A National Artist died today

UP CALjf3065 10not just anybody, but Napoleon Abueva. Should be known to any Filipino, though my expectations have sunk, especially recently. A great sculptor (link) who made the death masks of both Fernando Poe Jr. and Prof. Alfredo Lagmay (link). His sculpture of the Crucified and Risen Christ is at the center of the UP Church of the Holy Sacrifice (link), just above the marble altar, also from him. Enough of lecturing and to the question I ask now: how many Filipinos still care about their heritage?

I do understand the insecurity of some not taught well, verbally and intellectually, when it comes to novelists and poets. Besides, there have been enough pseudo-intellectuals in the Philippines who have reduced verbal prowess to mere grandstanding without content, to one-upmanship, which is one of the topics of my previous article. A highly abused culture often confuses genuine intellect that cares for the country (like Rizal) with assholes trying to sound smart but without meaning. Take your pick among some figures of today for the second type. But the visual is not as affected, especially not sculpture. Paintings can also have negative, elitist associations for certain people. And the message of a painting may seem to pushy. Botong Francisco might come across too nativist for some, Amorsolo may be criticized for painting a rural idyll – even if both are authentic masters.

But there is a continuity from native weavers to the likes of Pitoy Moreno – also recently deceased – and a true continuity from the carvers of anitos through the carvers of santos to Napoleon Abueva. Nobody in his right mind, even those who wish to cast away all that was from 1521 onwards, can deny the place of a certain type of artist in what the Philippines was, is and hopefully will be. There are indeed those, especially the callous middle-class types of the Marcos era or possibly also today, whose only priority is consumerism and money, who do not have any respect for that “arty-farty”. Sad, but not too surprising in a country that did not care a lot about its national monuments, that hardly rebuilt anything of the Manila destroyed during the war, much less preserve the little left.

Filipinos probably destroyed more of their own culture through neglect and commercialism than the Taliban purposely destroyed in Afghanistan. Of those families that have ancestral homes in the provinces, I doubt that they would sell them or allow them to be destroyed for anything. That there is little sense of a common cultural heritage is sad. Given that, it is not surprising that the Filipinos are in the majority so willing to sacrifice their own countrymen – whether through neglect of the poor which was the norm throughout the decades, or through the effects of the recent drug war. Not to mention polluting the ocean with plastics, or dirtying even the center of one’s capital (link). Here in Bavaria, not even the greediest or most vulgar will sell off or dirty cultural heritage. Pride!

Yet Bavarians also have the reputation of being “polite when they don’t hit you”, meaning they are used to robust speech, including informal camaraderie by politicians. But the language that Duterte uses with his own people is downright insulting. Telling mostly female OFWs that they should not use condoms and putting a candy into his mouth to show it doesn’t taste good (link) – is condescending, practically saying “I can FUCK any and all of you if I want”. Much as I have loathed the false pride and arrogance of many Filipino entitled, I have always loved the natural dignity of so many Filipinos from all walks of life. Abueva brought back memories of this kind of Filipino, so different from the self-depreciating kind one sees too often today. A people that brings forth such artists as Abueva should stop treating themselves like garbage – and following garbage.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 16 February 2018

 

Duterte said he wants to die like Rizal

Mauser m98if found guilty by the ICC (link). Absurd, as Rizal hated Filipinos killing Filipinos! In El Filibusterismo (link), a section about Filipino soldiers in the Guardia Civil makes this very clear:

Yet, among the soldiers there was one who looked with disapproving eyes upon so much wanton cruelty, as he marched along silently with his brows knit in disgust. At length, seeing that the guard, not satisfied with the branch, was kicking the prisoners that fell, he could no longer restrain himself but cried out impatiently, “Here, Mautang, let them alone!”

Mautang turned toward him in surprise. “What’s it to you, Carolino?” he asked.

“To me, nothing, but it hurts me,” replied Carolino. “They’re men like ourselves.”

“It’s plain that you’re new to the business!” retorted Mautang with a compassionate smile. “How did you treat the prisoners in the war?”

“With more consideration, surely!” answered Carolino.

Mautang remained silent for a moment and then, apparently having discovered the reason, calmly rejoined, “Ah, it’s because they are enemies and fight us, while these—these are our own countrymen.”

Then drawing nearer to Carolino he whispered, “How stupid you are! They’re treated so in order that they may attempt to resist or to escape, and then—bang!”

Carolino made no reply.

Luma na iyan! (that’s just old)

Though the time is late 19th century, it could be about the PNP or AFP today. Doesn’t what Mautang says to his fellow Filipino Guardia Civil sound like “Nanlaban” (link)? Except time does crawl a bit in old novels, something we media junkies are no longer are used to – so I fast forward:

“Shoot, Carolino! What are you aiming at?” called the corporal.

At that instant a man appeared upon a rock, making signs with his rifle.

“Shoot him!” ordered the corporal with a foul oath.

Three guards obeyed the order, but the man continued standing there, calling out at the top of his voice something unintelligible.

Carolino paused, thinking that he recognized something familiar about that figure, which stood out plainly in the sunlight. But the corporal threatened to tie him up if he did not fire, so Carolino took aim and the report of his rifle was heard. The man on the rock spun around and disappeared with a cry that left Carolino horror-stricken.

Another bit of fast forward to the horrible end:

The soldiers turned to see Carolino frightfully pale, his mouth hanging open, with a look in which glimmered the last spark of reason, for Carolino, who was no other than Tano, Cabesang Tales’ son, and who had just returned from the Carolines, recognized in the dying man his grandfather, Tandang Selo. No longer able to speak, the old man’s dying eyes uttered a whole poem of grief—and then a corpse, he still continued to point to something behind the rock.

