Atleta ng Bayan: Sulong, kabataang Lakbayani

Kuha ni Keith Magcaling
Sulat ni Raneza Beatrice Pinlac

Tumatak sa isip ng madla ang karaniwang mukha ng isang atleta – tumatagaktak na pawis habang sumasabak sa palarong umaalab sa kanilang mga puso. Subalit para sa mga atleta ng bayan, ang laban ay higit pa sa hangganan ng kani-kanilang mga isport. Layon nilang magamit ito bilang kasangkapan upang magampanan ang kanilang tungkulin para sa bayan.

Sa ikatlong taon ng pagsasaganap ng sports clinic para sa mga kabataang Lakbayani noong ika-16 ng Setyembre, nagsilbing sinag ng pag-asa ang UP Men’s at Women’s Football Teams para sa 40 batang namulat sa isang mundong nadungisan ng militarisasyon at kahirapan. Kasangga rin ng mga koponan ang Gabriela Youth – UP Diliman sa kanilang matagumpay na pagkamit sa pakay ng programa.

Ilan lamang ang caterpillar drill at pagsasanay sa futbol sa mga aktibidad na inihanda ng mga organizer para sa mga batang lakbayani. IItinuro rin ng mga atleta ng bayan ang mga pangunahing kakayahan na mahalaga sa paglalaro ng kanilang isport tulad ng tamang pagsipa at pagpasa ng bola. Pagkatapos, namigay ang koponan ng mga mumunting regalo at pagkain para sa mga batang nakilahok sa kanilang sports clinic.

Madaling naaninag ang maliliwanag na ngiti ng mga batang punong-puno ng taos-pusong saya at pasasalamat sa mga atletang panandalian nilang nakalaro. Para naman sa mga atleta, pagkakataon ito upang ipadama sa mga Lakbayani ang kanilang mainit na pagtanggap sa kanila.

Ayon kay Kali Navea-Huff, punong-abala ng sports clinic at miyembro ng UP Women’s Football team, mahalagang nakikiisa ang mga atleta sa mga bata mula sa Save our Schools Network hindi dahil agad nitong mawawaksi ang problemang pasan ng mga bata ngunit upang maiparamdam na ligtas sila sa pansamantalang tahanan sa unibersidad.

Naniniwala ang mga atleta ng bayan na bukod sa pagbabahagi nila ng kaalaman tungkol sa futbol, nakapagbahagi rin sila ng pansamantalang pahinga para sa mga pagal na puso ng mga batang maagang sinubok ang hinagpis ng buhay.

“Higit sa pagpapahatid ng saya, nababalikan rin nila ang kanilang pagkabata,” pahayag ni Lian Valencia, kinatawan ng Gabriela sa sports clinic.

Namulat ang mga Lakbayani sa isang mundong puno ng takot at pangamba na dulot ng militarisasyon. Sila ay nakipagsapalaran tungo sa UP Diliman upang ibahagi ang kanilang mga karanasan sa ilalim ng karahasan at pang-aabuso ng militar. Minsan nang umabot sa kasukdulan ang karahasang buhat ng militar sa kabataan noong nabalita ang malupit na pagpatay kay Obillo Bay-ao, isang 19-anyos na estudyante.  

Nagpapasalamat naman si Ian Clarino, miyembro ng UP Maroon Booters, sa mga batang Lakbayani.

Ayon sa kanya, napaalala ng kanilang munting mga kalaro na dapat harapin ang buhay nang may pusong puno ng tapang at paniniwala na malalampasan nila ang bawat pagsubok na hahadlang sa kanilang pagabot ng kanilang mga pangarap.

Ang pagiging atleta ng bayan ay hindi lamang nasusukat ng kanilang nahahakot na panalo sa mga palarong kanilang sinasalihan dahil isa rin sa mga pangunahing gampanin nila ay ang magbigay serbisyo at tulong sa mga nangangailangan, ani Clarino.

Tunay na nakatatak sa isip ng madla ang larawan ng mga atleta na naglalaban-laban sa mga palakasan upang makamit ang kampeonato. Ngunit para sa atleta ng bayan, ang tunay na tagumpay ay natatamo sa pamamagitan ng pagiging katalista ng pasulong na pagbabago para sa kinabukasan ng ating bayan.

UP bucks slow start to grab second win

Photo by Cleverlyn Mayuga

Text by Selina Jo Paredes

After coming off a blowout loss, the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons secured a bounce-back win against the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors, 84-71, today in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum

Starting the game slow, UP found themselves in a tight spot. Pressure defense and perimeter play from the Red Warriors saw State U trailing as much as 14 points late in the first quarter.

Early in the second frame, UE got into foul trouble, making the Maroons a frequent on the stripe, shooting 3/6 free throws.

The Maroons slowly found their rhythm after a floater from Jun Manzo and back-to-back shots from Javi Gomez De Liano who completed an and-1  to give UP the lead at 34-33.

UE’s defense, however, proved to be a thorn on UP’s side as they took advantage of the Maroons’ back-to-back empty possessions late in the second and retook the lead at 38-42 after a Clark Derige three at the buzzer.

