Category Archives: Right-Up

[Right-UP] The Philippines’ COVID-19 Response: Securitising the Pandemic and Disciplining the Pasaway | by Karl Hapal

#HumanRights #COVID19ph

The Philippines’ COVID-19 Response: Securitising the Pandemic and Disciplining the Pasaway
by Karl Hapal

It was the third week of April 2020, five weeks since Metro Manila and other provinces were put under “enhanced community quarantine” (ECQ). Under ECQ, school and university classes were suspended, mass gatherings were prohibited, government offices were run with a skeletal workforce, businesses were closed except for those providing essential goods and services, mass transportation was restricted, and people were ordered to observe social distancing measures and to stay at home. At that time, the Philippines had 6,456 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) confirmed cases, 426 deaths, and 612 recoveries. Quarantine rules specified that only one person was authorized to go out and buy essential goods for the rest of their family. As the designated “authorized person outside of residence” (APOR), I was given a “quarantine pass,” a document issued by the barangay. With my quarantine pass securely kept in my bag, I went out to buy food and medicine in a nearby market. Without any public transportation, I walked for nearly thirty minutes to get to the market. The street leading to the market was relatively empty. Apart from people who were, like me, walking towards the market, very few vehicles plied the road. Occasionally, an ambulance would pass by as well as illegal motorcycle taxis. As I neared the market, I saw slow-moving vehicles occupying the street. It was as if I had gone back to the “old normal.” Soon I saw police vehicles. I also saw several buses where people were being loaded. I thought the buses were there to transport frontline workers. I was later told that the buses were there to transport people apprehended for violating quarantine guidelines. My brief encounter with the government’s campaign to apprehend violators of quarantine guidelines is hardly an aberration. Elsewhere in the greater Metro Manila area, the joint forces of the police and the military cracked down on erring individuals.

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[Right-UP] Run, Sara, Run (Away) | by Norman Novio

#HumanRights #Election

Run, Sara, Run (Away)
by Norman Novio

Whether in times of pandemic or not, held elsewhere or right here in Occidental Mindoro, the “Run, Sara, Run” motorcade is a nasty manifestation and display of usual theatrics in pushing forward a phenomenon called political dynasty which is part and parcel of the dreaded traditional politics.

Traditional politics and political dynasty are the two deadliest pandemic in our country’s socio-political history. Traditional politics and political dynasty are cradles of weathervane politicians and butterflies, the bootlickers and their hardcore flatterers disguised as “concerned netizens”, the local politicians who hope to catch manna before 2022 from public gods upstairs and coagulate with them both in financial and organizational terms.

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[Right-up] Pulling the Trigger: Serving Translucent Information Amidst Threats -by Kristian Rivera

#HumanRights #COVID19ph

Pulling the Trigger: Serving Translucent Information Amidst Threats
by: Kristian Rivera

Photo Credits: From PopularResistance.org.

Journalists around the world are facing new threats as they document the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 2,166,440 people globally, stated by World Health Organization (WHO). The COVID-19 pandemic is pulling the strings and cracking up the whip reality, a surprise stress test to every democratic state. Major democratic principles are under pressure, and governments’ respect for press freedom which is one of the pillars of free societies, is continuously eroding.

ABS-CBN was shut down and the loyalty of hundreds of journalists were provoked in such ways for delivering fiery information that only served the truth behind this modern- day societal issues. The right to information and privacy were dejected.

Mohammad Mossed, a reporter in Iran who criticized the government’s response to the pandemic, has been barred from practicing journalism and suspended from Social Media. Chen Quiche, a freelance journalist who was covering the outbreak in Wuhan, China, has not been seen since early February, when he told family members he was planning to report on a temporary hospital as a field reporter.

Social media platforms have assumed the role of news distribution sources. Due to this fact, the media have largely rejected the affiliated gatekeeper role of fact-checking to the content they allow on different pages and sites. This renunciation has led to the rise of fake news, disinformation and propaganda. We cannot see the entire effect of these unless we know how to comprehensively read and understand unfiltered news even in a different lens.

Moreover, this will result in echo-chamber of deception. We have the internet as our daily resource of information, and it is much easier to access data and information via google or the drastic Facebook pages that are emerging. Many leaders are manipulating and threatening the news and pressuring local media to obscure reality and divert attention.

This form of unethical information to the public consensus is satire. As the health of the entire nation comes under increasing threat, the concern for accurate and clear reporting is more essential than ever, it becomes a burden, the fact that we only want to serve as the voice and to only speak for the truth could lead to a one-shot destination that could probably end one’s misery. When disaster strikes — and the COVID-19 outbreak gripped the world right now, it certainly qualifies — domestic and local media outlets are vital to combating problems, including the spread of a disease that could decimate entire populations.

Today is about all of us and all the things closest to us: our health and safety as Filipino citizens, our children and parents, our ability to move and speak freely without the fear and dilemma. Our liberty to write and be critical without restraint.

This is what it looks like when a crisis of leadership makes its way into our health and our homes, when lack of prudence induces panic, when diligence and the assurance of refuge is in need. When a lot of people won’t either trust and listen to the government because of inequality, overpower and suppression. Under any circumstances of the government’s incompetence, I am more than willing to engage in political retribution, counter blow, and an eye to eye against the administration, even though it would be a prime mover.

As a youth, I want to uphold democracy as much as I could, as our democracy today is under aggression. As we pay tribute to the bravery and sacrifices made to build this nation, it is important that we remember the full cost of liberty.

My message for the youth is to listen to dangerous words, be calm when the unthinkable tries to shock you, be a patriot, be courageous and speak when you can. Today, ask yourself about how many freedoms we have and how many we are in danger of losing. Every day, the sphere of politicism is trying to chip away at our basic rights and civil liberties.

The Philippines should not create another battle for us to transcend. Suppression days were over. We already shed blood and tears over the primitive times. Today, none of us doesn’t want to lose our valor, so choose to evolve, to speak, and to break through for a prominent eternity, for our country, the Philippines.

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[Right-Up] Ang mga nararapat na gawin ng gobyerno Hinggil sa Suliranin ng Pandemya at Kalusugan -ni Jose Mario De Vega

#HumanRights #Covid19ph

Ang mga nararapat na gawin ng gobyerno Hinggil sa Suliranin ng Pandemya at Kalusugan

Tanong:

Sapat na ba na matugunan ng pamahalaan ang pangangailangan sa vaccine para sa ​​​​”recovery” natin mula sa pandemya?

Tugon:

Hindi! Kailangang muling irehistro ang mapait, kasuklam-suklam at kasumpa-sumpang katotohanan na ang rehimeng ito ang isa sa primordial na dahilan kung bakit nakapasok ang bee-rus na ito sa atin (hindi tayo nagdeklara ng Travel Ban sa mga pasahero galing ng Tsina) at ang pagiging tuta ni Mang Kanor sa China (ang kauna-unahang namatay ditto ng corona virus ay isang Chinese na galing mismo ng Wuhan na siyang epicentre ng global na pandemya noon) ang hindi mapapasubaliang salik na lalong nagpalubha at nagpalala ng pandemya dini sa atin!

Bukod sa kawalang malasakit at pagtingin sa kapakanan ng mga mamamayan, ipinakita din ni Mang Kanor ang kawalan niyang kaalaman at sampu ng mga inkompetente, impertinente at mga tungaw na miyembro ng gabinete na pawang mga walang kasanayan at walang kaalaman sa pagharap at pagtugon sa problema!

Ang problema ay pangkalusugan, ngunit na sa halip na mga ekpersto, siyentipiko, akademiko at mga alagad ng medisina ang manguna sa IATF — ay tinadtad ito ng mga militar!

Sa halip na nakabatay sa agham at siyeniya ang programa, ang ginawa ng rehimen ay militariayon na para ba gang matatakot ang virus sa sandamakmak na mga militar at pulis na nagsilipana sa mga kalsada. Hindi pa nakuntento at naglagay pa ng mga tangke.

Nagdeklara nang Lockdown (na pinakamahaba na yata sa buong mundo) na ang idinulot ay labis-labis na hirap, pagdurusa at kagutuman ng mga tao. Bukod sa magulo, sabog ay lubhang naging mabagal ang pamamahangi ng ayuda na hanggang ngayon ay marami pa ang hindi nakakatanggap at marami din ang hindi kailanman nakakuha ni anumang tulong.

