Friday, July 29, 2005

No to Cha-Cha!

Hands-down, the charter change proposal must be shot down at once by the people.

It will only serve the interests of the ruling clique as their knees shake relentlessly over the threat of ousting this regime by the very people who led two successful uprisings against despotic presidents.

They shout parliamentarism and federalism. Again, these measures are spoils sold by the fascist Ramos to woo local warlords in the countryside in supporting the Cha-Cha measure. Besides, in a parliamentary form of government, there are no term limits for the members of parliament. So Noynoy Aquino will forever be the MP of Tarlac, so will the Duranos and Garcias of Cebu, the Dutertes of Davao, the Singsons and Marcoses of Ilocos, the Dimaporos of Mindanao, the Dys of Isabela and all the other landlord-comprador politicians in the reactionary Congress.

Warlordism and feudal political domination will persist. Bureaucrat-capitalism will have reached its finest hour as the best MP lapdog of US Imperialism will be the PM for life as he will forever kowtow to the interests of foreign capital, and the landlords in the countryside who wield the power to the vote of no confidence against him, in the event he decides to go against the whims and caprices of the imperialist and the comprador ruling class.

The sectoral representation of the marginalized we all dream of will soon be a pipe dream. At its worse, it could lead to the abolition of the partylist system - the singlemost effective voice of the people in a ruling class-dominated Congress, and demonized as entrypoints for communists to power.

Federalism is no better. They shout that Visayas and Mindanao are left behind against the development of Luzon. It diverts the point that it is the entire country, and the entire toiling masses that are left behind regardless of their location, in the countryside nor in the cities, as the ruling class isstill the one who benefit from this semi-feudal economy of cheap exports and influx of surplus imports that permits this extent of poverty and underdevelopment.

Besides, how do you expect the state of Samar-Leyte and others to take off economically as effectively as the Cebu or Davao state in the future? It will only heighten the contradictions in the countryside, as the people in the most depressed of areas in the country will forever be bound to the fields that they toil but do not own. The prospects are far more disastrous than what what we have at present.

And as with parliamentarism, warlordism, patronage politics and bureaucrat capitalism will have its field day as soon as federalism exists as there would never be a need to answer to the federal government on accounts of political repression such as militarization in the countryside and supression of basic rights such as rights to education, among others.

As they blur the debate on political issues on the Charter amendments, the reactionary elite is also scheming to change the nationalist economic provisions set out in the Charter, which has always angered foreign investors and most importantly, US imperialism. As they have done with the Mining Act of 1995, the 60-40 equity ratio between Filipino and foreign ownership will most definetely be scrapped and also allow foreign private ownership of land.

This definitely contradicts constitutional edicts on national patrimony and disregards decades of people's struggles to expel imperialist economic controls on Philippine laws. As we speak, these equity ratios are not even followed by a lot of transnational companies. This will only serve to legitimize the intensified ransacking of our economy and natural resources. This is in line of course with the neo-liberal globalization policies championed by Ramos during his time.

Ramos is such a great fascist and opportunist. His plans are well-crafted, letting us die and struggle our way, sacrificing lives in order to reverberate our program of systemic change to the people and yet he can posture himself so well and make pretensions that charter change is systemic change. He knows the breaking point in every political crisis and forsees the gains of the revolutionary movement. He has done so in EDSA 1 and many other times. He is at it again.

But what is by far more alarming is the prospect of reactionary efforts to obliterate the national democratic struggle waged across the archipelago. Though the armed struggle will continue snowballing across the countryside, there is a danger of the localization of legal struggles among separate states instead of the people struggling on a national scale with its center at the heart of the national government, as what we do now.

Well, let them bring it on. The broad masses of people will shoot it down at the first glance of reactionary maneuverings, as they have consistently done before and as they do now with the ousting of the current regime.

No to Cha-cha. Oust Gloria.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Academic Research in the Era of Globalization

Globalization is not only a world-wide economic phenomenon that binds developing economies into perpetual underdevelopment but obliterates even institutions with values and traditions seemingly impenetrable in the light of rapid economic changes such as the academe. To be an academic in this era of rapid liberalization of goods and services such as education and research, is to live constantly under the watchful eyes of the hand that feeds him/her funding, more especially so in the educational institutions in the Third World.