Ang corny naman! (how mushily sentimental)

The wannabe tough guy, what should I care response from a many a middle class Filipino from the Marcos era or today’s coming dictatorship could be, oh come on, it could hardly happen that any person accidentally shoots his grandfather, much less to me. I don’t know any addicts or NPAs! Instead of having the compassion and humanity to realize that it is just good fortune that keeps one safe in a country where repression is the norm. The following section of the Fili could also be from the times of Martial Law in the Philippines, especially in difficult places like Samar or Mindanao:

Matanglawin was the terror of Luzon. His band had appeared in one province where it was least expected as make a descent upon another that was preparing to resist it. It burned a sugar-mill in Batangas and destroyed the crops, on the following day it murdered the Justice of the Peace of Tiani, and on the next took possession of the town of Cavite, carrying off the arms from the town hall. The central provinces, from Tayabas to Pangasinan, suffered from his depredations, and his bloody name extended from Albay in the south to Kagayan in the north. The towns, disarmed through mistrust on the part of a weak government, fell easy prey into his hands—at his approach the fields were abandoned by the farmers, the herds were scattered, while a trail of blood and fire marked his passage. Matanglawin laughed at the severe measures ordered by the government against the tulisanes, since from them only the people in the outlying villages suffered, being captured and maltreated if they resisted the band, and if they made peace with it being flogged and deported by the government, provided they completed the journey and did not meet with a fatal accident on the way. Thanks to these terrible alternatives many of the country folk decided to enlist under his command.

As a result of this reign of terror, trade among the towns, already languishing, died out completely. The rich dared not travel, and the poor feared to be arrested by the Civil Guard, which, being under obligation to pursue the tulisanes, often seized the first person encountered and subjected him to unspeakable tortures. In its impotence, the government put on a show of energy toward the persons whom it suspected, in order that by force of cruelty the people should not realize its weakness—the fear that prompted such measures.

President Duterte has offered Lumads 20 thousand pesos each per killed NPAs (link) – a bounty that is the same as the alleged bounty for police who kill drug suspects. Lumads whose schools he had threatened to bomb just a year ago (link) for allegedly teaching against the government.

Bounties like that can create innocent victims. In the extreme, they can create the likes of former Cabesang Tales, the barangay captain turned into the bandit Matanglawin by debt and abuse. That his son is forced to go to the Carolines as a soldier before that happens is part of the whole tragedy.

Those Westernized heroes did nothing!

Many Filipinos derided the likes of Rizal and the Propaganda, seeing the likes of Matanglawin and Bonifacio, as well as other fighters before and after them, as the real saviors of the Philippines. Just Westernized konyos, jerks who went on junket to Europe on their parent’s money and did nothing. Wrote stupid, long-winded, sentimentally mushy novels nobody today understands anyway and without any damned relevance to the life of real Filipinos. “Social relevance” was a word one leftist teacher liked to use very often. What I fear is that prejudice and bad reading got the better of them.

Of course the Noli and the Fili are translated horribly badly in their Tagalog versions. I helped myself through high school with the English translations. Well, I am by definition a konyo, aren’t I? But a proper translation – and annotations to make certain historical references better understood, would alienate less students – and teachers! Because I wonder how much our own teachers got the references to certain aspects of European history, or the 19th century Philippines teaching Rizal. This made Rizal – just like Heneral Luna BEFORE the movie made him so real – seem foreign.

Sure, there are now those like Ambeth Ocampo who have written Rizal without the Overcoat (link) which is I guess the right thing to do in the Philippines. I also wear an overcoat at this time of year in Munich, where the temperatures have been consistently around zero. Rizal, although he wrote in Spanish, had a strong instinctive feel for the suffering of his own people, a lot of empathy. For sure, there were those like Bonifacio who come closer to the original native warrior ideal idolized by both leftist and rightists in the Philippines. But it is so wrong to see him as merely self-aggrandizing!

Just shut up!

Because this is the main accusation leveled at many intellectuals and writers in the Philippines – don’t talk too much, either join the rest of us in the fields, factories and the fight, or just shut up! Talk is useless, only action counts. Even if it is knee-jerk action which is not thought out at all.

Thinking of a certain complexity is seen as mere grandstanding. The dearth of real thinking in the Philippines makes it impossible for many to see the difference between pilosopo (sophist) and philosopher (real thinker). Or between valid and fake arguments, making political debate HARD. Except for a few talents like Pinoy Ako Blog who manage to bridge the chasm between logic and common sense in the Philippines. Yes, logic is often seen as a tool for showing intellectual superiority, not as a useful tool to make more of our observations and experience. Why, why?

Padre Millon not only used the depreciative tu with the students, like a good friar, but he also addressed them in the slang of the markets, a practise that he had acquired from the professor of canonical law: whether that reverend gentleman wished to humble the students or the sacred decrees of the councils is a question not yet settled, in spite of the great attention that has been given to it.

This question, instead of offending the class, amused them, and many laughed—it was a daily occurrence. But the sleeper did not laugh; he arose with a bound, rubbed his eyes, and, as though a steam-engine were turning the phonograph, began to recite.

“The name of mirror is applied to all polished surfaces intended to produce by the reflection of light the images of the objects placed before said surfaces. From the substances that form these surfaces, they are divided into metallic mirrors and glass mirrors—”

“Stop, stop, stop!” interrupted the professor. “Heavens, what a rattle! We are at the point where the mirrors are divided into metallic and glass, eh? Now if I should present to you a block of wood, a piece of kamagong for instance, well polished and varnished, or a slab of black marble well burnished, or a square of jet, which would reflect the images of objects placed before them, how would you classify those mirrors?”

