CMC Dean speaks up on eUP Project Team statement

UP College of Mass Communication (CMC) Dean Elena Pernia released a statement Thursday on the eUP Project Team’s statement against a Journalism undergraduate investigative thesis on the project.

The statement was exclusively forwarded to Tinig ng Plaridel via CMC College Secretary Teresa Congjuico.

“Has there been an assault on academic freedom and freedom of expression?

“Consistent with the academic freedom in the University of the Philippines Diliman, all students, in the undergraduate and graduate programs of the College of Mass Communication, are free to choose the topics for their thesis. Faculty advisers provide guidance to ensure that the thesis topic lies within the communication or media field/discipline concerned (i.e., Broadcast Communication, Communication Research, Film, and Journalism). Moreover, especially for those who opt to do an investigative report for their thesis, Journalism students are asked to establish that their thesis topic is ‘viable and newsworthy.’

“There is no question that, in the specific case of the Bautista-Subingsubing thesis on eUP, the topic was/is newsworthy. Its viability was assured when the students’ requests for interviews and access to data were granted by UP System Officials and the eUP team.

“Has there been any attempt on the part of UP administration to prevent the exercise of the freedom of expression or curtail academic freedom? Has there been any attempt to prevent its upload in iskWiki, the open access repository of all theses of the College?

“That the thesis was completed and submitted in accomplishment of the degree requirement, adjudged best thesis by the faculty of the Department, and awarded best paper by external judges indicate that there was no curtailment of the students’ freedoms. Moreover, that electronic copies of the thesis have been/are being shared and that portions of it uploaded in the social media further evidence freedom of expression obtaining in the University.

“When the eUP team released its ‘Statement on the undergraduate thesis of Ronn Bautista and Krixia Subingsubing on the eUP Project’, several months after the thesis was completed, criticising the thesis for its ‘misleading claims, questionable conclusions, and false allegations’, was it not exercising its own right to free speech?

On issues like that of eUP, discussion and debate are integral. Let all voices/positions exercise free expression. Justice Louis D. Brandeis put it this way: ‘If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.'”

The eUP Project Team had called the report by fresh Journalism graduates Ronn Bautista and Krixia Subingsubing and hailed as Best Thesis by the UP Department of Journalism as “poorly conducted research work” and “a witch hunt disguised as an academic endeavor.”

Meanwhile, Dean Pernia’s predecessor Roland Tolentino released another statement on Facebook, Aug. 26, condemning the eUP Project Team’s statement.

“While the eUP team has the right to comment on the questions and arguments raised by the thesis,” the statement said, “it cannot attribute malice to the authors and undermine the integrity of the thesis as an Investigative Journalism (IJ) project.”

CMC faculty members, students, staff and alumni had signed the statement.

CMC FST Council chair race ends in draw, special elections to follow

By Inna Christine Cabel

The race between the College of Mass Communication (CMC) Freshies, Shiftees and Transferees (FST) Council chairperson aspirants Kaye Aliwate and Carlos Dimailig arrived at a tie, with each candidate garnering 29 votes out of 62 voters.

In an interview after the announcement of FST Council winners at Pintados, the CMC FST Month Culmination Night on Aug. 26, Broadcast Communication transferee Aliwate said she believes both candidates share the same platforms, which split the vote.

“I forwarded unity towards helping society at large, ganun din [kay Dimailig],” Aliwate said.

On the other hand, Dimailig, a Journalism freshman, said his campaign had limited reach.

“Mistake ko ay masyadong focused sa freshies yung campaign, in reality outnumbered kami sa shiftees and transferees combined,” Dimailig said.

Meanwhile, Broadcast Communication freshman Ignacio “Nacho” Domingo bested his two opponents, Film transferee Andrea Geronimo and Journalism transferee Frances Dianne Bael, for the position of FST Council vice chairperson after garnering 30 votes.

Geronimo earned 15 votes while Bael garnered 10.  Domingo will also be the FST Council’s delegate to the CMC Council of Representatives (COR).

To fill the vacant positions of chairperson and secretary, a second on-ground votation will be held next week, according to FST committee head Jesse Doctor.

“The FST Council will open a booth on Tuesday and Wednesday (August 30-31) where FSTs can cast their vote,” Doctor said.

Since the slate for FST Council Secretary remains vacant as of press time, nominations for the position will be opened online this Saturday while Aliwate and Dimailig are allowed to campaign until Monday.

Lone candidates for department representatives were all declared winners.

Broadcast Communication representative John Jimenez earned 23 votes against two others who abstained while Communication Research representative Anna Pagdanganan obtained seven votes.

Journalism representative Jerome Ignacio received 14 votes against two who abstained, while Film Representative John Sherwin Colasito garnered 14 votes against two who did not cast their vote for the post.

Journalism Freshman Moira Natividad was declared Treasurer after earning 51 votes against 11 who abstained. Meanwhile, Film Freshman Rocky DG Morilla was declared CMC Representative to the University Freshie Council (UFC) after garnering 53 votes against nine who abstained.

FSTs were spurred to run for the FST Council, which will forward the community’s concerns to the UFC and to the UP College of Mass Communication Student Council’s (UP CMCSC) COR.

Out of the 107 FSTs currently enrolled in UP CMC, only 62 participated in the CMC FST Council elections.

(Photo by MK Reginio.)