Come second half, momentum was finally in State U’s favor as the team went on a scorching run as Paul Desiderio shot lights out and outscored the Warriors 16-7 in the quarter.

Late in the third, UE found themselves in the penalty once more while the Maroons only committed two fouls the whole period. As time expired, Prado tipped in a miss to give the Maroons a 15 point lead.

UP’s run continued in the last period, stretching the lead as big as 23. Both teams traded baskets midway in the fourth, but the Red Warriors could not catch up. Ibrahim Ouattara sealed the deal with a basket with :14 remaining on the clock.  Mark Olayon with the last-ditch effort could only trim UP’s lead to 13.

Maroon Captain Desiderio ended the  game with a career-high double-double of 28 points and 10 rebounds. Ouattara, in his breakout game contributed his own double-double with 14 points and 18 boards.

“Malaking bagay talaga nawawala samin when he’s [Desiderio] not getting his regular game, what a time to get his game back.” UP Head coach Bo Perasol said.

Perasol praised Ouattara’s rebound efforts saying, “With his rebounding today, we were able to settle down on our defense unlike how we played against Ateneo when we gave up 31 second chance points.” he added.

With the win, State U improves their season record to 2-1.

This marks UP’s seventh win under Coach Bo Perasol, matching its win record from seasons 73 to 78 combined.

Derige led the Red Warriors with 21 markers and four rebounds.

The UP Fighting Maroons hope to stay in the the win column as they face the returning Ben Mbala and De La Salle University Green Archers on September 23 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

UP Pride 2017 soars to colorful heights, demands ADB passage

Photo by Jvee Alcayaga

Text by John Patrick Manio

Culminating this year’s Pride Month, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) groups and supporters advocated the call for equality and the passage of the Anti-Discrimination Bill (ADB) into law in the University of the Philippines (UP) Pride March last Friday.

The ADB promises to tend to the ongoing struggles of minorities including but not exclusive to the LGBTQ+ community as they strive to fight against discrimination in their workspaces, family, and community. The bill does not, however, seek to legalize same-sex marriages.

Just Wednesday, the ADB was approved in the second reading in the House of Representatives.

“The Anti-Discrimination Bill is not only for the LGBTQIA+ community but also for the common people and that LGBTQ+ rights are also human rights. Events like UP Pride mainstreams the idea that gender should be equal and that opportunities should be non-discriminatory towards a person’s SOGIE,” said UP Babaylan Punong Babaylan Vince Liban.

The legislation was crafted 17 years ago by late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Akbayan Representative Etta Rosales with the help of Lesbian and Gay Legislative Network (LAGABLAB), the country’s first LGBT lobby group.

In 2006, Rosales filed it to Congress as House Bill 5687, but it only reached the second hearing in the lower house. The ADB was again revived as House Bill 267 with Bataan First District Rep. Geraldine Roman and Senator Risa Hontiveros as its champions.

In a 2013 Pew Research Center (PRC) report, 70 percent of Filipinos said that homosexuality should be ‘accepted’ by Filipinos, however, Manila-based activist Ging Cristobal together with the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said that although “there is high tolerance here, there’s not real acceptance”.

“A lot of people would like to say that the Philippines is a very LGBT friendly nation, especially here in Asia, and it’s great that we recognize the community but a lot of it is more on tolerance than acceptance,” said Senior Public Administration UP student Mikey Eubanas who is a first time participant at UP Pride.

“We should aim for acceptance and we have a long way to go. But Pride is a great way to get there,” Eubanas added

UP Babaylan Former Secretary and Internal Affairs Committee Head Amber Quiban recognized that their fight for equality is not yet over.

“… the bill is still stuck in the period of interpellation. So for the next steps, UP Babaylan will continue to push for the bill in the House of Representatives, and for our Senators, we will collate the support statements of the UP community for the passage of the ADB in the Senate,” said Quiban in an online interview.  

UP Pride is an annual event organized by premiere UP LGBTQ+ student organization Babaylan, which aims to celebrate gender equality and foster discriminatory-free attitude towards the LGBTQ +community.

The march started from Quezon Hall where a gigantic rainbow display was mounted. The contingent paraded around the Academic Oval and stopped in front of Melchor Hall where the formal program was held.

Performances from UP students and drag celebrity impersonations including those of  Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, and Adele formed the bulk of the program.

SR Oliquino to students: “The fight goes beyond UP”

Photo by Claudette Chong
Text by Kristel Limpot

Student Regent Shari Oliquino urged University of the Philippines (UP) students to take the fight for democratic rights beyond the university in the Diliman Student Summit held on Wednesday.

The Diliman Student Summit is held annually by the Office of the Student Regent (OSR) to serve as an avenue for the student body to forward their concerns and to tackle issues relevant to the university.

Oliquino highlighted the role of the student movement in the recent victory of the call for free education, as well as in the continued struggle against state repression and fascism.

“Mas nakikita at na-ko-concretize na kung anong naibibigay ng ganitong klase ng mga pagkilos ngayong naipatambol na natin ang usapin ng libreng edukasyon sa loob at labas ng pamantasan,” said Oliquino.

A bill granting full government subsidy to the 112 state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the country was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte August this year.  