Whether he did not know what to answer or did not understand the question, the student tried to get out of the difficulty by demonstrating that he knew the lesson, so he rushed on like a torrent.

“The first are composed of brass or an alloy of different metals and the second of a sheet of glass, with its two sides well polished, one of which has an amalgam of tin adhering to it.”

“Tut, tut, tut! That’s not it! I say to you ‘Dominus vobiscum,’ and you answer me with ‘Requiescat in pace!’ ”..

It continues, and ends with the usually over-obedient Penitente standing up:

“Enough, Padre, enough! Your Reverence can put all the marks against me that you wish, but you haven’t the right to insult me. Your Reverence may stay with the class, I can’t stand any more.” Without further farewell, he stalked away.

Proud and sensitive

The professor could have prompted his student to think for himself, possibly by lessening his fear of the academe, but he proceeds to humiliate the student from Batangas named Placido Penitente to the extent that he stammers. I have looked up the two types of mirrors (self-reflecting, called metal mirrors in some old books, or those with glass and something behind to make the glass reflect) and it takes a little bit of thinking to get behind the classification. Absence of fear helps in thinking, but Filipinos are often “proud and sensitive” – a description by a female American colonial educator! There was a situation in Latin class, Grade 11 or 12 in Germany, where the teacher was similarly sarcastic, I was still totally sensitive just a few years away from the Philippines, and I went silent. But he was by no means the asshole that Rizal describes in his novel – a Dominican at the UST!

The American lady (no source I quote from memory) wrote that excessive Filipino ambition came from a culture “proud and arrogant” (American) encountering a “proud and sensitive” (Filipino) culture. Well, Spanish culture is arrogant as well. And Joe America mentions face and power as currency, even in the area of knowledge (link): in blog debates between commenters, you seldom see flexibility or concession. It signifies weakness. Disagreements are two bricks whacking at one another. Solution is not the goal. Preservation of face, and power, are the goals… Filipinos deny the value of “trial and error” as scientific method in daily life. They instead waste energy defending, covering, ducking, running, attacking, undermining, dodging and digging at others. Somehow, the Spanish friar is internalized, many still are the same kind of jerks arguing.

The depth with which Rizal describes the humiliation of the UST student is an indication that he may have experienced it himself or seen others treated the same way. The education system of the Philippines may be more modern now, but in parts still has been and is – reactionary and unfair. Otherwise, the anti-intellectualism of (San Bedan) Duterte and (UST graduate) Mocha Uson would not strike a chord among so many people. The Spanish friars of today may have, to some, been Manilans who mocked the Visayan accents of their students, or the bad English of a poor student. This entire labelling of Rizal and his fellow propagandists as elitists who refused to get their hands dirty is nonsense. Rizal wanted to use his intellect as a tool to better his country, and wanted his people to learn in order to advance. Other Asian countries took his cue. Rizal is known by many.

But Filipinos today seem to WANT to be dumb. Or who wants Filipinos to think they are stupid? Too stupid to research Benham Rise, for example (link)? Or too stupid to discipline themselves (link), and therefore needing dictatorship? Freedom begins inside. Freedom begins in the heart and in the mind. This is probably a message Rizal only partly was able to convey, as he died young and his novels are still read wrongly. Who fears a free people? Those who shot Rizal back in 1896.

The Spaniards are now gone. So is it the “putangina” EU – or ICC? Or same skin, same people?

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 10 February 2018

 

Philippine History Part V – Ngayon. Duterte’s First Quarter

Duterte at the Torotot Festival 20151/4 of 6 years term, has now passed. Much has happened in many areas – for better or worse. Nothing has stayed the same in the Philippines, and I doubt it will go back to how it was before. Whether this is good, bad or just plain ugly will be something history will decide. Let us look.

People, Places and many questions.

Around a thousand people a month have died in the War on Drugs. How many are by police, how many by police acting as vigilantes, how many are gangs using the situation? Nobody really knows. One of the first things the President came out with was “drug lists” of doubtful origin, naming politicians, judges and others. The killings of suspected addicts and pushers soon came under investigation at the Senate in 2016 , with Senator Leila de Lima at first chairing the hearing and then removed and replaced by Senator Gordon. The hearing was then inconclusively stopped.

Marawi is a complete wreck including a major refugee situation. On May 23, 2017, a conflict broke out with the Maute group in Marawi – while practically all major decision-makers (and many unimportant hangers-on) of the Duterte administration were on a trip to Moscow.  The entire delegation flew back quickly to handle the situation. As the Marawi conflict continued, new Air Force planes the President had previously referred to as useless were used to bombard enemy positions. The hostilities ended in late October 2017. Martial law was declared in Mindanao until the year-end when hostilities in Marawi broke out, and was extended for a further year recently.

The MRT3 continues to fail (link). Project NOAH was defunded and then taken over by UP. Ignoring its information may have played a part in 200 deaths from typhoons in late 2017 (link). The value of the peso has gone down and the government has a high budget, although there are no new construction projects started yet, while PPP projects from Aquino’s time are being finished. Inspite of a looming possibility of the EU cutting GSP+ privileges in early 2018 and some refusal of aid from the EU and US due to human rights questions, the economy still seems to be quite robust.

In October 2016, Korean businessman Jee-Ick Joo (link) was kidnapped by police and killed by strangling in Camp Crame, then cremated and flushed down the toilet. On Nov. 5, 2016, Mayor Roland Espinosa (link) of Albuera, Leyte, was killed in jail under suspicious circumstances. On early Sunday, July 30, 2017, the Parojinog family of Ozamiz was killed in a controversial anti-drug raid (link) under Police Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido – who had also been in Albuera, Leyte before. In late August, Espenido was given the order of Lapu-Lapu by President Duterte (link).

