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NORTHERN ILOILO FISHERFOLKS APPEAL FOR HELP AFTER FISHING GEARS DESTROYED BY TYPHOON, SOUTHWEST MONSOON

ILOILO – Severe hunger. This is now being experienced by most of the fisherfolks in Northern Iloilo. Since the striking of Typhoon Dante followed by the southwest monsoon that brought strong winds and huge waves, small-scale fisherfolks, who rely primary from fishing, cannot freely go to the sea.

Furthermore, the bad weather condition has also resulted to the destruction of the fish pens, fishnets, and other fishing gears of the fisherfolks.

The town of Barotac Viejo, where majority of the population rely on fishing, is one of the most severely affected by the situation.

To “Tatay Poldo” Balbon, a resident of Barotac Viejo, the major problem that most of them are currently experiencing is hunger brought by the destruction of their fishing gears as well as the lack of capital to repair or rebuild said fishing gears.

Moreover, due to the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) being implemented in the province, Tatay Poldo and other fisherfolks cannot easily find other alternative sources of income due to mobility restrictions especially to the senior citizens.

Fisherfolks in Barotac Viejo also calls for the local fisheries bureau and agriculture department to investigate the situation of the affected communities.

“They (BFARMC and DA) have been very strict with us in terms of the registration of our fish pens. They said that it will be very helpful especially when our fish pens be destroyed by natural disasters because we can avail and access government’s aid. But since Typhoon Dante last month, we received nothing from them. They did not even bother to visit us and see our situation here,” said Tatay Poldo in Hiligaynon.

Tatay Poldo also appeals for help from the local government and the private sector. “We appeal to the local officials, those in the province, and also to the private sector to help us because we don’t have anything especially now that we are still under the pandemic,” Tatay Poldo added in Hiligaynon.

To those who wish to help the community of fisherfolks in Barotac Viejo, you may message Panay Today’s official Facebook Page, @panaytoday. Fisherfolks’ primary needs include rice and other food items. Fisherfolks also appeal for financial help to repair their destroyed fish pens. /PT

OPINION | A Long Zigzag Journey to Democracy

OPINION | A LONG ZIGZAG JOURNEY TO DEMOCRACY
by Salve Armada

On Peace Talks
The much-awaited results of the peace talks proceeded at a snail pace and nothing concrete had been gained except for the de rigueur pale affirmation of the latest Joint Declaration. Ah, it’s now practically dead, however. The inconsistent demands of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) were complexified under Duterte. Those past consensuses were not sustained since the principle of stare decisis is not faithfully observed by the principal of the government.

Rodrigo Duterte as the current principal of the GRP lackadaisically flip-flops with his public words and commitments. Fondly listening to the military cabals on the peace talks, they unconsciously mimic the disastrous Chiang Kai-shek’s stubbornness in dealing with revolutionary forces. Without learning from China’s Tao-like realist orientation, the militarist hawks cannot grasp the adage, “water boring holes into the hardest stone”. Flip-flopping is no art of cunning but lousy self-conceit and a source of repugnance. Now, it’s the outdated anti-communism all the way: Duterte’s NTF-ELCAC painting the whole archipelago bloody red.

The revolutionary forces meanwhile had persisted for more than fifty years as the longest continuing insurgency in the globe. The CPP had disclosed that it had laid out well the age range of its cadres with sufficient numbers from the young generation to carry the struggle. Meaning to say, the touted “protractedness” of people’s war is not only in terms of situs/space (countryside to the city) but also in terms of chronos/time (before-now-near-future).

The prevailing climate of impunity does not advantage the status quo nor granted stability to the dialogue on peace. Only when the two parties reached obvious parity (i.e. the GRP and the revolutionary forces are in a balance) the more likely realistic and practical peace negotiations can come about. With the dissipating legitimacy (as distinguished from popularity) of the regime, the prospect of this future upended peace talks will no longer be historically remote.

A post-Duterte in 2022 elections?
This is a shared question wrapped in both hope and trepidation. Hope is that lone firefly that took off after the wings of pestilence, killings and chaos flew out to damage lives, health and livelihoods during pandemic time. Hope speaks in the language of the “new normal”. Trepidation is an acid that corrodes faith of claim “Filipinos are worth dying for” by our martyrs and heroes. Because hope and trepidation were both placed only in the single basket of 2022 elections, what obtains is the atmosphere of widespread precarity.