Students, workers storm Quezon Hall, protest UP anti-student, anti-labor policies

By Jeuel Barroso

 

Student groups from UP Diliman (UPD) and UP Los Baños (UPLB) as well as the All UP Workers Union merged together to stage a protest action pressing the abolition of anti-student policies and the violation of labor rights at the UPD Quezon Hall, Aug. 25.

In the mobilization held in time for the Board of Regents (BOR) annual meeting, students condemned UP President Alfredo Pascual’s eUP project, the Student Academic Information System (SAIS) and the Socialized Tuition System (STS), likewise calling for their complete eradication along with the university’s other profiteering schemes.

“Sa kasaysayan ay napatunayan na na hindi pinapakinggan ang boses ng Student Regent natin kaya mahalaga ang pagsasama sama natin… para talagang macreate yung social pressure, yung atmosphere ng protest, para makalampag yung admin natin, to shake the system,” STAND UP Chairperson Josiah Hiponia said.

Meanwhile, UPLB University Student Council (USC) Chairperson Merwin Jacob Alinea said one of the reasons UPLB students had to come to UP Diliman was that UP President Alfredo Pascual wanted to “see warm bodies to really know that a lot of students are against SAIS.”

SAIS is part of Pascual’s P750-million eUP Project, which aims to integrate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems across all UP units.

Upon its implementation in UPLB this academic year, there had been glitches in the data management system during UPLB’s registration period, yielding to students being unable to secure slots for required classes.

“Ang EUP ay isang malaking kawaldasan ng pera ng mga iskolar ng bayan… sa kapalpakan nito at sa pagiging privatized nito ay hindi kailanman makikinabang ang mga estudyante,” Hiponia said.

“Kaya ang panawagan natin ay ibasura talaga itong proyektong eUP at mas palakasin pa ‘yung mga homegrown information systems natin,” he added.

In response to the massive glitching during UPLB’s registration period, the eUP Project Team released a statement saying the glitches were caused by denial of service attacks which caused the system’s instability.

“We believe the motive (of the DOS attacks) is to expose the weakness of the system,” Annette Lagman, eUP Project Consultant, said in a press conference, Aug 3.

Later on during the protest, the students were able to breach the Quezon Hall and engage in a dialogue with the UP President.

Pascual refused to abolish his flagship project, saying the BOR will review SAIS and decide whether or not to junk STS.

On the other hand, the UP Workers Alliance held Pascual accountable for violating the Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA) of 2015, which provides the monetary incentives UP workers collect and have yet to receive.

College of Arts and Letters Public Relations Officer Felix Parenas, a member of the UP Workers Alliance, said in an interview that the UP Administration declared that the savings from maintenance and facilities funds purposed to be distributed to the workers were no longer available.

“Ang hinihingi naman natin [UP workers], kung walang savings, ay ‘yung merong  statement of account na merong integridad. Iba-iba yung binibigay nilang [UP administration] datos,” Parenas said.

Besides reminding the UP administration of its obligation to its workers, Parenas also said the issues of students and workers stating are connected and that these joint protests increase the awareness of the UP community regarding these issues.

Despite being able to come face-to-face with Pascual to forward the students and workers’ concerns, Hiponia said the movement conducted by sectors within the UP community would not stop with the BOR protest.

According to him, the BOR mobilization is but a build-up for a planned huge walkout event on Sept. 1 as well as a system-wide shutdown across all UP constituent universities.

“Pipilayan natin ung pamamalakad ng UP admin at uulitin natin ‘yung pinatunayan na ng kasaysayan na posible noong 2010-2011 kung saan laksa-laksang mga iskolar ng bayan, mga guro at mga kawani ung lumaban para sa ating mga karapatan,” the STAND UP Chairperson said.

Nowhere to go but up: 2016 UP Pep Rally showcases reinforced alumni support

By Mikee Garcia

Highlighted by improvement off a rebranding year, the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons’ annual Pep Rally was held at the University Theater, Wednesday, August 24.

UP’s varsity teams did crossover performances to hype up the crowd for Season 79 of the UAAP, collaborating with one another as they exhibited their talents.

Notable performances included UPIS student athletes in the Juniors division – a first in Pep Rally history, and the debut of the newest UAAP sport, Ballroom Formation.

Chancellor Michael Tan began his opening speech by recalling how people, in recent years, used to view Iskolars ng Bayan as underdogs when it comes to sports.

According to him, however, a game-changer arrived for the Maroons when a group of alumni by the name of NowheretogobutUP started offering support to the university’s athletes.

Tan said that their combined efforts have really made a difference for the teams in the form of improved facilities, more sponsors and better crowd support, which resulted in better performances from the Maroons.

According to a video aired by NowheretogobutUP, the initiative was born out an assessment of the current state of UP athletes in preparation for UP’s hosting duties of the UAAP last season.

The video highlighted various persisting difficulties such as dilapidated, insufficient facilities and lack of nourishment before games, among others.

Tan also pointed out that UP is the only public university in the UAAP but stressed that the athletes sacrifice just as much of their time as that of any other school in the league. With the help of alumni, he claimed that the UP administration will not be holding back in funding the university’s athletic program even further.

Aside from showing support for the university’s athletes, Tan also honored fallen Men’s Football Team player Rogie Maglinas who was diagnosed with cancer October 2015 and tragically passed away earlier this year. He said that Maglinas had so much love for the sport and his hometown, which kept him going until the end of his bout with his illness.