However, she called for the full realization of this right, stating that under the guidelines approved by the UP Board of Regents, some students are not covered by the no tuition collection.

This includes those who failed to complete their degree within a year after the prescribed period, or who failed to comply with admission and retention rule. Graduate students are also still expected to pay their fees.

“Ang gusto natin ay yung buong pagkilala sa edukasyon bilang isang karapatan – delayed ka man o hindi, undergraduate student ka man o hindi.”

Amidst this significant progress, however, Oliquino asserted that UP students continue to face a repressive system.

She cited the Code of Student Conduct prohibiting freshmen from joining organizations during their first semester in the university, the red-tagging of student leaders, the attack on student organizations, and the militarization in UP Mindanao through the proposal to build Reserve Officers’ Training Corps headquarters inside the campus.

The UP General Education (GE) reform, which has been recently approved reduces the minimum number of GE units that university students should take from 45 to 21, has also been slammed for its “neoliberal orientation”.

Oliquino said that instead of addressing the needs of our nation, the reform is primarily geared towards meeting the demands of the global market for cheap labor.

“Ang mahirap kapag sumasabay tayo sa standards ng ibang bansa, yung mga graduates at professionals natin, mag-aagawan sila sa trabaho. At magiging dahilan ito para sa mga korporasyon na babaan yung kanilang sahod at magpatuloy sakanilang pananamantala,” she said.

Iskolar para sa bayan

On the subject of being iskolars ng bayan, Oliquino called for the students to take part in the fight against state fascism that loom over the Filipinos especially in the current administration.

Anakbayan UP Diliman Chairperson Jann Merlin, who also spoke in the summit, denounced the Martial rule in Mindanao, as well as Oplan Kapayapaan and Oplan Tokhang, calling it a “war against the citizens” forged by President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

Merlin condemned police brutality that resulted to the deaths of members of the youth, including that of Carl Arnaiz, a former student of the state university.

“Nakabalangkas lang lahat ‘yan sa pangkabuuang kamay na bakal na pamumuno ni Duterte – pasista at anti-mamamayan,” Merlin said.

The increased militarization and plundering of ancestral lands also led to around 3,000 members of our national minorities to participate in Lakbayan, a national protest caravan which the university is hosting for the third time.

Hailing from different regions of the Philippines, they have come to Manila to assert their rights to lasting peace and self-determination, and bring issues of militarization and harassment to national consciousness.

“Tayong kabataan dito sa UP ‘yong armed with theory, at kailangan natin itong ilapat sa praktika na siya namang dala-dala ng ating mga magsasaka’t mangaggawa na bumubuo sa mayorya ng ating populasyon.”

A national day of walkout against martial law and state fascism will be staged on Sept. 21, the anniversary of  dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of martial rule in 1972.

Sewing the patterns of struggle

Photo and text by Meeko Camba

For Gretchel Atiao, a 16-year-old Lumad student from Lianga, Surigao del Sur, clothing is more than just a form of self-expression. As a community, it is a way of asserting their identity as indigenous people.

But in their haste to evacuate after President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to bomb their schools for allegedly teaching kids to “rebel against the government,” she and the others had to leave their homes, and this particular part of their culture, behind.

“Sa kultura namin iyan (mga damit). Bilang Lumad, ito yung sinusuot ng mga kabataan kapag may ritwal… (Gamit nito) makilala ka bilang isang batang Lumad o katutubo,” she said.

Which is why come Lakbayan 2017, a protest caravan of the national minorities which calls for the end of militarization in Lumad schools, among others, Gretchel and the Lumad youth’s case inspired a group of UP College of Home Economics (CHE) students to help out in the best way they knew how: clothes.

Being the only clothing organization in the university, the UP Association of Clothing Technology Students (UP ACTS) volunteered to make cultural attires for the Lumad youth to use in representing their community during their stay in Manila, and beyond.

“Nung una worried talaga kami kasi for one, very small organization lang kami—under 15. Kaya maliit lang talaga yung manpower sa organization,” UP ACTS President Auie Aurelio said.

Coupled with a lack in financial resources, this made them think twice about going through with the initiative.

What they did not expect was the amount of support, both in effort and in cash, they got from fellow students, faculty and alumni, as well as outsiders who heard about the project.

“Nung nagpost na kami online nung call for donations, overwhelming yung response, and kahit yung almunis [sic] naming nagsasabi na gusto nilang tumulong, magdonate at maki-sow, so we decided na kaya nating ilaban yung project,” Aurelio said.

Eventually, what started out as 20 sets of traditional clothes doubled and can now cover all the 33 lumad youths in the Lakbayan.

Each set consisted of two pieces: a long-sleeved blouse and skirt for the girls, a vest and pants for the boys.

All were in bright blood red, symbolizing their continued struggle, embroidered with rickrack patterns of white, black and yellow that represent the mountains back in their communities, Aurelio said.

Photo by Meeko Camba

 

The project began in July, a month before the national minorities arrived in UP Diliman, when Aurelio asked volunteer teacher Chad Booc of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development, Inc. (ALCADEV), a secondary school for the Lumad, what they could do to support the cause.

