Some call it a circus

Rebecca Ratcliffe the Guardian

A dictator’s son, an actor-turned-mayor, and a champion boxer: an eclectic mix of personalities declared this month that they would compete to become the Philippine’s next president.

More than 60 million Filipinos will go to the polls to decide who should replace the populist leader Rodrigo Duterte, who is nearing the end of his six-year term limit.

“Some call it a circus, I actually call it a fiesta,” says Tony La Viña, Dean of the Ateneo School of Government. “It’s going to be very interesting, with lots of twists and turns.”

Relatives of victims in Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ comfort each other at a church in Quezon city in 2019

‘We have to show courage’: the Philippines mothers taking Duterte and his ‘war on drugs’ to court

The election in May 2022 comes at a crucial time for the Philippines, which has faced one of the worst Covid outbreaks in south-east Asia and has distributed enough vaccine doses to fully protect just under a quarter of the population. The pandemic, and long, punishing lockdown restrictions, have battered the economy.

For Duterte, too, the stakes are especially high. Last month, the international criminal court (ICC) announced that it was investigating his so-called “war on drugs”, in which as many as 30,000 people are estimated to have been killed. A sympathetic successor could adopt his stance of not cooperating with the court.

According to polling by Pulse Asia, his daughter Sara Duterte is currently the frontrunner for the top job. Yet she has denied that she will join the race, and has missed the deadline to file a candidacy – unless she chooses to become a last-minute substitute, as her father did in 2016.

It is expected to be a tight race. Almost neck-and-neck for second place, according to the early polling, is former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, namesake and son of the late dictator, Isko Moreno, a former actor and current Manila mayor, and the senator and boxing champion Manny Pacquiao. Behind them, is vice-president Leni Robredo, an outspoken critic of Duterte, and Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former police chief.

“It’s anybody’s game,” says Carmel V Abao, assistant professor in the department of political science at Ateneo de Manila University. The vote, she added, is likely to be referendum on the kind of governance the public wants after almost six years of Duterte in power.

Read more

Decimo

Ma dimmi perché sei diventato oggetto di estrema rimozione?

Ero un guastafeste, un importuno, uno straniero.

Chi diceva queste cose?

I chiacchieroni del latifondismo politico, quello protetto dallo stato.

Ma lo stato doveva proteggere anche te.

E invece ha permesso che fossi escluso

Escluso in che senso?

Beh, basta creare una verità comoda solo a sé stessi per tenere lontana quella scomoda.

Cioè hanno eliminato il diverso in nome di una verità esclusivamente loro?

Esatto. Poi un importuno o lo si assorbe o lo si isola o lo si elimina

Conquistar y pacificar, dicevano i conquistatori spagnoli

Noi abbiamo fatto altrettanto.

Come?

Con la pretesa di identificare gli altri con ciò che sappiamo di loro

…. e in questa maniera abbiamo pensato di pensare meglio di loro.

A chi riferisci con “loro”

Beh! Loro sono quelli nati in una terra ancestrale poi persa.

E tu che hai detto a loro?

Di non lasciarsi assorbile, assimilare, pacificare, imbrogliare.

E loro?

Hanno lottato senza diventare vittime o delinquenti.

Spiegati!

Non hanno insistito per non provocare reazioni spropositate e vendette infinite.

Insomma, sopportare i colpi e portare la croce a testa alta.

Mi tengo le pallottole che mi hanno sparato. Le conto. Tutto qui.

Capro espiatorio.

Tu lo dici.

A me sembri il negativo di un martire.

Inevitabile. Del resto, mi sono caricato sulle spalle colpe

…. delle quali nessuno si è sentito responsabile.

Matapang na mamamahayag si Maria Ressa

Rappler editorial

‘Matapang na mamamahayag sina Maria Ressa at Dmitry Muratov na nagpamalas kung ano ang kahulugan ng pagiging journalist sa panahon ng panggigipit’

Ginawaran ng Nobel Peace Prize ang Pilipinong mamamahayag at CEO ng Rappler na si Maria Ressa nitong Oktubre 8, 2021. Kasama niya si Dmitry Muratov ng Novaya Gazeta, isang pahayagan sa Russia.

