She resists, she rises

Photo and text by Mayumi Paras

Filipina poet Joi Barrios once wrote, “Ang pagiging babae/ ay walang katapusang pakikibaka/ para mabuhay at maging malaya.”

Now in its sixth year, the 2018 One Billion Rising (OBR) movement chooses solidarity as its primary campaign theme –– urging women to Rise, Resist and Unite against the fascist, imperialist, and neo-liberal attacks prevalent in society.

Solidarity indeed was evident last Feb. 15, when students, faculty members and women from other sectors took part in the One Billion Rising 2018 dance protest at the Palma Hall steps, organized by Gabriela Youth UP Diliman; from there, the group marched to Quezon Hall, where a cultural program took place and the dancing resumed.

“Nais nating iparating ang pinakamalakas nating tinig ng pagtutol at paglaban sa lahat ng anyo ng karahasan sa kababaihan at iba pang kasarian.” Dr. Nancy Kimuell-Gabriel of the UP Gender Office began in her opening remarks. “Ang OBR 2018 ay isang okasyon ng pagsasama-sama, at pagkakaisa, laban sa lahat ng anyo ng opresyon at diskriminasyon.”

Dr. Kimuell-Gabriel introduced the UP Laban sa Opresyon at Diskriminasyon (UP LODI), as well as its four calls to action: to end all violence against women; to end all violence related to gender and sexuality; free education for all; and to regularize workers enslaved under contractualization.

Almira Abril from Gabriela Youth UPD emphasized that being a woman activist goes beyond fighting for the rights of women, and equality between sexes; being a woman activist is to devote oneself to the plights of the masses, becoming one in the fight against industrialization and oppression.

Ang OBR ay simbolikong pagtindig ng mga kababaihan laban sa patuloy na opresyon na nararanasan ng lipunan.” Abril added. “Worldwide, binubuklod ng OBR ang tinig ng mga kababaihan; ipinapakita na tuloy tuloy ang struggle ng kababaihan kasabay ng pag struggle for genuine change.”

Present, perpetuated discrimination

Despite our society’s attempts at development and progress, mistreatment and discrimination towards women today remains ever prevalent. In fact, the Women and Children Protection Center of the Philippine National Police released a report stating that the number of cases involving violence against women, ranging from rape and abuse to abduction or kidnapping, has risen from 6,271 in 2004 to 23,865 in 2013.

Worldwide, the numbers are equally alarming.

The United Nations first reported in 2012 that one in every three women will have experienced physical or sexual abuse at one point in their entire lives; looked at on a global scale, the number reaches over a staggering one billion women worldwide.

It is this same daunting statistic that incited what is now known as the One Billion Rising movement, whose primary aim is to put a stop to sexual harassment and violence against women from all walks of life. More than 200 countries have participated in this annual protest, making it the single largest global action taken to end violence against women.

Misogyny – and his name

Under the Duterte administration, however, fighting for women’s rights becomes a much more difficult task.

Dr. Kimuell-Garcia was unafraid to call out the president and his government, stating that “walang katulad na pambabastos, pagmamaliit, pangiinsulta, panghihiya at pagdudurog sa ating pagkatao.”

Shown to have little to no sympathy to the plight of women in the country, and branded as a misogynist since before he had been elected, Duterte was once again under fire for an instruction he had given to his soldiers when dealing with women soldiers and guerilla fighters: “We will not kill you … we will just shoot you in the vagina,” adding a little after how a woman is useless without hers.

Duterte’s threats of violence have proven to be more than mere empty words; November 28 of last year saw the death of fifteen suspected members of the New People’s Army in Nasugbu, Batangas. Of the fifteen fatalities, five were women –– inlcuding Jo Lapira, an activist formerly from the University of the Philippines Manila.

As a former secretary-general and deputy secretary-general for Gabriela Youth in UP Manila, Lapira was one of the voices who emulated the spirit of women activism, relentless in calling others to militant action.

Dr. Kimuell-Garcia declared Duterte was the embodiment of sexism, machismo, and fascism, claiming that not only did the President belittle women and their struggles, “pinagmumukha niyang tanga ang mga kilusang ito.”  She also reasoned that it is the president’s very behavior that enables government officials, “mula sa taas hanggang baba,” as well as the military, to perpetuate this culture of violence and oppression against women.

Mabangis si Duterte laban sa mga mamamayan, lalo na ngayon na matindi ang paglaban kontra sa mga anti mamamayang polisiya ng administrasyon. Dinadagdagan pa ng pagiging bastos ng bibig ni Duterte laban sa mga kababaihan.” Abril said, “Minamaliit ang kakayahan ng babae at ng mamamayan na lumaban.”

To rise, resist, unite

The President’s words, however, do not deter these women, persistent in their fight for liberation.

With movements like the 2017 Women’s March aimed at then newly reinstated US President Donald Trump, campaigns like the #MeToo hashtag that spread across social media platforms against sexual harassment, and events such as the One Billion Rising protest itself, women have asserted their rights as equals –– thereby demanding the respect and visibility they deserve.

Truly, in spite of these hardships, women activists continue on in their pursuit of justice –– not only for women worldwide, but other marginalized sectors who are equally mistreated and oppressed.