Samantalang pinalulusot ang mga big-time na lumalabag sa mga health protocols ay siya namang lupit at higpit nito sa mga karaiwang mga tao.

Kaya naman sa aking tingin kahit pa matugunan ng pamahalaang ito (na pinagdududahan ko) ang bakuna para sa mga tao ay hindi pa din iyon sapat sa lahat ng mga inhustisya at kawalanghiyaang sinapit ng mga tao sa napakasamang rehimen na ito.

Hinggil sa usapin ng bakuna, kinakailangan na ang gagamitin ay tunay na dumaan sa siyentikong pagsusuri at pag-aaral at hindi kung ano-anong bakuna lamang. Gayundin, walang karapatan ang gobyerno na ito na ipilit sa mga mamamayan ang bakuna na kanilang napupusuan o bakuna ng kanilang minamanok na imperyo kahit pa kuwestiyunable ang naging proseso at kaduda-duda ang diumano’y epikisidad o pagiging epektibo nito.

Kailangan ding idagdag na bukod sa bakuna, kailangang isaayos ng gobyerno ang usaping pang-ekonomiko at higit sa lahat ay ang usapin at karapatang-pangkalusugan ng mga mamamayan. Halimbawa, kailanman ay hindi natin dapat na kalimutan ang ninakaw na P 15Bilyong piso na pondo sa PhilHealth. Sapagkat kakailanganin natin ang nawawalang pondo na yaon sa implementasyon ng Universal Health Care Law o UHC.

Tanong:

Ano ang dapat pang mga ayusin sa sistema ng ​​​​kalusugan, pamamahala, at panagutang kapalpakan ng pamahalaan sa naging CoViD ​​​​response nito?

Tugon:

Habulin, singilin at pagbayarin ang mga magnanakaw at mandarambong sa PhilHealth.

Kanselahin muna ang pagtataas ng kontribusyon ng mga miyembro sa PhilHealth.

Bayaran ng gobyerno ang utang nito sa Red Cross, upang ang nasabing institusyon ay patuloy at tuloy-tuloy na magawa ang tungkulin nito na makatulong sa mga mamamayan.

Ang mga pork barrel ay dapat na ilipat para sa implementasyon ng UHC.

Itaas ang sahod ng mga medical frontliners

Dapat na gawing polisiya ng gobyerno ang pamimigay ng libreng face mask at face shield sa mga mamamayan — lalo na sa mga bulnerableng sektor ng ating lipunan at mga naghihikahos.

Kailangang magkaroon at ipaglaban ng mga Mamamayan ang Karapatan at Katarungan sa Usapin ng Kalusugan…

Panghuli, kinakailangang magkaroon ang gobyerno ng maayos na implementayon ng pamamahagi ng bakuha. Huwag nating kalimutan ang naging magulo at napakabagal nitong ginawa sa pamamahagi ng ayuda at tulong-pinansyal sa mga tao.

Gayundin, ibig kong muling idiin na walang karapatan ang gobyerno na ipilit sa mga tao ang isang bakuna na hindi naman pinagkakatiwalaan ng mga mamamayan. Kinakailangan din sa aking tingin na magkaroon ng malawak at Pambansang Konsultasyon ukol sa bagay na ito at Komprehensibong dissimenayon at edukayon para a Taong-Bayan ukol sa  bagay na ito!

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[Right-Up] On the impertinent and idiotic contention of so-called Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo with regard to the ICC Complaint -by Jose Mario De Vega

#HumanRights #ICC #ExtraJudicialKillings

On the impertinent and idiotic contention of so-called Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo with regard to the ICC Complaint

This refers to the outrageous and out of this world pronouncements of Mr. Panelo (see, “Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on the ICC Complaint”, PTV, January 3, 2021) with regard to the initial action of the ICC who said recently through its Prosecutor that they found reasonable ground to believe that crime against humanity was committed under the satanic regime of Mang Kanor aka Mr. Fentanyl y sino-farm tongpats bee-rus.

Mr. Panelo stated that “a year ago, Atty. Jude Sabio formally withdrew his communication filed before the International Criminal Court against the President.”

Comment:
The withdrawal of the communication of that freak has nothing to do whatsoever on the standing of the complaint before the ICC. For the record, that person is not the only individual who filed a complaint before that international body.

Further, the PTV report alleged that:

The said withdrawal, as we previously articulated, exposed the truth that the accusations against PRRD before the tribunal is part of the “vilification campaign” orchestrated by Trillanes in collusion with the opposition and other personalities identified by Atty. Sabio. Hence it is crystal clear that the case before the ICC is politically motivated, there being no factual and legal bases.

Comment:
Trillanes, the opposition and Mr. Sabio has nothing to do with this so-called “vilification campaign”. For the record, it is the families of the victims of Extra Judicial Killings (EJK) with the help, support and assistance of various Human Rights defenders and organizations who lodged the complaint before the ICC. The fact that the Prosecutor proceeded with the initial part of the proceeding simply means that it relied its initial findings based on the strength of the evidences presented by the complainants and not on the withdrawal of that freak.

As against Mr. Panelo’ charge that the case before the ICC is politically motivated, this is not only fallacious and ridiculous but undeniably fantastic. The fact that the Office of the Prosecutor released its findings unmistakably means that it is based both on facts and the applicable relevant international laws.

Another idiotic and impertinent claim of Mr. Panelo is as follows:
In the light of the recent publication of the ICC prosecutor of a Report that shows her misplaced determination to proceed with the case, the ICC should realize by now that it is being used as a platform to bring down the Duterte presidency.

Comment:
How on earth could the ICC prosecutor be misplaced in her determination to proceed with the case when she published her Report for all the world to bear witness to her findings?

Will the ICC allowed itself to be used as a platform to bring down the Duterte presidency?

Assuming for the sake of the most stupid “argument” that that is “true”, what the hell will the Office of the Prosecutor will gain if and when the demonic regime of Mang Kanor aka Mr. Fentanyl y sino-farm tongpats bee-rus fall down?
Next, Mr. clown, opps, I mean Mr. Panelo invoked jurisdiction. Here’s the exact text of that rubbish news report:

Last year, we called on the ICC not to be swayed by the false information it received against PRRD, and pointed out the very provisions of the Rome Statute that negate its taking jurisdiction over the case, the Philippines not being a member state thereof. Neither is there a crime that the ICC Prosecutor may ascertain that falls under the jurisdiction of the international tribunal.

Comment:
Point one, on the alleged false information being received by the ICC. The whole world knows that Mr. Panelo is utterly stupid, but I doubt if there is a reasonable person in the planet who will believe that the Prosecutor of the ICC is that stupid that she will not verify first the veracity, sufficiency and truthfulness of all the information that she is being given.

Point two, it does not mean that because the Philippines is no longer a member state to the Rome Statute, immediately the ICC has lost jurisdiction.

For the benefit of Mr. Panelo and all idiots like him, the Philippines is a member of the ICC since 2011 and it was only in 2019 that they bolted out of that international convention to evade criminal responsibility. Only the most idiotic of all idiots will fail to see this.
Nonetheless, what those bloody bastard freaks did is highly illegal, or at least highly questionable.

Questions:
Can the President get out of that international agreement without the concurrence of the Senate? Corollary to that, can a President unsign an international convention signed for the Republic by his predecessor?
I wonder why up to now the so-called fucking Supreme Court of this godforsaken land has yet to rule on the petition before it specifically on that question? What the fuck are they waiting for? Are they waiting for the Second Coming?
Does it mean that because we are no longer a member today, the ICC has already lost its jurisdiction?

I do not think so!

How about those people that they mercilessly killed and murdered in cold blood by the thousands from 2016 up to 2019?

Not content with their absurdity, the outlandish news report ends by saying that:

We reiterate therefore our advice to the ICC not to waste its time entertaining a case outside of its jurisdiction that only validates the claim of former member-states that the reason for leaving the ICC was because it has become a politicised court that infringes on the sovereignties of its member-countries.

