Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Feb. 29 in Naga City

More photos of the Feb. 29 mobilization in Naga City
(Thanks very much, Pines!)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Center cannot hold

I got this from the post of Al A. in our PSP egroup. I agree with
him that Patricia is very good! -R

The Center cannot hold
By Patricia Evangelista
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 19:33:00 03/01/2008

AS I TYPE THIS, there are others who write their own manifestos,
compelled by chance and conscience and circumstance to plug away on keyboards
across the country. Every few minutes a new entry flashes across cyberspace:
Lozada, ZTE, indignation in its varying forms, pleas for caution,
calls to action, justifications for inaction, the long narratives of
disillusionment seconded by the angry and frustrated.

I can't pretend to represent my generation. All of us are faced with
a choice, and the fact of my youth does not mean that my choices
reflect those made by my contemporaries. And yet there is something very wrong
with CBCP president Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo's claim that "Our youth
seem to be very satisfied about what is going on in their lives." I cannot
believe that anyone would be satisfied with this sort of life, with the rape of
the Filipino nation occurring with daily regularity, and lie after
moronic lie echoing from the gates of the Palace. Satisfied? I doubt if non-
presence in an indignation rally is the only manifestation of public
satisfaction. The millions of people scrabbling for a meal a day in this country do
not go to rallies either, and yet I would hesitate to call them satisfied.

On Saturday, an article in Young Blood condemned all those who
trooped to indignation rallies as essentially "blind and selfish clowns," who
were either "misguided idealists" or "hypocrites to the bone." And while
the writer spoke with righteous rage, he accused those "misguided
idealists" of believing they have a monopoly on righteousness. What I find more
astounding than his hasty generalizations on the motivations of all who protest
the current corruption is his argument that all this rage against Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo is a waste of time, money and energy; as if the
billions in public funds lost to corruption is not a waste, as if corruption has
not deprived people of the housing and education the writer believes they
deserve. I respect his choice to stay away, but perhaps it would be
best for him to understand why others choose to go.

Many have said that all the confetti, all the rallies, all the
thousands of people who have crowded in Ayala last Friday can do little more than
derail traffic. Perhaps they are right. But I will join the next rally
anyway, because I believe that it is wrong, appallingly, incredibly,
brutally wrong, to allow those in power to believe they have the right to mortgage
my future because they are wily enough to claw their way to power. To be
silent is to tell every future Filipino leader that there is no limit to power.

Everyone is dirty in government, a pro-Arroyo rallyist told me. And
perhaps that is true, but it is no reason to condone corruption and rank
dishonesty when we see it, especially when it implicates the country's chief

And this is where I'll tell you where I stand. I do not wish to oust
Arroyo, although I support calls for her resignation or due process by
impeachment. I wish I could say that I believe in the rule of law and end there.
But I live in the Philippines where the rule of law is applied
selectively, in very strange ways. How do we impeach, if Congress refuses to allow
it? How do we prosecute, if the Ombudsman sits on the case? And so it's the
streets for me, because I see no other way to say no.

Once upon a time, the voice of a white-haired dragon thundered over
radios and television sets, raging that a nation cannot be run by a thief.
It was a voice that galvanized a watching country into the streets, and
reminded people of what they deserved. Now the dragon is a senator, and Joker
Arroyo sits behind a microphone and helps along the current cadre of
thieves. I believe the administration has lost all mandate, I believe the
President must be held accountable, and I will go out and rally to add one
pair of feet to the thousands who want the truth.

I'll tell you about a friend of mine. His flip-flops and jeans have
been traded in for slacks and button-downs, there is a ring on his finger
and a giggling, laughing one-year-old boy perched at the crook of his arm.
He pays his taxes, he calculates his family's weekly spending; he has worked
nights in call centers before clawing his way up the corporate ladder. He
believes, very firmly, in the rule of law, and the birth of his son made him
even more determined to create as stable an environment as possible. And yet,
he says, while a small hand curled around his sleeve, that he is slowly
believing that the way out is the way of the street. He cannot stomach knowing
that the taxes the government bleeds from his paycheck, money that can be
spent on bringing up his small boy, is being tossed into the pockets of the

Yeats once wrote of what he thought was the inevitable end of
humanity, when "the best lack all conviction, and the worst are full of passionate

I am not very certain where all this is going. All I know is that so
much has gone wrong, and has gone on long enough.

Call to action!

The broad social movement born in Naga City due to the NBN-ZTE
controversy and Lozada testimony has sustained mobilizations! Its
membership now include people from the academe, business, religious,
government, and civil society organizations.

Among the activities it had initiated are the following: (1)
motorcade/noise barrage last Feb. 25; (2)candle-lighting/noise
barrage last Feb. 29 which turned out to be among the biggest civil society-initiated political mobilization ever done in the city; (3)motorcade/noise
barrage last March 7; (4)tshirt printing; (5)signature campaign; (6)
campus fora.

There are plans to do a bigger mobilization on Friday, 14 March.
Arrangements are also being made to bring to Naga City the NBN-ZTE
witness Jun Lozada.

For those intested to take part in these initiatives, you may either
post your mesage here or send email to me.

Stop corruption! Uphold the truth! Strengthen democratic institutions!
Think, Reflect, Pray, Decide, Act Now!