“Isa sa mga vision or mission ng ALCADEV ay mapaunlad at mapreserve yung culture ng mga lumad. Tapos part [naman] ng mission ng clothing technology na tumulong sa pagpopromote ng indigenous clothing so nagtagpo yung mission nung dalawang institution, kaya hindi siya naging mahirap na bumuo ng isang project na ganito,” Booc said.

A volunteer realigns a pattern prior to cutting the cloth. Photo by Meeko Camba.

After a two-day integration in the camps, Aurelio and the others proceeded to take the kids’ measurements, which for her, was quite a memorable experience.

“Na-realize nung mga members na yung mga batang ito, wala silang chance na may magawang damit para sa kanila, unlike tayo na nasa Manila na kapag prom or kapag may debut, nagagawan tayo ng damit,” she said.

But for Gretchel and her fellow Lumad, who merely want to return to their homes, it is rare that people pay attention to them individually, which gave the experience a different appeal, Aurelio added.

Ever since, the kids knew her and the others as “mga ateng gumagawa ng damit.”

After a little over a month of cutting and sewing, UP ACTS will turnover all 40 sets of lumad attires at the cultural night tomorrow, Sept. 15, in a special ceremony at the Kampuhan in Sitio Sandugo, CP Garcia.

For Aurelio, the project not only succeeded in reaching out to the Lumad, but also allowed them to prove that, contradictory to popular belief, clothes do matter.

“[Yung project na ‘to] hindi siya para samin or hindi siya project na parang ‘ganda lang.’ May cause siya tapos hindi lang siya nakakatulong, it helps people be awake din na there’s so much more to clothing than what people see it to be as superficial,” she said.

Booc reiterates this, explaining how clothes are deeply integrated in Lumad, and indigenous culture as a community.

“Siyempre bilang mga katutubo, ito (damit) [ay] bahagi ng kanilang identidad na mas makilala sila bilang mga lumad; bilang bahagi siya ng kanilang kasaysayan na habang umuunlad yung kanilang kultura ay napapanatili yung mga ganitong bahagi ng kanilang kultura—na nasusuot pa rin nila,” Booc said.

UP gets blown out in Battle of Katipunan

Photo by Cleverlyn Mayuga
Text by Jedd Pagaduan

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons received a rude wake-up call, getting blown out by the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles, 92-71, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum, Wednesday.

UP started out slow, trailing 12-4 early in the game. The Fighting Maroons fought back to tie the game at 16 but by the end of the quarter, Ateneo nailed two straight treys to lead by 6.

With Ibrahim Quattara sitting out the second quarter due to foul trouble, Ateneo capitalized by attacking the paint and crashing the offensive glass.

Disparity in second chance points and rebounding were too much for State U as they trailed by eight at the half, 44-36.

After the break, Ateneo continued to penetrate the inside, led by Thirdy Ravena’s nine points in the quarter. Fouls and poor offensive possessions continued to plague State U, killing off any hope of a comeback. The Blue Eagles remained in control to end the third, 62-51.

During the fourth, the Blue Eagles started to blow the game wide open, with Ateneo rookie Tyler Tio scoring eight straight points to increase their lead to 19.

The Blue Eagles were never in too much trouble in the game and held on for a wire to wire victory, defeating the Fighting Maroons by 21, handing the team its first loss.

“That was a rude awakening”, coach Bo Perasol said. “More than anything else, we got out of focus.”

UP lost the battle on the offensive glass, 12-18, leading to a 24 point advantage for the Blue Eagles in second chance points. The Fighting Maroons also had more turnovers (20-17) while handing out less assists (11-8) than the Katipunan squad.

“That’s one thing we need to improve, getting rebounds and just lessen our turnovers.” Fighting Maroon Juan Gomez de Liano said.

The younger Gomez de Liano led State U in scoring with 16 points on 6/14 shooting, while starting point guard Jun Manzo chipped in 14. Paul Desiderio, the hero of Sunday’s matchup, shot a mere 4/18 from the field. Ravena led the way for the Blue Eagles with 16 points.

“It’s not even about the loss, it’s about how we lost the game”, Perasol said. “Move on na lang kaagad. We need to make sure they understand that we played lousily, and we paid for it. We lost badly but it happens. We move on to Sunday, and we have to have a better game.”

UP looks to bounce back against the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors on Sunday, September 17.

A thousand peso fallacy: The worth of human rights

By Beatriz Zamora

On the fifth of September, a gray sky stood witness to a boy’s funeral.

In Aliw Cemetery in Pateros, people lit candles in memory of 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz, who was killed by Caloocan City cops on the evening of Aug. 18.

On the steps of Alonso Hall in UP Diliman, hands clutched painted placards bearing the name of the same boy who walked the same halls they now stand in.

Now, his name is part of the many who have been victimized by the system these students have fought–and are still fighting–so hard against.

Both scenes happened in the aftermath of a death that was untimely and unjust. Both reminded the responsible that this was a murder which would never be forgotten, much less forgiven, along with the thousands of cases which preceded it.

Arnaiz had been missing for more than a week before he was found in a morgue in Caloocan, cities away from Cainta, Rizal, where he lives with his father and grandmother.

The police claimed the former UP Diliman student held up a taxi cab along the C3 highway and fired shots at authorities which supposedly caused them to fire back, ultimately shooting Arnaiz to death.