On August 16, 2017, Kian delos Santos was shot (link) in a police operation partly caught on CCTV and by witnesses, belying claims of fighting back. Two similar incidents (link) took place soon after, with 19-year old Carl Arnaiz and 14-year-old Reynaldo “Kulot” De Guzman killed by police. Opposition politicians visited the wake of Kian. Late August Kian’s parents met President Duterte, even posing for the fist sign with him (link). For the second time after the Jee-Ick Joo case, the war on drugs was paused – and continued from Oct. 11 by the PDEA, with officially less casualties (link).

Allies, Rivals and everyone else!

Vice-President Robredo was offered a cabinet post as head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council in early July 2016, just days after she and the President had separate inaugurations. On November 18, 2016, ex-dictator Ferdinand Marcos was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in a surprise ceremony. Demonstrations ensued. On Dec. 4, 2016, Vice-President Robredo was told no longer to attend cabinet meetings and resigned her cabinet post the day after. During a trip to China, President Duterte had introduced Bongbong Marcos as the future VP.

Suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, son of murdered Mayor Espinosa, was one of the criminals to testify against Senator Leila De Lima in a Congressional hearing in Nov. 2016, where she was accused of being involved in the drug trade taking place in Bilibid prison. Her former driver, who had had an affair with her, also testified. On February 24, Leila de Lima was arrested and brought to Camp Crame where she is until today. Long before that, ex-President Arroyo had been released from jail in July 2016 – and held many speeches during the ASEAN Summit in Nov. 2017.

Controversial social media supporters Mocha Uson and Lorraine Marie Badoy were appointed to MTCRB in January 2017 and as ASec to DSWD in February 2017 respectively. Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno was dismissed in April 2017 with insinuations of corruption. Both Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay and DENR Secretary Gina Lopez were not confirmed in May 2017. In that month, Mocha Uson became PCOO ASec while Alan Cayetano became Foreign Secretary.  On August 16, Judy Taguiwalo was not confirmed as Social Welfare Secretary – the last leftist in a major post.

COMELEC Chairman Andy Bautista was publicly attacked by his estranged wife in August (link), including allegations of corruption. While Bautista eventually resigned under threat of impeachment proceedings – most probably to save his family from private scandal, Chief Justice Sereno has been undergoing impeachment practically for the last quarter of 2017 under very dubious charges. A connection to the still continuing electoral protest by Bongbong Marcos is possible as COMELEC and Supreme Court constitute the Presidential Electoral Tribunal or PET.

In Sept. 2017, a Senate hearing on an intercepted 6.4 billion peso shabu shipment started (link). Senator Trillanes alleged a major role of Paolo Duterte and asked him to show a tattoo on his back, saying it could like him to Chinese triads (link). The investigation has left the Senate and slowed. Dengvaxia became an issue in Dec. 2017 (link), its previous history documented in this blog (link). Attempts to pin culpability on ex-President Aquino have failed so far (link) as the matter proceeds.

The person behind the opposition Pinoy Ako Blog or PAB was revealed by pro-administration bloggers in October 2017. Jover Laurio (her real name) was interviewed by BBC soon after that. This led to an ugly scene between pro-administration blogger Sass Rogando Sasot (invited to the official dinner) and a BBC reporter during the ASEAN summit in Manila in November 2017. Many of the bloggers associated with Duterte have been seen in photos with the Marcoses very recently. My impression is that many people are now tired of the too aggressive pro-admin social media.

Nation, Institutions and what next?

A controversial tax reform called TRAIN has been passed which may indeed increase the disposable income for certain groups, but make things more expensive on the whole. An investigation on a 6.4 billion peso shabu shipment from China cast a shadow on Paolo Duterte. The Hague ruling on the West Philippine sea was ignored and China continued building there (link) while it is highly possible that the third telecom operator in the Philippines will be China Telecom. Rebuilding Marawi shall probably not be subject to bidding – the question of who will benefit looms large.

In March, Congressman Gary Alejano of Magdalo filed an impeachment complaint against President Duterte before the Congress (link). It was junked on May 15 for alleged lack of substance. Senator Trillanes and Congressman Alejano therefore filed a complaint before the International Criminal Court (link) against President Duterte and a number of others. International critics of human rights violations in the Philippines were often insulted by President Duterte and others. “Special mention” was given to the EU Parliament, Agnes Callamard of the UN, and Barack Obama.

Furthermore, there have been measures targeting certain businesses that seem close to blackmail. Philweb (link), Mighty Tobacco (link), Inquirer and Mile Long property (link) all come to mind. They are sold as measures against oligarchy while the President is close to other oligarchic groups. Talks with the Left have practically collapsed, while the tax measures of TRAIN seem anti-poor, just like the planned jeepney modernization. Uber was also subjected to pressure for a certain time. The peso has gone down against the dollar while economic indexes give very mixed signals as of now.

A supermajority supports Duterte in Congress. Congress threatened to shorten funding for the Commission on Human Rights, and really cut funds for opposition lawmakers (link) for 2018. While barangay elections have been constantly postponed, the postponement of 2019 mid-term elections and indefinite political terms now loom in connection with planned Charter Change for Federalism. There is a high probability that the Senate may impeach Chief Justice Sereno even if there is no reason to – because most Senators seem to be on the Duterte bandwagon at this point.

VP Leni Robredo has quietly worked on her privately sponsored Angat Buhay program to help the poor attain livelihoods. Independence Day on June 12, 2017 was handled by Vice President Robredo alone as President Duterte had “gone missing” and never explained where he went. The Marcos burial and the killing of Kian led to major demonstrations in Manila but also elsewhere. The left became more determined in its opposition to Duterte after Judy Taguiwalo was no longer part of the cabinet. Numerous persons and groups on social media now form a broad opposition.

