas had an ugly fight with Yeyette. Might separate… =( Yesterday at 3:29pm
Din Velilla =( kapatid… sad… i hope you can still fix it! Yesterday at 3:30pm
Ann Michelle Tulod ;( Yesterday at 3:31pm
Lilet Alas Fernandez AY SUS… LILIPAS DIN YAN!!LOVE NYO ISA’T ISA EH DI BA?? Yesterday at 4:25pm
Nante Cole pare maayos din yan. dami nyo na pinag daanan eh. wala yan! kayo pa Yesterday at 4:26pm
Lilet Alas Fernandez Pressured lang kyo kc wala kayong househelp… Yesterday at 4:27pm
Buenafe DelMundo De Padua ssshh… pepe and yet, talk it over guys 🙂 Yesterday at 4:37pm
Pepe Alas Too late. She already left the house with Jefe and Juanito. I was able to persuade her to leave Krystal and Momay. Krystal is still crying. What did I do to deserve this?… =( Yesterday at 4:55pm
Buenafe DelMundo De Padua … it will be sorted out. however.. Yesterday at 4:59pm
April Ordiales-Katigbak follow her and talk to her… =( Yesterday at 5:23pm
Ai Ivy Chua aaww, if you really love each other and still want to work it out, go to her and talk it out when both of you cools down….things will work out fine buddy, just have faith *hugs* Yesterday at 6:09pm
Maureen Tiamsic-Dulay Anooo? panu na yung forever? Ikaw na lang magpakababa. I know you guys will be able to work it out. Yesterday at 7:06pm ·
Pogi Nazaret jom, I hope you’re not pulling another jomar… You’ve been through so much already… Yesterday at 7:17pm ·
Imee Rabang relax lang chong… baka nag-hahanap lang din si Yeyette ng space…am sure she loves you and your children that much, to give up your family will never be an option. Yesterday at 7:30pm
Jose Alberto Afanador Herrera PEPITO.. TEN CONFIANZA EN DIOS DE QUE TODO TE SALDRÁ BIEN… NO EXISTE NINGÚN MATRIMONIO QUE NO DISCUTA, ASÍ QUE, PON TU FÉ EN JESÚS HIJO DE DIOS TODOPODEROSO Y VERÁS QUE LAS COSAS VOLVERÁN A SU CAUCE. TEN MUCHA PACIENCIA HERMANO, y SOBRETODO DIALOGA CON TU SEÑORA ESPOSA.. SÉ QUE NO DEBE SER FÁCIL PERO SÍ SE PUEDE. TE SALUDA TU HERMANO VENEZOLANO. UN ABRAZO PEPITO. Yesterday at 9:19pm
George Madriaga chillax amigo !!!! Yesterday at 10:22pm
Anthony Castillo hayz… Yesterday at 11:08pm
Maria Rubia Alas are you serious this tym, Jomar? o biro2 lang? Today at 12:11am
Cake Mendoza This IS a heartbreaking post. I hope you two work things out… 😥 Today at 12:55am
Jennifer Sanguir May gusto lang sabihin si Yeyette na hindi mo magets joms…importante pa din ang pag uusap. Today at 3:26am
Myla Irene Penson i hope everything will be fine soon… Today at 3:45am
Paolo Raphael Balicao kuya ayusin nio yan..wag pdalos dalos sa desisyon..goodluck Today at 8:59am
Ryan B. Palisocdude kmusta nsa marcelo nko nktira ano cell mo kita kits tyo minsan yngats and regards kay misis heres my no.09062700407 gb Today at 12:03pm
Ryan B. Palisoc dude there are times na mahairap dmi nyo na pinagdaanan wg nio isuko ang laban ………….usap lng yan Today at 12:05pm
Aileen Candido usap lang at magintindihan …mahirap ang iniisip mo Today at 1:02pm
Jesse Soriano mzta na po 11 hours ago

*******

Facebook: messages

Janis Santiago November 20 at 5:40pm

Hola de nuevo! I read your shout out.. what’s wrong??

