I (hope I will) Survive UP

Just want to share a fine news article from rappler.com. For those who bash students who commit suicide due to none payment of tuition fee, please, before you judge those people, please take time to look at the ‘ordeal’ of UP and even SUC students go through just to finish education. The author was able to surpass all those BUT also bear in mind that NOT all students have the same demeanor as hers.

This article serves also as my inspiration since yours truly will tread the same path as all SUC students went through (scared shitless, yet hopeful and excited as the same time).  Without further a do… read up!

I survived UP http://bit.ly/Zo2CZg

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The Myth of the “Bobo” Voter

by CRUSADA or the Christian Union for Socialist and Democratic Advancement

*The owner of this blog does not claim that it was made by him or is a member of the organization. The article is owned by CRUSADA and is being published in this blog for promotional purposes.

A few hours after the polls closed, the Internet was ablaze with comments that categorized the votes of the Filipinos as either being “smart” or “bobo.” The “bobo” voters- or in other words, the “masa”- are said to be ruining this country with their “uninformed” vote, while the “smart” voters–also known as the middle class “intellectuals”– claim that their bets will lead the country to progress. The task of the intellectual is clear- to save the “masa” from their ignorance.

From here we are led to a discourse that has fascinated thinkers throughout history: the idea of an “enlightened” class, or a specific group of individuals that would, through the sheer sensibility of their ideas, bring about a more progressive society. Though the idea obviously still pervades, we must question its validity. Is there a true enlightened class?

We, the Christian Union for Socialist and Democratic Advancement, reject the unenlightened / enlightened voter dichotomy. We reject the “enlightened” intelligentsia who take it upon themselves to liberate the “masa” from their supposed ignorance. We reject the fabricated hierarchy of rationalities and the oppressive structures that reinforce it. Instead, we believe that the role of the intelligentsia is to encourage plurality rather than to eliminate it.

Now, from Plato’s “philosopher-kings” to Lenin’s Party, the idea that only the enlightened should rule is based on the idea that they possess The Truth. They know for a fact what is good for this country, and therefore they have the right to rule it. We reject this idea because we cannot know The Objective Truth. Thus, the philosopher-king is a myth, and claims of absolute certainty should be met with suspicion.

Objective knowledge is impossible because how we think is conditioned by who we are. Our ethnicity, socio-economic class, age, gender- all of these factors condition the way we think and act. A teenage boy who grew up in Forbes Park would think differently from a middle-aged Aeta woman. They have different values and concerns because of who they are. To say that one way of thinking is superior to another is absurd because there is no objective, unconditioned rationality to compare these ways of thinking.

To claim otherwise is to legitimize- and reinforce- the violence committed in the name of The Truth. This claim justifies the violence done by the Stalinists in the name of Communism. This is the logic of those who claim that indigenous people need not be consulted because they are uneducated and ignorant. This is the logic that comes into play when labor unions are silenced. To claim- and treat- voters as ignorant by virtue of being “uneducated”, then, is to legitimize the logic that has led to social injustice throughout the ages.

These acts of injustice are justified by the notion that some people are “objectively” more intelligent than others. In turn, the “enlightened” people can do what they want because they have possession of “objective” knowledge that cannot be denied by the “ignorant”.

But there is one thing that has frustrated the so-called enlightened ones: democracy. Democracy takes that exclusive right of speech from these “enlightened” ones and opens up a space that promotes discourse regardless of one’s status. In a true democracy, everyone is allowed to participate in the space of deliberation. The “enlightened” intellectual, though, prevents deliberation by denying the people of their ability to think rationally.

And where there is no deliberation, there is totalitarianism.

Should we then say that the intelligentsia is harmful to democracy?

No.

Here, we present another kind of intellectual. This intellectual does not pretend to possess objective knowledge. They are aware that the search for Truth is asymptotic; we can get closer to it but never get there. This awareness, then, saves the new intellectual from falling into the mythologizing trap that leads to the reinforcement of oppressive structures.

This intellectual, instead of being frustrated by democracy, lives and thrives within it. Instead of closing off the political space to the “uneducated” masses, they create, expand, and open up that space so that it could help nurture and let flourish their ways of living. They go down from the imaginary plateau traditional intellectuals set themselves upon and interact with the masses, therefore making education more dialogical rather than monological.

The key difference, then, is that the “enlightened” intellectual speaks to the “masa” while the other kind of intellectual speaks with the “masa”. In fact, the the new intellectual finds the “masa” label to be totalizing while the “enlightened” intellectual reinforces it. The goal of the “enlightened” intellectual then is to homogenize the many when they should really be creating space for plurality.