The unhealthy obsession with procedural democracy as though an ideology has blinded us Filipinos to imagine alternative means of regime change outside the frame of calendar elections. Are we not aware of the fact that elections are the game long monopolized by the politico-economic elite in our society? And that election in the country is really the election of new masters, but no end of master-slave hierarchy?

The majority failed to comprehend and embrace the thesis that substantive democracy is power directly in the hands of the underclasses. And it’s time the underclasses wrest power by and for themselves by whatever favorable means. Boldly put by Thomas Jefferson, “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure”.

No wonder that the appropriation of substantive democracy is the spectre feared by the neoliberals. The neoliberals in our country are those politico-economic elites who subscribed to the scripts of global capitalism that exploit the underclasses. It must be noted that the spectrum of neoliberals in 2022 elections is occupied by the faction surrounding Leni Robledo on one side and those around Duterte on the other side, with the 1Sambayan coalition hilariously dances with Tweedledee and Tweedledum cotillon tune.

Fixation with the 2022 election merely maintains the empty ritual of voting but aborts the birth of the Jacobin cum Jeffersonian substantive democracy in our country.

People power on the horizon
Outside calendared elections, Filipinos have had a history of ousting authoritarian figures via gigantic mass mobilizations. The chief protagonists were organized groups and spontaneous masses conjoined. Congealed in the urban capital of the nation, such mobilizations were effective at a precise tipping point of the ouster moment. Yet thereafter such successful mobilization cannot inaugurate democracy amongst social classes. Forget not that traditional landlord power came back when Cory Aquino normalized the status quo after “EDSA revolution”. The elite reclaimed ascendancy since the political crown of the Jeffersonian tree of liberty has no Jacobinian social roots to sustain its growth and stability.

Next time perhaps when the proper moment comes, when the organizations of the underclasses possess unified agency and trajectory, substantive democracy will emerge. The elites can no longer darken the horizon when the power of once oppressed people reigns. This can probably come about when both open and clandestine oppositions in the city and the hinterlands coalesced as active agents of the shared historical project.###