International media have reported a lot about both the Marawi war and extrajudicial killings. Inspite of his pro-China and pro-Russia orientation, Duterte accepted that the military was helped by the USA and Australia in Marawi, especially when it came to reconaissance. During the ASEAN summit in Manila, Trump and Duterte seemed to get along well. The war of words begun between Duterte and Agnes Callamard of the UN was continued by Duterte’s new speaker Harry Roque.

The big picture

is a totally changed country. Much less democratic. Probably a lot more quarrelsome at all levels. Recent incidents (Mandaluyong van shooting, armed robberies) show a possible spiral of violence. Wang wang or privileged overtaking for politicians is back by all accounts. Many more funerals.

And either fear or callousness or indifference. MRT failures, typhoon deaths, refugees from Marawi apparently badly supplied with food, Lumads allegedly being kept from getting enough food, many dead in Marawi – where are those now who complained about MRT, Mamasapano and Yolanda?

Love it, change it or leave it

Recent Facebook postings indicate that passport renewal appointments are full nationwide for about 3 months in advance. Are many people trying to leave, is the government trying to create a bottleneck for that, or has DFA turned more inefficient recently? Who knows where the truth lies.

Will things eventually turn out right inspite of possible rises in consumer prices, falling peso, overspending by government, loans from China with high interest, even possible investor jitters?

Will people love the new order? Will they throw it up? Will many leave? Don’t know. Let us see.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 5 January 2018

 

Binaril iyong Pranses

Title- Executed (6211517393)noong Dec. 30, 2018 sa harap ng Rizal monument. “Subrang bait ni Rizal” sabi ng Pangulong Duterte “nagtiwala masyado sa puti, o – siya pa ang pinatay!”. “Itong si Aquino, ganyan din, parang si Ibarra na subra ang tiwala sa Western solutions, ayan, niluko siya nitong mga Sanoping gago!”. Tuloy-tuloy magsalita ang Presidente, nakakapagtaka. “tayo ngayon, hindi na. Halimbawa iyang ebi-ebidensiya na iyan, kailangan lang ng mga Westerner iyan dahil mas tanga sila kaysa sa atin! Tayo, naamoy natin kung may maling ginawa ang tao”. “Mga konyo tulad ni Aquino, hindi na”.

“O, bakit laging mali si Presidente Aquino?” sabi ni Duterte. “Sa Mamasapano, sa Sanopi, kahit saan!”. “E tayo, alam natin, ramdam natin”. “Di ba nalaman sa imbestigasyon tungkol sa van doon sa Mandaluyong noong isang taon, may kinalaman pala sa druga iyong mga nasa loob?” Hinaplos ni Duterte ang kanyang pisngi. “O iyan, di tama naman pala ang mga barangay tanod at mga PNP!” “Pasalamat tayo kay Secretary Aguirre na magaling mag-imbestiga.” (Palakpakan). “Kaya ngayon, bakit pa natin kailangang magpunta rito si Calamaris? Bias naman talaga iyan mag-imbestiga!”.

“Tayo kapag pumapatay, para sa kinabukasan ng mga anak natin. Kaya ang Westerner, huwag makialam! Si Lapu-Lapu ba humingi ng permiso sa UN at EU bago patayin si Magellan? Hindi!” “Putangina talaga.” Patingin-tingin ang Pangulo sa kanyang mga panauhin. “Kasi parang amoy iyan. Iyong mga Westerner, kailangan pa ng ebidensiya dahil wala silang pang-amoy. Kaya sila ang baho ng kilikili, tayo malayo pa lang amoy na natin”. “Tulad ni Calamaris na iyan, sa itsura pa lang niya, alam ko na mabaho puki ng Pransesa na iyan.” (Tawanan). Biglang naputol ang livestream..

At napalitan ng isang video ng pagpapasabog sa aircraft carrier Liaoning malapit sa may Palawan. Matagumpay sila Anselmo sa kanilang misyon. Patago nilang nakarga ang tatlong Exocet missile mula Samar hanggang sa may Palawan. Papalit-palit ng barko, minsan pasimple pa nga sa ilalim ng mga kalawangin na passenger ship sa may Mindanao, minsan naman mabilisan sa gabi, sa loob ng mga speedboat. Sa bandang huli, ikinarga at inihanda sa may bundok at inabangan ang Liaoning. Kilalang missile ang Exocet sa pagwasak ng mga barko, maliit, mabilis at malakas ang pagsabog.

Isa sa gitna, isa sa harap, isa sa likod. Akala ng mga Tsino ligtas sila dahil jammed nila ang GPS at hawak nila ng Ruso ang Glonass, pero sistemang Galileo ang ginamit ng missile para hanaping ang kanyang destinasyon, sa tulong ng maliliit na drone. Isa ring maliit na drone ang kumuha ng video sa pagwasak ng aircraft carrier. Iyong pag-hijack sa Facebook Live ng Malacanan, ibang istorya. Nagulat ang PCOO, akala kasi nila sagot sila ng China Telecom – pero may taga-Pasig na nakalusot. Biglang itinigil ang hijacking para hindi matrace. Bumalik sa ngangang Pangulo ang livestream.