For the cops, this was what ensued on the night he went missing. But for those who truly knew him, this version of events was a cheap cover-up for the true story of how a boy was robbed of an entire life laid out before him.

Like any other

“Nothing but inconsistencies, clearly a fabricated scripted killing,” said Arnel Olofernes, who was Arnaiz’s teacher in math back when he was a freshman and a senior student in Makati Science High School (MakSci).

Olofernes  remembers his former student as a reserved boy. He was naturally gifted, he said, and often had to be pushed to speak up in class and give the answer to questions everybody else had difficulty answering.

Yet Arnaiz, he shared in an online interview, was a wholly different person when he was around his usual crowd. As was typical of high school students back then, the group of friends were obsessed with playing Defense of the Ancients (DotA) during after-school hours.

“Puro DotA, walang problema sa subject ko kase naturally gifted s’ya doon eh. Pero sa ibang subjects na alam mo na madaming pinapapasang requirements, doon sila nayayare kasi ‘di nagawa ng homeworks and projects kase nagdoDotA,” he said fondly.

Arnaiz’s crowd consisted of varsity players whom Olofernes also coached after classes. He was supportive of them, the teacher shared, and had been friends with them from the moment they entered MakSci.

Olofernes always made it a point to be close to his students and Arnaiz was not an exception. More than a math teacher from his past, Olofernes also guided Arnaiz with his struggles in the university.

“Actually pinayuhan ko din si Carl sa struggles nya sa UP kase ganyan din ako, three years ako sa UP Diliman e tapos sibat,” he shared.

Ardently calling him by his nickname, “Chibaku”, after Arnaiz’s favorite Japanese animated series, the MakSci teacher recalled his refusal to believe his student’s death when he found out via Twitter after his former varsity player posted the news.

“Nanlamig ako,” he said. It was a brief statement, an honest account of what it was like when he first heard that his former student’s life was cut short to 19 years.

He added, “Actually, nakakagulat kasi talaga, ‘di ba, na ‘yong mga nangyayari sa ngayon [tapos] biglang ang directly involved ay kilala ko. Parang narealize ko na bakit ganun? Ganito na kagulo, yung kay Kian magagalit ka sa balita, ‘di ba? Bakit ganoon, pero nangyari kay Carl. Putang ina, ayan ang eksaktong words.”

Likewise, Arnaiz’s high school friend Kieth Dagondong, calls for accountability from the state.

Nakakalungkot kasi sinayang nila ‘yong buhay ng kaibigan ko. Sinira nila ‘yong mga pangarap ni Carl. Nakakapanggalaiti na naging biktima siya ng pasistang estado. Binaboy siya at nilapastangan,” he said.

They initially knew each other from various competitions back in elementary school. Both valedictorians upon entering MakSci, Dagondong and Arnaiz became part of the same circle of friends who not only excelled in class but also dedicated a fair amount of their time in computer shops.

Both of them went to UP Diliman in college, and even though they were separated from their friends who attended UP Los Baños, the boys would reunite during their mutual friend’s birthday, usually a sleepover.

He further continued, “Mas nagbibigay siya ng drive para ibigay ung hustisyang nararapat para sa kanya at matigil na ang ganitong sistematikong pagpatay.”

Today, Dagondong gives tribute to the memory of his friend through fighting for justice and civil liberties as a member of a mass organization. “Sa pamamagitan siyempre ng pagmumulat sa masa at pago-organisa para matigil na ‘to,” he said.

Systematic injustice

But Arnaiz was not an isolated case. Just two days before he disappeared, 17-year-old senior high school student Kian delos Santos was made a victim of police brutality when officers mercilessly shot him to death.

Before his death, delos Santos was very vocal about his dreams of being a police officer because he was scared of drug addicts. Little did he know, being tagged as his worst fear would get him murdered by the people he aspired to be.

Just days after news on Arnaiz’s death broke out, the lifeless body of his companion surfaced in Nueva Ecija who was identified as 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman. De Guzman was tortured, according to experts, and was stabbed at least 25 times before his body was thrown into a river in Gapan, Nueva Ecija.

Both Arnaiz and delos Santos were accused of firing at the authorities, thus seemingly making their deaths justifiable. The two cases are attributed to police precincts within Caloocan.

With the awarding of Best City Police Station to the Caloocan City Police on the day of Arnaiz’s death, the message could not get any clearer.

The city was lauded for having the highest number of targets “neutralized”, as well as the highest accomplishment rate for Project Double Barrel, according to a statement released by the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).

Pinatunayan ng magakakasunod na parangal mula mismo sa DILG at NCRPO na ang magandang koordinasyon ng pulisya at lokal na pamahalaan ay magbubunga ng epektibong sitwasyon kaya nga ang Caloocan police ay tumanggap ng parangal bilang Best Police Station,” read a statement published on Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan’s Facebook page.

But in the wake of the killings, one message remained strong: change is not coming. At least, not from the very hands which restrain it.

Anakbayan CHE Chairperson Jasper Villasis strongly believes in the power of youth and collective action to fight for the justice the state deprived of Carl, as well as the thousands of others who were also victims of Oplan Tokhang.

