30 July 2012

List of Anti-RH Representatives

Here is an initial list of legislators who are against the Reproductive Health Bill (House Bill No. 4244), which I will update regularly. Along with their names are links to articles and statements found online where their opposition to this legislative measure was declared by them in their personal capacities, by members of the Catholic Church leadership, or by journalists.

Note that this is not a complete list. If you notice a decrease in number of Representatives here, it may be because of varying factors such as a change in their position or misleading information from not-so-reliable declarations of the Church.

Ang personal kong panawagan ay huwag sanang basta-bastang awayin ang mga Kinatawan na hindi natin kapanig sa laban para sa RH. May ilan pa rin sa kanila na maaaring magbago ang pananaw at paninindigan. Let's all do our best to ensure that this list grows shorter. 

14 July 2012

Nasaan ka sa araw ng SONA?

The 2008 UP Centennial Planner

The UP Centennial Planner project started originally as a student folio, which was part of my plans in the University Student Council Committee on Culture and the Arts (USC CCA). Later on in the year, during our planning at Councilor Aisa King's house, it was Econ Rep. Marian Panganiban who suggested that we do a planner instead. At least this would ensure that more people will want to have it since it's useful and it's a piece of UP Centennial memorabilia. We all agreed and then soon after, a thought popped in my head. "Wait, it's already October. How on earth can we finish everything in time for printing?"

Three months before 2008, we formed the UP Centennial Committee in the USC with Councilor Third Bagro and CS Rep. Dindin Grey as co-heads. Together with my committee, the USC CCA, we initiated the UP Centennial Planner project, our gift to the University-- to its students, staff, and alumni.

We soon found out that this wasn't a simple walk in the park since the planner involved a lot of research on UP icons and history because we wanted it to go beyond what it actually is. And this entailed having a team of writers, artists, photographers, and editors.

As CSSP Rep. Mae Palgan and Ayrie Ching were pooling the research and writing output, former BUKLOD CSSP President Tonton Mina was touring the campus with a camera and a team of photographers. I was doing studies of page designs and coming up with publicity teasers that we launched over the web. 

Eventually, Jeff Agustin and I found ourselves spending long hours in a coffee shop doing layout and graphics work. It came to a point where I just broke down because of sheer exhaustion at the Starbucks comfort room, while sliding my back down the wall saying, "Ayoko naaah!

Amidst the hell, this was actually quite a wonderful bonding experience for ALYANSA sa USC 2007-2008. We literally spent midnights and mornings together. Even if making the planner was extremely tiring, it served as detox from USC politics. And this further proved that even if we were a minority, we can still do high-impact projects, which, by the way, raised half a million for the benefit of the UP students.

Aside from the entire planner team (CCA plus a lot of volunteers), our ka-ALYANSAs were also there to the rescue. We slept over at the CSSP Student Council office with Atoy Navarro, Pats Alcantara, Miguel Ortiz, and Jeff Agustin, who all helped out in the content. Sir Atoy, being a history professor and a writer, meticulously checked the accuracy and form of write-ups. Pats, with his literary flair, supplied the poetic text in the month dividers, while Jeff and Miguel greatly contributed in the aesthetics department. Jeff A. did the beautiful cover and the interstitials between months. Missy Gonzales and Carlo Marcaida lent us their laptops overnight so we could finish faster. Tina Langit, College of Medicine Representative in UP Manila at that time, made sure that her campus was well-represented in the 100 UP icons by helping in research.

After my countless cigarette breaks during production, Marian delivered the soft copy to the printer. I thought that after all the sleepless nights, we can rest already.

But nooo... Production was one thing. The actual distribution was another. Everyday, we had to handle chaotic queues in the USC office. We never expected that the Centennial Planner would be a hit! We were there even on weekends to accept orders from students and alumni.

NCPAG Rep. Ryan Ferrer was unfortunate to be alone one day when some bastards outside the office were shouting, "Huwag na kayo bumili niyan. Pangit ang Centennial Planner. Magpapagawa kami ng <insert organization name here> planner!" Assholes. 

Little did we know that more than a hundred planners would be stolen later on. I can still remember the day when Vice Chairperson Viktor Fontanilla, Councilor Jo Latuja, and I padlocked the planners inside one of the cabinets in the office. The day after, during the 2008 USC election results night, Viktor and I found that a lot of the planners were gone. A week after that, a good number was found by Kuya Sam, the security guard, inside this rathole beside our office occupied by a particular organization (not recognized by the Office for Student Activities). 

