Ask me anything   News and views with an Asian and Pacific Islander point of view. This time, we're going to the Philippines for a different view.
Pasensya po.

R.J. here. I’ve been back since August 11, and it’s been nearly a month since I’ve been able to physically post anything here. My apologies, while smartphone access made some posts possible, the combination of constant movement and no desktop access made the on location reporting a little more difficult. I’ll be posting some of the photos up available to donors as a thank you gift (Also, if you’re interested in purchasing any of the prints, let me know, money will go towards recouping the losses on the trip and the amount not made up in the fundraiser).

I did do a broadcast on the current struggle at Hacienda Luisita, you can listen at our APEX Express website (and listen to other shows). Above is Florida “Pong” Sibayan. She’s the current chair of AMBALA, the local farm workers union at Hacienda Luisita. They’re currently undergoing a major battle for just and equitable land distribution by the Department of Agriculture. It’s a continuing battle between a dwindling force of farmers who want genuine land reform, and the Philippine government and moneyed interests.

Keep an eye out for future segments.

Maraming Salamat, po.

— 11 months ago
#Philippines  #HaciendaLuisita  #AMBALA  #UMA  #Bukid  #LandisLife 

On Monday, July 21st, President Benigno Aquino gave his fourth state of the nation address, otherwise known as SONA. For a record-length one hour and 40 minutes, Aquino lauded his administrations victories: 7.8 percent GDP in the first quarter, another call to his reduction of pork barrel politics, new programs to provide homes to Tropical Storm Sendong and Typhoon Pablo victims.

What President Aquino failed to call attention to are the more than twelve hundred extrajudicial killings that remain unresolved, and the increased militarization on indigenous lands in the name of multinational mining interests from Canada and Switzerland, to name a few. He also didn’t mention the continuation of human rights violations through disappearances, displacement, torture and illegal detention of innocent civilians held on false charges without due process.

Two kilometers away from the congressional hall, the SONA ng Bayan, or the People’s SONA took place. Members of community organizations representing various sectors of society, such as BAYAN, Gabriela, the clergy, health care workers, teachers, and children collectively expressed their dissatisfaction at an administration that did not make positive changes for many Filipinos. 

Among them was an international contingent of over 100 people from various countries as far as Guatemala, to as close as Taiwan, and Indonesia. They called for peace, an end to impunity, as well as demands to resume peace talks with the National Democratic Front that came together for an International Conference on Human Rights that occurred earlier that week.

The two thousand protesters marched towards the police barricade, where the Philippines National Police or PNP was set up. Young PNP women offering peace and bearing balloons and flowers obscured the PNP behind them in riot gear. The protesters maneuvered through the barricade and were met by the PNP in riot gear that started a violent clash that led to a two-hour melee. When this subsided, the PNP watched from a distance ominously striking their riot shields as the SONA ng Bayan held their program of cultural performances and speeches of resistance. Through it all, the people chanted “Makibaka, huwag matakot.”

Written by R.J. Lozada
Read by Jessica Antonio, Secretary General of BAYAN-USA

— 1 year ago
#sona  #philippines  #makibaka  #bayan 

APEX Contributor Karl Jagbandhansingh brings us more from the Moana Nui 2013 Teach In.  Visit here to read speaker bios.

— 1 year ago
Poorest provinces in the PH

(Click on the map to visit the article and the interactive map)

"We observe that the bottom 20% of families have a share of about 6% of the total national income, whereas, the upper 20% of income distribution, have a share of nearly 50% of total national income," NSCB Secretary General Jose Ramon Albert said.

"The total income of the top 20% of Pinoy families, in other words, is approximately 8 times of the total income of the bottom 20% of Filipino families in the first semester of 2006, 2009, and 2012," he  added.

— 1 year ago
PSR - Chapter 1: Review of Philippine History

Chapter one of the Philippine Society and Revolution is a review of Philippine history. The chapter begins with the geography and topography of the Philippines, goes into the ethnic lineage of Filipinos, and in about 60 pages takes you through presidencies and ending at the reestablishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines on December 26, 1968.

The text weaves together significant moments, individuals, and policies that steer Philippine history towards revolution. The tone of the text is directed, almost unwavering, as it builds the case against colonialism and imperialism. This very specific narrative is through a Marx-Lenin lens, so those familiar with Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin will recognize the same components for Capitalist critique.

image

(Aeta or Negritos — photo from Correos Filipinas)

Philippine society bore “semicommunal and semislave social system in many parts,” and in the Southern parts of the Philippines, Mindanao, bore qualities of the feudal system. These elements were interrupted, co-opted upon the arrival of the Spanish.

image

(Marano Sultan of Unayan / Masiu with his entourage — Photo from Correos Filipinas)

