Rethinking Society Over a Cup of Coffee

Ka Vic Paglinawan, Vice-President for PAKISAMA- Mindanao Shot Dead

Dear colleagues,

At 5:45 p.m. today (November 22, 2008), Vicente "Roger" Paglinawan, 51, PAKISAMA's Vice-President for Mindanao, was shot dead by two motor-cycle riding men in Malabog, Davao City. Three bullets were pumped into his head ensuring his death.

We in PAKISAMA(Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka or the National Confederation and Movement of Peasant Organizations) condemn in strongest possible terms this dastardly and cowardly act of his murderers. If they thought that killing him will sow fear and stop PAKISAMA and the broad peasant movement from pursuing their planned activities in the coming days, they were mistaken.

Ka "Vic" has been over the past few weeks groundworking in Mindanao for the planned December 3 National Mobilization of farmers and various support groups to press Congress to pass the extension of funding of CARP and introduce necessary reforms to ensure its meaningful implementation.

Ka Vic has been a recognized leader of a successful 6- million peso agri-cooperative, MIEDECO, a member of PAKISAMA. He rose to the leadership of PAKISAMA, a national confederation of peasant federations, becoming one of its Presidents and Executive Committee member.

He is also one of the leaders of PANDAYAN and AKBAYAN in Mindanao. A model of integrity, dedication, and industry, Ka Vic is undoubtedly a big loss to the peasantry and the broad social movement.

He is survived by his wife, Aida, and his 4 children aged 22, 19, 16, and 14.

Cynical as we are, we demand, nevertheless, from this government a speedy investigation and pursuit of his murderers.

We ask our colleagues to pray for his soul and strength to his family. Please contact us (02-4342079) for any contribution you wish to share to his family. They would surely appreciate any act of support.

Sincerely yours,

Soc Banzuela
National Coordinator, PAKISAMA

Erap for President 2010?

I don’t know what to make of this but it seems that Erap Estrada still is an influence in the Philippine political landscape. In the recent surveys, He belongs to the top five.

Whenever I think of Erap, I think of EDSA 2. I was college student then and people were filled with outrage over Erap’s corruption, at the same time filled with hope at the possibility of a brighter future for the Philippines.

Well, EDSA 2 did succeed, Erap was ousted, resigned (or whatever the term) from his office. I thought the Philippines was given a second chance at progress. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, effortlessly succeeded into office at the expense of the peoples effort. She took part of the movement only after it was clear that the Estrada administration is going down. She waited, politically calculating, knowing that under the constitution she is the constitutional successor.

Civil Society was reluctant and hesitant but people had no choice. She became the President without effort and then cling to the office of the President with all the executive power she could muster.

We should never forget about “hello garci”, ZTE-NBN Scandal, fertilizer scam. All these things are connected. Out of a total disrespect for the spirit of EDSA 2, she pardoned Erap. In public she says, its for Healing the country because it has become polarized. But of course at the back of our minds we know it is a political move for political gains.

ERAP still tallies in the surveys because the current administration stinks of corruption and we are no better than before. This article is supposed to be about ERAP but I guess I could not tell the difference between an ERAP administration and an Arroyo administration.

“Bagong Bahay, Lumang Pako”

Smartbro Problems

I have been out for a while now, I had a problem with my smartbro billing As a person who is doing an online job, I have always made sure that I pay my monthly bills because that is where your work depends on.

Last two weeks I got disconnected. My younger brother, who I ask to pay, said the customer service representative said I was lagging two months on my bills. I got shocked, two months is impossible because I’ve been diligent with my payments.

One lesson I learned was the importance of keeping receipts because that is the only weapon we can use against computer records. I did not keep my receipts well, I only found a few of them. I went to smart wireless center at Limketkai. I asked again how many months I failed to pay my bills; they said it was only one month. At the back of head, I was thinking how inconsistent they were.

Then I asked what month? The customer service representative said September 2008, I looked at my receipts and I found my September receipt, gave it to her and said, I paid for that month. She looked at her computer again and said that she was wrong, not September but July. I looked on my receipts again but did not found one. I lost. Lesson, KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS.

I just wondered if I found my July receipts, would they again say I did not pay for the month of june. What if I found June?

I reflected on it and I realized how consumer rights are barely protected in this country. This is not only with smartbro but also with other services. But that is I think understandable, in a country that barely values human rights, evidenced by the hundreds of extra-judicial killings, political killings and other sorts of killings, how much more our consumer rights?

But maybe I was wrong, maybe I really did forget paying my bills for the month of july, very unlikely but still possible. Again KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS.

I hope I am the only one who has experienced this kind of situation.

Sexual Harassment and Acts of Lasciviousness

What is the difference between sexual harassment and acts of lasciviousness?

Sexual harassment is done by a person who has authority over another person.

Acts of lasciviousness is done by a co-worker.

Example of Acts of Lasciviousness:

Morky was a trusted friend of sherrie, she even recommend him to the office where she worked. All went well for a while but one day, morky touched/grasps sherry’s breast saying he had a sex urge.

Still in these modern times, women are still viewed as sex objects and even a trusted friend could become a sexual predator.

Obama: First African-American President

Obama has just won the 2008 US presidential elections. I bet that not only the United States is overwhelmed but also the world. Television News, newspapers, radios, the internet and especially the blogging community will all be telling something about the historic event.

After long long years, a black American has become the president of the United States. It tells a lot about the struggle of black Americans from slavery. I bet Martin Luther King and all those who died in the civil liberties movement is smiling down on earth and rejoicing, wherever they are.

I just hope that one day the Philippines will have a moment of this proportion, of a nation so thrilled about the prospects of the future. The Philippines also needs change especially structural change.

While Philippine Politics has become a boring subject of vote buying, smearing, vote rigging, hello garci, “dagdag bawas”, I still believe that the Filipino people can still rise above it. Definitely, change will not come from the top, nor from most of the politicians, who time and again have promised change and promised a lot but still delivered that same old social cancer of corruption, greed and the status quo.

As Obama faces enormous tasks and expectations ahead, we also face an equally enormous task. The struggle to make ends meet, the struggle against poverty and bringing food on the table, the struggle for peace especially in Mindanao, the struggle of everyday life.

The Philippines has been needing change for a long time.

The Fate of IPRA

I was just wondering what happened to the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act or the IPRA.

IPRA is one of the Progressive laws we have. It basically recognizes and upholds the rights of the Indigenous peoples in terms of their ancestral domain, self-governance social justice and cultural integrity.

However, we barely hear what has happened to the implementation of the law since then, We barely here it in the news. The IP’s are obviously sidelined by government. In the senate and the house of representatives, I wonder how many are bringing their voices and advancing their rights.

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples has been rendered almost useless because of lack of resources. In Misamis oriental alone, there are about 50 ancestral domain claims and only 1 has been given a certificate of ancestral domain title or the CADT. I heard that they have a target to issue one CADT per year. At this rate all the Claims will be finished in 50 years, at this rate the claimants are already dead before they are given the title.

One of the major obstacles in the Implementation is the mining act which President Gloria Arroyo authored. Through the mining act of 1995 which allows for 100% foreign ownership of mineral lands and the eviction of indigenous communities, hundreds if not thousands of lumads were displaced, their sacred lands plundered and turned upside down by mining companies.

Discriminated and marginalized these people are going through a lot. Barely represented in a supposed to be democratic government and basic social services hardly reach their communities.

Most of the Politicians use them, and after winning, forget them. I am hoping for the party-list system to work for the Lumads.I hope the next election will be kinder to them