Comment:
The ICC has become a politicised court that infringes on the sovereignties of its member-countries?

How about the Philippine state that infringes, traduces, violates and viciously trampled the rights of its citizens?

The significance of the ICC’s act of proceeding with the case

The initial action of the ICC has given all the victims of injustice and state abuses a sense of purpose and hope. It reminds us once again that crime does not pay and that no matter how powerful some government creatures are and no matter what legal gymnastics they may utilize, end of the day, they will be held accountable and responsible for their gross violation of human rights, disrespect to the dignity and sanctity of the human person and their crimes against humanity.

The fight and struggle for justice may be long, hard and arduous but there is hope and eventually we shall all see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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[Right-up] I Unwittingly Applied as a Philippine-based Troll for a US Far Right Website -by Karlo Sevilla

#HumanRights

I Unwittingly Applied as a Philippine-based Troll for a US Far Right Website

On October 2, 2020, I read the online article, The billion-dollar business of social media trolling in the Philippines, and what it means for public relations globally by Alex Malouf, published on Influence on July 27, 2019. It reminded me of how I almost became part of that burgeoning industry the previous year:

Last week of April 2019, in search of a bigger monthly income, I answered a job ad on Facebook for a content writer. Soon, I visited the office of the business process outsourcing (BPO) company in Quezon City, Philippines.

That first day of application, one of the tests was to write an article based on another published in a so-called health news website: NaturalNews.com. I was appalled by the articles I read on that site. One claimed that US states under Democrat governors are being run like Venezuela. Another article questioned the validity of global warming. I sensed the extreme-right ideology in its contents right away. And upon checking when I got home, I learned this website is banned on social media sites Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

I hoped that that website was used only as an example for the writing test. Unfortunately, my hope was dashed, as I later received a call and an email from the human resources officer asking me to review further the contents of that website for the remaining tests, as—tada!—we were its prospective content writers. And, passing those tests was the penultimate stage before we get interviewed by the client representative.

With the realization, I decided to stop my job application—even though the human resources officer sounded amenable to granting me the salary I asked for during an earlier phone interview. I refuse to raise my children with money from that website of irresponsible, bigoted journalism.

The HR officer told me that a number of applicants did back out after realizing what the website was all about, and tried to persuade me to continue my application. It made me feel proud to know my compatriots are principled. Still, I’m sorry for any Filipino writer who ended up taking that job, and who may be currently writing for that website of US extreme right propaganda.

Karlo Sevilla of Quezon City, Philippines is the author of the full-length poetry collection, “Metro Manila Mammal” (Soma Publishing, 2018), and the chapbook, “You” (Origami Poems Project, 2017). Recognized among The Best of Kitaab 2018 and twice nominated for the Best of the Net, his poems appear in various publications worldwide, including Philippines Graphic, Matter, Collective Unrest, I am not a silent poet, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Social Justice Poetry, Poetry24, Radius, Razorhouse Magazine, The Wayward Sword, Tuck Magazine, Rat’s Ass Review, The Ramingo’s Porch, and others. He was also a former journalist for the Philippine Online Chronicles and was the winner of the HR Right-Up category in Human Rights Online Philippines’ 8th (2018) HR Pinduteros Choice Awards.

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[Right-up] Quinta, Rolly, Ulysses and OceanaGold -by Judy A. Pasimio

#HumanRights #Environment Quinta, Rolly, Ulysses and OceanaGold
by Judy A. Pasimio

In Brgy. Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya, the Tuwali women are experiencing the harsh impacts of successive typhoons that hit the island of Luzon within the span of a couple of weeks. First, there was typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni), which hit the country on October 25, 2020, which was followed a week after by Super Typhoon Quinta (international name: Molave). Several days after, came typhoon Ulysses (international name: Vamco). This has been extraordinarily harsh for the local communities, especially in the midst of a pandemic.

These typhoons came at harvest time for the Tuwali. When typhoon Rolly hit, they were already preparing for their produce to be sold in nearby towns. Selling their produce – banana, ginger and other vegetables – is their main source of income. While they were able to harvest, with Rolly, then Quinta and now, Ulysses, bringing these to the markets has become the biggest problem.

The main road to get in and out of Barangay Didipio cuts through the main tailings pond of OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI), an Australian mining company, whose mining permit of 25 years expired last year. No rehabilitation work has yet been initiated. So when heavy rains came, as they did in October 25 with typhoon Rolly, the tailings ponds overflowed and flooded the main road. This posed danger to the Tuwali communities, not only because it was flooded, but flooded with water containing potentially toxic particles. The run-off toxic waters go to the streams, rice fields, and vegetable gardens. These toxic waters are feared to contaminate their water sources. The mere presence, in fact, of the tailings pond threatens people in the downstream village of Barangay Alimit. With the overflow and the successive typhoons, the danger is imminent for the villages, the downstream farmers, and their main source of food and livelihood.

Other paths to come in and out of. Didipio has been closed to the people, as these were enclosed in gates and fences erected by OGPI. One of the many commitments of OGPI, still unfulfilled after 25 years, is the construction of a bridge across the Surong River, as an alternative way for the local people. Without this bridge, the only way now for the people to get out of the village is to go through the gates of OGPI. According to Myrna Duyan, a Tuwali woman farmer, and leader of the indigenous women’s community organization Bileg Dagiti Babbae, they have to request from the personnel of OGPI to be allowed to pass through their gates, to bring their produce to the town markets. But they have to fall in line and wait for available mining staff to escort them through the grounds. This means losing time for them to sell their goods.

To date, with Typhoon Ulysses hitting their province, flooding continues, landslides have been reported, and trees have fallen, causing electricity wires to be tripped over. They still have no electricity in their village.

“Sa bawat pag-ulan, sa bawat bagyo, lalong pinalala ang impacts ng OGPI mining sa amin dito sa Didipio, at sa mga katabing barangay. Dapat talaga, tuluyan nang mapa-alis ang OceanaGold. At dapat siguraduhin ang rehabilitasyon nito para makabangon naman kami, nang ligtas at payapa,” said Myrna Duyan.

“Each rain fall, each typhoon that comes, the impacts of OGPI mining to us in Brgy. Didipio, and also the adjacent barangays, are made worse. OceanaGold must really be made to leave. But it has to be made sure that OGPI does rehabilitation, so we can recover, safely, and peacefully.”

For more than a year now, OceanaGold’s application for renewal of their permit to operate for another 25 years in Didipio is still pending with the Office of the President. Myrna, along with other Tuwali women and men, have put up a barricade to prevent the entry of mining trucks into the area. In March this year, their barricade was violently demolished by 100 policemen, who accompanied three oil tankers, as they forced their way in. Myrna, along with 13 other indigenous women, have cases filed against them, with charges of breaking quarantine protocols.

Still traumatized from the violence they experienced from the policemen, Myrna now worries about their livelihood, their food source, and the safety of their village. At least three more typhoons are expected to come to the country. And OceanaGold, even without permit, seems to be not moving out anytime soon.

Myrna, and the rest of BILEG, however, are not going anywhere as well. They remain in the frontline of their struggle against OceanaGold which continues to wreak havoc in their lives, worse than any super typhoons that came their way.

Judy A. Pasimio is the coordinator of LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights)
jpap / judy104@lilak.net

Attached photos, with permission to be used, with credits

Myrna Duyan – taken by Shar Balagtas

3 Photos of flood and flowing water taken by Myrna Duyan / taken at 11:00 am , 11.12.2020/ people are from brgy. Didipio, members of the Didipio Earth Savers Movement Association (DESAMA)

Judy A. Pasimio
Coordinator
LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights)
signal / whats app +639175268341

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[Right-Up] McCarthyism vs. Arts in the Time of Turmoil -by Norman Novio

#HumanRights #NoToRedTagging McCarthyism vs. Arts in the Time of Turmoil by Norman Novio

Last Tuesday’s (November 3, 2020) investigation on red-tagging by the Philippine Senate reminds me of the October 1947 hearing of the House Un-American Activities Committee or HUAC on the alleged involvement of some movie personalities in the Communist Party of America. I read about it in the 80s.