DUTERTE’S FINAL SONA, GREETED BY PROTEST ACTIONS IN PANAY DESPITE RAINFALL, ECQ STATUS

ILOILO CITY – Together with President Rodrigo Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 26, 2021, thousands marched and protested all around the world under a unified call to #DuterteWakasanNa (End Duterte Now!).
In the international, progressive groups led by Migrante and ILPS protested in Washington, Texas, Los Angeles, San Diego, and New York in the USA, Toronto in Canada, and Hongkong.
Thousands have also protested in different regions in the country. Despite threats of COVID-19 pandemic and the intimidation of the state forces, protesters still pushed through with their activity and marched in Metro Manila, Bicol Region, Cebu City, Bacolod City, and Davao City.
In Panay, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) – Panay together with other progressive organizations staged a decentralized protests in Iloilo City, Northern Iloilo, Kalibo in Aklan, and Roxas City in Capiz, despite intermittent rain showers, being under ECQ status, and threats of the state forces.
Iloilo City protesters called for 10,000 pesos subsidy to those affected by the pandemic lockdown, additional budget and improvement of healthcare system in the country, safe resumption of face-to-face classes, and the lifting of the ECQ status in the region. The group also called to junk the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, which only worsens the economic impact of the pandemic.
In Northern Iloilo, farmers and fisherfolks under Paghugpong sang Mangunguma sa Panay kag Guimaras (PAMANGGAS) also called for cash subsidy to those not only affected by the pandemic lockdown but also to those greatly affected by the Southwest Monsoon or Habagat. Fisherfolks said that they have been dislocated from their livelihood for almost a month now as they cannot go to the sea to fish due to large waves. Peasant group further called for genuine agrarian reform, to defend West Philippine Sea, and to junk the Rice Liberalization Law as well as the Anti-Terrorism Law.
Moreover, Aklan protesters led by BAYAN-Aklan brought to their protest the call to junk the proposed bill of creating the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA) as a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC). According to Kim-Sin Tugna, BAYAN-Aklan’s Chairperson, BIDA as a GOCC would only result in the displacement of the locals and of the workers. The group also called to abolish the NTF-ELCAC and to end all forms of state sponsored harassment and red-tagging, which has just experienced by one of its members, George Calaor.
“We will exert all our efforts to frustrate the administration’s maneuvers to hold on to power and hold them accountable for their crimes against the people,” said BAYAN-Panay.
REACTION TO DUTERTE’S LAST SONA
To BAYAN-Panay, Duterte’s last SONA is just a reiteration of what he usually says, and only focused on two problems in his mind: drugs, and insurgency.
“More than 30,000 have already been killed in his drug war, and more than 400 political activists, human rights workers, farmers, workers, indigenous people, and many other mass leaders were extrajudicially killed. About 30 of these are from Panay,” said Bryan Bosque, BAYAN-Panay’s deputy spokesperson.
The group also called Duterte a liar when he said that 17,000 rebel communists have surrendered during his time when the state forces only claimed before that there were only 3,000-4,000 or less rebels left in the country. “They [state forces] are the ones that benefitted from the ‘surrenderers’,” said Bosque.
“What he boasted as ‘economic growth’ is nothing but lies,” Bosque added. The group cited IBON Foundation’s report wherein the GDP growth of the country has consistently decreased from 2016-2019, when pandemic still did not happen. From 7.1% in 2016, GDP became 6.9% in 2017, 6.3% in 2018, and 6.0% in 2019.
Bosque further added that a lot of Filipinos still suffer from severe hunger, poverty, and unemployment. Meanwhile, the group said, Duterte and his ilk prioritizes their preparation for the upcoming 2022 presidential elections, in a desperate attempt to extend its power and evade accountability for his gross neglect of the Filipino’s sovereign and democratic rights.
BAYAN-Panay was also dismayed during Duterte’s final SONA as he failed to even mention his plans of distributing assistance to those affected by the pandemic, and on how to improve the overall state of the country’s healthcare system.
The group challenged all Panayanons to unite and take inspiration in the online Tumindig movement inspired by artist Tarantadong Kalbo, and called to realize this movement offline. /PT

Farmer-Scientist Organization Condemns Golden Rice Commercial Propagation, Calls on Farmers and Consumers to Protest

MASIPAG – Farmer-scientist organization Magsasaka at Siyentipiko Para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG) vehemently condemns the railroaded decision by the Department of Agriculture to commercially propagate Golden Rice and calls on small farmers and consumers across the country to mount protest against the said decision.
Not less than a year from the 60-day public comment period launched by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) to collate necessary feedback from the public, Department of Agriculture- Bureau of Plant Industry Director George Culaste hastily approved the permit for Golden Rice’ commercial propagation last July 21, 2021. With its magnitude and relevance to public interest, networks such as the Stop Golden Rice! Network Philippines (SGRN) highlighted the lack of independent, comprehensive, and substantial risk and impact assessments of the approval process and also the overall lack of transparency of GR’s proponents regarding its findings and reports.
Under the Joint Department Circular 1 of 2016 of the Department of Agriculture for the adoption of GM crops, application for the commercial propagation of Golden Rice must be assessed, reviewed, and approved by the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Health, and Department of Interior and Local Government. However, under different queries made by SGRN, no substantial review process and independent risk assessments to health, cultural and socio economic impact was made under the Joint Department Circular’s process.
MASIPAG asserts that there is no need for Golden Rice, more so, in the pandemic situation, maintains that malnutrition is primarily caused by lack of access to sufficient, nutritious and safe food due to poverty, inaccessibility, and the changing food production and consumption patterns as supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation’s report, State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World.  MASIPAG highlights that the promotion of a single-crop diet, as a band-aid solution to Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD), will follow the Green Revolution’s legacy of dominant crops destroying diet diversity and the destruction of farmlands due to extensive chemical inputs and monocropping. Golden Rice would also hasten the shift of farmers control of seeds to huge transnational corporations which to date are earning billions of dollars on the privatization of seeds.
Condemning the approval, MASIPAG National Coordinator Cris Panerio notes, “the billions spent on the Golden Rice project would have been put into better use if it was utilized for genuine support to diverse local production of food. It seems that the hasty approval of the Golden Rice commercial propagation permit is in tandem with the general trend of fast tracked approval and launching of different GM projects and researches being pushed by huge transnational corporations and philanthrocapitalists such as multi-billionaire Bill Gates who are behind the push for further corporatization of the global food systems.
It is very disturbing, with the incoming UN Food Systems Summit, corporate interest attempts to dominate our farmlands and plates with profit-oriented produce. And small farmers, the urban poor, the women and children are bearing the brunt of the problem. We call on Dept of Agriculture Secretary William Dar to immediately junk the decision of the DA-BPI and heed the call of the small farmers and consumers. Time and again we are reminding the DA that rice is the country’s staple crop. Genetically modifying our staple food would put the health, food security and livelihoods of our farmers  at grave  risk. There is no gold in golden rice” he adds.
On Monday, small farmers, consumers and sectoral groups will hold protest actions against the UNFSS which will start its three day pre-conference sessions on July 27, 2021 in Rome, Italy.##