Tinanggap ni Ressa ang karangalan para sa Rappler at sa lahat ng mamamahayag sa buong mundo.

Pero may dalawang matingkad na katanungan: Una, bakit iginawad sa mga journalist ang karangalan ng Peace Prize? At pangalawa, bakit ito ibinigay sa Rappler?

Aminado mismo ang chairwoman ng Nobel committee na si Berit Reiss-Andersen na “ang Nobel ay hindi isang premyo para sa journalism o para sa mga journalist.” Ibig sabihin, hindi ito premyong nagtataguyod ng excellence in journalism – ito’y premyong nagtataguyod ng kapayapaan.

Kapayapaan. Ayun, lumitaw na ang salitang palasak na ginagamit ng mga beauty queen at mga pinuno ng mga bansa.

Paliwanag ni Reiss-Andersen, ang freedom of expression o ang kalayaang magpahayag ay pundamental sa pagtataguyod ng kapayapaan. Bakit?

Kailangan ng mga tao ng katotohanan upang maintindihan ang lipunang ginagalawan natin. Freedom of expression ang nagtitiyak ng “value and quality” ng katotohanang nasasagap natin. Mahalaga ang katotohanan upang makapagdesisyon nang tama ang mga tao: paano labanan ang pandemya o kung iboboto ang makapangyarihang taong may itinatago pala sa publiko.

Mahalaga rin daw makapagpahayag ang mga tao ng saloobin nang hindi natatakot na babalikan sila ng mga nasa poder.

Pagbibigay diin ni Reiss-Andersen, kailangan natin ng lipunan kung saan katanggap-tanggap ang hindi pagkakasundo o disageeement. Kailangan natin ng lipunan na kung saan ang dissent ay hindi pinaparushan.

Anong ngayon ang kaugnayan ng peace at freedom of expression?

Sabi ng Nobel, ang ginagawa ni Maria Ressa/Rappler at ni Dmitry Muratov ng Russia ay hindi lamang pagpo-produce ng mga programang pang-midya – ito raw ay “building societies” o paglalatag ng pundasyon ng mga demokratikong lipunan.

Sabi ng komite ng Nobel, krusyal ang demokrasya sa kapayapaan. Ito raw ang “thesis of the democratic peace” – na demokrasya ang “best defense” o pinakamainam na panlaban sa armadong tunggalian o armed conflict.

Kaya’t sa kontekstong ito, susi ang mga journalist sa kapayapaan.

At ayon sa Nobel, kinakatawan ng Rappler ang “gold standard” ng journalism.

Pinalawig din ng mga taga-Nobel ang krusyal na papel ng mga journalist sa panahon ng pagbaha ng impormasyong salat sa kalidad at madalas ay layong manlinlang.

Ayon kay Maria Ressa, iniilawan ng Nobel awards ang pagsusumikap ng mga mamamahayag laban sa disinformation or mapanlinlang na balita sa buong mundo.

Sabi pa ni Ressa, kalaban ng mga journalist sa buong mundo ang “commoditization of the truth.”

Ano itong pagkakalakal ng katotohanan? Ito ang pagkakahon ng mga news organization sa sistema ng page views, na kapag mas konti ang nakakabasa, mas hindi ito ihahain sa iba pang mga mambabasa. Ang tumataas sa ranking sa social media platforms tulad ng Facebook at search engines tulad ng Google ay iyong nagpapaigting ng galit at poot; iyong nagbibigay ng half-truths at lantarang kasinungalingan.

Sabi pa niya, bumaba ang kalidad ng journalism dahil napipilitan ang mga mamamahayag na makipagkompetensiya para sa page views. Napakahirap daw itong gawin kung ang ipinanlalaban ay report na inabot ng mahigit kalahating taong isinaliksik at paulit-ulit na dumaan sa cross check. Dagdag pa niya, hindi sensational kaya’t “boring” ang investigative reports dahil ito’y sobrang higpit sa pagtulay sa katotohanan – hindi tulad ng eksaherado at mapanlinlang na balita.