That was when McCarthyism invades the very fiber of American society. It was a raucous campaign against alleged communists in the US government and other institutions carried out by Senator Joseph McCarthy in the period 1950–54. Many of the accused were blacklisted or lost their jobs although a huge number of them, in fact, do not belong to the Communist Party.

“May tinatawag po na underground groups sa hanay ng mga manunulat, sa hanay ng mga artista, sa showbiz,” a witness said in a Senate hearing yesterday. “Hindi ko na sasabihin yung mga pangalan nila pero ang mga pelikula nila ay [inaudible], ‘Maynila sa Kuko ng Agila’ at ‘Walang Himala,'” he further said.

As a movie fan, this mixing up made my head twirl!

Around 15,000 families in the island province of Catanduanes, some province in the regions of Cordillera, Bicol and Southern Tagalog were affected by the recent typhoon. In Catanduanes, which is directly hit by TS Rolly, is in urgent need of food and water. The devastated island seeks aid, power and telco restoration in super typhoon’s aftermath. Yet, in the halls of the Philippine Senate that very day, McCarthyism prevailed over recovery from disaster, such as relief and rehabilitation missions.

As the hearing in the Senate transpires, the Philippines’ COVID-19 reached 387,161 and additional 1,772 cases plus 49 new deaths was reported by the Department of Health (DOH) when that man appeared before the Senate hearing Tuesday.

To the Filipino McCarthyists, as alleged, are hiding in the government program called National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC). They have included as targets of red-tagging and red-scare our patriotic artists.

History tells us that Joseph McCarthy was halted by then President Dwight Eisenhower. Red-tagging and red-scare will die and fade away in the long run when the righteous people appear from the political horizon at any given time and situation in the future. That is if we will sustainably expose and oppose such drastic acts detrimental to our enjoyment of our basic human rights.

Arts and truth combined can defeat all fascistic lies in this country and anywhere in the world. Filipino artists will continue heighten their quest for the truth by continuing with their crafts, by proving that in art there is might.

We all look forward for a society freeing up the arts and the whole of Filipino nation. Under those conditions artistic expression, and all other forms of expressions, would be totally liberated from McCarthyism and tyranny in whatever form.

Take no notice of McCathyists, heed the aspirations of the people through arts but not through arms!


(Photo: Galloway)

http://nanovio.blogspot.com/2020/11/mccarthyism-vs-arts-in-unsettled-times.html?m=1

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[Right-Up] Hidden Victims of the Pandemic: The Old Man, the Jail Aide, and the Convict -By Aie Balagtas See (Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism)

PCIJ

Hidden Victims of the Pandemic: The Old Man, the Jail Aide, and the Convict

Three persons deprived of liberty describe how inhuman conditions in the country’s jails and prisons are placing them at greater risk amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are their accounts as told to Aie Balagtas See. The images, drawn by Alexandra Paredes, are artistic renderings inspired by PCIJ file photos of prisoners from various jails.

By Aie Balagtas See
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

“All prison detention cells are COVID-free. That is the safest place right now,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said in late March, projecting an air of certainty even as the coronavirus pandemic raged. More than a month later, Año’s statement has become demonstrably false.

As of this writing, 716 inmates in city jails throughout the country have tested positive for the virus. In New Bilibid Prison (NBP), the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa, 140 inmates have been infected with the disease, and 12 deaths have so far been attributed to Covid-19. The Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong has recorded 82 positive cases, with three deaths.

The lack of mass tests, the highly infectious nature of the virus, the lack of protective equipment and proper healthcare, and the inhuman overcrowding at Philippine jails and prisons are a potentially deadly combination.

On condition of anonymity, three “persons deprived of liberty” talked to the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) in May, speaking out against the impossibility of physical distancing and the shortage of resources in prison and jail cells. The “minimum health standards” imposed outside are nonexistent. Worse, there seems to be a lack of empathy from the people who are supposed to take care of them.

Because they are locked away from the rest of society, inmates and detainees in prison and jail cells are the hidden victims of the Covid-19 pandemic. Here are their stories.

“We’re dead,” the old man thought when he first learned of Covid-19 infections. Illustration by Alexandra Paredes

A. The Old Man (Quezon City Jail)

The inmates were getting ready for jailbreaks. Our situation in Quezon City Jail has been tense since the coronavirus breached our walls in the last week of March.

We held a noise barrage that month. It used to be calmer here. No one complained even though it was unusual that many of us suffered from high fever in February and early March. One day, we found out that an empleyada tested positive for coronavirus.

That’s when paranoia kicked in.

Empleyada or empleyado, that’s how we call the jail guards. We only learned about her case through media reports. We were kept in the dark about our real situation here.

No one bothered to explain her condition to us. The jail guards left us guessing about our safety. We were left guessing about our lives. Days after the news broke, a fellow inmate died.

Nine more inmates who came in close contact with him later tested positive for the virus.

We were angry. We eventually found out that the empleyada works in the paralegal office where e-Dalaw or the inmates’ Skype sessions with their families were held.

That tells you that she came in close contact with a lot of inmates. I wouldn’t be surprised if all of us got infected. The only way to find out is through massive testing.

‘We’re dead’

An inmate who came in close contact with the empleyada was isolated as jail administrators waited for her results to come out. On the eighth day of his quarantine period, the inmate was sent back to our dorm. We don’t know why he didn’t complete 14 days in isolation. He ate with us, slept beside us. He did practically everything with us. Then the empleyada’s results came. Positive, it said. The jail guards went to our dorm and picked him up for another round of quarantine.

Most of us were in disbelief. As the inmate walked out of our dorm, it got us thinking: Are they really killing us here? Or are they just incompetent?

When I first learned of the Covid-19 infections, one thing crossed my mind: We’re dead.

We’re dead because social distancing is a UFO (unidentified flying object) here. Experts say maintaining physical distance is the best weapon against this virus. For a jail facility that’s nearly 500 percent congested, no matter how you look at it, social distancing is alien.

Let me tell you why I don’t trust their system here.

One of the quarantine facilities was on the floor reserved for tuberculosis (TB) patients. Can you imagine that? You’re breathing TB from that entire floor. If you have ordinary colds and cough, you might get tuberculosis instead of getting cured.

Now, no one wants to admit they are sick over fears that jail guards will send them to the TB floor.

How do they check us for symptoms? They ask: “Do you have a cough, cold, fever, or flu?” They want to know if we have diarrhea. If we answer “no” to all their questions, that’s it.

Every move, a peso sign

Usually, a plastic screen separates the jail nurse from us.

The empleyados have personal protective equipment. Not an inch of their skin is exposed while the detainees assisting them, called the orderlies, wear only face masks. The orderlies are the real first line of defense. They attend to inmates before jail nurses do.

Earlier this year, my daughter bought me two blister packs of flu medicines. They ran out before I could even take one. I had to give them to my sick dormmates because they couldn’t ask from the clinic.

Most of my dormmates had flu symptoms at that time, but I heard the clinic ran out of supplies. Sometimes, it’s hard to ask medicines from the empleyado. If you know someone from the clinic, your connection might save your life.

Otherwise, you have to buy. Every move you make requires a peso sign. You’re dead if you don’t have money, especially if you’re facing grave charges.

Receiving government provisions is like an awarding ceremony. They need photographs for the tiniest thing they give you. They give you a blister pack of vitamins, they take pictures. They give you a bar of soap, they take pictures.

They always need to take pictures as if these were trophies they would mount on walls.

But everything is a lie. They don’t take good care of us. They don’t even come near those in quarantine areas. They stay outside the bars that separate them from the inmates.

In response to that, I would reach out to grab them whenever they asked me how I felt. It always made them flinch and step backwards. It’s so funny! I do that just to see how they’d react.

I don’t feel we are being treated as humans here.

Hopeless, helpless

Inside jails, you are tormented by the thought that you can’t do anything. People want to complain but can’t. They don’t know how, and they are afraid.

Inside jails, you feel hopeless and helpless.

Hopeless because you are under their rule. It’s like a military camp. What the empleyado wants, the empleyado gets.

Helpless because there are no real safety measures. There are no standard procedures for quarantine.

This is why I decided to speak up. I want things to change – from quarantine and precautionary measures to the attitude of the empleyado nurse.