“We fight against sexism, patriarchy, and imperialism,” said Monique Wilson, global coordinator of One Billion Rising. “We are rising and resisting against our own president, who doesn’t seem to know how to respect women’s vaginas.”

With the call of “Rise, Resist, Unite,” women on campus and around the world are stirred to action, overcoming whatever hindrances in order to stand –– and dance –– in solidarity and in protest for the one billion whose voices demand to be heard.

Sa araw na ito, muli natin isasagawa ang sayaw ng protesta, ang sayaw ng paghihimagsik,” said Dr. Kimuell-Gabriel, “at muli’t muli natin ‘to isasagawa hanggang mananatiling makabuluhan ang paglaban natin sa karahasan sa kababaihan. Mabuhay ang ating pagkakaisa.”

UP loses third straight, gets swept by FEU

Photo by Summer Padilla

Text by Mark Kevin Reginio

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Lady Maroons extend their losing skid after falling against the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws in straight sets, 23-25, 12-25, 19-25, in the first round of UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Arena, Saturday.

UP had a strong start in the opening set reaching the 20-point mark first, but the Lady Maroons’ defense scrambled late in the set as Lady Tamaraw Toni Basas fired three canons from the right to snatch the set away, 25-23.

The Morayta-based squad carried the momentum in the second to limit the Diliman-based team’s offense to  only 12 points. The Lady Tamaraws took a dominating 2-0 lead after taking the second set, 25-12.

UP’s team captain Tots Carlos carried the load in the second set scoring five of her 15 points in that set while Isa Molde was limited to only four points in the whole game.

The Lady Maroons had a little show in the start of the third set but was easily ended by Isa Molde’s consecutive attack errors to give the Lady Tamaraws a comfortable 7-point lead going to the second technical timeout.

Meanwhile, Heather Guino-o and Basas led the charge for FEU with 11 and 10 markers, respectively, while team captain Bernadette Pons contributed nine points, eight coming from attacks.

UP’s head coach Godfrey Okumu said the team has had problems with finishing a game, even a set.

“Again, our finishing has been a problem for a quite sometime now. I believe my glasses are half full. I’m gonna fill it in time,” he said after the game.

UP committed 35 unforced errors in total while FEU managed to limit their errors at 23 which is half of their mistakes against the defending champions, De La Salle University in their last match.

Lady Tamaraws’ head coach George Pascua was happy about the performance of her girls especially after minimizing their unforced errors.

“Na-lessen naman yung errors [and] na-meet din naman yung expectations namin,” he said.

FEU will next face the winless University of the East Lady Warriors while UP will face their Katipunan rival Ateneo De Manila University Lady Eagles.

Valentine’s heartbreak: UP gets rejected by Adamson

Photo by Luisa Morales

Text by Denver Del Rosario

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Lady Maroons suffered heartbreak today as they crumbled against the Adamson University (AdU) Lady Falcons in three sets, 9-25, 25-27, 20-25, in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Arena.

The Diliman squad underperformed throughout the game, getting overpowered by the Lady Falcons both in scoring and non-scoring departments.

Team captain Diana Carlos finished as the only Lady Maroon scoring double digits with 12 points.

On the other hand, Mylene Paat and Jema Galanza led the Lady Falcons with 15 and 14 points respectively. It was a team effort for Adamson with four players scoring double digits.

Blowout opening set

UP suffered from the get-go as the three-all mark saw a 12-point run from Adamson, including five service aces by Paat to take the dominating lead, 3-15.

The San Marcelino squad proved relentless in their offense against the Lady Maroons, with Galanza and Chiara Permentilla collaborating for the lead, 7-21.

A service ace by Paat closed the set for Adamson, with UP only achieving a single digit score, 9-25.

Tighter second set

The Lady Maroons refused to back down in the second, registering four deadlocks before the first technical timeout, 6-8, in favor of Adamson.

The Lady Falcons tried to pull away midway into the set, 13-18, courtesy of attacks by Galanza and aces by Joy Dacoron.

However, UP staged a comeback as they tied the game at 18, courtesy of errors by the Lady Falcons and aces by substitute setter Rem Cailing.

From that point, both teams saw seven deadlocks as they extended the set, 25-all. However, a drop by Galanza and an attacking error by Isa Molde ended the set, 25-27 to give Adamson a dominating 2-0 lead.

Falling short

The third set started close, with UP only behind by one point going into the first technical timeout, 7-8.

Heavy serves by the Lady Falcons got them ahead of the Lady Maroons going into the second technical timeout, 14-16.

The Diliman squad eventually lost steam at the end, with the set and the match concluded with an attacking error by Marian Buitre, 20-25.

Defense and confidence woes

The Lady Maroons struggled in their defense throughout the game, only registering 39% in the digging department compared to Adamson’s 51%.

The Diliman team also achieved only 31% in their reception, while the Lady Falcons registered 49%.

Coach Godfrey Okumu attributed the team’s dismal performance to the lack of confidence he observed during the game.

“The players lost confidence in the first set. This type of thing, we cannot train—we train skills,” he said. “We have to play strong and learn to relax, but it seems like it takes time for them to adjust as well.”

Okumu hopes his team learns from the loss to play better in the following games.

“If we can pass well, we’d have good offense,” he said. “I hope with time we become stronger and get better results.”