Katahimikan ng Malacañang

Nagcongratulate na ang presidente ng Estados Unidos na si Joe Biden, dating US president Barack Obama, ang European Union, si Dalai Lama, at maraming pinuno ng iba’t-ibang bansa, pero nakalulungkot na sarili niyang gobyerno ay tila walang pakialam sa pagpanalo ni Ressa. Siya ang unang Pilipino, unang Asian, at unang mamamahayag mula 1935 na ginawaran ng Nobel Peace Award.

The will to fight back

By Randy David

That was a powerful speech Leni Robredo gave the other day. It was short, simple, and filled with formidable images that depict the situation our people find themselves in today. It gave the electorate a clear idea of why she’s running for president and why the nation desperately needs someone like her at this time.

Her key message was direct: It’s time to leave an abusive relationship. It’s time to fight back. “Whoever loves must do battle for the beloved.”

As a woman lawyer, she said, “I remember the multiple cases of domestic abuse that I handled when I was a practicing lawyer and how my clients endured all the pain and abuse inflicted by their partners. When you ask them why they chose to suffer, the answer was constant: Their children.

“And I remember when, finally, they chose to be free—when they found the courage to pack up, bring their children, and take the first steps out the door. It is because they have realized that if they cannot find within themselves the resolve to leave, their children will only inherit their sufferings. Today, I stand with full resolve: We must free ourselves from the current situation. I will fight. We will fight.”

The metaphor she employs references the complex situation of countless victims of domestic violence. Without saying so explicitly, she likens the Filipino public’s forbearance with Mr. Duterte’s incompetent and violent presidency to the deep ambivalence that women experience when the men they chose to love and raise a family with turned out to be dissolute tyrants. They continue to love their abusers, offer excuses for their repugnant behavior, and hang on to every little sign that they are at heart good persons.

Over lunch a couple of weeks ago, my brother Bishop Ambo asked me the same question that has baffled many: How do you explain the seemingly undying loyalty to President Duterte of the millions of voters who chose him in 2016 in the hope of a better life—despite the glaring failure on many fronts of his administration in the last five years? Not to mention the nonstop torrent of verbal abuse that emanates from his mouth, and the daily violence that police forces under his direction have inflicted upon the very poor who form his electoral base.

In short, how can they continue to love someone who not only has betrayed their trust but also subjects them to unceasing intimidation and brutality?

Have you heard of the phenomenon called the “battered woman syndrome?” I asked my brother by way of a reply. It’s a psychological concept that has been recognized in judicial proceedings as a valid ground for self-defense. As a theory, the BWS goes far into explaining why women who are in an abusive relationship find it hard to leave that relationship in spite of the repeated instances of emotional, verbal, and physical violence to which they are subjected.

According to the theory, abused women typically go through repeated cycles of violence that begin with threats, bullying, and intimidation, then ripen into an acute phase of physical harm, and culminate in loving contrition and appeasement. A period of calm temporarily restores the assurances that bind the abused to the abuser. Until a new cycle starts again.

The psychological effects on the victim are complex. In an effort to understand her partner’s abusive behavior, she may actually begin to think it is all her fault, and so she learns to adjust to his moods and verbal cues. She learns to bear the actual beatings by imagining her share of the blame for these incidents. She draws renewed hope every time from the sweet moments of forgiveness and reconciliation that usually come after every episode of violence. Before long, she is trapped in a life of abuse with no insight into the “learned helplessness” into which she has fallen.

When at last she realizes that she or her children could actually die in the abuser’s next outburst of brutality, she does something she never thought she was capable of doing—she kills her oppressor. In the landmark case People v. Marivic Genosa (GR No. 135981, Jan. 15, 2004), the Supreme Court recognized, for the first time, the existence of the “battered woman syndrome” as a legitimate reason to claim self-defense in a case of parricide. Though the high court, in a majority decision, fell short of actually exonerating the defendant Genosa, it nevertheless opened the door for her immediate release since she had served the minimum period of her original sentence.