Once, a medical aide said a sick detainee needed attention. The empleyado answered back: “Bahala silang mamatay pabayaan mo lang sila (let them die).”

With that attitude from a government nurse, how will you feel?

Why are we put in such conditions?

We’re presumed innocent until proven guilty. We should not be placed in these life-threatening conditions. We still have the right to life.

Tormented

The tension between jail guards and inmates subsided when the government started releasing detainees in April. Some days they released 20 inmates, some days they released five, 10, or 38.

It’s a slow process but at least they’re doing something to address the problem.

On April 19, the jail started segregating the elderly from the general population.

Old men, like me, were taken to administrative offices previously occupied by jail personnel. One of the offices was the paralegal office! It was the office where the empleyada who tested positive for Covid-19 was assigned.

In one of the facilities, 11 people shared two gurneys and a stretcher. Sick inmates who recently died used to occupy those makeshift hospital beds. I don’t know if they have been disinfected.

After all the deaths and infections here, information remains scarce. They’re not telling us anything. Don’t we deserve to know the truth so we can also protect ourselves?

Like me, I’m already 60 years old. My immune system is weak.

For now, I take things one step at a time. I have this mindset that I will never wait for my release anymore. It will torment you if you wait for it. But at night, I sleep wishing that I can get out.

I wish I could benefit from the Supreme Court petition that was filed on behalf of detainees. When the courts sent me here earlier this year, I didn’t have colds and cough. Now I have it. I’m afraid that if they don’t do anything, I will die here in a few days.

“I think I’m Covid-19 positive as I have all the symptoms, but until now, I have never been swabbed for a test,” the jail aide said. Illustration by Alexandra Paredes

B. The Jail Aide (Quezon City Jail)

We badly need mass testing. I am one of the orderlies in Quezon City Jail. The old man and I are concerned that many of us are infected with Covid-19 already.

We don’t have sufficient information about what’s happening. They’re not telling us anything. I don’t know why. Maybe, they don’t want us to panic?

In March or February, we ran out of paracetamol after detainees with fever inundated the clinic.

Our Covid-19 prevention measures are also terrible! I’m one of those who assist jail doctors and nurses in the clinic. Those I work with are protected with proper medical equipment. Me? I attend to patients wearing only a glove and a face mask to protect myself.

In April, they relieved me of my duties when I went down with high fever. I really thought I would die. I had convulsions. I’ve been in quarantine ever since.

I think I’m Covid-19 positive as I have all the symptoms, but until now, I have never been swabbed for a test.

No physical distance

They placed me in isolation together with other sick inmates, which meant that if I had the virus, other inmates would catch it too.

Because it’s impossible to maintain physical distance, our line of defense against coronavirus is our immune system.

Even that is far-fetched.

Why? Because our food is terrible. Sometimes, we have longganisa (native sausage) for lunch for five straight days. For dinner, they always serve soup with vegetable. Sometimes our rice supply is half-cooked. Sometimes it’s burnt.

With a lack of proper food and exercise, boosting our immune system is next to impossible.

“The truth is, many of us are sick,” the convict said. Illustration by Alexandra Paredes

C. The Convict (New Bilibid Prison)

More people are dying in New Bilibid Prison every day. It is as if there’s a typhoon of dead bodies raining all over us.

This May, more than 100 inmates died. That number is unprecedented. It’s the first time I have seen something like that since I arrived here 20 years ago.

Many of them died of pneumonia and other respiratory problems. However, there were no tests that would confirm them as Covid-19 patients.

We are scared of many things. We are scared of contracting the virus, but we are also scared of getting thrown inside isolation wards.

Prison doctors will isolate you if they think you have symptoms. We don’t want to be in further isolation. This fear prompts inmates to lie about their real health condition. The truth is, many of us are sick.

The NBP has three camps: the maximum, medium, and minimum security compounds. The isolation areas are located inside these facilities. They are different from the newly built “Site Harry” where COVID-19-positive patients from the Bureau of Corrections were put in quarantine or treated. Site Harry is located beside the medium security camp.

We are scared but we can’t do anything. Gang bosses might wring our necks if we complain. Speak up and face the risk of being locked up in a bartolina (isolation cell).

We have to wear masks wherever we go. Prison guards and gang leaders are strictly implementing this policy outside our dorms.

Ironically, we can remove our masks inside our dorms during bedtime. Covid-19 must be having a grand time inside our walls!

‘Their lives matter’

There’s no way to gauge what’s plaguing us, for sure. There’s no massive testing among inmates for the virus that has already killed one of us.

I can only assume.

Uncertainty is our enemy. Only one thing is clear to me: NBP is not COVID-19-free and we may contract the virus anytime. Dying of Covid-19 seems only a matter of time.

We are scared for the prison guards, too. They also need attention. They need to be tested and tested rigorously.

Should guards die, they would be called heroes. The government would hail them as frontliners who risked their lives for public safety. Their lives matter.

But when we, the inmates, die, we will be reduced to nothing but ashes that our families can retrieve from crematoriums for a hefty price of P30,000.

We know that the virus is a problem everywhere. All we’re asking for is a health care system that caters to everyone, including us.

We’re humans too.

***

Postscript:

A spokesman for the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) confirmed to the PCIJ that the female staff of Quezon City Jail who tested positive for Covid-19 was part of the “e-Dalaw operation,” but said her participation was limited to planning the inmates’ schedules. Detainees held a noise barrage after finding out that the empleyada had caught the disease, but the “commotion” was pacified and jail staff and inmates have since maintained open communication with each other, the spokesman claimed.

The BJMP did not respond to queries on whether suspected Covid-19 cases were isolated on the same floor as tuberculosis patients. –PCIJ, June 2020

Aie Balagtas See is a freelance journalist working on human rights issues. Follow her on Twitter (@AieBalagtasSee) or email her at aie.bsee@gmail.com for comments.
Alexandra Paredes is a graphic designer and artist. Her design practice spans social impact, corporate collaterals, teaching, writing, and commissioned art. Find her online at alexandraparedes.com.

Paredes’s illustrations are fictional representations of the old man, the jail aide, and the convict. These are artistic renderings inspired by PCIJ file photos of prisoners.

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[Tula] Sa panahon ng mga robot -ni Greg Bituin Jr.

Sa panahon ng mga robot

sinanay sila upang maging mga ala-robot
sumunod lang sa chain-of-command at huwag sumagot
sinanay sa “yes sir”, tiger look na nakakatakot
sinanay raw nang sa laban ay di lalambot-lambot

kaya trato nila sa mga sibilyan ay plebo
na papaluin lang upang disiplinahin ito
hazing sa akademya’y dinala nila sa tao
babanatan agad ang pasaway o kalaboso

kaya sa kwarantina’y walang kara-karapatan
ang mamamayang tinatrato nang parang kalaban
nirerespeto lang nila’y naghahari-harian
tingin sa sarili’y mas mataas kaysa sibilyan

kasangkapan lang sila ng dalahirang rehimen
tanging kakampi niya’t sunud-sunurang alipin
kaya sa Terror Bill ay gigil isabatas na rin
na siyang magtatanggol sa pangulong utak-lumpen

ganyan ang utak ng mga robot na palamara
mabuti pang maalis ang lupit ng istruktura
at maitayo ang totoong depensa ng masa
mula sa mamamayang marunong makipagkapwa

karapatang pantao’y kanilang iginagalang
bawal sa kanila ang E.J.K. o pamamaslang
dinadaan sa wastong proseso ang bawat hakbang
sinanay silang magalang, di maging salanggapang

#JunkTerrorBillNow
#AyawNaminSaTerorismoNgEstado

– gregbituinjr.
06.13.2020

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[Tula] “Kumusta ka na?” -ni Leni del Rosario

“Kumusta ka na?”
ni Leni del Rosario

Malaki.

Malaking malaki ang ambag ng manggagawa sa buhay ng bansa.

Atsa kasalukuyan ay malinaw na nakikitang kung walang manggagawa ay walang kakayanang tumakbo ang isang bansa.

At walang yamang paghahatian ang iilang nagsasamantala sa lakas pag-gawa.