Instead of responding to the people’s demands for their rights, the government answers with brute force.

“August 18 ng madaling araw kinaladkad si Carl, pinosasan, pinaluhod, binugbog at tsaka pinagbabaril nang ilang beses. At sinong matinong ulo yung magsasabi na justifiable ang Oplan Tokhang?” he said in a speech last Sept. 5.

Only earlier today, the House of Representatives approved the meager amount of P1,000 as the budget of the Commission of Human Rights (CHR) in 2018. One of the cited reasons was the agency’s ineffectivity in addressing human rights abuses committed by terrorists. But what many fail to understand is that the CHR only has jurisdiction over rights violations made by the state.

The Commission was created during the late Corazon Aquino’s presidency, when the country was only recovering from Ferdinand Marcos’ tyranny. It was a response to the Marcos dictatorship to decades of government abuse.

Reminiscent of the years the country has spent under Marcos’ military rule, the people are again made victims by the same institution that has vowed to protect them.

“Sino ang magsasabi na tama ang ginagawa ng estado kung sa araw-araw ay may pinapatay, sa araw-araw ay pinagkakaitan ng karapatan?” Villasis said.

And a week after Arnaiz was laid to rest, it seems, that the sky still mourns not only for those who were slain but for a state which glorifies its own sinners and preys after its own saints.

UP cruises past TIP for first win

Photo and text by Luisa Morales

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Lady Maroons dominated the Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP) Lady Engineers in straight sets (25-20, 25-9, 25-13) to grab their first win in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Arena, Monday.

Despite the absence of Marist Layug due to health reasons, the Diliman squad had no problems in handling the Lady Engineers as they maintained a comfortable lead throughout the match.

The first set would be the closest the Lady Engineers would get to the Maroons, only trailing by five at the end, 20-25.

UP continued to overpower TIP at the second. Sending a barrage of attacks against the Lady Engineers, UP’s lead ballooned to double digits as they took the set, 25-9.

Playing with a comfortable 2-0 lead in the match, UP continued to attack and TIP couldn’t seem to find any answers.

UP’s domination peaked at the third set, leading TIP 16-3 at the second technical timeout.

The Lady Engineers managed to salvage a few points off of State U errors but eventually lost the third, 13-25.

The dominating win is the first for UP at the PVL Collegiate Conference and provided a much needed confidence boost for the team.

“Malaking impact samin nung natalo kami ng Adamson, sobrang gusto naming bumawi” UP skipper Tots Carlos said after the game.

Carlos led the Diliman squad with 14 points while Isa Molde chipped in 12 markers, including six service aces.

On the other hand, no Lady Engineer scored in double digits. Ashley Jinon led TIP with six points.

UP cruises past TIP for first win

Hoping to build on the momentum, UP is set to face NCAA volleyball champions De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (CSB) Lady Blazers next Monday, Sept 18.

Honoring defiance against insidious sociopolitical ailments

Photo by Jerome Edward Ignacio
Text by John Patrick Manio

This year, Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas (DUP) opens the 26th Theatre Season of UP Playwrights’ Theatre (UPPT) – dubbed Honoring Defiance – with “Fathers and Sons” (directed by Tony Mabesa) which is a stage adaptation of National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin’s short story entitled Three Generations. “Fathers and Sons” and its Filipino counterpart “Mga Ama, Mga Anak”, translated by National Artist Virgilio Almario and multi-awarded writer Jose F. Lacaba, is staged in honor of its author’s birth centennial.

Apart from the masterful direction of Tony Mabesa and the spectacular and engrossing performances of each of the cast, “Fathers and Sons” – being a brainchild of Nick Joaquin – delves deeper into the inner workings of the Filipino family and culture. Supported by intricate characterization and inter-character tension, it will make the audience think of their own dealings with their family as they see themselves in the shoes of the play’s characters.

Set in the 1970s, the play follows a day in the life of the Monzon family and focuses primarily on the relationship between the former “Caritela King” Zacarias Monzon and his son Celo Monzon, as tension arises when the former persisted to retain his concubine go-go dancer Bessie in their house. Patriarchy plays heavily into the Monzons’ family dynamic and is the central point of criticism in this play. Its most featured prop, although physically absent in the stage, is a long wooden table that symbolizes the looming power and legacy of the father figure in the respective household, much like an artist’s painting of himself in another Nick Joaquin play, A Portrait of the Artist as a Filipino.

In line with the season’s theme of ‘Honoring Defiance’, the defiance comes heavily from Celo as a victim of his father’s abusive and machistic nature. All throughout the play, we see glimpses of his past that build up his disgust towards his father, his thirst for vengeance only increasing. This psychological turmoil then turns into a hindrance for Celo in his rocky pursuit of being a better father to his own son, Chitong, who needs moral support in his vocation as a church novice.

Another unknowing victim in this family’s patriarchal setting is Celo’s sister, Nena, who dismisses the notion of getting a family of her own in order to serve and take care of her father full-time. She lives with his father and is there whenever he is in need, even tolerating his desires of living with his concubine up to the point where she considers Bessie a part of their family. This begs a critical lens into the ‘traditional’ Filipina daughter who is unhealthily tied to her family, thus neglecting freedom to her own life.