Pawis na pawis tignan si Andanar – habang naghahanap ng paliwanag kay Presidenteng galit na galit. Si Mocha naman, ang laki ng mata sa pagkagulat sa nangyari – habang nakaupo lang sa may kalsada. Dumilim ang livestream ng PCOO. “Buti nga!” Tumawa si Ricardo. Nakasakay sila ni Anselmo sa speedboat papuntang Puerto Princesa. Doon sa malapit bumaba. Pasimpleng nag-bus papuntang port. May ticket na sila sa barkong papuntang Maynila. Napakagulo ng halos tapos nang naging taong 2018. Malayo pa sa kaligtasan ang bayan. Hindi pagdiriwang ang pupuntahan nila.

Sana naman huwag maging ganyan ang 2018. O ganito (link) – o kaya naman ganito (link).
Happy New Year mula sa Munich galing kay Irineo B. R. Salazar, ika-30 ng Disyembre 2017.

Speaker Barry Roque

Lechonwas served as lechon in Balintawak by the KFF on Human Rights Day 2018. “He was a pig, not human”, said the Punong Tagpaghusga of the Kalookan Freedom Fighters in Filipino. “sabi niya tutulungan niya kaming mga mahihirap samantalang ang dami sa aming mga pinapatay nila.”. “Bakit naman nila sinasabing mga terorista tayo, kung pinagtatanggol lang natin sarili natin?” isinagot ng Punong Tagapagtanggol, sabay shabu. “at heto naman, kailangan natin ito para hindi tayo mapagod, at walang tigil ang laban”. Sinigaw niya: “mabuhay tayo! mamatay ang kalaban!”.

“Putang ina kayo” sabi ng Pangulong Duterte sa isang talumpati sa Federal Palace na nasa Mactan. “pati Speaker ko kinain na ninyo”. “Bakit hindi kasi si Franklin Drilon ang patulan ninyo, iyong dilawan dapat ang parosahan huwag kami rito” itinuloy niya “iyang mga naglalason ng kabataan, kaibigan ng mga drug lord na ilegal pati na iyong mga drug lord na ligal kuno na galing sa pisteng EU na iyan, mga Sanopi.” Pinahid ng Pangulo ang pisngi niya. “they gone to an international court, can you imagine that? We are a sovereign country with our own justice system and witnesses!”.

“We even have forensic evidence but they say we are planting our evidence. Itanong ninyo kay Secretary Mariano what we are planting. Rice, kamote, coconuts, so use your coconut you stupid EU de puta dilawan who kill our children with vaccines!” Duterte continued. “and that crazy EU really removed our GSP+ privileges and are asking for us to pay duties, sons of BITCHES, what business do they have teaching us about human rights if they poison Filipino children? Tell me!”. Duterte looked at the audience. “Now they should not complain if our customs asks extra money”.

“Customs and traditions, kasama na doon ang corruption”. Napatawa si Anselmo sa harap ng TV. “Sa Catbalogan tayo tumuloy bukas” sabi ng kasama niyang si Ricardo. “Nasa may Sorsogon na ang Kano, nasa bandang Leyte na ang Tsino”. “Kailangan i-secure natin ang Samar to prevent landing”.

In the port of Catarman, Ricardo and Anselmo loaded the French Exocet missiles unto the harmless looking coast guard vessel. The rest of the crew were waiting in Calbayog, hopefully not too drunk. The last sighting of Chinese ships had been off the coast of Bogo City. There was little time left.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 10 December 2017

 

The New Constitution of the Philippines

Fisherman bugasongwas enacted on Mactan Island on November 30, 2018, in a ceremony presided over by Prime Minister Pimentel, President Duterte and Chief Magistrate Calida. In Accordance with Article II, Section 1: “The Philippines is an Asian democracy. All sovereignty resides in the barangays.” the three took their oaths in front of the 42 thousand plus barangay captains of all islands. In return, they assured all barangays of full legal autonomy in matters of communal cohesion, including the disposal of dissenters, drug addicts and other nuisances. Over 42 thousand fists greeted in return.

The BIR no longer existed. Tax collection has been given to the barangay captains, under the supervision of mayors, governors and state prime ministers. In his long, rambling speech, President Duterte once more defended the system, saying “the national budgeting system was too complicated, and it was also leaking – let us better be honest and let everybody have their cut”. COA, PCGG and CHR have been replaced by the Office of General Audit of Government (OGAG), with the President saying “just one check and balance is enough, so that nobody abuses too much!”

The President emphasized the importance of Article III, Section I: “Only real Filipinos have the right to life, liberty and property. Real Filipinos are free of the wrong ideas of Western liberalism and the temptations of drug addiction” and of Section II: “the right of the barangay to inspect the houses of its citizens to ensure peace, order and harmony shall not be abridged by any laws”. “This is finally a Constitution that is true to our way of life and customs”  said Duterte: “truly free of the ungodly Western temptations of liberty that led our youth to liberal disrespect and drugs”.

Outside the zone of the ceremony, a fisherman watched. Strange, thought Anselmo. No mention of the Bikolano separation, declared in Naga the day before by State Prime Minister Robredo and State Interior Minister Trillanes, a week after Leila de Lima was found hanged in her Crame cell. No mention of wide areas of Manila under Martial Law since the the May insurrections of Caloocan that spread throughout the Metro area after police shot a large number of middle class children. No curses yet in his speech, thought Anselmo: nothing to disturb his false picture of peace and order.

Chinese ships in the surrounding sea joined the Philippine Navy in giving the new Philippine Government a salute. We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of the People’s Republic of China against colonial Western oppression.. was after all how the new Constitution started. Nonetheless, the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier was docked in Legazpi harbor, waiting for orders. Anselmo took a load of fish from his boat to take them to market. Then he would visit a woman he knew well. Better to wait for the high alert stage to end first. Then he would slip away.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 1 December 2017

Black and arrogant

Obama Portrait 2006is what Duterte called Obama (link). Or what he said to jeepney drivers (link) makes it even weirder. Misguided pro-poor, pro-Filipino officials, journalists and academics have gone too far at times in blaming the rich, educated (link) or white people (link) for everything, reasoning with “oppression”. But this is more like the attitude some Filipino upstarts show, claiming higher rank where possible. Lorraine Badoy’s (link) or Krizette Laureta Chu’s (link) towards Pinoy Ako Blog are very similar. So much for a group ostensibly against “elitism and pretentiousness.”