Bukambibig ngayon ang pagpipilit na magbalik trabaho na ang mga manggagawa kahit pa ang katumbas ay pagsasalang sa kanila sa peligro ng sakit.

Imbes na pagkakataon ngayong maipakita ang pagpapahalaga sa manggagawa sa pamamagitan ng ayuda,pagtitiyak na ligtas ang mga lugar-trabaho, ay gusto pa rin siyang pigain at pagkakitaan.

Ang banggit ay- “Magtrabaho na kayo.”

Ni wala man lang…
“Kumusta ka na?”

#TugtugPak
#HindiKamiMananahimik
#ArtistangBayanMagingay
#TatambayDiTatahimik
#SafeNeverSilent
#MassTestingPH
#AyudaParaSaMasa

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[Tula] May araw din ang mga ina… -ni Nina Somera

May araw din ang mga ina…

Aakalain mo na iyon ay karaniwang gabi.
Sa isang iglap tinangay at pinatay
ng buwitre at ng kanyang galamay:
Mga anak na minsa’y may minimithi.

Hindi pa rin umaaraw.
Ang Pebong Silang ay balot sa takot
Maging sa mga pabaong bangungot.
“Totoo ba ito?” Nais mong magduda…
Ililihis sa iba’t ibang mararahas na tagpo,
Bibingihin sa mga ingay ng mga sumasambang tao at kanilang bayarang anino sa poon na mamatay-tao.
Ngunit sadyang gising ang diwa.
May kamalayan sa katotohanan.
May kumikitil sa mga karapatan.

Sa pusod ng poot ay pangarap ng mga ina:
Sa dulo ng bangungot ay may mga mananagot.
Wala nang maitatago at makalulusot
kapag nakalaya ang ginapos na hustiya.

(Mga litrato ng mga ina – Lorenza de los Santos, ina ni Kian de los Santos, kuha ni Jonathan Cellona para sa ABSCBN; Nanette Castillo, ina ni Aldrin Castillo, kuha ni Noel Celis para sa AFP at nalathala sa Rappler; at kuha ni Ezra Acayan na kinilala sa Ian Parry Award sa kanyang dokumentasyon ng mga extrajudicial killing sa ilalim ng rehimen ni Rodrigo Duterte.)

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[Right-Up] The coronavirus is the monstrous product of the present nefarious global system -by Jose Mario De Vega

The coronavirus is the monstrous product of the present nefarious global system

The whole world now is once again in the middle of an international humanitarian crisis whose extent and magnitude are utterly pervasive. This is brought about by a virus which is now pandemic and threatens the whole existence of humanity.

The coronavirus which started in Wuhan, China late last year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) now affects 210 countries across the globe. This worldwide scourge is reminiscent of the Bubonic plague and the Spanish Flu. The first one was triggered by Europe’s thirst and greed for new colonies. Hence, it is the deadly product of colonialism.

While the latter emerged during the First World War between the most powerful empires and rich countries.

Hence, it is the fatal offspring of Imperialism.

Throughout the course of human history, every time a virus will emerge, there is an on-going war between the rich and the powerful and as always the victims of the virus or plaque that they cause are the vulnerable people, the poor, the marginalized, the outcast, the wreathed of the earth.

Today, my view is that this so-called corona or Covid-19 or Wuhan virus is continuing manifestations, inherent detects natural abnormalities, and imbued ills of the prevailing global economic system whose features are international finance and consolidation of capital.

Sad but true, this monstrous virus is the latest product or curse spawn by capitalism!
I substantially agree with Filippo Grandi and Michelle Bachelet that this “coronavirus outbreak is a test of our systems, values, and humanity”. (See, The Telegraph, March 10th).

This reminded me of the line said by Joker (2008):

“See their morals, their code, it’s a joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They’re only as good as the world allows them to be. I’ll show you. When the chips are down, these civilized people, they’ll eat each other. See, I’m not a monster… I’m just ahead of the curse.”

Indeed, our guy Joker is not a monster, rather he was made a monster but evil and monstrous system that is based on commodity and biofuel industry. He is not even a curse. The curse is the system of capital and we are all victims of this evil system, including those idiots who taught they can tame and control its erratic powers.

The coronavirus is the incontestable evidence of the hypocrisy and weakness of the global system; a system that is based on the exploitation of man by man, a system that frowns upon at universal health care and a system that is pretending to be equal, humane and inclusive.

The sad and brutal truth is that the alleged “value” of this system is not humanity, but undeniably exclusivity, discrimination, and indeed, inhumanity.

The values of this system are madness and barbarity!

Where can you find an international system wherein the people of the world are already dying by the thousands all across the globe, but the mindset and the aim of the powers that be in their business interest, profits, and further income?

In the words of Karl Marx:

“There must be something rotten in the very core of a social system which increases its wealth without diminishing its misery…”

Nonetheless, all is not lost for mankind.

In an immediate and prompt sense, we have to execute the cogent proposal and rational suggestions lucidly laid down by Filippo Grandi and Michelle Bachelet:
a. The need for international solidarity and multilateral systems are more vital than ever,
b. We must accelerate the work of building equitable and accessible public health care,
c. Our response to this crisis must be grounded in the principles of public trust, transparency, respect, and empathy for the most vulnerable.
Who are they?

The most vulnerable as always are those people and nations that are poor, whose health care infrastructure is weak, if not completely inadequate, the immigrants, the prostitutes, the dirty workers, the street urchins, the refugees and other similarly situated desperate folks and voiceless human beings living for the gutter and bottom of society.

Why is that that the world must come together and unite to defeat this latest phantom menace and challenge?

We have no choice, because if we will not unite — then there is a possibility that this virus wipes a great score of us, if not a human annihilation whose scope is beyond our comprehension.

I know that in the end man will win, we shall survive and overcome. But the pertinent questions are: to what cause? To what ends?

Is it enough to uphold the intrinsic rights of every human being? That we aspire, desire to invent the necessary drug, vaccine, or solution to the present menace and to learn our lesson on this for future reference?

Though undeniably they are also important and utterly necessary, in my view, this is all shortsightedness and incontestably preposterous.

Why?

Until the poor, the marginalized and oppressed peoples of the world rise up to overthrow this prevailing evil system that creates, spawns and produces these sicknesses, calamities and catastrophic viruses due to the insatiable greed and lust for power, money, and privileges only for the few elite and minority individuals that control the whole operations of the system and owns the world financial establishment, all these viruses, calamities, and catastrophic mayhem will keep on coming to haunt humanity and shall continue to spread deaths, famines, pestilence, destruction of our true human values and global miseries.

Hence, working-class peoples of the world and common folks, listen to this call:

The abolition of this evil system that creates the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for our real and true happiness. Hence, I call on you all to give up your good for nothing illusions about these fantastic conditions and ardently persuades you to give up a condition that requires illusions.

Capitalism is far more sinister and deadlier than the coronavirus, sars, and ebola combined.

The choice is ours!

Rosa Luxemburg is correct when she asked and dared us to choose: “Barbarism or Socialism?”

Jose Mario De Vega

Philosophy Instructor
Department of Philosophy and Humanities
College of Arts and Letters
Polytechnic University of the Philippines

Ph.D. Student
Asian Center
University of the Philippines

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[Tula] May bukas pa -ni Pinong

HAWIIN ANG LAMBONG NG DILIM, MAY BUKAS PA KASAMA.

Sa higit isang buwan ng lockdown, madaming nabago sa takbo ng pag-iral ng ating buhay. Normal ang pagkabagot, pagkabalisa at matakot sa kahihinatnan ng buhay at kabuhayan pagkatapos ng lockdown.

Walang katapusang gutom at paghihintay sa ayuda, paulit-ulit tayong hinahaplit ng kahirapan, at ang walang pakundangang karahasan at kawalang pananagutan ng gubyerno sa mamamayan.

Sa lahat ng panahon, manatiling ligtas, magsilbing liwanag at pag-asa. May bukas na dapat tanawin at may panibagong lipunan tayong papandayin!