With the loss, UP loses ground in the team rankings with a 1-2 win-loss card.

The Lady Maroons will try to redeem themselves against the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws this Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Arena.

UP falls in straight sets against defending champs DLSU

Photo by Keith Magcaling

Text by Luisa Morales

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Lady Maroons suffer their first defeat of the season, falling in straight sets against defending champions De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers, 21-25, 22-25, 24-26, yesterday at the FilOil Flying V Arena.


Reminiscent of UP’s first round win against the Lady Spikers last season, a sea of Maroon filled the seats in San Juan, a hopeful Diliman crowd pinning for another upset against the squad in green and white.

And contrary to what the sweep may suggest, it was a rather close and gritty game.

It was a back-and-forth affair at the start the match. Both teams made runs one after another to keep the opening set close.

A total of nine deadlocks kept UP at pace with the defending champions until late in the first when they were tied, 21-all.

But four straight points from Lady Spiker Tine Tiamzon gave the set to the Taft squad, 25-21.

DLSU started the second set strong with a 4-1 start, but the Lady Maroons were quick to recover and take the lead early in the second, 9-6

However, costly errors from the Diliman squad and a barrage of attacks and aces enabled the Lady Spikers to pull away, threatening to take the set, 24-19.

Just when the Lady Spikers looked poised to run away with the set, a late UP run had the Lady Maroons breathing down their necks, 22-24. But an attack from setter Michelle Cobb gave DLSU the 2-0 lead, 25-22.

Unfazed by their disadvantage, the Diliman squad started the third strong. Attacks from all directions of the Maroon offense gave DLSU a run for their money, with UP leading the defending champs 19-13.

It looked like the Lady Maroons were en route to make a comeback, but the Taft squad wasn’t about to let their lead go to waste.

With a rally of their own, DLSU crawled back into the set to inch closer to UP at 21-23.

The Lady Maroons were the first to come at set point, 24-21 and looked to extend the match to another set.

But an attack from DLSU skipper Majoy Baron, a costly error from Tots Carlos and three consecutive aces from Cobb eventually gave the Lady Spikers the match, 26-24.

UP head coach Godfrey Okumu lamented his team’s ability to finish sets, whether in the lead or coming from behind.

“We need to be more aggressive… in the way we defended, the way we spike, we have to be aggressive even in the way we serve,” Okumu said after the game.

UP’s loss came with a great discrepancy in service aces, with DLSU overpowering the Diliman squad 16-4 points in the service line.

“At the end of the day… it would’ve gone to any team. But experience played a factor and we’re going to work on that,” he added.

Lady Maroon skipper Carlos paced UP with 19 points, along with Isa Molde and Jessma Ramos with 10 and nine markers, respectively.

Meanwhile, DLSU had four players in double figures, with team captain Kim Dy and Tine Tiamzon leading the way with 13 apiece and Desiree Cheng and Cobb with 10 each.

The loss gives UP a 1-1 slate, and the Diliman squad will hope to bounce back when they face the Adamson Lady Falcons this Valentines’ Day at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

UP makes quick work of UE in Chuacuco’s debut

Photo by Reiven Pascasio

Text by Luisa Morales

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons starts their season with a bang.

Making quick work of the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors, UP clinched a win in its season opener in straight sets (25-22, 25-15, 25-13) at the Mall of Asia Arena, Sunday.

The Diliman squad gifted their new head coach Hans Chuacuco his first victory in a spectacular fashion, dominating the Warriors in every area of the game.

It was a back-and-forth affair to start the match. Both squads traded attacks and errors to keep the opening set close with UE taking the lead late in the set, 21-22.

But the Maroons managed to pull away just in time, scoring four straight points to bag the first set, 25-22.

Carrying momentum from the first, State U came into the second set with a wild flurry of loaded serves and attacks to dominate early in the set, 8-1.

The Red Warriors were able to get back into the set. Making a run of their own, UE managed to inch a bit closer to the Diliman squad, 13-18.

Determined to take the dominating 2-0 lead, UP fired up a 7-2 run to finish the set, 25-15.

At the start of the third, the Warriors were able to play at pace with UP at the beginning of the set. However, costly errors and offensive firepower from the Maroons gave them the set and the match, 25-13.

UP head coach Chuacuco was more than satisfied with the performance of his squad in his debut.

“Actually akala namin may first game jitters kami, but di naman siya nag-materialize. As their new head coach, I’m very happy with how they performed,” Chuacuco said after the game.

It was an overall team effort from the Maroons with more than a few players contributing to the great performance.

Three Maroons scored double figures with UP skipper Jerry San Pedro leading the way with 12, followed by veteran Wendel Miguel and opposite hitter Mark Millete with 11 apiece.

UP hopes to ride the momentum and grab another win as they face the De La Salle University Green Spikers on Saturday, Feb. 10 at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

UP outlasts UE in five-set thriller; gives Coach Okumu first win

Photo by Summer Padilla

Text by Nica Rhiana Hanopol

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Lady Maroons secured their first win of the season under new head coach Godfrey Okumu, after surviving a five-set match against the University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors, 25-19, 25-13, 21-25, 16-25, 15-8 at the Mall of Asia Arena, Sunday.

The Lady Maroons were off to a good start in the first set, with Isa Molde starting the scoring spree with five spikes and two block hits.