According to Tan, Maglinas’ eventual passing took a hard toll on both the Men’s and Women’s Football teams but they chose to fuel themselves instead on the field which culminated in a double championship last May. “Ang sarap ng championships natin kasi natalo natin ang Ateneo at La Salle, the second and third best universities in the country,” Tan added.

Tan concluded his speech by saying this season’s athletes carry not only the name of UP but also the honor of the country.

“Ang tagumpay ng UP ay tagumpay ng bayan,” said Tan as he concluded his speech to a thunderous ovation from the students in attendance.

The University of Sto. Tomas will be hosting this season’s UAAP. The opening ceremonies are set to be held September 3 at the UST Plaza Mayor in Manila .#

 

Project NOAH soldiers on for disaster-free PH

By Nacho Domingo

“The trick to avoiding disaster is to catch it on the rise,” Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment on Hazards) Executive Director Dr. Alfredo Lagmay said during his talk on the Department of Science and Technology’s disaster prevention and mitigation system, Aug. 23 at the UP Diliman National Institute of Geological Sciences.

In light of Project NOAH’s fourth year of operation as a nationwide program aimed at propagating ideal disaster awareness and preparation throughout the Philippines, Lagmay delivered a series of lectures entitled “Four Years of Project NOAH and its Future.”

“Access to data actually builds further knowledge to address the disaster problem of the country,” Lagmay said.

The executive director also pointed out the project’s main mission, helping to “warn” Filipinos of imminent natural disasters, particularly floods, and to subsequently “respond” to these naturally occurring phenomenon in order to ensure their safety.

With technology such as hazard maps that are “hazard-specific, time-bound and area-focused” and hydromet sensors, among others, Project NOAH provides a probabilistic approach to imminent hazards, said Lagmay.

This not only helps in averting disasters, Lagmay added, but also gives Filipinos the empowerment they were lacking during recent occurrences of natural crises, particularly typhoons Ondoy, Pablo, and Yolanda.

Project NOAH’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, as the program has been recognized 15 times  in the span of four years, and winning nine international awards in the process.

Despite this, Lagman asserts that the future of the program has not been set in stone, with issues regarding salary for scientists and a lack of a steady career path for well-trained researchers hindering the program from full-on sustainability for the years to come

“In 2015, four months hindi sinwueldo yung mga bata. In 2016, five months hindi sinwueldo yung mga bata […] and I can’t be held responsible for that anymore,” said Lagmay.

“Kailangan ang NOAH, hindi pwede program na project[-based] lang, very liable to the whims of the administration,” he added.

Furthermore, the use of the project funds is not in the control of the program team, Lagmay said.

Nevertheless, Lagmay asserted the importance of the program in promoting the safety and empowerment of the Filipino people.

“We need to support our scientists. They are our future,” he said. “Learning never stops. That is why Project NOAH should never stop.”

While the future of Project NOAH might not be smooth sailing from here on out, what is clear is Lagmay and his team will never relent in their efforts to bring about a disaster-free Philippines.

Francisca Custodio: Conquering the storm on the airwaves

By Arianne Christian Tapao

 

In the last months of 2013, the nation had been crying, almost endlessly.

As the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) continued that November, tombstones replaced the soil on which the natives of Visayas would have lived. Families failed to recognize dead bodies. Survivors came from everywhere, ransacking abandoned buildings in search of something to eat.

Nov. 8, 2013 remains in history as the day the strongest typhoon hit Philippine territory.

Amidst all the rubble, however,  is a media worker who has seen everything as she was, after all, a victim herself.

Radio journalist Francisca Custodio lost an announcer and technician during the storm. Tacloban, Leyte, where she has lived and worked as radio station manager all her life, was not an exception to the casualties.

“Do we have a future? May trabaho pa ba kami?” a distressed Custodio then found herself asking.

And yet, two days later, due to an unabating duty to reconnect distraught survivors with their loved ones, her station somehow managed to get on air. When she asked if her employees would be willing to work without pay, all of them said yes.

As recipient of this year’s annual Gawad Plaridel, UP College of Mass Communication (CMC) bestows the award to the station manager who would be best known for preserving cultural heritage by keeping Siday, a traditional Waray poetry and an important expression of regional identity, on air through the years.

Two and a half years since the calamity, Custodio is happy to be chosen for something she enjoys doing as what would be a lifetime work.

Heartily, Custodio jested: “I hope I won’t disappoint UP.”

Born on June 6, 1946, 70-year-old Francisca Custodio, “Ate Babes” to her friends, has by no means foreseen a career in media.

Indeed, the early years of her professional track offered no signs. Seven years before finishing a business management degree from the Divine Word University in Tacloban, Custodio had already juggled work as a clerk-typist while studying a one-year vocational program.

“Actually by accident lang ang pagkapasok ko as a broadcaster,” she quipped. “I wasn’t even allowed to say the time check!”

Like all serendipitous stories, a radio announcer once could not make it at the time so Custodio stood by. It was only until much later that she was given an actual opportunity to be on air.

“Siguro they found my Waray-Waray flawless, kinuha na nila ako,” she said.

From being a clerk, Custodio gradually rose through the ranks as a radio announcer and eventually became Manila Broadcasting Company AM Station DYVL’s manager for around 22 years now, giving her ample time to innovate the medium for listeners.