#TugTugPak
#HindiKamiMananahimik
#AristangBayanMagingay
#TatambayDiTatahimik
#SafeNeverSilent
#MassTestingNowPH
#AyudaParaSaMasa

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[Tula] Kwarantyn -ni Pinong

Kwarantyn -ni Pinong

“Hindi magwawakas sa paglift-ng lockdown ang tungkulin ng mga Artistang Bayan na gamitin ang talento para magsulong ng demokrasya, karapatan, hustisya at pagpapanagot sa pamahalaan.

At hindi maipipiit ang ating pagkamalikhain ng buryong, o inip at lalong hindi,ng kawalang-pag-asa.

May bukas pa…may bukas pa tayong pagwawagian.”

#TugTugPak
#KayaNatin
#AristangBayanMagingay
#TatambayDiTatahimik
#MassTestingNowPH
#AyudaParaSaMasa

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[Tula] Nay, laban! -ni Talidhay ng Kaisa Ka-Mindanao

Nay, laban!
Ni Talidhay ng Kaisa Ka-Mindanao

Nay, kumusta ka!
Nitong nakaraan bigla ka raw nanghina
Isang linggo ka na palang hindi dinadatnan
Hindi mo lang pinansin, sa mga gawain tuloy lang sa paggampan
At nuong isang araw nga, ikaw ay dinugo
Ni hindi mo naisip na sa ospital magtungo
May masasakyan ba, e may COVID pa
Ilang oras pa ba ang byahe kung sa ospital pupunta
Kaya ang sabi mo, iinom ka na lang ng gamot at magpapahinga.

Sa susunod na mga araw, iikot ka na namang parang trumpo
Gabundok na labahan maghapon mong binubuno
Maglilinis ng bahay at magluluto kung meron mang mailuluto
Sana kahit ngayon lang, palabigasan natin ay mapuno.

Sa gitna ng pangamba kung san kukuha ng panggastos
Araw-araw kang bumabangon, sumasabay sa agos.
Sa kabila ng pag-aalala sa balitang sa bayan ay may ‘positive’ na
Nagpapapakatatag kang lagi para sa pamilya
Bago matulog hindi mo nakakalimutan na isa-isa kaming halikan at sabihan ng “Mahal kita”.

Kahapon nabalitaan mong nagbibigay na ng ayuda sa kabilang baranggay
Kumpleto naman daw pero dito sa atin mukang hahatiin.
Aba! Galit mong wika.
‘Sabi sa batas pwedeng kasuhan ang barangay o DSWD pag hindi buong ibibigay ang ayuda.’

Napangiti ako,
Kahit gaano kahirap ang buhay
Alam mo ang iyong karapatan
Alam mo kung paano kami ipaglaban.

Nay, kumusta ka!
Gabi-gabi ka pa rin bang lumuluha?
Wag ka lang bibitaw nay.
Hintayin mong kami ay lumaki
At sabay tayong lalaban
para baguhin ang lipunan.

###

#TugTugPak
#KababaihanSaGitnaNgLockdown
#ArtistangBayanMagingay
#TatambayDiTatahimik
#SafeNotSilent
#AyudaParaSaMasa
#AyudaParasaKababaihan
#MassTestingNow

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[Right-Up] As I see it (Reflections of a Covid19 front-line worker) -by MAJ, nurse and FDC advocate

As I see it
(Reflections of a Covid19 front-line worker)
MAJ, nurse and FDC advocate

April 3, 2020

Lockdown, physical distancing.

In the second half of March, the government declared a lockdown for the whole of Luzon to supposedly prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This has been extended to the whole month of April.

The government was not prepared to handle the multi-faceted challenges of a lockdown, including the necessary program of taking care of its own front-liners. As health workers, we were not provided PPEs, N95 masks, and other basic materials. For one whole shift, we were only provided 1 surgical mask per staff. Hospitals were selective in providing PPEs and N95 masks. The DOH guidelines in the screening of COVID-19 patients, PUIs, and PUMs are not automatically or uniformly implemented in various hospitals across the country. In the hospital where I’m assigned, the protocols in Infection Control are either not in place or not fully observed.

The COVID-19 virus is an invisible enemy and dangerous to all. The health workers are highly vulnerable given the nature of their work, that is, to minister to the afflicted. Thus, the general rule to maintain physical distance in order to be protected from the virus, which is transmitted via droplet transmission from human to human, is hardly observed in the kind of work we do. Worse, there are studies that the virus can be airborne for several hours. This explains the high rate of fatalities among attending physicians, nurses, and hospital personnel.

The government thought that a lockdown will freeze the mobility of people. There will be fewer vehicles on the roads. Well, the government forgot that that Metro Manila has numerous street dwellers, homeless and vagrants. It also forgot that we, the health workers, need transport to go to the hospitals. In my case, walking home from duty takes one hour. For others, especially the orderlies, longer.

The physical distancing rule was applied by the LGUs for customers entering grocery stores and talipapa’s. Lines to the supermarket can be very long and can extend up to 3 km at our place. And yet, once you are inside the store or talipapa, no distancing happens because you even bump into each other.

Also, I have noticed while walking from the hospital to our house, the people in the communities in barangay San Roque and other nearby barangays have not been wearing any protective masks.

Budget

Right at the beginning, in early March, they say there is a budget for hospitals and personnel to combat the COVID-19 virus. But during the first two weeks of the lockdown, hospitals relied on donations. And not all hospital personnel were given PPEs and N95 masks.

It was only at the beginning of April that the government announced the procurement of PPEs. Why the huge time gap?

Testing kits

Testing kits were severely limited in the first three weeks of the lockdown. And yet the thick-skinned and privileged politicians and their families were the first to be tested and the first also to get the results. On the other hand, ordinary patients who were tested have to wait for a week or longer. There were instances when the patients had already died when the results came out.

PUIs should also be tested. Much better if there will be mass testing. Of course, how can we identify the existence of COVID-19 patients if there will be no mass testing? Not too many patients, especially the poor, will go to the hospitals given the lockdown and the difficulty in the transport system. The allegation that COVID-19 is a “middle-class” disease is not true. Most of the affected poor do not bother to go to the hospitals even if Philhealth announced that they will shoulder the expenses for COVID-19 victims. The poor were also frightened by widespread reports on how hospitals, particularly private hospitals, have been charging patients at atrocious rates. Look at the billing for rich survivors in the Asian Hospital, reaching around two million pesos or more.

Fear, anxiety

The work of health workers is full of anxiety. How to take care of PUIs and PUMs? How to deal with patients who refuse to disclose all the necessary information on their health situation?

We had one patient who had difficulty breathing. The doctor ordered intubation. This is a procedure wherein an endotracheal tube is inserted to assist the patient to breathe. This can be bloody and messy as the patient may have lots of phlegm. After the intubation process, the patient was transferred to the ICU. A day after, news circulated that that patient was a PUI and had a history of traveling in the US in the first week of March. However, this information was not given by the patient during the interview-admission process even if he had symptoms like cough and fever. This patient died.

However, the said patient, who hid the history of his condition, placed at risk quite a number of people – doctors, nurses, nursing aides, and co-patients in the room. I also did not understand that since the deceased patient tested positive, why did the hospital did not test the other patients who were roommates of the deceased COVID-19 patient.

To attend to my work, I have to keep myself strong. The DOH’s guideline states that contact with a PUI should make one a PUI too. Since I am prone to cough, colds and even pneumonia, I have taken steps to boost my immune system – taking vitamins, drinking hot water, ginger tea, and onion soup. I also self-medicated with antibiotics for my cough.

In the last week of March, I had “the swab”. The result was supposed to come out in 3 days. But we were told that it would take a week. It was a long wait. While waiting, I prayed very hard. I thought of my son. We are only 2 at the house at the moment. My two brothers are staying with my mother in Bulacan. I thought about what would happen if the result is positive. It was depressing. At the hospital, the Nursing Service told us to resume duty. But our medical certificate said that we are on quarantine until the swab results are in. In short, we still have to assert what is good for us and for the patients. We did not report for duty.

Luckily, the results are negative for me. But not everyone in the health service work is lucky. Almost every day, there is news that doctors and/or nurses died because of COVID-19. Such a waste. Yes, they are heroes and heroines. But how can we win the war against COVID-19 if there are not so many of them? Doctors/nurses cannot be replaced in an instant.