Even Bessie, although outside of the family unit, is victimized by the patriarchy. But ironically enough, it is through Zacarias that she finds her worth outside of her scarlet-collar job. This paints a fascinating insight: the patriarchy does not stem from the family and its father figure but is imbued within the culture and belief system of a society – an inherent ailment that affects every individual. With the death of Zacarias, Celo finally finds reconciliation with his father but it is only through the destruction of the wooden table that he and the rest of the characters achieve true inner peace. This bit proves that patriarchy, symbolized by the table, really is just a looming construct waiting to be abolished by the willing who have had enough of its tormenting clutches.

Another angle that could be seen in this play is the vicious cycle of oppressed-becomes-oppressor, as evident in the characters of Zacarias and Celo. Zacarias was once the son of an impoverished father and his obsession with wealth, especially that of his long wooden table, has been to compensate for the lack of food that they’ve experienced in the past. Now, he could accommodate three dozen people at his table at once. What he gained physically, however, he lost morally.

Celo’s struggle of becoming a proper father to his own son translates into his biggest fear of becoming similar to his father – an ordeal that is not so impossible. While being consumed with depriving his father the presence of his concubine, Celo lashes out at his son, doing the exact same thing his father once did to him as a child.

Given that the story was set in 1974 during the height of Martial Law, the concept of the ‘vicious cycle’ could be incorporated in this context to generate a critique of the Marcos administration’s harsh and oppressive nature and the promise of the next’s emancipation which in hindsight, we all know was short-lived. Even with the advent of the 1986 People Power Revolution, human rights violations had prevailed and disappearances had continued. Those who promised to alleviate the ailments of the masses had, in some degree, made it worse – whether through intention or failure to adhere to pressing issues. In this way, the oppressed becomes the oppressor.

The phenomenon of sons avoiding the path their fathers once chose could also be observed during the last election where Bongbong Marcos ran for Vice President in the precedent that he would not be as tyrannical as his father, even teasing the promise that he would right the patriarch’s wrongs. While to critique both issues may not be part of Nick Joaquin’s original intentions upon writing for they are anachronistic at the time, it is interesting nonetheless to delve upon these angles to connect the play to timely and relevant topics in order appreciate the play’s timelessness as art.

Overall, “Fathers and Sons” is not only an entertaining production but an effective and thought-provoking piece and critique on traditional and contemporary Filipino culture. Actors like Leo Rialp and Candy Pangilinan own their characters to the point where actor and character seem inseparable.  More than simply being a play, it served as a window where the audience could see a glimpse of real people enacting society’s bittersweet reality.

Shows will run up to September 24.

Desiderio dagger three pierces UST

Photo by Keith Magcaling

Text by Jedd Pagaduan

With a dagger three from the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons skipper Paul Desiderio, State U took their first win of the season against the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers, 74-73, today in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Fighting Maroons were down by two with five seconds to go, and Desiderio had only one thing in mind – to win the game.

It was a slow start for the Fighting Maroons as the Growling Tigers raced to an early nine point advantage, 4-13, behind a barrage of layups. The España-based squad attacked first-year center Ibrahim Ouattara on the pick and roll where he was unable to close out on the pullup as they led 19-11.

The Fighting Maroons would not let up, as they closed the gap down to one at the end of the quarter, 19-18.

By the second period, the two squads traded baskets, with no team gaining the upper hand. UP started to pull away from the Growling Tigers behind a stifling defense and a blistering pace on offense, going on a 12-4 run to end the period to lead UST at the half, 42-33.

As Ouattara sat down due to foul trouble, UST mounted a comeback. Led by Steve Akomo, the Growling Tigers attacked the inside, trimming UP’s lead little by little and took the reins near the end of the quarter, 50-51.

Offense of both teams came to a screeching halt during the final frame. It seemed as if the Fighting Maroons dealt a knockout blow, in the form of an Ouattara and-one layup that caused Akomo to foul out. But the Growling Tigers wouldn’t go down without a fight.

The Growling Tigers scored six straight snatching the the lead, 70-68. State U managed to take the lead courtesy of a Desiderio lay-up and Noah Webb sinking one out of two from the charity stripe, 71-70.

Being in the penalty situation, the Tigers were once again able to take the lead sinking three straight free throws, 73-71.

Showing nerves of steel despite struggling all game long, Desiderio drained a clutch trey to win the match, 74-73.

“Sabi ko sa sarili ko papasok ‘to,” the Maroon skipper said. “Nag-timeout pa lang si Coach Bo, sinabi ko sa kanila na pag open ako, ibigay niyo kasi ititira ko talaga.”

“Ang dami ko nang tinira eh, sabi ko, mahihiya pa ba ko eh last shot na, sayang naman,” Desiderio  said. “Sabi naman ni Coach Bo na pag open, ‘itira mo na’, so ayun tinira ko na lang din, buti na lang pumasok.”

Desiderio led UP with 17 points and nine rebounds. Overall, it was a balanced effort for the Fighting Maroons, a number of players chipping in to win the game.

Meanwhile, Marvin Lee paced the Growling Tigers in scoring with 20 points.