But it was comeback open spiker Justine Dorog who finished the set, 25-19, with two back-to-back aces.

Both teams traded errors in the second set, but the UP squad managed a 12-0 run towards the  end of the set, 24-13. Team Captain Tots Carlos led the pack with her loaded spike serves and back row attacks.

It was a nip and tuck game coming into the third set as either squads deny the ball to hit the ground, rallying at 11-11, 13-13, 18-18, 19-19, and 21-21.

The Lady Maroons looked poised to take the game in straight sets. Little did they know that it was far from over.

Committing 12 errors in the third set, the Diliman squad failed to play at pace with UE. With the Lady Warriors scoring a crucial run towards the end of the set.

Meanwhile, Dorog managed to stop the bleeding with two back-to-back kills in an attempt to swing the momentum back on the UP side. But UE outside hitter Judith Abil did damage from the service line until the Lady Warriors pulled away with a third set win, 25-21.

The rallies continued in the fourth set, where UP enjoyed lucky hits by Molde, Carlos, and Jessma Ramos, to keep the game close.

But UE veteran Shaya Adorador answered back with off-the-block hits that sustained the UE lead throughout the set. UE eventually pulled away late in the fourth courtesy of a flurry of errors from UP to force a fifth and deciding set.

Determined not to let the match slip away, UP entered the fifth set with a 5-1 lead with setter-spiker Ayel Estranero attacking on the first point. Meanwhile, rookie player Abbie Lim  made her UAAP debut for the UP squad for the first time as a service specialist in the deciding set.

“Let’s pass – that’s what I was telling them,” Coach Okumu said after he saw that his team was down.

Crucial attacks from skipper Tots Carlos and Isa Molde gave the Maroons enough firepower to  close the match, 15-8.

“Syempre nandun din yung medyo kinabahan kami pero sinabi namin na dapat kumalma kami,” said Carlos after the game.  

Despite garnering an overwhelming total of 46 errors in the match, State U’s firepower was enough to overcome the gritty Lady Warriors.

Carlos and Molde amassed 22 and 20 points, respectively, leading the UP Fighting Lady Maroons in attacks. Meanwhile, co-captain Estranero contributed 40 excellent sets.

The Lady Maroons are set to face the defending champions De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers on Saturday, February 10. The Lady Maroons hope for a repeat victory over the Taft squad after clinching a straight-set win against the Lady Spikers last season.

Press freedom advocates slam media repression under Duterte admin

Photo by Reiven Pascasio

Text by Jane Bautista

Amid attacks against the press, media practitioners and students gathered at a forum in the College of Mass Communication, UP Diliman to decry state repression on freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

Organized by the College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), “Pressed Freedom” is the first in a series of fora to be launched at different universities and colleges that aims to discuss the current state of media democracy under the Duterte administration.

The Philippine media saw itself under the spotlight when the first month of the year began.

On Jan. 15, the Securities and Exchange Commission ordered to revoke the registration of Rappler due to its alleged violation on Foreign Equity Restriction. Three days after, 30 radio stations in Mindanao were threatened to be shut down by the National Telecommunications Commission due to technical violations.

“Media does not exist in a vacuum. Neither do attacks in the media,” said Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity (LODI) convenor Inday Espina Varona.

Varona recapped the specific events when the government tried to challenge the free press and emphasized that just like former President Marcos, Duterte’s assault on media has to do with consolidation of powers and his vision of dictatorship.

Meanwhile, Voltaire Tupaz, spokesperson of Rappler’s Citizen Journalism Arm, called for young journalists to unite to defend the freedom of the press.

“Maging part kayo, ‘wag maging absent sa makasaysayang labang ito dahil dito kayo matututo ng marami beyond the four walls of your classroom,” Tupaz said.

Campus publication crisis

During the forum, the issue on the crisis of Philippine Collegian, the official campus publication of UP Diliman, was brought up by Bulatlat writer Ronalyn Olea.

Jose Mari Callueng, National President of CEGP, explained that the publication is at the brink of being defunded because its current budget was just a carry over from the funds in the previous years.

Since the implementation of the Free Tuition Policy program, the administration considered the Philippine Collegian and University Student Council fees as part of the ‘other school fees.’ Callueng further said that there are offers to subsidize the funds.  

However, Sonny Boy Afable, editor-in-chief of the Philippine Collegian, said that the publication is against this proposal.

According to Afable, the student fees must still be collected from the students.

“Kaya tinawag na student publications, student council, dahil nagmumula ang fiscal autonomy mula sa mga estudyante. We fear na kapag sinubsidize pa ng government, mas magiging tight sila sa budget,” he said.

When asked if there had been dialogues between them and the UP administration, Afable said that they have been requesting for it as early as August last year.

Olea lauded the stand of the Philippine Collegian and said that these student publications and student councils are products of students movements, hence they embody the complete expression of freedom inside the university.

After the forum, students led by UP College of Mass Communication Student Council (CMCSC) Chairperson Mikko Ringia proceeded to a protest calling for unity in defending press freedom.

This was not the first time that CMC students staged a rally to condemn media suppressions. Last Jan. 18, a candle-lighting protest was held in front of Plaridel Hall to denounce the threats and attacks against press freedom.