DYVL-Tacloban reaches the airwaves of the whole of Eastern Visayas and hears sentiments from a good number of audiences. Although tackling national issues as well, the station mainly confronts the daily local grind.

Like national dailies, too, she said criticisms do not evade the community radio. Sometimes, she said audiences do not entirely agree with the station’s opinions on issues.

For this, her mantra remains undeterred. “Sabi nila, ‘Media should not take sides,’ pero dito, we should take sides—the right side,” she said.

Her station also listened to constructive criticism, like how people commented on announcers’ voices or how they handle banter over the radio. All these anchored on the notion that giving power to listeners is always priority.

The same stance fueled what would come to be her legacy: Bringing back the dying local literature, Siday, on DYVL.

“Through the use of a form that is close to the people, she has turned the medium of radio into a two-way communication, where listeners are given opportunities to be heard as well,” UP CMC said in its press release.

Interestingly, Custodio said the Siday that brought voice to several Visayans had originally been planned as just a quirk to engage listeners more.

“We encouraged the audience to participate by sending their own publonganon (quotable quotes),” she said. Apparently, through time, Custodio was surprised when contributors started submitting not just short lines, but actual poems.

More, the sentiments of these pieces hinged on social issues that affect the contributor’s community.

The station managed to get sponsors for chosen pieces albeit small, but she said, “Contributors didn’t mind if there was a prize. They want to hear their work and their names.”

True enough, the practice which eventually went on for 29 years has been participated by all walks of life: be it “a janitor, a farmer, or a fisher,” she said.

This contest of sorts became so successful that the best ones were picked by the station to be included in a book, titled, “Siday Han DYVL,” an effort in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

“Naging parang voice box kami ng sentiments ng mga tao,” Custodio said, satisfied.

Alas, even the best things come to an end.

When typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines that day, the wealth of Siday entries just resting in their office were all lost, along with their equipment and facilities.

For more than two years now, Siday has not returned on the airwaves yet. The art of listening to the people’s grievances, however, remains.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, DYVL set up a station in Palo, Leyte where luckily, their transmitters were spared. Although time was limited from 18 to 12 hours due to lack of electricity, people got to communicate with separated family members, she said, helping them unite on the airwaves.

More, Custodio said as false stories of raiding and a possibility of tsunamis quickly escalated panic among people, it became the reporter’s duty “to look for the truth and confirm whether these stories are false.”

This was especially hard since even the reporters suffered great losses themselves.

“For quite some time, a month, I did not go on the air kasi bumabalik sa akin ‘yung nangyari,” lamented Custodio, who then worked while grieving the death of her two co-workers.

Like Siday, DYVL’s Tacloban station has never fully recovered yet, two and a half years at present.

But though it seems difficult to find a silver lining in the impediment, Custodio said the station is hopeful and gradually recovering.

True enough, Custodio said by September, the station is holding a workshop for all Siday contributors as way of thanking them, adding that they are still collating enough contributions from audiences before the radio segment could resume.

There are grand plans for the station, too. Custodio’s long-term vision is to acquire state-of-the-art equipment and hopefully expand the radio’s reach beyond Region 8.

All these, she said, against the stark reality that much like Siday, radio now seemed like an “endangered species” as social media has already become a necessity.

Despite these, the station manager is more than elated. To her, there is a sense of “fulfillment,” in getting to know people through the radio.

“It makes me whole,” she said. “Knowing na okay sila, ‘yan ang nakakapagbigay sa akin ng happiness.”

Tomorrow, the woman who stands on the podium will be nervous. She is bringing the name of Visayas after all, she said, before an intimidating audience of professors and professionals. Custodio follows along the line of Ricky Lee, Pete Lacaba and Nora Aunor, to new a few, and all media personalities with a good deal to back them up.

While she may be known for preserving cultural heritage through the broadcast medium, less known is that tomorrow, Custodio not only stands on a podium as a trailblazer, but even more: a Visayan woman who, through radio journalism, let the voice of humanity’s resilience be heard—even against the strongest odds.

“Kapag nakita ka ng tao na down, pati sila nada-down,” she said. “I have to show my people, maski ako babae, I have to stand up.”#

(Photo grabbed from the UP College of Mass Communication Facebook page.)

V-League: UP suffers first loss against undefeated FEU

By Keith Magcaling and Denver Del Rosario

 

In a battle between undefeated teams, the University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons bowed down to the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws in five grueling sets, 27-25, 25-22, 18-25, 23-25, 15-8, in the 2016 Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City, Saturday.

Despite rallying from two sets down, the Lady Maroons eventually lost steam as the steady Morayta-based squad took the deciding set in easy fashion.

With the loss, the Lady Maroons end the preliminary round with a 3-1 win-loss card, failing to secure a 2-0 carryover record into the quarterfinals.

Isa Molde and Diana Carlos led the fight for the Lady Maroons with 20 points each, while Justine Dorog added 14.

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On the other hand, Chin Basas spearheaded the onslaught for FEU with 24 points, while Remy Palma contributed 15.

The Diliman-based squad struggled to maintain their 10-point lead in the first set, 21-11, with Basas leading the charge for FEU as the team snatched the set, 27-25.

Down five points in the second set, 14-19, the Lady Maroons climbed back as Dorog served back-to-back aces to tie the game, 22 all. However, a Palma attack and an attack error from Dorog gave the set to FEU, 25-22.