The Fighting Maroons look to build on this exciting victory on Wednesday, 4 pm, against the Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles at the Araneta Coliseum. #

 

UP WBT drops season opener to UST

Photo and text by Luisa Morales

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Lady Maroons dropped their season opener against the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigresses, 58-85, today in the UAAP Season 80 women’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Diliman-based squad had to adjust after losing starting center and co-captain Therese Medina to an injury two days before the game.

UP played at pace with the Tigresses at the start of the game, trading baskets back and forth. They held a slim one-point lead, 7-6, by the middle of the period, the last time State U held the driver’s seat in the game.

UST managed to pull away before the end of the first, taking advantage of turnovers by UP. UST held an eight-point advantage by the end of the period, 20-12.

Taking momentum from their strong start, the España-based squad continued to drive to the basket to score. The Tigresses doubled up on UP, 28-14.

Despite efforts to cut the lead, turnovers continued to haunt the Diliman ballers as they struggled to get back in the game.

At the half, UST held a double digit lead, 44-33 courtesy of a buzzer beater two from Tigress Jem Angeles.

Determined to make a comeback, the Lady Maroons started strong at the third period. Tightening their defense and converting on their shots, UP made a 15-6 run to trim the lead to just a bucket, 48-50, after Carmela Bascon’s trey.

But UST was not about to let State U take the lead, scoring back-to-back threes to widen the gap once again. The UP rally erased by an 8-0 run to end the third for UST.

By the fourth period, the Lady Maroons ran out of steam as they converted only 10 points during the last quarter and eventually fell to the Tigresses, 58-85.

“I told the team na yan yung dating UP which we do not like anymore… what happened was we’re too happy about the lead na nakalimutan na namin na may trabaho pa,” UP Head Coach Kenneth Raval said about the third period, when UP was only down by two.

Only two Diliman ballers scored in double digits. Iriss Isip led State U with 22 markers followed by skipper Daphne Esplana with 12.

The Lady Maroons look to grab their first win for the season on Wednesday, September 13, against the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Lakbayanis, UP Diliman unite to end state-sponsored violence against nat’l minorities

Photo by Red Carao

Text by Agatha Gregorio

The University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman held a community day for Lakbayan 2017 to be one with the national minorities in their fight to end state-sponsored violence against their communities, Friday.

Along with the UP Diliman students and faculty, they also called for the end of Martial Law in Mindanao and the defense of their human rights in a welcome assembly held yesterday afternoon at the Palma Hall steps.

Over 3,000 national minorities traveled from various parts of the country to UP Diliman where they are to camp for three weeks as part of their collective movement against the taking of their ancestral lands, as well as the disacknowledgement of their human rights.

These include the Bangsamoro and minorities from the Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Central Visayas, Western Mindanao, Soccsksargen, Northern Mindanao, and Southern Mindanao.

“Ang mga UP students, kapag nagsalita, ang mga UP professors, kapag nagsalita, malaki ‘yung impact na nagagawa niya para mapakilos din ‘yung ibang estudyante, ibang mga paaralan,” said Almira Abril, chairperson of the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND UP) and main convenor of Task Force Lakbayan.

Mirroring one of the recent Lakbayan 2017 events, the Salubungan, the Community Day began with the meeting of the Lakbayanis coming from Sitio Sandugo and the Diliman students and faculty, as they marched towards each other in front of Palma Hall.

Various performances, such as a community dance led by the Cordillerans, were also done by the different ethnic groups to show unity in cultural diversity. These were joined by calls against state fascism and militarization.

“Tuloy tuloy ‘yung government neglect sa hanay ng mga katutubo, walang health. Kulang na kulang ‘yung service. Kulang ‘yung values na binibigay sa edukasyon.,” Julius Cesar Lagta, a member of the Dap-ayan ti Kultura iti Kordilyera alliance, said.

“‘Yung paglalakbay ay para makiisa nga sa pambansang lakbayan ng mga pambansang minorya para sa sariling pagpapasya at makatarungang kapayapaan,” he added.

“Save Our Schools”, a group advocating for the youth’s educational rights, was also present during the event, as they openly condemned Lumad killings, the implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao, and the bombing of Lumad schools.

Johndel Libora, an 18-year old ALCADEV student said, “Kami po ay nananawagan na itigil na po sana ang mga militarisasyon doon sa aming lugar at ibasura ang Order DepEd No. 221 na siyang dahilan ng paghinto ng aming pag-aaral, dahil mismo ‘yung mga militar na siyang kumakampo doon sa aming paaralan.”

DepEd Memorandum No. 221 series of 2013 allows the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to conduct military practices in primary and secondary schools provided they issue a written request beforehand.

UP sectoral leaders, and representatives from All UP Academic Employees Union , Alliance of Contractual Employees (ACE UP), Samahan ng mga Manininda sa UP Campus were among those called onstage to express their message for the Lakbayanis, in an effort to support their calls and advocacies as national minorities.

As the program then closed, the contingent marched to Katipunan avenue to meet with groups from Ateneo de Manila University and Miriam College who also support the national minorities’ call for the end of state fascism, accountability from the Duterte administration, and their right to self-determination.