Youth slam Duterte admin on 48th anniversary of First Quarter Storm

Photo by Migui Sunga
Text by Kristel Limpot

48 years after the historic First Quarter Storm that saw the youth rise against the repressive policies of Ferdinand Marcos’ regime, protesters gathered on Friday to condemn the similar series of attacks against the people now launched by the Duterte administration.

“Ang mga issue noon ay gano’n parin hanggang ngayon,” said writer-director and former  student activist Boni Ilagan in a protest held at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

Ilagan also called the administration’s spate of extrajudicial killings, anti-people policies, and attempts to silence critical voices reminiscent of the Martial Law era.

In a 29-page decision released last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ordered the revocation of news organization Rappler’s license to operate, accusing them of violating the Constitution by allegedly allowing foreign control over its corporate affairs.

Rappler, however, has been firm in saying they are wholly Filipino-owned and that their foreign investors have no say on the company’s operations.

Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity (LODI), an artists and media alliance dedicated to upholding freedom of expression, denounced this decision, tagging it as “politically-motivated” and a clear attack on press freedom.

“We cannot look at SEC’s decision outside of the political events. This is an attack, since the President and his supporters have long been lambasting and harrassing Rappler for being critical of the administration,” said blogger and newspaper columnist Tonyo Cruz.

Besides Rappler, other media organizations are also experiencing looming threats on their right to report freely.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself has frequently threatened media entities and has called journalists “bastos” for writing pieces critical of his administration.

He has previously decried the Philippine Daily Inquirer after it has published the infamous Pieta-like front page photo of a war on drugs victim, as well as a series of articles on the administration’s bloody crackdown on narcotics.

Months later, the Inquirer was sold to businessman Ramon Ang, a close friend of the President.

Earlier this week, online news site VERA Files also went down after they released a story regarding the Duterte family’s failure to disclose their investments.

Tinig ng Plaridel itself has not been spared from threats made by Facebook trolls after publishing articles and photos on protests against Duterte.

Progressive student organizations also rallied against the newly-implemented Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, which leaves poor families at an even greater disadvantage as they are forced to endure the resulting price hike in basic commodities.

The law is said to benefit the Filipinos as it exempts from income tax those with an annual income of P250,000 or less.

However, according to IBON Foundation, as much as 15.2 million families will not be getting these tax exemptions, since most of them are minimum wage earners or are otherwise working in informal work with low incomes.

UP professor Danilo Arao urged the students to keep the vigorous spirit of youth activism present during the Marcos regime alive and to safeguard our nation’s democratic rights.

Magkaisa tayo sapagkat tayo ay armado ng pinakamatalas na antas na pagsusuri hinggil sa nangyayari sa ating lipunan,” said Arao.

Rouse from routine: A step towards freedom

Text by Abby Zara

Maricon Montajes found it strange to plan her own day for the first time after seven years.

More than a thousand days behind cold bars and a mandatory routine did not prepare her for the freedom that came with rightfully having her life back.

“Naalala ko nung unang week ko paglabas, nagulat talaga ako na pwede na pala akong gumawa ng sariling itinerary or personal plans for myself. Yung konsepto ng pagpaplano para sa sarili bagong-bago talaga,” Montajes said.

The UP Diliman Film student spent seven years in jail for trumped up charges: illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, illegal possession of explosives, and violation of the omnibus election code.

Montajes was integrating in a peasant community in Taysan, Batangas when members of the Philippine Air Force surrounded the house they were staying in for the night, showered them with bullets and arrested her and two others: Romiel Cañete and Ronilo Baes. The three were then known as “Taysan 3”.

Montajes became a “mayora” for the women she lived with in jail. Part of her role was to oversee the completion of inmate tasks.

“Three times a day may headcount, may cleaning duties, kitchen duties at cooperative duties. Part ng routine ko i-make sure na gumagana ang lahat,” Montajes said.

Montajes was finally freed last July 21, 2017 after posting more than P600,000 for bail. Freedom came at a high price. But even beyond prison, restrictions still abound.

After seven

Montajes did not qualify for free tuition in UP Diliman. Students who fail to complete their degree within a year after the prescribed period are not covered by the free tuition policy. Her seven years in jail had robbed her of that chance.

“Yung kahirapan lang talaga ngayon ay yung malaking tuition na kailangang bayaran kasi hindi ako qualified for free tuition or even sa STS,” Montajes said.

The right to free education in UP remains unavailable to law students and masteral takers as well.  A whopping sum of more than P25,000 is being demanded for Montajes’ 15 units this semester

“Pero there’s an ongoing appeal for my tuition at may initial talks na and the Office of the Chancellor, OVPAA (Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs) , OSSS (Office of Scholarships and Student Services), and OVCSA (Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs) and other offices are open to help regarding the tuition,” Montajes said.

Montajes is partly relieved. At last, she gets a chance at continuing her education, at having a hand in what she chooses to do with her life.

At last, she returns to the College of Mass Communication (CMC).

Back at it

Montajes, however, is returning to a college that she has not seen for a thousand days.

“Maraming nagbago at maraming hindi. Una sa structure ng college nagulat ako dahil dati naabutan ko pa ang media center na hindi pa nagagamit at medyo bumabaha pa sa baba. Ngayon nag-improve na yung istruktura niya,” Montajes said.