The Court thanked Genosa’s counsel, lawyer Katrina Legarda, for bringing the theory of the BWS to its attention. On March 8, 2004, a day globally celebrated as International Women’s Day, this concept formally became part of Republic Act No. 9262: The Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004. Section 26 of this pathbreaking law provides: “Victim-survivors who are found by the courts to be suffering from battered woman syndrome do not incur any criminal and civil liability notwithstanding the absence of any of the elements for justifying circumstances of self-defense under the Revised Penal Code.”

As a woman, as a mother, and as a lawyer, Leni has shown her thoughtful understanding of the predicament of battered women; she doesn’t judge or blame the victims for the poor choices they have made. But she urges them to pack up, take the children, and leave—for the young ones’ sake and their own—before anything more horrific happens.

Nobel for Peace

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021 to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace. Ms Ressa and Mr Muratov are receiving the Peace Prize for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia. At the same time, they are representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions.

Maria Ressa uses freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country, the Philippines. In 2012, she co-founded Rappler, a digital media company for investigative journalism, which she still heads. As a journalist and the Rappler’s CEO, Ressa has shown herself to be a fearless defender of freedom of expression. Rappler has focused critical attention on the Duterte regime’s controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign. The number of deaths is so high that the campaign resembles a war waged against the country’s own population. Ms Ressa and Rappler have also documented how social media is being used to spread fake news, harass opponents and manipulate public discourse.

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Libertà dei media nelle Filippine

Il giugno dello scorso anno, un tribunale di Manila aveva condannato per “diffamazione informatica” Maria Ressa per la gestione del suo sito web di notizie “Rappler”. La condanna riguardava l’applicazione retroattiva della nuova legge del 2017 sulla informazione (House Bill No. 6022) a un articolo che era stato pubblicato anni prima da Ressa.

Il caso, ancora in corso, è uno dei tanti che Ressa e Rappler affrontano come parte della campagna di ritorsione del governo contro le organizzazioni dei media che hanno trasmesso rapporti sugli omicidi perpetrati durante la “guerra alla droga” voluta dalla presidenza Duterte. Dal 2016, dai social media governativi, il presidente e i suoi sostenitori hanno sottoposto Ressa e Rappler a minacce e molestie, inclusi attacchi misogini online. Altri 7 casi sono stati sollevati contro Ressa. In particolare un caso di violazione della Anti-Dummy Law.

Sulla base di una denuncia al National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) presentata al procuratore di Pasig nel 2018, i pubblici ministeri hanno concluso che Rappler ha violato la Anti-Dummy Law per l’emissione di ricevute di deposito filippino (PDR) a un investitore straniero Omidyar Network che ha portato alla revoca della licenza di Rappler con l’accusa di aver violato il divieto della Costituzione sulla proprietà straniera dei media.

Rappler, in realtà è una società di proprietà filippina al 100%. Nelle sue due sentenze sul caso nel luglio 2018 e nel febbraio 2019, la Corte d’Appello (CA) ha affermato che era giusto mettere in discussione la clausola, ma ha anche sottolineato che Rappler avrebbe dovuto avere il tempo di affrontarla. Tuttavia il caso, a tutt’oggi, rimane irrisolto. Interessante sarà capire come reagirà Duterte quando Ressa riceverà il premio in denaro dalla Norvegia (nazione straniera) che presubilmente verrà usato anche per Rappler.

A luglio, il Congresso filippino, in cui Duterte controlla una larga maggioranza, ha votato per non estendere il franchising di ABS-CBN, la più grande rete televisiva del paese. Il voto ha portato alla chiusura di ABS-CBN. ABS-CBN si era guadagnato le ire di Duterte che ha accusato questa rete televisiva di parzialità verso l’operato del governo nel gestire la sicurezza interna.