The Lady Tamaraws rallied from a five-point deficit in the third set to inch closer,17-18, but the Lady Maroons took seven of the last eight points to close the set, 25-18.

FEU staged a late comeback in the fourth set, rallying from five points down, 11-16, to trim the lead down to one, 18-19.

FEU saved three set points, 23-24, but a power tip from Carlos sealed the set for UP.

The Lady Tamaraws started hot in the fifth set, winning the first five points, but the Lady Maroons went on a 6-2 run to move within one, 6-7.

However, UP eventually collapsed, hitting back-to-back attack errors to send FEU to match point, which the Lady Tamaraws took, 15-8.

Team captain Katherine Bersola wants her team to be more consistent with their game.

“We just have to work on trusting ourselves more and each other and ‘yung confidence sa isa’t isa,” she said.

Bersola was used sparingly throughout the game after suffering an apparent left ankle sprain.

 

The quarterfinals will begin next week.

Tuos: Breaking Free from Gilded Cages, Golden Chains

by Anna Biala

 

Perhaps for many, the promise of royalty is a privilege too good to be missed.

That is not the case for Dowokan (Barbie Forteza).

Heiress to the binukot title, Dowokan is expected to continue her grandmother Pina-ilog’s (Nora Aunor) legacy of living a secluded life and keeping their group’s traditions to appease the spirits in their homeland.

In their seclusion, binukots, the community’s culture-bearers, are taught how to weave, dance and learn their oral history. They are required to wear veils on the rare occasions that they have to go outside, assisted by servants all the time, and prohibited from dating until the “right time” comes.

Indeed, traditions play a crucial role in shaping one’s identity. However, as soon as the movie theater lights go out, “Tuos” attempts to opens a discussion on how and what happens when old-age practices meet the present.

Based on a pre-hispanic cultural practice, Director Derick Cabrido’s “Tuos” (Pact) weaves the story of the otherwise unpopular binukot princesses whose kingdoms lie deep within the hinterlands of Panay through a layer of visually compelling scenes.

Sandwiched between live action shots are animations and shadow play of their community’s history, made more hauntingly beautiful by the epic chant that plays in the background. When the music stops, reality fades in again; the binukot starts to sing once more, and the visual storybook comes at play.

Given the distinct music choice and breathtaking shots, there is no doubt the film deserves the Best Sound, Best Original Music Score, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, and Audience Choice Awards.

More than the laudable use of sound and imagery, the film, set in the modern times, presents a rather familiar narrative of women and their struggle to break free from the shackles of societal customs rooted on ancient beliefs.

Pina-ilog, despite her old-age, dances gracefully in weddings as part of her duty, the river of silver strands whipping around her as she moves.

She watches the days go by from her side of the window, conditioned to be content with passively staying indoors with her granddaughter and maids, and she does so without any complaints. After all, her life has always been the same until her granddaughter expresses her dissent.

Like a bird in a gilded cage, strong-willed Dowokan cries foul. For her, being the “chosen one” means losing the freedom to choose how to live her life, which is her biggest fear.  Throughout the film, headstrong Dowokan asserts her non-belief in her community’s tradition. Despite her young age, she is firm in forsaking her role as the community’s next binukot princess.

Panning to reality, the world’s younger generations are both lauded and criticized for being unhesitant in defying tradition and breaking out of molds bestowed upon them by society and the older generations.

With the flipping of the calendar pages naturally comes the similar change in people’s views, beliefs, and traditions initiated by those tired of norms they perceive as oppressive–out of this collective discontent came the fight for causes such as feminism.

In this day and age, the struggle for women’s rights expanded to include the diverse backgrounds cultures, traditions, boundaries, and identities of women especially those of color.

Dowokan and Pina-ilog’s struggles against a culture that views women more as objects subject to religious and cultural customs than humans allowed to have a say about their conditions are struggles reminiscent of this kind of feminism.

They are not alone.

While the right to a woman’s ownership of her own body is crucial to the fight against the patriarchal paradigm of society, recognizing the link between feminism and class struggle gears the shift towards genuine change.

In “Tuos,”  binukots are leaders and empowered personas but like many women, high status does not necessarily mean getting exempted from double-standards.

“Tuos,” despite its very slow pacing, offers a fresh perspective on women and the cultural barriers that affect their lives.

The last few minutes of the film gives birth to more questions but one thing is for sure: “Tuos” wants the viewers to see that the world can be a better place for women–if only we act now.

(Photo grabbed from the Cinemalaya website.)

 

CMC FST Council candidates bare platforms, discuss national issues

By Franchesca Persia

 

Candidates for the College of Mass Communication (CMC) Freshies, Shiftees, Transferees (FST) Council presented platforms focusing on educational discussions, information dissemination, media literacy, and efficient grievance systems during the FST Council Miting De Avance, Thursday.

While their platforms would cater to the FST student body, the candidates also sought to widen the reach of the council by zooming in on the concerns of the university, as well as national issues.

“Ang educational forums ang magmumulat sa’tin sa kawalan ng hustisya,” said chairperson candidate and Journalism freshman Carlos Dimailig. “Naniniwala ako na maraming injustices na hindi naiiresolba ng ating administrasyon katulad ng Taysan 3,” he added.

The Taysan 3 refers to three political prisoners seized by the military in Taysan, Batangas on June 3, 2010. Among them is CMC film major Maricon Montajes.