As a result, a truly independent, objective and scientific research will soon be a thing of the past as the primary drive for research will not be that of the discovery of new knowledge as an offering to the world, but the production of knowledge as an offering to the altar of the multi-billion dollar multinational conglomerates funding academic research. A market driven research environment will soon lose its best and brightest to patrons who can bid the highest their services and lose track of the values and ethics that were once fundamental to academic institutions. Instead of local physicists and chemists discovering indigenous ways of acquiring fuel as an alternative to oil, they would rather be at the mercy of big oil monopolies such as Shell to harness and exploit the natural gas reserves in Malampaya, Palawan and further conduct feasibility studies on undiscovered potential oil deposits for the corporation. It loses sight of the primary function of science and technology research as an essential backbone of the country’s economic takeoff firstly through genuine land reform and national industrialization.

Research then would inevitably be covertly biased for the corporation that gives funding instead of scientific research being value-free. It can also lead to the censoring of a new discovery, hidden from the public eye and kept in the corporate vaults, if it is deemed a better alternative to the corporation’s current product in the market, only to release it after many years of superprofits. It can dictate to the researcher what to research and what not to research, more so that there are rarely times when foundations or the universities themselves are the ones that offer funding. At its worst, it stifles the very heart and value of academic research, that of academic freedom. This is what separates university research from the R&D departments of the corporations as academics are free to produce knowledge that is relevant to their specific fields, as an offering to society and humanity, if at all, for themselves! And they do this without a market agenda but simply to generate new knowledge.

Corporate intervention to academic research also marginalizes fields such as the arts and social sciences, which are deemed irrelevant by organizations driven by profit. They are relegated to the periphery in terms of funding and prioritizations because more often topics in these fields do not sit well with the corporate profiles of the funding agencies. These fields are known to be purveyors of social critique and inquiry, which would always target corporations like such for superprofits at the expense of worker exploitation and Third world underdevelopment. There are also no concrete gains from tapping the researches of social scientists as they can only provide at best, an overview of the target markets, their socio-cultural profiles, which can easily be done by corporate marketing researchers. Thus, the potential wealth of knowledge that can be produced at this time of market-driven research is dwarfed by endless technological outputs from the scientific side of the academic community.

Market driven research such as these obfuscate the need for researches that would definitely alleviate poverty in society and prescribe effective strategies towards genuine economic development. As such, researches such as these are gibberish garbage in the eyes of the people. It is research without a soul, with the sole intent of thr production of profit through knowledge. They do produce new gadgets but they do not produce and empowered people. Researches like these are even willing accomplices to the overpricing of essential drugs needed by a hungry populace. But academics play blind to these ethical considerations and continue producing knowledge that benefits only a few of those who exploit and oppress. It will never have any social value and relevance even if they discover the cure for AIDS or cancer. The drug companies will keep them high above the affordable prices anyway. It will never be beneficial to the people even if they discover oil deposits in Tarlac. Shell will keep the prices of oil high anyway.

We do research, even scientific research, as an offering to humanity, as a tool for economic emancipation from foreign domination and social emancipation from ruling classes that has historically deceived, oppressed and exploited the great masses of people.

IBON Research as a Paradigm for Social Sciences Research

The talks of Antonio Tujan and Sonny Africa were characteristic of a research mincing no words nor data nor analyses on the current economic and political crisis besieging the nation. The papers focused on topics that mattered the most to the people – rising prices of oil and basic commodities, unemployment, debt servicing vis-à-vis social services, national patrimony, political repression as the backdrop of the issue of the day – the political isolation and illegitimization of the Arroyo regime from the great majority of toiling masses and democratic forces of Philippine society.

It showed IBON Foundation’s amazing penchant of using government data, sugarcoated as they are, in further exposing the Arroyo government’s blatant abandonment of its duty to serve its people, as they were able to calculate and analyze sharply, for example, the deception brought about by the continuous insinuation of the state that GNP/GDP growth is the primary barometer for economic development, notwithstanding the fact that there were big cuts in the amount of real social services spending in education, health and housing. The papers were able to throw back the sweetened garbage of statistical data back to the state that proliferates a perception of a sunny economic environment amidst the exponential rise in unemployment and hunger among the people.