CRUSADA believes that we must all use our knowledge to dismantle these structures of oppression. We remove the risk of marginalizing the Other by speaking with, fighting with, and being with them instead of speaking for, fighting for, and being for them. If we are to fight for labor unions like PALEA, the people of Casiguran, or oppressed women, then we must do it as equals rather than as self-proclaimed saviors.

On a more fundamental level, we must undergo self-examination on how we use our knowledge: are we using it to strengthen or resist structural violence? When we call people ignorant because of their vote, we legitimize a mentality that strengthens structures which ranks individuals base on their class. In doing so, we abuse the privilege that we have been given, and exclude individuals from the discursive spaces that define democratic life.

If we are to make the Philippines a better place then the solution is not to push away the “masa.” Rather, we must work with them in dismantling the structures that oppress us all. We therefore need to use our knowledge to let other discourses from the traditionally silenced demos flourish, opening spaces for debate and disagreement instead of closing it off. If you disagree with someone’s vote, then the solution is not to label them as inferior and irrational. Instead, understand where they’re coming from and persuade them in the next elections.

Only by seeing and treating our “unequals” as equals, do we become equal. Only then will we have democracy.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/crusada-christian-union-for-socialist-and-democratic-advancement/the-myth-of-the-bobo-voter/587086747978686

CRUSADA-Christian Union for Socialist and Democratic Advancement

CRUSADA-Christian Union for Socialist and Democratic Advancement

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Top 5 Peti-Bugoy Election Quotes

Elections is over and most, if not all, are generally disappointed over the results (including me). However one cannot help but notice the very “intelligent” (pun intended) quotes coming from this particular social group so-called the “thinking class”. O! Wag na kayong mag-reklamo sila na ang “thinking class”. Hahaha! Harvested from the Cyber-kingdom of Pezbuk, alas, the Top 5 Peti-Bugoy Election Quotes!

1) Bawal magreklamo pag di bumoto (young Socialite)

2) Election is revolution (Weh? Di nga? from a TV Reporter)

3) Right to suffrage should not be a right but a privilege to the well-educated (freethinker)

4) Dapat may party-list ang middle class! (Teacher sa isang posh tertiary school)

5) Mamaya puro rally na naman ang mga Pobre pero sila naman ang mga nagluloklok sa mga walang kwentang pulitiko (former volunteer)

So what is your take on the recently held national elections? :-p

Nicked from mysimplethoughtsonline.blogspot.com

Nicked from mysimplethoughtsonline.blogspot.com

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There is a cult of ignorance

There is a cult of ignorance (around the world) and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is as good as your knowledge’” – Isaac Asimov

I rephrased Isaac Asimov’s qute from “United States” to (around the world) to give it a universal tone. I can even feel that here in the Philippines as most people today would glorify and even dignify Martial Law, Ferdinand Marcos and even Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Jovito Palparan.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/philrights/7007411037/in/photostream/

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Of Lolong’s captivity and our freedom

In the news today, Lolong, the 21-foot crocodile caught in the marshlands of Agusan still refuses to eat, according to the Inquirer. The crocodile, was caught last September 2, 2011. The crocodile is suspected to have eaten a farmer, a 12 year old girl, and some farm animals including a carabao. The crocodile may be the longest crocodile so far as the last recorded crocodile caught was only 5.5 meters long, compared to the 6.7 meters of Lolong the Crocodile. The crocodile is now in an eco-park somewhere in Agusan.

According to some animal experts, the reason why Lolong is unable to eat is that he is too stressed to eat. After his ordeal during his capture, there were instances that he became too hostile, and probably, the reason he was captured was because he became weak after a long arduous struggle to set himself free. He may be in an eco-park but that is not his natural habitat. Since the croc was born not from captivity, its ability to adapt in an enclosed area may take some time if not at all.

My point here is the croc’s natural habitat belongs to the wild. It feeds on living or maybe carcasses of animals. Its capability is to hunt down, strike on its prey and eat. That is its nature, and a living animal like him belongs to the wild and this is the only way he can survive. Take him away from it and who knows he can die of stress and inability to adapt.

We humans are extraordinary beings. We are extraordinary in the sense that we can go beyond our natural animal instinct. Apart from our beings as an animal, we have one distinct characteristic: We are rational beings. We are endowed with an ability to understand the things around us, adapt on it, do something about it and develop ourselves and our community.

But for a human being to fully actualize his abilities, he needs the same thing as animals do. Food, water, clothing, shelter, fellow beings and the like. But as human beings, we need more than that. We have a natural propensity to develop. Here comes education, jobs, decent wages, family, clean environment, technology and the like. One good thing about us humans is that our consciousness can go beyond the self and extend to others. No! I am not talking about mind control! What I mean is that we don’t just think about ourselves but we also think of the betterment of the others: Conscientious, emphatic, sympathetic, solidarity.