Aside from the college’s many structural alterations, it is not populated with students Montajes no longer recognizes. Her batchmates, the people she has spent years working and learning with, have left the institution a long time ago.

But if there is anything that hasn’t changed in the college it is the students’ longing for true societal change.

“Ang isang napansin ko maintained pa rin ng mga studyante yung pagiging involved sa mga issues locally at hanggang national,” Montajes said.

CMC students are currently fighting for the junking of the repressive Faculty-Students Relations Committee (FSRC) Manual and rental fees, among other local issues.

They are vocal against President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration and the continued crackdown on media outlets that are critical of his rule.

“Imaintain lang nila ito at paunlarin pa. Pag aralan paano pa i-engage ang karamihan,” she added.

Montajes herself is an activist, part of movements that fought for some privileges in the college, including free laptop charging in the lobby and the construction of org spaces.

Again, in service of the people

Being an alagad ng media is powerful, Montajes said. She recognized its ability to influence, to mobilize.

“Aralin natin ito nang mabuti at gawing makabuluhan ang bawat likha,” Montajes said. She hopes that students in the college recognize the chance to become storytellers for the sectors being deprived of a voice in society.

Montajes also called for the continued support of the College of Mass Communication and its students in fighting for the freedom of political prisoners.

“Kahit andito na’ko sa labas ngayon, hindi parin natatapos ang kaso namin. Hindi pa tapos yung kampanya para sa kalayaan at hustisya,” she said.

Romiel Cañete and Ronilo Baes, two thirds of Taysan 3 are still imprisoned, along with at least 400 remaining political prisoners in the country.

“Suportahan, kalingain, bisitahin, alamin ang kalagayan at tulungan natin sila na makamit ang paglaya at hustisya” Montajes said.

To be free is to break routine. Montajes is rebuilding her own after seven years.

She challenges every media practitioner to do the same: expose the rotten system that we have come to know that deprives the youth of their right to education, keeps workers contractuals and struggling for minimum wage, kills farmers on their own lands.

To break free is create works that will contribute towards freedom from this system — and as Montajes did, to live and fight with the masses in order to truly be one with their struggle.

 

 

ERRATUM: The amount of Montajes’ bail was updated from P400,000 to more than P600,000.

Students, journalists to Duterte admin: We are not afraid

Photo by Red Carao

Text by Kim Muaña and Jeuel Barroso

Standing for press freedom, students and media practitioners rallied against the Duterte administration’s attacks on the media in a series of protests last week.

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), a nationwide alliance of tertiary-level student publications, led the protest at the Mendiola Peace Arch last Wednesday after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suspended Rappler’s license to operate.

In a decision dated Jan. 11, the SEC said Rappler violated laws on restrictions of foreign funding to Philippine mass media as they “sold control to foreigners” and did a “deceptive scheme to circumvent the constitution.”

Aside from Rappler’s imminent shutdown, the National Telecommunications Commission is also planning to close around 30 radio stations in Davao for violating broadcasting laws and not having necessary permits.

Burning a photograph of President Rodrigo Duterte, the media students publicly condemned the administration’s activities that constrain news agencies from exercising press freedom.

“Nagkakaisa at hindi natatakot ang mga mamamahayag pang-campus, ang mga pahayagan, na bagamat maliit, ay may tinig pa rin,” CEGP national president Jose Mari Callueng said.

“Ito ang panahon para magkaisa… para lakasan pa ang ating tinig, para lakasan pa ang ating panawagan na ipagtanggol ang kalayaan sa pamamahayag,” Callueng added.  

The SEC decision covered both Rappler, Inc. and Rappler Holdings Corporation.

The agency claimed that Omidyar Network, an investment firm owned by the founder of  online auction firm eBay, has control over Rappler by being one of their investors.

They argued that Rappler violates laws on Foreign Equity Restrictions in Mass Media.

“If not for returns, for what purpose then is the investment? Control,” the decision said.

However, last Wednesday, Callueng said that SEC’s decision is an “attack” above anything else. While they accuse Rappler of being owned by a foreign company, the government is already leaning towards opening the country more to foreign businesses.

“Sobrang ironic kasi ang naging standard nila para ipasara ‘yung Rappler ay yung constitutionality on ownership samantalang ung sinusulong sa Kamara ngayon na federal constitution ay siyang nagsasaad ng full foreign ownerhsip ng mga media entities.”

Relaxing restrictions on foreign ownership of local business is one of considered changes in the federal constitution, proponents from House of Representatives said last year.

Meanwhile, UP student journalists then joined in protest with campus publications from Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) and other universities at Ateneo Gate 2 on Friday. It was organized by the Confederation of Student Publications, including The GUIDON, Matanglawin Ateneo and Heights Ateneo.

The GUIDON editor-in-chief Robbin Dagle said that campus publications won’t stop fighting for democracy, freedom and every Filipino as they claimed that the issue with Rappler is similar to what campus publications currently face.

“Hindi ho ito isolated case eh, ‘yung sa Rappler,” Callueng said, “Nakita natin sa ngayon na kung gaanong iniikutan maski ‘yung legal system natin para i-legitimize ‘yung pag shutdown, pagsupress sa media.

“Maging naman ‘yung sa ating mga pahayagang pang-campus at ibang independent press e ginagawa ito,” he added.