Other than the Taysan 3’s imprisonment, issues such as discrimination towards the LGBTQ community were also raised during the Miting De Avance.

Chairperson candidate and Broadcast Communication transferee Kathreen Aliwate acknowledged the presence of discrimination towards the LGBTQ community and pointed out that they should not be treated as a minority group.

“Naniniwala ako na kapag tayo’y nagsama-sama, mas lalakas ang ating boses, mas marami tayong magagawa,” said Aliwate, whose objective is to unite the FSTs.

Besides this, she also envisions that the FST community foster a nationalistic and socio-civic approach to issues–“Isang komunidad na may alam at may [pakialam].”

On the other hand, the respective candidates for Film and Journalism Representatives and CMC Representative to the University Freshie Council (UFC) believe effective grievance systems will contribute to a productive FST student body.

According to the candidates, the grievance systems will tackle Socialized Tuition System (STS) appeals, curriculum concerns, as well as personal problems. If the FST Council cannot resolve these grievances, they will be forwarded either to the CMCSC or the college administration.

Aside from presenting their plans of action, the candidates also answered questions ranging from the situation of Philippine media to the power of student movements.

CMC Representative to the UFC hopeful Rocky DG Morilla said the media lets readers and social media users label the output of the industry’s practitioners as biased information while sole Journalism Representative candidate Jerome Ignacio pointed out the mainstream media’s failure to tackle societal issues.

On student movement, College of Mass Communication Student Council (CMCSC) Chairperson Almira Abril asked the chairperson candidates about its importance, following up with a query on the direction they want the FST to go.

“Ang kahalagahan ng student movement ay iisang direksyon. Para sa FST, ito ay magkaroon ng dahilan para lumaban,” Dimailig answered.

Meanwhile, Aliwate responded that the student movement provides a voice to those who are unheard by society, adding that inciting discourse is necessary to inform the FSTs on issues both in and out of the university.

Only the positions of the chairperson and vice chairperson have more than one candidate, with two and three hopefuls, respectively. Running for the latter post are Film transferee Andie Geronimo, Broadcast Communication freshman Nacho Domingo, and Journalism transferee Frances Dianne Bael.

Gunning for department representatives posts are shiftees John Jimenez, Anna Pagdangan and Jerome Ignacio for Broadcast Communication, Communication Research and Journalism respectively, and transferee John Sherwin Colasito for Film.

Meanwhile, eyeing the treasurer position and CMC representative to the UFC post are Journalism freshman Moira Natividad, and Film freshman Rocky DG Morilla, respectively.

A special election will be held for the position of secretary as it had no candidate.

The FST Council is part of the month-long welcoming celebration of the UP College of Mass Communication for its FSTs. Spearheaded by the CMCSC, FSTs were encouraged to run for posts in the local council.

Voting for the CMC FST Council will be held online from Aug. 19 to 22 while the results will be announced on the culmination night of the FST Month, Aug. 26. #

The Open Side to Dead Ends  

By Danica Lacson

 

There was no road to pass, no way to escape.

It makes you grit your teeth, utter curses and close your eyes, hoping this day will pass to try again tomorrow. Hopeless.

You choose to live another day.

The victory of life over hopelessness was the message Isabel Maria Luz Quesada wanted to convey in her award-winning short film.

Proclaimed Best Screenplay and Best Short film during this year’s Cinemalaya Film Festival, Pektus film revolves around a day in the life of Yong (Nonie Buencamino) and Chino (Jojit Lorenzo), both miserable and confined in the apparent hopelessness of their situations.

“I think what sets my film apart from the other short films was its storytelling and how it presented its message clearly and effectively,” said Quesada, although admitting that winning two awards for her film was an unexpected feat.

Bound by expectations from social structures and norms, and molded by the city life, Yong and China were ultimately pushed to a dead end until their chance encounter in a one-way alley changed their lives.

Pektus,  through its main characters,  explored the themes of determinism, free will and the man’s capability to alter his situation. By way of its thematic contradiction from the fast-paced interwoven images of the city to silent and still scenes in the cemetery, it dwelled on contracting themes of death and life, circumstance and choice.

“I’ve always been interested with stories that explore the human condition, more so the inner struggles of man with himself and his environment.” the director said.

“The world is a mess. The city is dying. It seems pretty hopeless. But at the end of it all, life prevails. Life is chosen over death, no matter how hopeless it seemed,” she added.

The optimistic take of Pektus, however, fell short in painting a picture of utter hopelessness of its characters to evoke a more sympathetic connection with the audience.

The victory over life’s cul-de-sacs in the film was not triumphant enough to bring in satisfaction in its conclusion.

In its attempt for optimism, Pektus fell in the trap of striking the viewer as a tad too ideal.

Poverty in the country remains a challenge with more than a quarter of Filipinos living below the poverty line. With the tendency of society’s structure to bless those born with privilege in more ways than one, poor Filipinos turn to prostitution, theft and drug trafficking for a living.

In the election of Rodrigo Duterte as president, his campaign promise of bringing down the crime rate in the country through confronting the nation’s drug trade has escalated to heinous summary killings.

Victims of vigilante groups and police in drug-related cases have reached 612 in number as of Aug 18, including pedicab driver Michael Siaron and 22-year-old Rowena Tiamson.

Meanwhile, this present war on drugs declared by the president does not reach the luxurious subdivisions or the flashy clubs where more privileged people reside in and flock to.