Now take away all of it, what becomes of a human? Like what Lolong experienced, from being taken away from his natural habitat and being a captive and displayed like a prized trophy, we are all taken off from our natural being. Dehumanized is the best word to see it. The sad part is, the more we fight to regain our humanity, our dignity, the more we are challenged to regain back what is ours for it is not given like a piece of candy. To retake it, we must pay for it with our blood and sweat. Our heroes have done it and we still have to continue the fight.

In this day of commemoration of martial law, let us not forget that during those days, our life as a human being and as a freedom loving Filipino was salvaged and we’re brainwashed to accept that it was a necessary step for peace and order. That it was Marcos’ key so he can amass more power and wealth and to destroy the very fabric that the nation our heroes like Bonifacio, Rizal, Jacinto, Sakay, Ninoy, Alejandro and the countless, nameless, faceless victims of martial law died for. Let us not forget them for even animals do not forget their prey and aggressors.

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Hustisiyang atrasado, hustisiyang pinagkait; Hustisiyang pinagkait ay buhay na pinagkait

Solidarity fasting for political prisoners together with TFDP, MAG, PAHRA and PO's.

Likas sa tao ang makibaka para sa pagtatanggol niya sa kanyang karapatan at dignidad bilang tao. Walang sinuman ang gustong nagigipit o mapagkaitan ng dapat sa kanya. Kaya tinawag na karapatang pantao pagka’t ang mga ito ay karapatdapat sa tao. At sino ang dapat na makakasiguro na ang mga tao ay may seguridad sa lahat? Ang ESTADO! Sa prinsipyong “social contract” dahil sa paglago ng isang lipunan, minarapat ng mga tao na magkaroon ng isang gobyerno o pamunuan upang mapanatili ang kaayusan sa lumalaking pamayanan nila at nagsisilbi upang umunlad pa ang pamayanan. Kung gayon ang ideyal na estado ay nagpapasilidad ng pamamayagpag ng kaayusan at panatilihin ang “rule of law”, hustisya at kapayapaan.

Ngunit sa mga pagkakataon ang naatasan na magsilbi sa mamamayan ay siya mismo ang lumalabag sa karapatang pantao at nakikipagsabwatan sa mga mayayamang makasarili, hindi maiwasan na gumawa ng mga hakbang ang mga tao upang mabawi ang mga nararapat para sa kanila at pagsilbihan ang mga taong nakararanas ng pang-aapi na kung saan ang estado ang siya dapat na tumutugon. Nagiging marahas ang estado dito pagka’t ito ay hamon sa kanilang kapangyarihan. Umaabot pa sa punto na hindi na nila matukoy kung sino ang kalaban. Basta kung ikaw ay kumikilos upang magtanggol ng inyong karapatan at ng ibang tao o sector, ikaw ay ituturing na kalaban. Pagka’t ikaw ay kalaban ng estado, pagkakait sayo ang mga karapatan ninyo tulad ng makapagpahayag ng hinanaing, kalayaang makapaglakbay at ang pinakamalala ay ang pagkait sa iyo ng karapatang mabuhay.

Isang halimbawa si Tatay Umbrero. Si Tatay ay kilalang organizer ng mga magsasaka sa Cagayan. Nahuli siya nung panahon ng Martial law dahil sa pagsapi niya sa grupo na nagsusulong ng pambansang kalayaan mula sa diktaduryang Marcos. Napalaya siya bisa ng Executive Clemency nung 1993 sa ilalim ni Pangulong Ramos. Muli siyang hinuli nung 2003 at sinampahan ng mga kasong pawang walang katotohanan. Mga kasong inamin niya sa bisa ng tortyur. At dahil sa marahas na prosesong iyon ay nawalan siya ng pandinig pagka’t ayon sa kanya, pinaputukan siya ng baril malapit sa kanyang tenga. Taong 2011, 63 na taong gulang, ay nakitaan siya ng mga “spots” sa kanyang baga at ng muli siyang nagpatingin dahil siya ay nanghihina na at umuubo na ng dugo, napatunayan na siya ay may lung cancer at stage 4 na!

Ang mga ahensyang Medical Action Group at Task Force Detainees of the Philippines ay lumapit sa iba’t-ibang ahensya ng pamahalaan mula Department of Justice, Board of Pardon and Parole, Commission on Human Rights at Malacañang. Sumangguni din sila sa Office of the Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs ngunit hindi rin nagkaroon ng malinaw na dulo ang paguusap na ito. Hanggang nalaman nalang ang mapait na katotohanan Sumalangit si Tatay Umbrero ng hindi man lang nalasapa ang sariwang hangin ng kalayaan kahit sa mga huling sandali ng kanyang buhay. To add insult to injury, lumabas ang executive clemency ni Pangulong Pnoy 4 na araw matapos ang kanyang pagpanaw.