As 2017 drew to a close, Tinig ng Plaridel itself received threats from Facebook trolls after publishing stories regarding protests against Duterte..

“Ang aming kolehiyo daw ay nagsusulong ng isang midyang malaya at mapagpalaya…ngunit mismong administrasyon namen ay pilit na pinapatahimik ang kanyang mga estudyante,” UP Diliman film student Revy Marata said.

EDITORIAL: Ganito sila noon, ganito pa rin ngayon

Buksan ang telebisyon, basahin ang mga dyaryo— nagtataasan ang mga presyo, nagkakatanggalan sa trabaho, nagsasara ang mga pahayagan. Pakinggan ang mga bulong sa bahay, ang mga kuro-kuro at tsismisan— maraming pinapatay na magsasaka, binubusalan ang mga lumalaban. May diktador daw sa Malacañang.

Dumodoble ang mga pangyayari, umuulit ang mga kaganapan. Silipin ang kalendaryo; 2018— halos 50 taon na ang lumipas noong sinupil ang diktaduryang Marcos ang bansa at magkakamukha ang mga eksena, tila kinuha sa iisang dula–ganito sila noon, ganito pa rin ngayon.

Halos isang taon pa lamang ang lumipas mula nang umupo ang bagong presidente at anim na peryodista na ang naitalang pinatay. Ang mga insidenteng ito ay may basbas mismo mula sa kanya. Aniya, ito’y karapat-dapat lamang dahil ang mga pinaslang naman ay “corrupt.”

Mailap rin ang presidente sa pagpapapasok ng midya sa kanyang mga press conference. Kung may nasabi man siyang mali, kahit naibalita na ay kaya pa rin niya itong bali-baligtarin upang mapaniwala ang kanyang mga tagasuporta.

Kasabay nito ang patuloy na pagguho ng tiwala ng mga mamamayan sa mga alagad ng midya. Ang mga peryodista na pilit tumututol sa presidente ay patuloy na pinagbabantaan, hindi lang ang kanilang mga trabaho kundi pati na rin ang kanilang mga buhay.

Sa gitna ng kabi-kabilang atake ng gobyerno, nitong nakaraang linggo lamang ay mahigit kumulang 60 manggagawa mula sa CNN Philippines ang nawalan ng trabaho. Karamihan sa mga ito ay matagal na sa serbisyo—mga alagad ng midya na pilit inilalagay ang kanilang buhay sa panganib para sa paghahanap at paglalahad ng katotohanan.

Sumunod naman rito ang desisyon ng Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) na hindi bigyan ng lisensya ang Rappler para mag-operate, sa kadahilanang nilabag raw nila ang Konstitusyon. Hindi raw nararapat na makapaghayag ang Rappler dahil hawak daw ito ng mga dayuhang kumpanya. Isa rin ang Rappler sa mga diumano’y kritiko ng gobyerno, kaya talamak rin ang siyang kagustuhan ng mga nasa pwesto at ang kanilang mga tagasuporta na ipasara ang ahensya.

Maging ang mga mamamahayag sa radyo ay hindi nakaligtas. Mahigit 30 estasyon ng radyo sa probinsyang pinanggalingan ng pangulo ang nais ipasara ng National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) dahil sa diumanong “kawalan ng permit”.

Malinaw man na atake sa malayang pamamahayag ang mga ito, ginamit pa ito ng Kongreso upang maghain ng pagbabago sa Konstitusyon mismo–iginigiit nila na ang kalayaan sa pananalita ay hindi isang karapatan, ngunit isang pribilehiyo ng isang demokratikong bansa.

Para sa gobyerno, ang mga alagad ng midya na ginagawa lamang ang kanilang mandato ay “mapang-abuso” at nararapat lamang na limitahan.

Sa Kolehiyo ng Panmadlang Komunikasyon, hindi kakaiba ang mga pasistang atake sa hanay ng mga estudyante. Kamakailan lamang, nasaksihan ng mga alagad ng midya ang iba’t ibang represibong polisiyang biglaang inimplementa noong kasagsagan ng panawagan sa pagpapabasura ng FSRC manual at sa kampanya para sa libreng edukasyon. Nananatiling sarado sa mga organisasyon ang abot-kaya o libreng paggamit ng mga pasilidad sa loob ng kolehiyo.

Ilang beses na ring tumanggi ang administrasyon sa pagsagot ng mga katanungan at hinaing ng mga estudyante sa pamamagitan ng pagsasara ng comments section sa ilang posts sa Facebook at pagblock sa ilang mga estudyante.

Nakapanlulumong mismong ang kolehiyong tagapagbandila diumano ng midyang malaya’t mapagpalaya ay isa ring institusyong gumigipit sa kanilang mga estudyante. Ikinundena ng Departamento ng Peryodismo ang mga naging atake sa midya, ngunit nakabibingi pa rin ang katahimikan ng administrasyon ng CMC pagdating sa mga atake sa mga pahayagan, maski sa mga atake sa mga mamamayan.

Sa pagpasok ng bagong tao’y sunud-sunod ang mga atake ng administrasyong Duterte laban sa sambayanang Pilipino. Minadali ang pagpasa ng Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, isang panukalang pumeprente para raw sa kaginhawaan ng mga manggagawang may mabababang sweldo, ngunit kasabay naman ng malwakang pagtaas ng mga bilihin.