The papers sought to be as comprehensive as possible in presenting the facts and analyses on why the current regime’s back is terribly pushed against the wall. But again, papers can only say so much as even if researchers try to encompass all there is to an unsound economic policies and political posturings, it will inevitably fall short still of elaborating on a lot of matters. For example, the papers focused more on people’s issues rather than sectoral socio-economic issues as these are the social bases of a protracted struggle against the regime. But then again, this limitation is well understood, as it is better for the sectors themselves to be the ones to conduct their own fora, publish their own pamphlets and research to further expound their causes and indictments against the regime.

The target audience of the papers is quite clear – the silent middle forces looking for an intellectual and rational explanation behind the current political impasse. Though there were audiences from the basic sectors, the forum and the papers were basically geared at the academe, professionals and businessmen, as Peter Wallace of the Wallace Business Forum was even present there! Symposia like these give intellectual legitimacy to the current mass movement to oust the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, as the snowballing protests will not only be seen as a catharsis of the great unwashed of people ala EDSA III but backed by rational socio-economic premises as presented by progressive intellectuals. The papers’ role in the current fight for truth and justice is the broadening of the mass movement to include the ranks of the seemingly frustrated petty-bourgeois and the negative-spending national bourgeois to be as potent a force to topple the president as it had been during the ouster of Erap. It is quite ironic even, that these middle forces, who should be more akin to a sociological imagination are the ones who dilly-dally in espousing for social change than the hungry masses whose primary concern should have been to put food on their plates instead of fighting for another struggle that has no definite promise. Reading these papers would most likely lead to a reassessment of values and stands on issues of the middle class in its role in the current social milieu.

But the defining characteristic of the IBON papers is this – it is a well-crafted intellectual repackaging of the national democratic analysis and program, suited for the tastes of a broader audience, particularly the middle forces in order to rouse them to rethink and partake, hopefully, in the struggle for the ouster of the sitting president and fight for a national democratic alternative. To be able to do such a research and elevating the struggle of the people to the level of intellectual acrobats such as the middle class without diluting the essential substance of the analysis and program is an academic and an intellectual that is truly rooted in the needs, hopes and aspirations of a struggling people. It does not end at simply analyzing the ills and pains of the economic and political system but leaves a challenge and call to its audience and readers to be aroused, organized and mobilized.

This paradigm should always be at the core of social science researches, especially in developing nations such as ours – research that does not bind nor enslave, but empowers and liberates. As Marx always said, “the point, however, is to change it!”

Sunday, July 24, 2005


Linilikha natin ang kasaysayan ngayon.

Bilang Iskolar ng Bayan, bilang kabataan, bilang bahagi ng sambayanan inaapi at pinagsasamantalahan.

Sa darating na Lunes, dalawa ang SONA na magaganap - Ang moro-morong SONA sa plenaryo ng mga kinatawan kuno ng mamamayan sa mga distrito at ang SONA ng mamamayan sa lansangan.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Alternatibong Programa

Naghahanap ang masa ngayon ng alternatibang programa.

Nasa plateau ngayon ang krisis pampulitika, stalemate baga.
Walang mga bagong pasabog ang oposisyon, wala pa ring Samuel Ong.

Nagka-women's march pala kahapon, pero wala yung pangmalakasang pagkilos ng iba-ibang mga puwersa tulad ng nakaraang mga linggo.
Dapat sana nagbuibuild-up na tayo para sa SONA. Patuloy na muscle-flexing at maliliit na mga pagkilos.

May Truth Commission eklat ang lola mo. La yun, ploy na naman ng rehimen yan para i-divert yung isyu ng impeachment. Sabi nga, siya yung lilitisin, siya rin yung pipili ng manglilitis. Kumusta naman yon!

Medyo nagegets ko na rin yung kagandahan ng impeachment sa gitna ng mga panawagan ng resignation at ouster. Magandang laruin talaga natin yung linya natin dito sa magiging bagong kaganapan. Naalala ko tuloy yung EDSA Dos. Hindi naman talaga natapos yung impeachment. Hindi rin talaga nagbitiw si Erap. Pinatalsik siya ng mamamayan.

Kung magpapatali lamang tayo kasi sa impeachment hindi natin mapapatalsik si GMA. Maganda rin ito upang humaba pa yung init ng krisis pampulitika na sa mga araw na ito ay parang nanlamig nang bahagya. Oportunidad din kasi ito upang patuloy na ilantad si Gloria at ang bulok na sistema at patingkarin ang panawagan ng kabataan at mamamayan lalo't higit ang alternatibong programa para sa demokratikong konseho ng bayan.