OPINION | Between Responsibility and Freedom

OPINION | BETWEEN RESPONSIBILITY AND FREEDOM
by Salvador del Mundo*

Everyone in this country knows how difficult it was when ECQ ruled over us all last 2020. Travel restrictions, limited mobility and food purchase, public transportation down to zero, economic standstill, sudden retrenchment of workers, their sudden unemployment, physical dislocation, isolation and detention at home, etc. It was practically a lockdown politely termed as quarantine. Thereafter the rules and guidelines spelled out by the national government through its Inter Agency Task Force or IATF were forced upon every Filipino as a responsibility and to be irresponsible would mean definite punishment. Everybody had to toe the line or be verbally abused, physically mauled and worse dragged into jail. All these in the name of so-called public safety. Only the vulnerable sector of society suffered these punitive actions unlike those belonging to the moneyed class and the political elite who did transgress in one time or another the protocols and yet retired home without a scratch.

A disclosure here, myself was locked down in Cebu Province from March 15, 2020 to July 23, 2020. I was traveling on a transit flight from Tacloban to my home however on that fateful March 15th 2020, the second leg of my flight from Mactan Airport was suddenly cancelled. An ECQ had been declared in the whole Visayas Region and I was unaware of what was happening around me. It was disturbingly quick and caused an uproar in the airport as thousands like me got stranded in Cebu. Throughout the lockdown that went on for months, I experienced a load of anxiety and helplessness for I had realized that the State had deprived me of my right to personal mobility and freedom to travel. I had become one of the first prisoners of Duterte’s carceral regime.

The evening of July 16 2021, it was supposedly the first night of the ground level implementation of ECQ in Iloilo City and Iloilo Province which would mean border patrolling and checkpoints including prohibition of face to face dining, closure of shops that sell non-essentials, among other directives. But as an “act of civil disobedience” my colleagues, I myself and other friends had decided to push through with our dinner powwow in a restaurant overlooking the City’s River. There we traded and shared our forebodings about the politics-soaked implementation of the ECQ classification. Together we arrived at a common stand against this threat to individual freedom and economic security of citizens. No doubt at all that we all have our responsibility to observe the protocols set forth in the classification — but at what cost and who are paying? When the implementation of the rules become too militaristic, it only causes distrust, stigma, disempowerment, economic dislocation, impoverishment of the great majority. And instead of encouraging citizens to make healthy choices, the opposite happens — those who are vulnerable to conditions of despair spiral down to suffer more mental depression and breakdown and literal experience of hunger.

As of this writing Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas finds the ECQ declaration of IATF as most unfair and unjustified. About “500,000 Ilonggos or a portion thereof will go hungry for the next two weeks. The city will try to give our food assistance in the meantime,” he declared. The Mayor and the residents of the City can no longer contain their frustrations.

Making quarantine classifications should be seen as a balancing act between respecting individual freedom and providing a scientific basis for the classification. The corona virus is the common enemy. The war waged against this common enemy should not arbitrarily trample the Iloilo City Mayor’s respected authority and definitely not the welfare of law abiding Ilonggos of Iloilo City.###

* Num-de-plume of a scholar in history who wrote an essay thesis on the Bureau of Science during American colonial regime in the Philippines.