The Duterte crowd looks more and more like a group of wannabes who want privilege without any of the usual reasons for it: performance in the case of a meritocracy, service to the people in the case of a truly pro-people movement – or self-control and bearing for traditional, aristocratic elites. Duterte will have seen the degree of self-control the Japanese imperial couple exercise at all times. He will have seen the performance of Prime Minister Abe, what a work schedule he keeps, while Duterte is reportedly often two hours or more late for speeches in Manila (link) for no reason.

What remains if there is no performance, service or bearing. Pure force? Possibly intimidation. Force will hardly work since the military is not going to help with a revolutionary government (link) while low-key intimidation through continued “drug” killings and political chicanery might work. And Philippine territory shall not remain protected, as recent events are showing (link) – and now? Those who voted him will have to ask themselves whether all of that was worth a few junkies less. The economic situation may even go to worse (link) and if it does, what was this bumpy ride all for?

To hit back, even if it is just with jokes, against the “colonialists” of yore (link). Or to feel like the “white man” just for a short time by making stupid comments about Obama? Or feel like oligarchs by making comments about Jover Laurio of Pinoy Ako Blog who looks like – an average Filipina!? To feel like the sidekicks of the rising superpower China, when all they want is access to sea lanes? Which is what everybody coming to the islands wanted – Brunei, Spain, England, the USA, Japan – and China. Is basking fake victories satisfying – while all one has for the MRT is a prayer (link)?

That is as fleeting as the high of a drug addict. Based on the assumption of no real achievements. This includes the constant misleading nonsense propagated by trolls. And the planned reliance mainly only loans from abroad, and trains one has no capability to maintain, like with the MRT. Why not work in small steps and enjoy the small victories, like VP Leni with her programs (link)? That finally leads to solid successes. But many a Filipino has a wounded ego, similar to Duterte. Dislikes confidence and basks in mediocrity as if nothing else were possible. But is that a solution?

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 11 November 2017

Morals and Action

Daraga Church Albayoften seem incompatible in the Philippines. Women pray rosary, men act. Read the Bible or Constitution for theory, use the gun or fake witnesses to get things done. Be concerned about what the UN and the US think and deny EJKs – boast about them when one is with one’s “own people”. Colonial residues, when some Spanish priests used morality to make people subservient, while sneaking up on the wives even of chieftains – alluded to in the Noli with respect to Padre Damaso and the mother of fair-skinned Maria Clara, officially the daughter of dark-skinned Kapitan Tiago.

While Padre Damaso was sad when Maria Clara decided to become a nun after Ibarra was “dead”, Kapitan Tiago increased his consumption of opium until he eventually died. A barangay captain who was a drug addict, in Rizal’s novel? Yes! Nothing is really new under the sun. Or in Pilipinas. Will the disente people always be not decent as in good, but simply the rich who hobnob with the hypocritical Church, while the poor are subjugatedly obedient and polite? While the true heroes are pistoleros who tell Church and the disente to fuck themselves, and free the people into rudeness?

This simplistic interpretation has been handed down by generations of educators and activists, ignoring for example the role of Filipino priests in helping free their own people since the First Propaganda Movement – before the Second Propaganda Movement (link) of the intellectuals. Completely going back to the Philippines before 1521 is impossible, and stripping the country of elites developed during colonialism leaves us with Kapitan Tiago, probably on a stronger opiate, making rape jokes about a white missionary, or a mestiza (link) – to get even with Padre Damaso?

One would forget how the Filipino church has gone native since the Second Vatican Council, developing Filipino liturgy and preaching not in Latin anymore, but in a language the people understand. Like today’s homily by Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas (link): Kapag ibinuhos ng tao ang dugo ng kanyang kapwa, wala itong dulot na biyaya, kundi sumpa at parusa. One would forget that the time a socialite beauty contestant said “I speak Tagalog only to the maids” is past. But yes, the gap between action and morals remains. Nice words in theory, shortcuts in practice.

The ruling groups have taught the Filipino to be so obedient, so patient – until he no longer is, like in a recent riot (link) in the Quezon City jail. Was the rage that led to Duterte something similar? Morals is not about being nice always, especially not to Padre Damaso or Kapitan Tiago on opiates – they can also mean saying NO, setting limits. The Filipino I think is still learning to resist steadily – instead of exploding in useless rage. Grassroots groups against drug killings (link) or VP Robredo’s projects (link) are examples. The future may yet come, not loudly but in small steps. Let us see.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 5 November 2017

Gleichschaltung

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Serenoput Germany under totalitarian control until 1937 (link) – is Dutertismo doing something similar? Hitler had Social Democrats banned first, and then all other parties disappeared. The Philippine Congress is run by a supermajority which is pro-Duterte. The Senate has a pro-Duterte majority, even if its opposition minority is more powerful and sometimes sways the less decided colleagues (link) like with the recent resolution against the killing of minors. The Philippine National Police seems to be firmly pro-Duterte, while the Army is for the most part I think perfunctorily obedient.