Spanish conquest and colonialism creates the foundations for a feudal society for the majority of the Philippines (Mindanao remained a contentious region at that time too), an attribute that Marx defines as an intermediary for class stratification, and inevitable oppression by the landowning classes, and those that seek to gain in exploiting the poor. A false meritocracy, and a closed network of the bourgeoisie to finalize the mechanisms for capitalism.

image

(Upper class Muslim women, Sulu, 1900-1910 — photo from Correos Filipinas)

This section mixes recognition and criticism towards people power movements, and revolutions that happen more often than documented. The language almost suggests that the more mainstream Philippine historical texts do more to hide, and criminalize these movements.

image

(Unknown date — photo from Correos Filipinas)

The strongest parts of this section is the naming of the different “puppet” regimes that collude and bend at the will of American colonialism and imperialism. Presidencies and independents are “shams,” when specific treaties allowing for nearly unadulterated extraction for the benefit of the United States. This text pulls no punches, and explains in laypersons terms (as opposed to mathematical, economic-speak) just how these treaties and agreements have done an almost irreparable damage to Philippine infrastructure and economy.

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(Women making cigars at La Insular Factory, Manila, 1920 - 1930 — photo from Correos Filipinas)

Despite the momentum this section has, I was left curious as to what the Communist party looked like, who comprised that party, and their movements within this extensive narrative. This almost seeming invisibility of the early iterations of the Communist party made me think about how they perceived themselves. This is all speculation, but perhaps in an oppressive regime, and in a war being waged, you do not identify yourself to the enemy as an individual, but as a people.

Another takeaway from the PSR is trying to understand the longevity of the text. In tandem with these photos, it’s not hard to see how long it took to oppress a country, and how a country stays in this seeming state of oppression. In fact, you see this pattern all over the world in the age of imperialism and conquest, and more contemporary times. So, I say ‘seeming’ because there continues to be an almost diametrically opposite way of living at that time, which benefitted the other population of Filipinos. What did prosperity look like, was it guiltless? What did happiness in it’s most basic form look like? The first chapter of the PSR isn’t structured to address the more minutiae, the quotidian — and it’s sometimes in this lacking that I’m finding myself distant from completely prescribing to it’s arguments.

It’s still a strong text as it’s a pronouncement of war, (and this is hella cliche) but what of peace?

Stay tuned for more.

image

(Execution Chamber and Garrote, Manila, 1899 — Photo from Correos Filipinas).

Stay tuned for more.

— 1 year ago

correosfilipinas:

A tour of Manila, Philippines in the 1930s

This time capsule is so haunting, so much asserted by the narrator’s voice, so many ghosts with unspoken truths.

— 1 year ago with 11 notes
#philippine history  #colonialism  #imperialism  #oppression 

Moana Nui Highlights

Missed the Moana Nui conference?  Catch some of the highlights from this week’s Apex Express. 

— 1 year ago
Philippine Society and RevolutionHi.  Marie again.  Philippine Society and Revolution.  Just about every Filipino activist we’ve interviewed on Apex has referenced this book at one time or another in talking about their work.  It’s described as a political line — the text that provides an ideological framework for many individuals and organizations.  So we thought we’d better read it.   The book is organized into three sections:  - A Review of Philippine History - Basic Problems of the Filipino People - The People’s Democratic Revolution The first part is a brief history focusing on Spanish colonization, US imperialism, and the subsequent development of puppet regimes.  Part two takes on the ways in which the U.S. continues to dominate the Philippines militarily and economically, how elites continue to control land and exploit agricultural labor, and the emergence of a corrupt political elite that maintains this system for their own benefit.  And part three lays out the task of the Filipino people to build a revolution that will free them from both foreign and domestic exploitation — much along the lines of Marx and Lenin with a national liberation bent to it.   We’ll register some of our reactions to PSR as we go along.  For now, we invite you read with us: how relevant is this text in your life? 

Philippine Society and Revolution

Hi.  Marie again.

Philippine Society and Revolution.  Just about every Filipino activist we’ve interviewed on Apex has referenced this book at one time or another in talking about their work.  It’s described as a political line — the text that provides an ideological framework for many individuals and organizations.  So we thought we’d better read it. 

The book is organized into three sections:
- A Review of Philippine History
- Basic Problems of the Filipino People
- The People’s Democratic Revolution

The first part is a brief history focusing on Spanish colonization, US imperialism, and the subsequent development of puppet regimes.  Part two takes on the ways in which the U.S. continues to dominate the Philippines militarily and economically, how elites continue to control land and exploit agricultural labor, and the emergence of a corrupt political elite that maintains this system for their own benefit.  And part three lays out the task of the Filipino people to build a revolution that will free them from both foreign and domestic exploitation — much along the lines of Marx and Lenin with a national liberation bent to it. 

We’ll register some of our reactions to PSR as we go along.  For now, we invite you read with us: how relevant is this text in your life? 

— 1 year ago with 1 note
#philippinesocietyandrevolution