Accused of selling drugs in Bonifacio Global City, Radio DJ Karen Bordador and her boyfriend were subjected to due process of the law, a right not given the victims of drug-related killings.

In Pektus, Yong and Chino were given second chances to make better their lives. Reflective of reality, being members of the middle class gives them this privilege, but for those who remain in society’s hem there is no way out except through the road of chance  and the choice to escape.

With gritted teeth, a few chants and curses and eyes wide open, the only exit for those who have long been oppressed and for those who have known nothing but poverty throughout their lives remain going against the system which permits power to reside in a small percentage of society.

The only way to overcome hopelessness is to topple the capitalist system where second chances will remain a privilege to a chosen few, and this can only be achieved if people choose to escape, if people choose to break their chains. #

(Photo grabbed from IMDB website.)

The Tides of Paradise: Exploring the Depths of “Fish Out Of Water”

By Kate Tayamora

They are everywhere.

It doesn’t matter whether he lived there all his life, or that he looks very much like the rest of them. All it matters is that they still see him differently- still shorter, darker, less purer than the others.

In a society which does not do away with half-breeds, Min-Jae’s failing attempt to go with the flow gets washed away by the tide.

“Fish Out Of Water” revolves around the story of Min-Jae (Alec Kevin Rigonan), a Filipino-Korean teenager who suffers from discrimination because of his mixed heritage.

Living in Korea with his mother (Yayo Aguila), Min-Jae’s slow journey to acceptance in the homogeneous and hierarchical Korean society was halted when she decides to send him back to the Philippines to continue his studies.

Director Ramon Alberto Garilao begins the film with a visually captivating underwater shot of Min-Jae, submerged, possibly drowning. Through a series of voice overs, the film has successfully reached out to the audience into sympathizing with its protagonist, all the while revealing a deeper message than Garilao’s advocacy to stop the discrimination directed to all multicultural youths.

“Pinoys view Korea as the paradise. Filipinos eventually got fascinated with Koreans,” he said.

Garilao added, “But behind these fancy dramas and Korean pop music lies the untold stories of our countrymen abroad.”

First introduced to the issue during his yearlong exchange program in South Korea last November 2013, “Fish Out Of Water” is dedicated to the plight of the Kopinos- a term used to identify a child with Korean and Filipino descent.

This term, however, becomes problematic since it usually refers to a child born out of wedlock between a Korean father and a Filipina mother.

Not only does it force Kopinos to seek their legitimacy as Korean citizens, it also degrades the importance of the Filipino parent, as both are viewed as second class citizens.

“We must understand that Koreans have this mindset that their race is pure and they are very proud of it,” Garilao said, explaining further that this culture is embedded with the practice of Confucianism in the country.

This film presents the narrative of most, if not all, half-Filipinos living in our country.

Similar to the premise of Cinemalaya Feature film “I, America”, whose story centers on a half- Pinay, half Caucasian lady in search for her father, “Fish Out Of Water” also tackles the story of estrangement, and the identity struggles faced by the children who are left behind to cope.

Although it does not further expound on it, “Fish Out Of Water” touches upon the delicate issues of prostitution, child abandonment, and the consequences thereof to the family structure.

Many children nowadays are growing up fatherless and nationless due to the influx of the sex trade and mail-order bride system used in both countries.

At worst, their situations are celebrated, especially with Filipino-foreign descent translating to becoming a feat to laud- a colonial culture embedded in the FIlipino psyche- without taking into fact the ramifications it poses.

The mentality that supports the superiority of foreign races traces back to the era of Spanish colonization in the country. For a good 350 years, we lived under the authority of the West. Despite the legality of our claim to our country, our self-perception as a country has problems which are rooted in history .

Through the years, there has been an evident preference for foreign materials, largely owing to the fact that we have been bombarded over and over again with false concepts which adhere largely to people’s sensitivity to the capitalist structure of society.

With the implementation of the K to 12 program by the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III, a scheme which adds two additional years to the 10-year educational program, the government prioritizes producing cheap labor over improving the present state of the Philippines’ education system, which remains inaccessible for a majority of the population.

More than that, K to 12 sells the cheap labor they produce to the international market. Instead of striving for a nationalist, scientific and mass-oriented education, the government wishes to allot its skilled labor force to countries abroad.

Couple it with the rise of Filipinos leaving to work abroad, the economic conditions in the country have instilled in its people that their labor will be met with better rewards abroad, only to find themselves in situations worse than what they left.

The cases of Mary Jane Veloso and Flor Contemplacion, as primary examples, are those which would not have existed in the first place had the Philippines paid better attention to industrialization and eradication of the bad effects of Western colonialism in culture.

With the limited running time and budget of the production, however, “Fish Out Of Water” structurally layers these issues on top of one another, enveloping them in a coming of age drama film on a young man’s journey to acceptance.

Such a film so carefully woven is rare, and rarer is it that films like this go unawarded.

Bagging two of the most prestigious merits in the Cinemalaya Short Film Feature category, “Fish Out of Water” has been awarded the film festival’s Special Jury Prize. Garilao has also received the award for Best Direction for this movie.

More than that, “Fish Out of Water” has also been hailed by the University of the Philippines Film Institute as Batch 2016’s Best Thesis, remarkably setting high the standards of student filmmaking.

With passion and pride, Garilao’s dedication to his craft brought forth an outstanding piece of literature to the film community.