Sotto la presidenza di Rodrigo Duterte, l’Unione nazionale dei giornalisti delle Filippine ha documentato 223 casi di attacchi e minacce contro la stampa. Di questi, ci sono stati 19 casi documentati di uccisioni, 52 casi di intimidazione, 37 casi di diffamazione e 20 casi di molestie online, tra gli altri. I dati della NUJP hanno anche rivelato che dei 223 casi, 55 casi erano attacchi contro donne giornaliste.

Lawyer Shot Dead

MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Lawyer Juan Macababbad was a public interest lawyer. Two unidentified gunmen shot him in the head seven times.

Public interest lawyer Juan Macababbad was shot dead outside his home in Surallah town, South Cotabato, on Wednesday, September 15, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) confirmed to Rappler.

“Atty. Macababbad was gunned down at around 5:30 in the afternoon earlier just outside of his house by two unidentified individuals. According to initial reports, he sustained seven gunshot wounds to the head,” IBP South Cotabato and General Santos chapter president Remigio Rojas told Rappler in a phone interview Wednesday night.

Macababbad was declared dead on arrival, said Rojas.

Macababbad is a member of the red-tagged National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), and the chairman of the Socsksargen chapter of the  Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM).

The UPLM said in a statement that “Atty. Macababbad has been receiving death threats before his murder.”

“He’s active in peoples’ lawyering, he handled a wide array of cases from civil to criminal,” said Rojas.

“He was a silent, unassuming & amiable guy who had a ready smile behind his rather fatherly bespectacled profile. We are losing the good guys out there while the bad guys are frolicking and plundering all over,” said NUPL president Edre Olalia.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Thursday, September 16, that they will check whether Macababbad’s death can be placed under the justice department’s special committee investigating political killings. There is no special investigation so far into lawyer killings.

“The DOJ will await the report of local police investigators and evaluate whether the killing falls under the jurisdiction of the inter-agency committee on EJKs,” said Guevarra.

Macababbad is the 65th lawyer killed under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. That is according to our own consolidated list, compiled from different groups and government agencies.

The making of a tyrant

By: Randy David –

When Rodrigo Duterte was elected to the presidency in 2016, he thereby assumed the powers inherent in the nation’s highest office. Those powers were not granted to him in his personal capacity. They belong to the state, and therefore to the Filipino people. Their exercise is subject to certain rules of procedure and requires the consent and cooperation of other agencies of the state.

Most of all, these powers were intended by the Constitution to be used to achieve the nation’s collective goals.

It is important to keep this in mind in order to see the alarming extent to which the powers and prerogatives of the presidency have become the personal tools of the occupant during Mr. Duterte’s term. He has openly used these powers not only to reward his supporters and win over sectors that could potentially challenge his rule, but also to punish, intimidate, and immobilize his perceived enemies.

This he has managed to do with the acquiescence of the other branches of government. With few exceptions (like the Commission on Audit), the latter have failed to stand up to him. The reasons vary. Some have turned a blind eye or complied out of gratitude, others in expectation of future rewards, but many out of fear of reprisal. Some may think this to be not unusual: Previous presidents have been known to resort to the same calculative means to advance their personal agenda. But Mr. Duterte is of a different sort altogether.

What sets him apart is his predisposition to boldly use the presidency as a platform from which to browbeat his critics and enemies, or whoever happens to incur his ire at any given moment. Without any provocation, he insults, curses, disrespects, and threatens anyone he identifies as the enemy, whenever he chooses.

Worse, beyond the verbal threats, he has succeeded in jailing, on fabricated charges, an outspoken senator who once investigated him when he was still Davao City mayor. He has caused the removal of a sitting chief justice of the Supreme Court who had refused to bend to his will. He has managed to shut down the country’s largest media organization for airing political advertisements that were critical of him during the electoral campaign.

The owners of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which had been critical of Mr. Duterte’s violent drug war from day one, were forced to give up a lease on a government property they had developed, in addition to being subjected to tax investigations. The two water concessionaires that provide water service to Metro Manila were threatened with cancellation of their franchises and with unspecified charges of economic sabotage; they had backed the wrong candidate in the last election.