– Photo credit to Mayor Jerry Treñas page.

AKLANON ACTIVIST FACED ANOTHER ATTACK FROM NTF-ELCAC

KALIBO, AKLAN – Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) – Aklan’s provincial chairperson, George Calaor, yet received another libelous remark from the state forces during a joint police and military welcome ceremony for the 14 alleged rebel returnees in Libacao town, Aklan last July 8, 2021.
According to Calaor’s statement sent to the media, Atty. Ronilo Inventado, who represented the Department of Justice in the said event, claimed to be in dismay with the activist who, despite being such a gifted student before, has chosen the wrong path. Moreover, Inventado claimed to be closely acquainted with Calaor, who was his former classmate in one of the subjects in AB class during college. However, Calaor said that he was never enrolled in any AB classes as he was taking up Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSED) back in Aklan Catholic College, formerly Aklan College. Furthermore, Calaor said that Inventado has never been closely acquainted to him nor was his classmate before.
Calaor denounced the malicious vilification by Inventado and condemned the continuous red-tagging perpetuated by the state against him and his fellow activists in Aklan.
“I believe he used his fabricated knowledge about me to build his credibility to convince the people that I am a terrorist,” said Calaor. Moreover, Calaor said that Inventado’s claim “is a blatant lie and clear fabrication to belie his intent to further their efforts to condition the mind of every Aklanons that I am atrocious, that the likes of me [have] no place in this world and that my acts and advocacy should not be followed by every citizen”.
According to Calaor, the continuous attacks against their ranks by the state’s elements in the province of Aklan, clearly manifests the ruthless, barbaric and desperate effort of the National Task Force to End Local Communist and Armed Conflict (ELCAC) to condition the minds of every Aklanons for the possible events of illegal and warrantless search and arrest likewise extra-judicial killings in the province.
Calaor also declared that Atty. Ronilo Inventado’s prejudgment against the correctness of his political standpoint and principle is malicious and baseless.
“I was not astray and have not wasted my gift of knowledge when I decided to selflessly submit myself to the masses and joined them in their nationalist and democratic struggle for genuine freedom and democracy. I cannot afford to put a price to my service at the expense of the unjust sufferings from landlessness and exploited labor of the peasants and workers,” said Calaor. “I challenge his objectivity to be critical on how the US-Duterte government gallantly wasted people’s money in the NTF-ELCAC while being so inutile in responding to the urgent needs of the Aklanons in this trying time under the pandemic. I also challenge Atty. Inventado prove his allegations in the proper venue to put merit to his representation,” Calaor added.
In a final statement, Calaor challenged Atty. Ronilo Inventado for public retraction of his statement against him. He also calls the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate and make the involved element of the state be made accountable for orchestrating malicious and baseless attacks against him and his fellow activists in Aklan. Calaor also appeals to every citizen to support his plea.
Who is Calaor?
Calaor is graduate of Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSED) not AB, from Aklan College now Aklan Catholic College in Kalibo, Aklan.
He is the Provincial Chairperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)-Aklan.
Calaor is also a poet and have published of book entitled Uyayi Ng Himagsik, a collection of poetry of love and struggle. Some of his works are also published in various literary folios and publications, local and abroad.
Calaor is among personalities and leaders of BAYAN and MAKABAYAN bloc in posters red-tagged as organizers of legal front organizations of the CPP and New People’s Army (NPA) posted in the strategic areas of Iloilo in 2018 and 2019, and in Aklan on 2020./PT

OPINION | Maturity Not Greatness

OPINION | MATURITY NOT GREATNESS
by Salvador del Mundo*

Halfway towards the end of his inaugural speech in 1965, then newly elected Ferdinand E. Marcos in his first term as President of the Philippines proudly asserted: “This nation can be great again…the first modern republic in Asia and Africa. It is our nation. Thus Kawit and Malolos are celebrated in our history as acts of national greatness.” (www. officialgazette.gov.ph) And yet the Malolos Republic did not last a year for another imperial power never had any second thought in occupying our territory. Except for a few like Apolinario Mabini who did not swear allegiance to the United States, the rest of the Filipino elites capitulated before the American forces and for their collaboration, they were gifted with administrative positions in the new colonial civil government.