As the new wave of Philippine Cinema takes place, films such as “Fish Out Of Water” would definitely be one of the inspirations for the next generation of filmmakers in upholding the honor and excellence in the discipline.

UP Journ grad on eUP Project Team statement: ‘Let the story speak for itself’

By Frances Josephine Espeso

 

“My job as a journalist is to tell the story, not to involve myself personally with the issue,” University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman journalism graduate Krixia Subingsubing said in response to the eUP Project Team’s statement on their investigative thesis about the information technology (IT) project.

Together with fellow journalism fresh graduate Ronn Bautista, Subingsubing chose the eUP Project as the subject for their undergraduate thesis accomplished June 2016 under the guidance of award-winning investigative journalist Yvonne Chua.

The eUP Project, an IT initiative of current UP President Alfredo E. Pascual, is a system-wide information integration project.

In light of system-wide student protests and backlash towards eUP and the numerous glitches of the Student Academic Information System (SAIS), one of its five core information systems, during the UP Los Baños registration period, Bautista had released their investigative report on the eUP Project on Facebook, Aug. 6.

The report, hailed as Best Thesis by the UP Department of Journalism, had prompted a statement from the eUP Project Team, calling it “poorly conducted research work” and “a witch hunt disguised as an academic endeavor.”

“I expected the backlash from the eUP Team,” Subingsubing said, having been forewarned by their adviser.

While the thesis itself would be enough to rebutt several points of the eUP Project Team’s statement, Subingsubing wanted to reiterate, however, that “brand references in the bidding documents are not allowed, no exceptions,” citing Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) authorities and the law.

In their statement, the eUP Project Team had said “reference to brand names is a common practice in government procurement, particularly for technical items including ICT hardware and software.”

They also claimed that it was done due to the “difficulty in specifying quality and functionality in generic terms,” adding that there are numerous examples of purchase documents on the GPPB website that include brand names for clarity of the specified requirement.

However, Subingsubing said institutions are not aware of the 2009 revision of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Republic Act 9184, also known as the Government Procurement Reform Act, which overrides the manual initially allowing brand references.

Bautista and Subingsubing mentioned this in their thesis where GPPB lawyer Diane Borja said the mistake and the root cause of the problem is borne out of ignorance of the new IRR.

“UP is the vanguard of good governance, remember, so it should stand above the policy, not fall behind it,” Subingsubing said.

On the other hand, the eUP team had also criticized the timing of the Bautista and Subingsubing’s study, saying the proper time to evaluate the project would have been after completion of implementation, when the system has stabilized and its good and bad impacts are already apparent.

Studying the project during its implementation is just as valid as studying it postmortem,” Subingsubing stated.

“Paano mo madidiagnose yung mga problema if you don’t want to look at the issues midway through the project?” she added.

Besides rebutting the above mentioned points, however, Subingsubing said that they had decided to stick with what Chua had advised: “let the story speak for itself.”

The Journalism professor and VERA Files trustee had been very supportive during the undertaking, Subingsubing added. “[Si Ma’am Chua] yung nag-push samin na i-pursue yung procurement side nung thesis actually, at binigyan niya kami ng independent sources to corroborate the story.”

The endeavour had not been without its difficulties, especially with a then-lack of a Freedom of Information act or even an executive order, which would have compelled UP offices to release pertinent documents.

She also said that initially, President Pascual did not want to provide them with financial breakdowns.

Before obtaining the documents, it took them multiple meetings with the UP President to convince him that it was needed in the report, adding that they would remind Pascual that the thesis’ prerogative is to assess eUP’s current efficiency and effectivity.

“Sure, the modernization of the ICT infra of the university is a laudable concept, but to get there, you have to know what it is exactly that’s happening on the ground so that you can address it, so you can achieve your goals for the project,” Subingsubing said.

Meanwhile, UP Department of Journalism chair Dr. Rachel E. Khan released a statement to Tinig ng Plaridel in response to that of the eUP Project Team’s.

“The Journalism department has a high regard for academic freedom and therefore, students are given the freedom to choose their thesis topics for as long as it is viable and newsworthy. Being a National University and a public entity, events and issues that involve the University of the Philippines are deemed newsworthy. Therefore, students are not prevented from covering issues about their alma mater.

“The Journalism faculty makes sure that students undergo the rigors of the profession in undertaking investigative reporting by guiding their efforts in making sure that the report is based on fact and can be backed up by evidence. This is the case for the thesis on e-UP written by Ronn Bautista and Krixia Subingsubing, which was recognized for its rigor in research and chosen as best thesis. It was also awarded by judges from outside the UP community during the recent Philippine Journalism Research Conference.

“At the same time, we recognize that the thesis may be taken out of context if only excerpts are read. One needs to read the ‘entire’ investigative piece to see that the report is based on gathered data and not just on opinion. However, when excerpts are placed in FB posts, the information provided in that chosen excerpt may be biased or taken out of context.”

The release of the study on social media has made it available for public consumption, and Subingsubing encouraged everyone to take part in the discourse.

“I’d like to encourage everyone to read the thesis–challenge it, if they must–but we must do it within the bounds of genuine academic discourse,” Subingsubing said.

“As Ronn would say it, to dismiss it as poor scholarship is to be ignorant of the quality and nature of the voices involved in the study,” she added.

(Photo by Mr. Israel Buenafe of the UP College of Mass Communication, grabbed from the UP CMC Facebook page.)