Magiging hilaw rin talaga ang plano ng oposisyon na manalo na sa SONA. Ano sila, excited? Sila lang makikinabang sa mga pinagpaguran natin kung ganoon at may katiyakan din naman na madudurog sila kung ipilit nila ang sarili nila sa pinakamadaling panahon.

Pero patuloy kong igigiit ang pantay na pagpapatingkad ng alternatibong programa ng kabataan at mamamayan kasabay pagpapatingkad ng ouster at resign calls. Ito ay sa kadahilanang hindi pa rin konkreto sa kaisipan ng masa ang duduluhin nito, sa panahong magpasiya silang muli magtaya ng oras at buhay para rito. Mahalaga ring maging napakaingat. Napakaraming beses nang nadurog ang puso ng masa sa mga pakikilaban inagaw ng oportunismo ng reaksiyonaryo. Bagamat mito ang people power fatigue, totoo na sa bawat panahong nabibigo ang masa sa pakikibaka, palagiang magkakaroon ng paghupa o ebb sa pagpapabilis ng rebolusyon. At hindi natin kailangan ang ganitong paghupa sa pakikibaka. Bagamat ekonomiko ang mapagpasiya ng pagaangat ng antas ng pakikibaka ng masa, matindi rin ang hataw ng kulturang mapagpalimot na nakaugat din naman sa ekonomikong tunggalian.

Hindi magpapakamatay at tataya ang masa sa pakikibaka batay lamang sa pagkagalit nila kay GMA, kahit sobrang gutom na sila. Pababayaan na lang siguro nila tayo at mga abanteng hanay ng masa na siyang pumasan ng laban para sa kanila. Ipagpapatuloy na lang niyang magbenta ng cellphone casing sa padre faura, papasok na lang siya araw-araw sa pabrika ng silicon chips o kaya magtatanim na lang siya ng kamote sa masbate, at panoorin tayo sa tv patrol sa gabi. Gusto niyang magresign si gloria dahil diyan sa VAT at pagtaas ng pamasahe. Pero baka hindi siya sumama sa pagkilos.

Ayaw niya rin kasi kay Noli. Lalo naman kay Drilon na oportunistang sagad-sagaran. Kaya galit man siya kay Gloria, parang wala rin siyang magawa. Alam din niyang sistema ang siyang problema, pero ano ang ipapalit dito? Ayaw naman niyang military junta, o baka pwede, kung wala na talaga, kailangan din kasi ang militar para patalsikin si pandak e. Naku parang wala. Kung kay Gloria, wala rin. Ganoong pa rin, iiyak pa rin ang masang api.

Dahil hindi rin malinaw sa kanya ang demokratikong konseho ng bayan. Anong malay niya diyan. People's Democratic Council? Naku parang People's Republic of China. Baka gawin kaming Maling ng mga yan. Yan pa naman yung sinasabi ni Satur Ocampo, e diba NPA yun dati?

Paano natin ngayon ipapaliwanag sa masa ang hakbang patungo sa demokratikong konseho ng bayan mula sa krisis pampultika ngayon? Paano natin lalaruin itong impeachment habang patuloy na nananawagan ng ouster na dudulo sa demokratikong konseho ng bayan? Papaano natin iibsan ang pangamba ng masa na baka sina Erap lang yung kasama natin dito? Sinu-sino naman yang mga sektoral na mga representateng yan, hindi nga namin kilala yan? Pano yun, wala nang Kongreso? Baka anarkiya lang ang dulo niyan, gulo lang? Konstitusyunal ba yan?

Ano ang alternatibong programa? 12point program ba ang gagamitin?

Tunay na reporma sa lupa, pambansang industriyalisasyon ba ang isusulong?

Dagdag badyet ba para sa edukasyon at titigil ba ang pagtaas ng matrikula?

Ibabasura ba ang Mining Act? Isasabansa ba ang mga vital na industriya?

May debt repudiation ba? Aalis ba sa GATT-WTO? Tanggal na ba ang VAT?

Magkakaceiling na ba ang presyo ng langis at bababa na ba ang presyo ng bilihin at pasahe?

Popondohan na ba natin ang agrikultura ngayon?

May incentives ba ang local SMEs kaysa mga dayuhang kumpanya?