What was so great in that capitulationist government? A government that while it proclaimed independence, its substance remained on paper. A government that was divided by class interest and personal ambition. “Bayan o sarili” shouted Antonio Luna in that scene from the film Heneral Luna captured this dark predicament. A closer look at the events that transpired leading to the unnecessary and unjust execution of the Bonifacio brothers and the horrible, barbaric assassination of Gen. Luna simply shows us that nothing can be more sinister and evil than a Filipino murdering a kababayan with such barbarism and impunity. Impunity that victimized fellow patriots seems like an indelible curse in our nation. Rizal was more fortunate for he died in a manner worthy of the respect of the Spanish Empire and the world.

The victory of a populist candidate like Duterte last 2016 and his wayward authoritarian government confirms our nation was born not out of greatness of its political leaders as that Marcos’ inaugural address would want us to believe. The majority of those cabinet members of the Aguinaldo government and Emilio Aguinaldo himself were so unprepared for the daunting task of nation building that it took another colonizer molding us to fit its newly proclaimed propaganda of self government. Until now unfortunately we have not matured enough to get rid of the schizophrenic traces of our colonial political heritage. We became independent in 1898 but it seems we did not know what to do with it. As film artist Lav Diaz cogitates on our dilemma, “the era of martial law under Ferdinand Marcos — the Filipino nightmare” and Filipinos have not awaken to their power as a people. We still continue electing into office self-serving greedy scions of political families. Political dynasticism is that recidivist virus of our social system we long want to extirpate.

During election campaigns we are so caught in the middle of the meaningless spectacle of the boodle fight and Tiktok dance that we really have not come to a full understanding of what democracy is and the process which entails its best practices and relevance in our daily struggles in life so that we realize our collective potential. We are easily seduced by spectacle, favoring form than substance. With our country’s elite always ready with their bench of candidates, calendar elections are empty rituals of choosing new master oppressors.

Greatness is a Marcosian myth and a form of revisionist narration, nay, of historical distortion. There is no such thing as the Golden Age of a Presidency in our history. We all know the atrocities committed against a generation of Filipinos during Martial Law and the dark years of the dictatorship. What we badly need to attain as a people is maturity. Political maturity of people’s autonomous will power. Democracy requires it.###

* Num-de-plume of a scholar in history who wrote an essay thesis on the Bureau of Science during American colonial regime in the Philippines.

– Photo credit to Varsitarian

OPINION | A Fable in Iloilo City

by Salvi Armada

The governance of Iloilo City is definitely so unlike the democratic management of a poultry farm. In a poultry farm, divergence in ability to fly high exists amongst fowls but feeds are distributed to each according to need. No loud squawks of complaints except of excitement at feeding time. As such, the Parliament of Fowls (Geoffrey Chaucer) stays sane, sober and sublime. So unlike the mishandling of June 10, 2021 incident at Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) substation in Jaro district.

The scandalous incident was the brazen violation of Mayor Jerry Treñas’ Executive Order No. 50 (MECQ status of Iloilo City) by the organizers and attendees. Earlier the Mayor pleaded, “…to stay at home. Please postpone whatever you need to do in the meantime. The cases continue to go up” (1 June 2021, Philippine News Agency). What followed was the outrageous inauguration gathering of crowd “hosted” by the BFP under Regional Director Jerry Candido. Somersaulting in the face of public rebuke, Mayor Treñas sheepishly accommodated Director Candido’s tepid apology. “RD Candido apologised as he DID NOT READ our prohibition on any mass gathering” (emphasis supplied, Panay News 10 June 2021), he intoned.

Such magnanimity extended to a high public official who openly violated health law because of feigned ignorance is something for the archive. Well, if Iloilo City is served by a “non-reading” ranking bureaucrat, it can be asked, “what to him is Plato and the Wings of Pleiades?”. Truly is he a director of a government Regional Office or “The Man with a Hoe”? (Meanwhile, the pesterous presence of a legislator in the said event can be disregarded). In my humble view this ruckus should not easily escape Edwin Markham’s poetic justice!