Nakakapanlumo pero hindi dapat nagtatapos ang laban. Bunga ng kawalang pagtugon ng ating pamahalaan sa sitwasyon ni tatay Umbrero at ng mga bilanggong pulitikal at ng pangkabuoang karapatang pantao, ang mga kasama ni tatay na bilanggong pulitikal ay nagsagawa ng hunger-strike upang ipakita sa buong Pilipinas at sa buong mundo ang kawalang pagtugon at hustisya sa ating lipunan. Sa ganitong pagkilos, pinapakita lang na malayo pa ang ating kailangang marating upang makamtan natin lipunang makatao at abanse.

Ganito nalang kahalaga na malaman ng bawat madla ang kanilang karapatang pantao. Sa pag-alam ng ating karapatan bubukas ng panibagong pintuan ang ating kamalayan na dapat, sa sitwasyong tayo ay nagigigpit, ay meron tayong ginagawa upang mabawi natin ang kapangyarihan at magtaguyod ng pamahalaan na alam natin na tutugon sa pangangailangan natin at mamahalin natin pagka’t alam natin na atin ito at tayo mismo ang nagtayo nito gamit ang sarili nating kamay. Hindi na kailangan ng isa pang tatay Umbrero ang magbuwis na buhay upang patunayan na kailangan nating kumilos upang ipakita ang katiwalian sa namamayagpag sa panahon ng pagwaksi sa “kulturang wang-wang” . Ang hustisya na para sa tao ay pinagkait, buhay rin ay ipinagkait. Huwag natin iasa sa isang nagpapanggap na mesias ang lahat pagka’t siya din ay parte ng problema. Sa sama-samang pagkilos lang mababawi natin ang hustisya at kapayapaan na para sa ating lahat.

Mariano Umbrero passed away last June 15, 2011 without experiencing the sweet smell of freedom.

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STOP HARASSING HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS, STOP VILIFYING PEOPLES’ ORGANIZATIONS IN CENTRAL LUZON

In January this year the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) aired its claim of “paradigm shift” in its internal peace and security plan called “bayanihan” with “ugnayan” as the Northern Luzon Command’s (NOLCOM) counterpart campaign plan. While we welcome the emphasis of “addressing the needs of our less fortunate communities, in collaboration with other stakeholders”, we are wary of the institution’s truthfulness and sincerity with the latest multiple harassment cases in Central Luzon.

From June 1 to 6 this year, residents of Barangay Taal, Purok 1, Malolos City, Province of Bulacan were witnesses to a new round of military operations by elements of the 70th Infantry (Cadre) Battalion, 7th ID Philippine Army and members of CAFGU. They are looking for members of Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA), Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) and SANLAKAS (all legal organizations), and alleged these groups have ties to the New People’s Army (NPA). Families were interviewed and peoples’ organizations were vilified. At least three residents were asked to report to certain Sgt. Mendoza in Camp Niugan.

The incident brings to fore canny military procedure that sows fear in the communities of Central Luzon. What is more worrisome is the targeting of human rights defenders – members of organized groups whose only desire is to protect and assert their guaranteed rights under the Philippine Constitution and the International Bill of Rights.

In a landmark study on the protection of human rights defenders in the Philippines, Renato Mabunga, Chairperson of HRD-Pilipinas identified threats to Life, harassment and stigmatization as the dangers for human rights defenders. These threats are borne-out of military operations’ house-to-house “census”, witch-hunting and vilification proceedings on community and peoples’ organizations.

The latest case in Bulacan undermines the sincerity of the armed forces’ security plan. It projects a weak command of the military echelon in asserting a marching order of a paradigm shift. A shift in orientation from the old concept and operation to new cooperative and synergetic actions together with various stakeholders in the community.

Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas (HRD-Pilipinas) therefore calls on the Armed Forces of the Philippines:

- to immediately stop its “census” and vilification operations in the communities of Central Luzon;

- Review military actions in the field that breed human rights violations to individuals and communities;

- Identify and penalized certain “Sgt. Mendoza” and company for instigating actions inimical to image of the AFP as “changed institution”;

- to investigate the case of harassment in Central Luzon and other areas of similar situation;

- Re-orient its ranks and files in its claimed broader framework of security serving society, acting in harmony with other government strategic policies for peace, security and development.

To the Commission on Human Rights, to investigate and document this case in Brgy. Taal, Malolos City; and, monitor compliance of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to human rights protection and promotion.

For more information, contact:

Mr. Renato Mabunga, Chairperson, 437-8054, hrd.pilipinas@gmail.com

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