I reported this to the very efficient UPD Police (sarcasm intended). As I was at Vinzons Hall with a police officer one day, he was asking what the planner looked like. I quickly pointed to the one held by this bitchy girl who was one of those hurling insults behind the safety of the USC office wall while we were taking planner orders. Alam na. However, we didn't pursue the case anymore because of a supposed lack of actual names of people to blame for this crime (either theft or fencing).

But all's well that ends well. As I mentioned, we raised more than half a million pesos with this project. The USC 2007-2008 turned over money to four dormitories so they could purchase equipment and repair existing facilities. Part of the planner money was also loaned to the UP Fair Committee funds (na hindi na ata binayaran eventually). The USC after us led by Third bought LCDs for student use to be given to the OSA. I'm not sure if they were well taken care of during the USC terms after.

Writing about this five years after brings so much nostalgia. I'm proud to be part of a team that gave UP the Centennial Planner as a birthday gift. A copy of the planner was sent to the UP Main Library by Third so it can be immortalized in its archives. 

Sa mga bumili at pumila nang matagal noon para sa UP Centennial Planner, maraming salamat!


Salamat din sa mga nag-post online tungkol sa Planner. Here are some of what they had say about it:

"Of course, even in the digital age, nothing beats a printed planner – whether you plan to use it or not. After all, it’s the University’s centennial celebration. Guess this one would surely be better than a Starbucks planner. (Hehehe) I am quite sure I am no longer alive come another century so it’s better to have this while available." - from http://superpatrick.wordpress.com/2008/01/03/the-up-centennial-planner/

"Last Saturday, I finally got my UP Centennial Planner... and I'm loving it!... The planner reminds me of my fond memories in UP. The ID. The Blue book. The places inside Diliman campus. I can't help but feel nostalgic... and proud at the same time... The first spread of the planner surely reminds every Iskolar ng Bayan of his college UP days... Actually every page of it! It's definitely worth a lot more than PhP500!" - from http://superflorian.blogspot.com/2008/02/up-centennial-planner.html

"It started with the planner, really. The U.P. Centennial Planner that I simply had to have, never mind if I already have two 2008 planners. They’ll just have to be converted into notebooks, or journals, or whatever, because the U.P. Centennial Planner is going to be THE planner of my year." - from http://wolverina.wordpress.com/2008/01/08/up-centennial-kick-off/

09 July 2012

The True State of the Nation (2008)

Written last 24 July 2008 after the State of the Nation Address 
of then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The true state of the nation is not in the perceived improvement of the exchange rate and the gross national product. It’s in how much food is on the table for a family of eight in a depressed urban poor area.

The true state of the nation is not in the imaginary number of classrooms built and textbooks distributed. It’s in the dampened aspirations of a child who cannot enroll in school because her parents could not afford the tuition.

The true state of the nation is not in the roads built all over the country. It’s in the nearly empty tank of expensive gasoline in a public jeepney whose driver still has a whole day ahead just to earn enough for his boundary.

The true state of the nation is not in the misleading figures of the supposed heightened employment rate. It’s in beads of sweat of a young man submitting his resume from office to office, being turned down in each one because he didn’t come from a reputable school nor finish college at all. It’s also in the mother who had to leave her children to take care of someone else’s in a foreign land. And it’s in the doctor who opted to move to another country to be a nurse.

The true state of the nation is not in the number of criminals apprehended and placed in jail. It’s in the man who had to go to prison because he couldn’t afford the services of a good lawyer.

The true state of the nation is not in the insincere promise to return land to the landless. It’s in the swollen feet of a band of farmers who marched for thousands of miles just to get their point across without fear of not being heard by a deaf government that doesn’t know the meaning of social justice.

The true state of the nation is not in the token liberties the State provides the people. It’s in the rising death toll of journalists, farmers, laborers, and activists who choose to exercise such liberties.

The true state of the nation is not in a woman who basks in the glory of her strength and power. It’s in the woman who was beaten up by her husband ten minutes ago and couldn’t fight back. And it’s in the woman who is being deprived of her rights by an oppressive Church. It’s also in the woman who has to worry, not about the state of the nation, but about how to find the money to at least buy a pack of instant noodles for her six starving children.

The true state of the nation is not in the hundreds of legislators applauding after every sentence in the President’s speech. It’s in the millions of jobless, impoverished, uneducated, and hungry Filipinos trying to survive in a system dominated by moral bankruptcy.

This Monday, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will once again deliver her State of the Nation Address. Many will be glued to their television screens to hear what she has to say. As for me, I’ve had enough. Unlike those who choose to watch in the comfort of their own homes, I’d rather be with other students, laborers, and farmers in the streets to learn first-hand from them what the true state of the nation really is.

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