Enjoyment of liberty will be promoted but at no expense of justice for all.

There’s this reflexive maxim in the Animal Farm fable (1945 by George Orwell), “all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”. De Te Fabula Narratur: the moral fingers point back to us citizens and officials of La Muy Leal Y Noble dakbanwa sang Iloilo. Power and authority stand with truth and ought not be coated by lies though mixed with medicinal ingredients.

What about those ordinary residents caught violating the same prohibition? They were under no special consideration of the Mayor, they received just punishments in so far as the public knows. Seems like equality of citizens before the law is in practice a myth. The reversal of order and rationality and now the peripeteia in the poultry farm is what’s sauce for the goose is no longer sauce for the gander.###

(Photo credit to the owner.)

Concha Araneta Bocala of Panay, a poem

By SALVI ARMADA

“No uprising fails. Each one is a step in the right direction. In a long march to final victory, every step counts, every individual matters, every organization forms part of the whole.”

– Salud Algabre

I. STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

reflecting on the self’s subject position
learning tools of class analysis
putting on lens of historical materialism

weaning away from bourgeois ego
remoulding, remoulding, remoulding
on going ceaseless reflexive rectification

finding comfort in rhymes of collective life
ministering caresses on comrade’s hurts
watching sunrise, enjoying sunsets

catching fireflies, gathering stardusts
washing own’s wings on cool moonrains
leading the cell to win the Revolution.

II. CONCHA

they sleuth everywhere but you’re no where
in four directions of the wind
when season of rains come and
when sinigwelas fruits burst forth

they cannot find you in festivals
of mangoes, of seafoods, of muses
lost in the haystack like a needle
sparkingly true yet deadly pointed

they loudly demanded identification
so one-after-another of revolting
slaves rises up: “I am Spartacus!”
for we are the masses of names

“Je suis Charlie” is a deathless name
but in mysterious Holm of Tumandok
names gifted to audacious children
honor her revolution: “I am Concha!”

III. TRUE BEAUTY

it is invisible and unfamiliar,
yet unlimned by the naked eyes
of the impetuous who can’t wait

unconquered by haughty lions
nor subdued by vicious eagles
no maiden’s milk avails bravery to
who struggles with bourgeois self

but at the peak of Panay ranges
after crossing zigzagging rivers
to reach the hideous cliff there
quietly blooms sweetest beautiful

Revolution.

JOHN S. HEREDIA, IN MEMORIAM

2021 AMBON Mural
John S. Heredia, in memoriam
5 X 10 feet
Acrylic on Canvass

Text by Tomas Talledo

The mural is an offspring of collaboration by creative fellows of the honoree, PG Zoluaga, Boy Dolar, Jeline Laporga and Nelson Licoto. They depicted and memorialized their comrade-in-brush-and-paints, John Heredia of the Artista kag Manunulat nga Makibanwahanon (AMBON), himself is a socially sensitive painter and a dedicated public servant.

Heredia’s treacherous murder is an anagnorisis: it announces the deathlessness of his art, the immortality of shared aspirations that captives of oppression and inequality will be finally set free. The killers were abysmal fools, they can never be proud of their deeds. The mural depicted the communion of dreams, a high salute to the artist’s well-lived life and death like “mountain Tai”.

The mural makers unmistakably painted him singing with his guitar, “Ang kalinong nga akon ginahandom/ isa ka kalisod sang tagipusuon/ ang kasanag sang paalabuton/ luyag ko maangkon sa sining panahon” while sailing to the haven of all yearnings. In our archepelagic setting, the flowing river is a transcendent motif of what passes for time, spaces, generations of energies that were aroused, organized and mobilized. As such the mural depicts the characteristic of our people’s war.

Bouquets of flowers are send off gifts by those left behind now carried by waters as solemn ornaments of John Heredia’s final journey. Thus our eyes behold a signature of studied beauty, an expression of quiet elation, the template of what isn’t yet that will soon be.

From his group AMBON the perfect honor for John Heredia is in its public testimony: “His composition and art works are reflective of his unwavering stand to serve the people, especially the workers and the peasants”.

The grand design is to depart when the sun sets to certainly arrive with the trembling dawn. # # #