Discrimination

Our neighbor asked if there are COVID-19 cases at the hospital. I said yes. Upon hearing that, our neighbor immediately went inside her house.

Even at the hospital, there is also discrimination. One colleague would like to spend the night at the Nurse’s Home because she missed the shuttle going to their place. The Nurse’s Home manager nearly did not allow my colleague to stay the night because she was involved in the handling of a PUI patient the day before. The reality is that some supervisors do not make rounds in all the wards which may have PUIs.

Benefits of health workers

Duterte announced the additional benefits for health workers:

  • Additional hazard pay – P500/duty day
  • Special risk allowance which may amount to (a one time ) more or less P5,000 depending on the number of days you have reported for work
  • P100,000 for COVID-19 positive with moderate to severe symptoms
  • P1 M for those who died due to COVID-19

I think life has more worth than what these benefits suggest. Life is precious. Is that how they perceive life?

The DOH has been looking for volunteers and has offered P500/day as compensation. Many have negatively reacted to this offer from DOH.

What can DOH, DILG, and other agencies do?

The DOH needs to be more decisive and forthright.

It should be able to tell the country about the true state of health care and the weaknesses of the entire system. And it cannot lead the fight against the COVID-19 virus if it cannot attend fully to the welfare and protection needs of its front liners.

As it is, DOH’s figures under-estimate the gravity of the COVID-19 situation because testings are limited despite the so-called arrival of kits and assistance from China. The DOH should also monitor fully the hospitals’ compliance with protocols. And yes, the DOH should welcome the help and participation of LGUs and CSOs.

The DOH and other government agencies should avoid turning the pandemic into a political issue. Why should some officials like those in the PACC and NBI even bother to criticize the efforts of Leni Robredo, Mayor Vico Sotto, and others to join the national effort to ease the plight of those affected by the lockdown? There’s no space for competition at this time.

Why should the initiative of Mayor Teodoro of Marikina to have the testing center be subjected to unnecessary bureaucratic processes? We all need to help one another.

Hope

There is not a single day that I hope and pray for the pandemic to end. The pandemics, like others before, will eventually pass. But we want fewer victims, fewer fatalities, fewer hardships for those locked out, and less pain for all. We hope the cures or vaccines can be developed soonest.

But here at home, we can lessen the suffering if we work together and if we attend to one another. Mass testing for all, especially health workers, should be conducted. And social protection for the least capable should be guaranteed. All the poor and near-poor in a given community should be assisted. No need to maintain an exclusionary “lista” of those registered with a given barangay. All, including street dwellers and migrant families, should be treated equally.

“Let whoever is in charge keep this simple question in her head ( not, how can I always do this right thing myself, but) how can I provide for this right thing to be always done.” – Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing

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[Right-Up] Isang Pagsaludo -by Kristian Rivera

Isang Pagsaludo
Kristian Rivera

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death

The Philippines is like a Man with a tattered armor, the country had gone through a lot of battles and undeniably faced a lot of breathtaking circumstances that made us who we are today. Today is not the time of hatred, all of us are facing this crisis with unending tears and grief. Lives are lost, families are broken, everyone is surviving on a day to day basis.

Sometimes, we sought things differently without even enabling yourself to see the situation of others, a lot of people have been struggling hard with their lives even if the virus still isn’t there. Ask yourself, is it even worthy to judge someone these days wherein we are in a delusional crisis? others cannot even stay at home because they don’t have one.

“The black swan theory” It is coined by a Philosopher named Nassim Nicholas Taleb, it simply apprehends that “The black swan theory” or “theory of black swan” events is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect. In my own personal view, COVID-19 is the black swan theory that I am talking about. It causes major effects in the country, to the people.

I believe that we are surviving on a day to day basis, being in this kind of situation sometimes makes the people imply selfishness. We tend to excessively hoard foods, alcohol, and face masks without even thinking of how can others survive for some cannot even eat three meals a day. This is not the time of hatred, this is the time of being able to establish a concrete relationship between others and fighting together to achieve the “Mental freedom” and “Physical freedom” we all have been wishing for since day one.

We are different individuals who have different strategies for surviving this pandemic. It is easy for others to say “Stay at home” if they undeniably have comfortable shelters, it is easy for others to say “Follow the law” if they only need high-end WiFi access in their respective homes and not minding on what to eat the next day for they have families who can provide more than what they wanted. The mere fact that others can feel anger because people cannot follow the law easily is a mere reflection that it’s easy to judge people’s lives without even putting your shoes in their hopeless lives.

We are very much privileged because we can stay home safe and sound while front-liners are battling hard against COVID-19, they have families too, they still have future plans and goals but they risked their lives out there to prevent the virus from spreading. Imagine being in a hospital where viruses are occurring in such areas but you are there protecting each and every patient. I salute all the front-liners that are full of raging bravery within them. Please do know that you are very much appreciated.

We fought yesterday and we will continue fighting for tomorrow.

Kristian_Rivera2001
09472767182

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[Poetry] Twilight falls and nighttime crawls -by JK Samson

Twilight falls and nighttime crawls
And darkness calls the sun
We once again prepare to rest
For the entire day is gone
Another day uncertain
Another day unsure
Another day the masses starve
Another to endure
And yes, with faith, and patience
We surely will get by
But when it answers not the poor
Their faith is sure to die
And when their faith has faded
The last thing they possess
They will begin to think it clear
Who was behind all these
Who took away the comfort
Of what little that they own
And left them there to almost die
And almost die alone
With all the time for thought they’re left
They’ll see it pretty clear
And those who took away it all
From them should start to fear
They’ll shake the ground in marching
They’ll drink the rivers dry
The world will hear it echoing
Their collected voices cry
Until somebody answers
For the pestilence and murders
And the merciless treatment of the poor
In time of grief and hunger
And the perpetrators dragged down
For all of them will be judged
By the people tired of their fellow men
Who would not even budge
And worse who’d steal and lie at them
And plunder at troubling times
All will be crying justice
When this tale reaches its clime
A reckoning will have happened
A triumph for us all
Justice will be served to them
By those who answered the call
And twilights will be different
Nightime ever joyous
Darkness friendly for the faith
Returns to those victorious

-J.K. Samson-

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[Tula] “Kumusta ka?” -ni Jhay de Jesus

“Ang tulang ito ay sumasalamin sa alalahanin ng mga kababayan nating mahihirap sa ilalim ng pandemya at krisis na nagaganap sa kasalukuyan. Mahirap maging mahirap, lalo sa panahong ito.”

“Kumusta ka?”
ni Jhay de Jesus

Kumusta ka?
Higit isang buwan na pala tayong di nagkikita
Kahapon nagluto ako ng isda
Ikaw, nakakain ka pa ba?
Araw-araw kong iniisip anong pwedeng lutuin,
Diyan ba may pangsahog ka pa?

Naalala ko yung sabi mo,
“Ang meron lang ako ay ang mga naiwang bawang na binabalatan ko.”
Naibenta mo ba?
May nakabili na ba?
Dalawang sako rin yan
Sana may kinita ka.

Limang linggo na pala
Parang namamalat ka nung tumawag ka sa akin
May kaunting ubo’t sumisinghot-singhot ka pa
Tinanong kita kung bukas ba diyan ang mga kilinika
Ang sagot mo lang,
“Kahit naman bukas sila, wala naman akong pera.”

Naipadala ko na
Sabi ko naman sa’yo mahahanapan kita ng pera
Pero pasensya ka na,
Limang daan lang ang nakolekta
Pinanghingi ko lang din yan
Wala naman din akong mahuhugot sa sarili kong bulsa

Naipadala ko na
Bat di ka sumasagot sa mga text ko
Di mo rin sinasagot ang tawag ko
Nakailang miss call na ako sa’yo
Huy!
Naipadala ko na

Ate?
Bat di sumasagot si mama?
Ate?
Natanggap n’yo na ba ang pera?
Ate?
Tinatawagan ko si mama.

“Nong, kulang ang limang daan pang-cremate kay mama.”

#TugTugPak
#ArtistangBayanMagingay
#TatambayDiTatahimik
#SafenotSilent
#MassTestingNowPH
#AyudaParaSaMasa

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All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc.

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