Isa ring atake sa mamamayan ang Jeepney Phaseout, na sinasabing para sa pagpapabuti ng kalikasan ngunit nilalagay lamang nito sa alanganin ang kabuhayan ng libong mga drayber at operator, maski ang mga commuter na sasalo ng mataas na pamasahe. Ang tunay na pinaglilingkuran ng ganitong mga patakaran ay ang naghaharing uri, na siyang kakamal ng kita sa pagbenta ng mga e-jeepney.

Kung ipagtatabi ang mga pangyayari noon sa ngayon, tila’y ‘di maaninag ang pagkakaiba. Dekada na ang lumipas pero marami pa rin ang naghihirap, talamak pa rin ang paglabag sa karapatang pantao. Ilang presidente na ang nagdaan, pero negosyo pa rin ang serbisyong panlipunan, ipinagkakait pa rin ang mga batayang karapatan.

Halos 14,000 maralita na namatay sa ilalim ng unang taon ng Oplan Tokhang ni Duterte— liban pa riyan ang nangamatay na alagad ng midya, magsasaka’t pambansang minorya sa kanayunan, at mga progresibong pwersang pinaslang sa kanilang paglaban.

Sa kabila ng magkamukhang karahasan sa ilalim ni Marcos at Duterte, maasahan ng rehimen ni Digong na lalakas din ang daluyong ng pakikibaka ng mamamayang Pilipino. Dahil walang binubunga ang krisis ng lipunan kundi paglaban, handa ang sambayanan tapatan ang lahat ng atakeng ilulunsad ng estado.

Hamon sa ating mga alagad ng midya na walang pagod magsiwalat ng katotohanan sa harap ng kabi-kabilang banta sa ating kalayaan sa pamamahayag. Ngunit hindi natatapos ang laban sa huling tuldok ng storya, o sa huling pagkurap ng lente— hindi ang pluma at kamera ang huling mga armas na ating dapat tanganan.

Dahil sa pagkilos lamang, sa pagsandig sa malawak na hanay ng sambayanan, doon natin makakamit ang ating tunay na kalayaan— kalayaang labas pa sa malayang pamamahayag, ngunit kalayaan din mula sa pagkalugmok sa kahirapa’t karahasan buhat ng interes ng mga naghaharing uri.

Hamon sa atin na laksa-laksang tumungo sa lansangan, kalampagin ang mga kalsada, dinggin ang hinaing ng masa. Tayo’y tumindig kasama sila ‘di lamang bilang alagad ng midyang buhat ang katotohanan, ngunit bilang parte rin ng sambayanang sawa na mapagsamantalahan.

Buksan ang telebisyon, basahin ang mga dyaryo— libo ang nasa lansangan, panawagan ay hustisyang panlipunan. Lumabas sa mga bahay, iwan ang mga silid-aralan— dinggin ang sigaw sa kalsada, harapin ng buong tapang ang kaaway. Babagsak ang diktador ng Malacañang.

Dumodoble ang mga pangyayari, umuulit ang mga kaganapan. Markahan ang kalendaryo; 2018— halos 40 taon nang lumipas nang mapabagsak ang diktaduryang Marcos. Magkakamukha ang eksena, tila kinuha sa iisang dula— lumaban sila noon, lalaban din tayo ngayon.

 

Students stand with Diliman community in fight against tax reform, jeepney phaseout

Photo by Keith Magcaling

Text by Beatriz Zamora

With a new semester in tow, UP Diliman students and multisectoral groups urged the UP community to fight against the anti-people policies of the Duterte administration in a series of protests held yesterday.

“Nakabilin sa ating mga kabataan ang paglaban sa pamamasista ng rehimeng Duterte. Kasama natin ang mga maralita, kasama natin ang iba’t ibang sektor,” Student Regent Shari Oliquino said.

Progressive youth groups expressed their support for the UP community— vendors, jeepney drivers, and personnel— in light of the recent implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

The TRAIN Law increases take-home pay of employees, cutting off tax reductions for those whose annual income amounts to P250,000. However, the prices of basic commodities are set to inflate, particularly petroleum and sugar-based products. In addition, not everyone with income lower than P250,000 will benefit from the TRAIN law because most of them are minimum wage earners.

While not getting increased take home pay, they [the poor] will have to endure price hikes as a direct or indirect effect of higher consumption taxes,” stated think tank IBON Foundation.

The protests also condemned the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) closure order of Rappler. Inc, wherein the online news organization is accused of violating the Constitution which mandates local media to be owned by Filipinos.

UP College of Mass Communication Student Council (CMCSC) chairperson Mikko Ringia compared this with Marcos’ martial law era, wherein major news outfits were forced to shut down due to the dictatorship.

“Ang atake sa mga peryodista ay atake sa demokrasya, atake sa mga mamamayan,” Ringia said. He encouraged media practitioners to be one with the masses’ fight for democratic rights.

Union of Journalists of the Philippines – UP (UP) chairperson Mark Kevin Reginio emphasized this plea, saying that the recent turn of events are manifestations of the state’s refusal to side with its people.

Students carried over the protest to Village B and C, where they joined the local community in calling for the  junking of the tax reform law.