Pepe, hayaan mo muna si Yeyette, para lang bumaba un tension between the 2 of you… at Para makapagisip kayong dalawa. You know, Yan ang scenario everyday, pagnaghiwalay kayo.. watak-watak un family nyo and your kids will be confused..
Un mga days na di kayo magkasama, both of you will realize that. May be hindi pa today kc asar pa kayo sa isa’t-isa.. Pero, eventually, pagnawala na un inis, then reality will begin to sink in.. both of you will miss each other.. Sometimes, hiwalayan isn’t permanent. May be kaya sya umalis so she could breathe.

Maybe nag freak out lang kayo sa mga pressures ng pagkakataon lately like walang maid, bills to pay, di makapasok sa work etc. and napasukan ng inis. Pero nalampasan nyo naman un dati, so, i’m sure malalampasan nyo ulit to. Ito un time na dapat you pray hard. Ask help from God and healing from angel Raphael. Effective sya, promise. Sabihin mo sa kanya lahat ng problems mo, talk to him like as if he’s just your bestfriend.. Hindi beer ang solution, magdasal ka.
Later, i’ll ask un maid ng neighbor ko na may kamag anak sa Laguna if meron silang alam na gustong mamasukan dyan. God Bless ü

4 na un mga anak ninyo, tsaka pa ba kayo maghihiwalay?? I mean, isipin nyo un mga anak ninyo kc kawawa naman sila if masisira un family nyo..

Hi Janis.

You are right. Ngayón pa nga lang nagpapalitan na camí ng txt messages.

Sobra, talagáng nag-freak out na camí parejo. Ang hirap ng apat ang anác, tapos walá namáng mag-aalagà. May pambayad namán camí, walá namáng mahanap. Tapos yung problema pa namin sa PAG-IBIG Fund at CHMI. Bacá bawiin yung bahay na binilí namin noóng isáng taón. Ang problema hindí sa aquin, eh — dun sa compañíang pinagtátrabahuhan co ngayón. Tapos yung credit card debts namin palaquí na ng palaquí. May pambayad din caso palaguí cong nacacalimutan — ewan co ba. Tapos yung mga dapat cong isulat, hindí co masimulán — dahil nahíhirapan na acóng magsulát. Ang paquiramdám co tulóy, ang bobo-bobo co ná. Casí hindí na talagá acó catulad ng dati: isáng upó lang, may verso na caagád acóng naiisip. Ngayón, tuyót na. Tapos nahihirapan camí sa mga gawáing bahay. Ayoco talagáng gumawà. Ang gusto co lang magsulát, magbasá, magsulát, magbasá…

We’ve been on our own since we eloped 10 years ago. Talagáng waláng camág-anac na puede naming mahiñgán ng tulong. We’ve been away from them ever since. At isá pá, nacácahiya namáng mang-istorbo. Iláng taóng waláng balita sa amin, tapos magpáparamdam lang camí capág may cailañgang tulong.

You know, I’ve caused my wife so much hurt because of my odd behavior. They say it’s a “writer’s thing”, a chronicler’s eccentricity. I do not want to be disturbed whenever I ponder on some things that I need to scribble down. Whenever I do that, I tend to neglect so many things. Including my responsibilities to my family.

I don’t even know how to go further with this explanation (excuse? defense?). It’s so private, yet I tend to go public with it (by posting it here on FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES. It’s stupid, just plain stupid. We should’ve just talked about my dilemma using our language, then post the conversation in ALAS FILIPINAS. But then again, nobody here in the silly Philies would understand us — fu©k the 1987 Constitution for that! Nobody’d understand me. I won’t be able to understand myself. And I want the whole world to understand me…

Yes, I’m begging for poignancy, and that’s just to keep my fu©k!ng unsharpened pen sharp, matulis, con punta, and with much life, enough to wake up sleeping trees bending gently with the breeze, and for sobbing statesmen with the same family problems –hidden from public scrutiny and entertainment– to sit up and orate extemporaneously about my being an out and out individualist, in love with humanities, in love with my psyche, frustrated with society, angry at so many things that I want to control but couldn’t, angry at my childhood, angry at the slipshod masa, angry at the lifestyles of the rich and boring, angry at the present, worried about the future, longing for what was then, all-mixed up, going crackers again…

Sorry Janis, my mind’s a vortex of an uncompounded rage as I write this……. I couldn’t even ask for Archangel Raphael’s intercession right now. I still remember what my friend JB Lazarte told me the last time we met in 2004. He said that when he heard the news that Yeyette and I had a child (Krystal, in 2000), he somehow felt compunctious over what would happen to me as a writer now that I’ll have other responsibilities. But I understood him perfectly well because Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera shared to me the same reaction months before.