Rivals and Press

Hitler practically eliminated the left wing of his party in the Night of the Long Knives in 1934 (link). One must remember that National Socialism had both left-wing (socialist) and right-wing (nationalist) aspects. The Philippine Left is now outside of Duterte’s Cabinet and seems to now have turned full force against him. The Ombudsman and the Commision on Human Rights are still occupied by appointees of the previous administration – Carpio and Beltran. Even Chief Justice Sereno is seen as an annoyance – and is presently fighting against her impeachment by Congress.

The press seems to have become quieter in its criticism (link), even neglecting to put fact checks on patently absurd statements like the recent varied statements on Trillanes’ alleged offshore accounts – from “it was a trap” to “he closed them online” to “this is now the real list”. Are Filipinos gullible (link)? Germans also were at some point, and some are still or again as the recent election shows. The equivalent of the yellow conspiracy many Dutertians think is real was “Jewish Wall Street” and “Jewish Bolshevism”. Yes, both Wall Street and Communism were the fault of Jews for some Nazis.

Foreigners and Filipinos

Germany left the League of Nations at some point during Gleichschaltung. The Philippines has not yet left the UN, even if 39 countries have now expressed serious concern over its drug war (link). The relationship with the West may already have a serious dent though, including long-term repercussions for trade. I know a German who once headed a BPO outfit in Manila who put in a word for Filipinos as being highly Westernized and therefore more compatible to work with Westerners than other Asian peoples. Filipinos may yet know what they had when it is finally gone.

Back to discussions among Filipinos. Pinoy Ako Blog (link) has been under attack in social media. Probably because the tone of the blog’s articles is as understandable to the Filipino man on the street as Mocha Uson is. Let’s say PAB is street with coffee to go, while Mocha is gutter with curses. But it seems that Dutertians now fear losing the man on the street, and even worse the defining power over “who is a true Filipino”. Because a Filipino is not just an inutile hangdog thrilled by free food and gyrating Viva Hotbabes, cursing like Duterte. That would be mental Gleichschaltung.

Dealing with Today

And besides, all the propaganda, that undefined smelly stew of resentments and inferiority complexes, slogans and half-truths doesn’t solve any problems. Hitler’s brown stew did not do it for Germany. Duterte’s weird version of adobo I am happy I cannot smell – does it have durian in it – will not bring the Philippines forward in any way whatsoever. Let us just imagine that Trillanes, Hontiveros, De Lima, Aquino, Roxas, Gascon, Sereno, Bautista etc. are all exiled and out of their positions. No excuses left for Duterte and his group. Will they lead Filipinos into a golden future?

Irineo B. R. Salazar

30 September 2017, München

Stop Fooling Yourselves

The Amazing Race Philippines 2 Mapor continue to if you want! Only addicts and pushers die in Philippine streets. Paolo Duterte’s tattoo is nobody’s business. And who cares about the massive shabu shipment just lost in Customs? If ever, it is probably just a destabilization plot by the “yellows”, a group nearly like the Illuminati!

Liberals – barely there

Sarcasm aside, it isn’t the Liberal Party that is the most visible opposition. Senators Trillanes and Hontiveros are Magdalo and Akbayan respectively, center-right and center-left in orientation. Senator De Lima makes her regular stand, but her own party’s support seems a bit half-hearted.

In fact I found Walden Bello’s recent concern for her safety very sincere – even if he is half-crazy, he is definitely not a fool. The LP may renew itself, but could it forget the hard work of even those like Leni Robredo, Teddy Baguilat and Edcel Lagman if it gets power back to quickly? I don’t know.

Leftists – protesting again

The leftists have practically nobody left in Duterte’s cabinet. They still cannot quite let go of the chance of power. Typical turncoat Filipinos after all? Slogans are not really principles. With real principles, you might be considered crazy like the late Senator Santiago. Or go half-crazy like Bello.

Or you have nerves of steel like the Senators Trillanes and Hontiveros. One can see it in their eyes. The sheer willpower. But the classic Filipino left has proven it is not principled, for the most part. Of course it is organizing more marches now, once more – but is this just to get some concessions?

Institutions – what institutions?

The Philippines still lives in the house of institutions that President Quezon built back in 1935. Some stuff added haphazardly, like the way they build in the slums of Manila. Some renovation during the time of Marcos, most notably the division into regions to reach the people better.

The second-best reform of Marcos – who is NOT a hero, this I say again for the record – Metro Manila, was only partly kept. The MMDA is a shadow of the once powerful Metro Manila Commision and Metro Manila has no governor. Central authority would solve a lot of issues.

My group/tribe/gang first

The present crowd around President Duterte do not even make a pretense anymore of caring about institutions. Very Filipino, if one is to take the mentality of the provinces and the working classes as a measuring stick. Everything is situational, nothing lasts forever. Today’s boss orders, not rules.

Of course all who are up for impeachment are associated with the previous administration – Chief Justice Sereno, Ombudsman Carpio, Comelec Chairman Bautista. One could say that President Aquino set the precedent for this, but now it looks like the facts don’t even matter anymore. Well.

Paths to unity or division

in the barangays, a group called SWORD – Sincere Warriors of Rodrigo Duterte is forming (link) – this is the command and control approach of Marcos, or the Spaniards who used the barangay for their indirect rule. No barangay elections for now means drug lists and impunity (link) continue.

the approach of Vice-President Robredo, or that of cities like Iloilo (link) are more on community. Will that be extinguished eventually by the insistence on command and control, even coercion? Cohesion in larger groups is based on community first – control is to keep the less mature in line.

Will people or communities submit in apparent resignation or collaboration, or resist like Iloilo? Leni Robredo’s approach is cautious, will it help? Will lonesome fighters like Trillanes, Hontiveros or De Lima be used or betrayed? 1986 was way too easy. Filipino character may yet be forged now.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 9. Sept. 2017