The pattern in all of these acts of persecution has been uniform. Dossiers on the vulnerabilities of the chosen targets are quietly collected by government agencies. The President then identifies and publicly attacks them as bad elements who have misled and taken advantage of the people’s trust. Trolls take up the President’s cause and, on cue, the concerned branches of government carry out the execution as though they were just responding to the requirements of the law.

What begins as an act of brute force — with the President publicly pouncing on his enemies — metamorphoses into a normal application of institutional power. This intricate relationship between force and power is graphically captured by the author Elias Canetti in his brilliant discussion of the elements of power. Force, according to him, hides behind power for as long as it can. When the critical moment comes, it goes back to being pure force.

He writes: “The cat uses force to catch the mouse, to seize it, hold it in its claws and ultimately kill it. But while it is playing with it, another factor is present. It lets it go, allows it to run about a little and even turn its back; and during this time, the mouse is no longer subjected to force. But it is still within the power of the cat, and can be caught again…”

This and the following passage remind me of the way Mr. Duterte reverts to his favorite targets (for example, the “oligarchs”) just when everybody thinks he is done with them. “The space which the cat dominates, the moments of hope it allows the mouse, while continuing to watch it closely all the time and never relaxing its interest and intention to destroy all this together, space, hope, watchfulness and destructive intent, can be called the actual body of power, or more simply power itself.”

Over the last five years, Mr. Duterte has never hesitated to bare the naked force behind the veneer of presidential power. He has shown no qualms in deploying the official mechanisms of the state to avenge a deeply personal grudge, or to repay a private debt. He finds absolutely nothing wrong in this, for he himself acknowledges that that’s exactly what he’s doing. Many of his admirers applaud this candor as yet another manifestation of his authenticity.

The effect of this is that one can lose one’s respect for the government itself a respect that proceeds from the belief that ours is a government of laws and not of men, a government maintained not by force but by the consent of the governed.

When a despot is able to make a mockery of the government by brazenly converting it into a personal tool, the blame however cannot be placed solely at the door of those who elected him. The responsibility equally rests on those in government who failed to use their share of state power to stop the rise of a tyrant

Bisaya words in use when Magellan was in Cebu

By Max Limpag MYCEBU.PH: RE/DISCOVER CEBU Glossary

I’ve long been curious about the word marica, which I first heard when I relocated to Cebu more than 20 years ago. I never heard it growing up in Polomolok, South Cotabato where we talked a patois that was a mix of Cebuano and Ilonggo.

For us, it was “dali” or “adto diri” or “ari di.” For years I spoke an ungrammatical “adto ko dinhi ugma (I’ll be here tomorrow).” The correct phrase is “anhi ko ugma.” To come here is anhi, to go there is adto, I was to learn soon enough.

I can no longer recall when I first heard marica but I’ve always thought it a modernism, a portmanteau of “muari ka” (edit: several people have said the root is the phrase “umari ka“) that evolved into a single-word bidding.

But marica was already spoken in Cebu as early as the time when Ferdinand Magellan and his Armada de Molucca were in the region. It was among the words listed by Antonio Pigafetta in the glossary he compiled and published after the circumnavigation.

Marica means come hither, according to a translation of Pigafetta’s work.

The glossary, titled “Some Words of the Aforesaid Heathen Peoples,” contains such familiar words as baba (mouth), dughan (breast), matta (eyes), tuhud (knee), samput (buttocks), lapalapa (sole of the foot), acin (salt), maiu (good), zzucha (vinegar), and assu (smoke).

For fire, he listed claio. In the city, we pronounce it as ka-yu, losing the l. People in some parts of the Cebu, however, speak the word as Pigafetta recorded it, kalayo. In fact, that was how I said fire growing up – kalayo.

Here is Pigafetta’s glossary as printed in Magellan’s Voyage: A Narrative Account of the First Circumnavigation.

5.3 million enrollees for SY 2021-2022

By: Daniza Fernandez – @inquirerdotnetINQUIRER.net

Learners enrolled for school year 2021-2022 has reached 5.3 million, the Department of Education (DepEd) reported on Thursday.