Tataas na ba sa wakas ang sahod ng manggagawa? Magkakabahay at magkakatrabaho na ba ang maralitang tagalungsod?

Tataas na ba ang sweldo ng manggagawa sa pamahalaan ng 3000?

Lilikha ba ng trabaho ang demokratikong konsehong bayan para hindi na kailangang umalis ng mga OFW?

Maraming mga tanong ang inihapag dito ukol sa mga solusyon na tayo at ang masa rin naman ang bumuo. Ang mga ito sana ang bahagi ng alternatibong programa ng konseho ng bayan at magkaroon din dapat ang kabataang estudyante ng sarili nitong listahan ng programa para sa edukasyon at kabataan.

Kung mabuo at mailatag lamang nang maayos ito ng kilusan sa pambansa at sektoral na saklaw, makatitiyak ako na kasabay ng pagpanawagan ng pagpapatalsik kay gloria, tuluy-tuloy na aani ng suporta at kasapi ang ating hanay.

Ito ang hinihintay ng marami sa panggitna at nahuhuling masang hindi pa lumalahok sa mga pagkilos. Hindi sila makakilos dahil hindi pa konkreto sa isip at puso nila ang kawastuhan ng sistema, kinabukasan at lipunang nais nating buuin. Pundamental na gawain ito.

Hindi sila magpapakamatay dahil galit sila kay gloria. Magtataya ang masa ng buhay niyang lugmok sa pagkabigo at hinagpis dahil malinaw sa isip at puso niya ang katumpakan ng isang sistema at programang magpapalaya sa kanya mula sa krus ng kahirapan. Para rito siya mag-aalay ng buhay at kamatayang pagtataya sa pakikibaka. Para sa hindi matuyuang bukal ng pag-asa ng panlipunang katarungan at tunay na demokrasya.

Isipin niyo na lang ang hukbo. Nagtatangan sila ng armas hindi lang dahil hungkag ang malapyudal at malakolonyal na sistema. Higit pa, dahil sila, kasama ng masa, ang magpapanday mula ngayon hanggang sa ganap na tagumpay ng isang lipunang mapagpalaya at tunay na payapa.

Kaya bilisan na natin ang pagpapalawak ng alternatibang programa. Kay tagal nang hinintay iyan ng masa.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Karupukan ng Katawan Dos

Nagsulat na ako noon ukol sa karupukan ng katawan ko. Ngayon, muli akong nadudurog at nalilimitahan sa pagkilos sa pinagsamang epekto ng pagod, puyat, sipon, ubo, allergy.

Pagkagising ko sa umaga, masakit ang likod ko, binti at paa. Marahil siguro sa palagiang paglalakad, mobilisasyon man ito o simpleng paglalakad-lakad lamang ng mga gawain. Ganunpaman, iniisip ko pa nga na baka may chronic fatigue na ako. Madalas pag gabi low-batt na ako sa halip na doon ako pinakaaktibo at malikhain, naisin ko na lamang humiga at matulog. Hindi ko na rin mawari kung may epekto nga ba ang sinasabing pampatibay ng katawang virgin coconut oil na lagi't laging pinipilit ng nanay ko na inumin ko.

Sa loob ng dalawang araw, yung isang ilong ko lang ata yung nakakahinga dahil barado ang isang butas. Pagkatapos kong kumain, hirap akong huminga, dahil daw sa katabaan sabi ng mahal ko, feeling ko nga. Yun bang tipong kailangan kong huminga ng npaakalalim upang abutin yung sa pakiramdam ko, optimal na paghinga kailangan ko, at madalas voluntary na paghinga ang mga ito.

Kailangan ko nang mag-exercise. Sabi nga ng mahal ko, bumalik na lang daw ako sa kanayunan para pumayat ako uli. Puwede rin, pero hindi ngayon, hindi sa gitna ng umaatikabong mga pangyayari sa kalunsuran na marapat na langkapan ng pangmalakasang kampanya ng kabataan at mga aping sektor ng lipunan.

Sa kabila ng lahat ng ito, malinaw naman na hindi ako dapat magpatali sa kahinaan ng katawan ko lalo't higit sa kritikal na puntong ito ng kasaysayan ng bayan. Subalit sisikapin na makapagwasto lalo't higit sa mga maling gawi sa pansariling kalusugan at hindi kinakailangang pagbabanat ng katawan sa puyatan na wala namang katuturan.

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