“The main reason why my wife and I separated,” said he, “was because of all these.” And he pointed out to me the countless tomes of books scattered on his floor, stacked on his shelves, books and magazines under the bed, inside the washroom, within the kitchen walls. Yeah, it was then why I understood why Paciano Rizal and the other Freemasons kept José Rizal from being married to Leonor Rivera…

He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. –Sir Francis Bacon (with ham, eggs, fried rice, and Tang orange juice)–

Old man Gómez’s marriage was a failure. But he achieved so much it makes me want to puke with envy…

Pero normal namán talagá ang mga hindí pagcacá-unawaán sa familia. Minsan, mahirap talagáng maiwasan yun. Pero minsan, may mga away na mabigát. Catulad na lang ng nangyaring itó sa amin ni Yeyette cahapon. Sa tuwíng may mabigát na away, magháhamon ng hiwalayan (at gagatuñgan pa ng mga in-laws). Sometimes, I’d like to think that I’m single again, so that I could do the things that I really want without any hassle.

I’ve never had a bachelor’s life because I got married at a very young age (nineteen). But I’m not exactly after a swinging bachelor’s life. I’m just looking for a sense of freedom… For ‘man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains’ (fu©k you for that, Rousseau). I yearn for liberty, but not exactly from matrimony. I’m refering to something else. And that something else is lurking behind the perpetually rainy mountains of Monte de Maquíling, in the forbidden forests of Mindanáo, in the ancient rivers of the Visayas… I want to embrace what no man has dared embrace before…

But I just couldn’t anymore.

It’s difficult to pretend what I am not. I just couldn’t think of myself without my Krystal, my Momay, my Jefe, my Juanito.

Life will seem to be difficult without Yeyette by my side. Life won’t even be life at all without her and our children.

Just observe what’s happening right now inside my mind while she’s away: deathly neurons exploding like heartache bits inside a microwave-like cerebral cortex — poppin’ and poppin’ and poppin’ and Mary poppin’… I’d go crazy without my family. If I’ll ever lose them, expect to see me makin’ love to a sexless táong grasa soon.

What about my, uh, responsibilities as a scribbler and “self-styled” defender of the national identity silently rumbling within the fabric of the Filipino cosmos? This is the price I have to pay. If I’m destined to have a life like this, then so be it. At the very least, I am not economically downtrodden. And I should be thankful for that.

The road to the truth has never been easy. Damn, I ain’t even a saint. Just who the fu©k am I? I’m just a piece of turd from an eternally swiveling galactic dust going nowhere for aeons.

Thus, I feel like the fictitious messiah of Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ. I tend to runaway from being crucified.

But that’s just the way it has to be.

Nevertheless, Janis, you made my day, my dear friend. We’re sending text messages now. Yeyette’s a very strong person; I am not. She’s only made weak whenever I scream at her out of my frustration about so many things in life. She’s been very patient with me, especially during my godless days.

Quisiera darte mi agradecimiento, por todo tu apoyo y consejo en estos tiempos malditos de cólera. Te quiero mucho como mi amiga, Janis. Que Dios te bendiga. I’ll go see Yeyette in ATC right now. With our children. For lunch. We’ll talk. About a lot of things. Let’s see what’ll happen. Cacayanin namin itó, lalong lalo na’t alám namin na ‘di camí nag-íisa.

A todos nuestros amigos, gracias por la inquietud que teneis sobre nuestra situación.

¡Y gracias por vuestro amor!

Facebook alert: today is the feast day of Christ The King…

Spanish for English

Posted on

Thanks to midfielding1 (a YouTube user who uploaded the video), we can now listen to President Manuel L. Quezon giving a speech in Spanish! See video below (at 3:02):

President Manuel Quezon learned English in only 18 days (and not three months as I wrote in the comments box of that video in YouTube, my mistake; three months was actually the time it took for another great Spanish-speaking Filipino, Claro M. Recto, to learn and MASTER the English language). Quezon’s primary languages were both Spanish and Tagalog. But like most Filipinos of his time, he was more articulate in Spanish.