Based on its enrollment figures, a total of 5,356,643 students have enrolled as of Thursday, 2 a.m., of which, some 4,557,327 registered early as of June 2, 7 a.m.

Meanwhile, 734,306 students enrolled in public schools while 63,102 learners enrolled in private institutions.

Students enrolled in state universities and colleges or local universities and colleges stood at 1,908.

Calabarzon is the region with the most enrollees at 710,526. It is followed by Central Luzon at 450,202; Western Visayas at 436,301; and Metro Manila at 428,943.

According to Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan, there is a “considerable” delay in reporting data.

“I also caution against making some conclusions at this stage; it is still too early. There is a considerable lag in reporting; for example, some schools collate first the enrollment forms, particularly those through drop-box, before reporting,” Malaluan said.

School year 2021-2022 will open on September 13 as approved by President Rodrigo Duterte, with blended learning as modality, considering the persisting threat of COVID-19.

Una difficile riforma agraria

Il sottosegretario per la riforma agraria Elmer Distor ha recentemente affermato che i grandi latifondisti non detengono più il potere su vasti tratti di terreni agricoli filippini.

In realtà In una dichiarazione del 22 luglio 2021, il KMP, sindacato dei contadini filippini, ha pubblicato sulla base di dati raccolti dal 2017 al 2021, un elenco di proprietà terriere tuttora controllate da ricchi privati. Tra questi, per esempio, ci sono DMCI (D.M. Consunji Inc.), che possiede un terreno di 102.954 ettari a Sultan Kudarat, e la famiglia Yulo che ha una tenuta combinata di 47.100 ettari per lo Yulo King Ranch a Palawan e a Laguna l’Hacienda Yulo.

Distor, tuttavia, ha affermato che queste proprietà terriere sono già coperte da Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA), un certificato rilasciato a un beneficiario che ha ricevuto un appezzamento di terreno dal Programma di riforma agraria globale del governo.

Tuttavia, c’è poi chi dice che bisogna controllare se effettivamente i beneficiari della Riforma Agraria sono rimasti in controllo delle terre a loro assegnate. Sembra, infatti, troppo facile definire un successo le distribuzioni CLOA quando invece molte terre assegnate non sono più nelle mani dei contadini.

Un caso immemorabile è l’Hacienda Luisita, dove un ri-conteggio del Dipartimento dell’Agricoltura del 2017 ha rivelato che l’83% dei beneficiari della riforma agraria non era più in possesso dei terreni a loro assegnati. Del resto l’80% non è stato in grado di pagare per intero il beneficio, mentre molti altri sono a rischio di squalifica. Allo stesso modo, uno studio datato del Dipartimento della Agricoltura (DAR) del 2000 ha affermato che circa il 70% delle terre assegnate tramite i trasferimenti ‘volontari’ di terreni occupati illegalmente da grandi latifondisti sono ritornate nelle mani di persone e congiunti legati allo stesso latifondista.

Inoltre, l’attuare riforma agraria copre solo un totale di 5,43 milioni di ettari cioè solo il 44%, nemmeno la metà, dei 12,4 milioni di ettari totali di terre coltivate a livello nazionale, che rimangono in mano al Governo e a grandi latifondisti.

Appeal to help ahead of lockdown

CBCP NEWS

A Catholic diocese has launched a campaign of helping local food banks ahead of a two-week hard lockdown in Metro Manila.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan said the “Feed the Hungry” campaign is aimed at feeding the poor and homeless people.

Scarcity of food, according to him, is the one of the biggest problems faced by the poor during this pandemic.

He said that lockdowns for the poor “can mean hunger, especially those who are daily wage earners, those who live a hand-to-mouth existence”.

Donations, he said, will be used to support food banks in the diocese’s 15 mission stations located in areas heavily congested and populated by the poorest of the poor in the cities of Caloocan, Navotas and Malabon.

“We invite you to join us in our fight against hunger and malnutrition. Please support our community pantries,” David said.

Metro Manila will return to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)— the strictest form of lockdown— from August 6 to 20 to contain the spread of Covid-19 cases due to the contagious Delta variant.