Yes, I said MOST Filipinos. Because you see, it is not taught in our classrooms that when the US invaded (not saved) the Philippines in 1899, they killed around 1,250,000 Filipinos — that is about 1/6 of the population during that time! And they murdered more Filipinos in such a short span of time compared to those who perished in more than three centuries of Spanish rule! And worse, more Spanish-speaking Filipinos also perished in the last world war. Those who survived either migrated to Spain or to the US. And the few remaining are now regarded as a very small and almost forgotten minority.

Today, there are more or less 3,000 Filipinos who use Spanish as their primary language, i.e., they think in Spanish (the 1990 census declared that there were 2,660 Spanish-speaking Filipinos).

In my family, there are only two of us who use Spanish: me and my dad’s sister, María Rubia E. Alas. Before us, the last member of the family who spoke in Spanish was Tía Rubia’s maternal uncle, Windalino Évora y Bonilla of Unisan, Quezon province. Uncle Carding was also fluent in French (another cognate of Spanish); he died in 1997, the last Spanish-speaker of Unisan town. Sadly, the rest of the family seem not to care about the language anymore. But I am trying to conserve it by teaching it to my children: my nine-year-old daughter Krystal is already conversational; my five-year-old son Momay can speak and understand the language moderately; my second son, Jefe, who is already two, can comprehend the language (I can already give out orders to him in Spanish); And I plan to make Juanito, who is barely a year old, a pure Spanish-speaker. Actually, my children’s primary language is Spanish. But since their playmates and our neighbors and my wife’s relatives all speak in Tagalog, I’m having a hard time maintaining the language up in their psyche.

Going back to President Quezon, one main reason why he learned English that fast is because of his Spanish. Although English is a West Germanic language, it is also a cognate of Spanish. Countless words in Spanish resemble those in English. Take the following words for example:

Biblia / bible
botón / button
mantener / to maintain
mártir / martyr
política / politics
responsable / responsible
sufrir / to suffer
teléfono / telephone
televisión / television
tolerar / to tolerate

Many proper names in Spanish also have their English counterparts:

Jesucristo / Jesus Christ
Clara / Clare
Juan / John
José / Joseph
María / Mary

That is the reason why the first generation of Filipinos under the American Occupation were much better speakers and writers in the English language compared to our generation. National Artist for Literature Nicomedes “Nick” Joaquín (1917-2004) is regarded as the greatest Filipino writer in English. But his primary language was Spanish. The quintessential poet in English and another National Artist for Literature, José García Villa (1908-1997, son of Simeón Villa, a physician of President Emilio Aguinaldo and a close associate of General Antonio Luna), also had Spanish as his first language. The Philippine Star’s Máximo Solivén (1929-2006) also spoke in flawless Spanish. And who could ever forget playwright and thespian Wilfrido Mª Guerrero (1917-1995) whose “Wanted: A Chaperon”, among other plays, is now considered a classic? Guerrero is a descendant of Lorenzo Guerrero (1835-1904), another native hispanoparlante. He first wrote in Spanish before shifting to English. And many of his plays were even staged in the US!

The abovementioned great men of Philippine letters had previous notions of Spanish, a daughter of the Latin language, therefore a basis by itself of English. That is why the English of the early 20th-century Filipinos were much superb compared to ours.

And that is why teaching Spanish in Philippine schools is crucial to the government’s efforts to make Filipinos fluent in English. The 24 units of Spanish should be brought back to colleges and universities. Imagine… Spanish has been with us for more than three hundred years. English for just a hundred or so. But why put so much importance to the latter? Isn’t it that Spanish is a global language, too? English was never ours in the first place. But Spanish is something that is already ours…

“Spanish is a national, Filipino tradition, for not only has it seeds in our history but roots that saturate the very core of our national soul and being, for it is the “open sesame” to the enchanted cavern that keeps like enduring treasures the highest thoughts and the deepest feelings of our race since the dawn of civilization.” –Claro M. Recto–

What are you lookin' at?

Special thanks to Inu Yasha (a reader of FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES) for sharing the MLQ video to us! =)

%d bloggers like this: