Ang kabilang mukha ng Eraserheads reunion concert

Kabilang ako sa napakaraming mga kabataan na lumaki at namulat noong dekada 90. Panahon iyon ng muling pag-arangkada ng Pinoy Rock na may ilang taon ding natulog. Panahon din iyon kung saan halos lahat ng kalye, eskinita at eskwelahan sa Metro Manila ay may mga kabataang kasama sa banda o kaya naman ay nagbabalak na magtayo ng banda. Sa resurgence ng Pinoy Rock noong early 90’s, hindi matatawaran ang malaking kinalaman ng grupong Eraserheads nina Ely Buendia, Raimund Marasigan, Buddy Zabala at Marcus Adoro.

Bago kasi sila sumikat, tila bahagyang nahirapan ang mga naunang banda sa kanila na mahuli ang kiliti ng publiko. Kaya naman, nang mag-umpisang marinig ang mga kantang “Pare ko,” “Ligaya,” “Toyang,” at “Tindahan ni Aling Nena” ng Eraserheads noong 1992 sa kanilang unang album na Ultraelectromagneticpop!, agad tinangkilik ng buong bansa ang dating para sa marami’y “puro ingay lang” na mga banda – nag-umpisa ang Eraserheads Mania. Tuloy, pati ako nagpabili sa Nanay ko ng drumset at paris ng sapatos na Converse Chuck Taylor, pinraktis ang kanilang mga kanta at nagtayo ng sariling banda.

Nakita kong live sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon ang Eraserheads noong Mayo uno ng 2003 1993 sa Amoranto Stadium. Hindi ko makakalimutan ang pa-morningang konsyerto na iyon na alay sa mga manggagawang Pinoy, kasi naman pumutok ang labi ko dahil sa tama ng lumilipad na takip ng maliit na drum. Pero kahit duguan ang bibig pati damit (naging pula nga ang puti kong suot), nag-enjoy pa rin ako sa dami ng mga bandang maghapon at magdamag ay nagpalitan sa entablado.

Kalaunan, grumadweyt din ako sa impluwensiya ng Eraserheads at Beatles at nag-umpisang makinig na sa iba pang mga tugtugan. Hindi na kami nambubulahaw sa mga kapit-bahay namin noon ng paulit-ulit na tugtog ng Toyang at Pare Ko (mas maingay na) at nag-umpisa na kaming sumali sa lahat ng Battle of the Bands na mabalitaan. Pagkatapos din ng ilang taon at sunod-sunod na hit albums, nag-disband ang Eraserheads na tinagurian na ring Beatles ng Pilipinas at nagkani-kaniya nang buhay ang mga miyembro. Marami ang nagulat sa kanilang biglaang pagkakawatak-watak, madami rin ang istorya at haka-haka ukol sa dahilan nito.

Pero kahit ganoon, malaki pa rin ang pasalamat ko sa Eraserheads dahil sa himig nila ako nagsimulang ma-hook sa musika at pagbabanda. Hanggang ngayon nga, kahit puro agiw na yung drumset ko sa bahay, tumutugtog pa rin ako paminsan-minsan. Kaya’t nung mabalitaan ko kalian lang na may pinaplanong reunion concert ang E-heads, na-excite ako at agad inalam kung talagang totoo nga ba ito.

E = 83008

Pag-search ko sa Google, nawindang ako sa dami ng blog posts ukol sa tsismis ng reunion concert. Mga blind item pa ang gimik! May mga ibinigay na clues panaka-naka; gaya ng litrato ng chuck taylor, blurred na picture ng banda at mga miyembro at isang imahe ng titik E na may numerong 83008.

Narito ang ilan sa mga naglipanang blog posts:

The reuniting band members have already signed the contract and this may-jah event will happen sometime around the last quarter of this year. The venue might probably be at the Pasay Area. Somewhere near that humongous Mall. They are expecting an audience of 35,000.”

“Decoding:83008” can be a date right? And “E‘ could mean Eraserheads. So does it mean that their reunion concert will be on August 30, 2008? Will the venue be at SM MOA Complex/Grounds/Open Field or, could it also be at the CCP? Am I asking a question? Or, am I stating a fact here? =D Well, it’s the perfect time for them to reunite and for sure, a lot of their fans will be happy if this will be true.

Ang sabi pa sa mga tsismis sa blogosphere, isang malaking kumpaniya ng sigarilyo ang nakatakdang mag-sponsor ng 45 minute concert, at P10 milyon daw ang bayad sa kada isang E-head.

Hanggang sa noong July 13, 2008, kinumpirma na ni Ricky Lo sa kaniyang artikulo sa Philippine Star ang bali-balitang konsert. “Yes, it’s confirmed: The Eraserheads are reuniting after many years of being apart, not for good but only for one show slated for Aug. 30 at the CCP Open Grounds.”

“According to the STAR source, all the original members (photo) are performing — Ely Buendia, Buddy Zabala, Marcus Adoro and Raimund Marasigan. This piece of good news should make the Eraserheads fans very happy,” sabi ni Ricky Lo.

At totoo namang di mapakali sa saya ang sandamukal na mga alagad ng E-heads, lalo na nang ‘opisyal’ na ianunsyo na sa Eraserheads mailing list and mensaheng ito:

“Yes it’s true. It’s been in the works for several months na. Marlboro is sponsoring this concert and paid each of the members a staggering P10M each to do a full 45-minute set. This is the official announcement:

”No more blind items my dear friends. Yes. We are confirming it. There is no point denying: August 30, 2008 will be LEGENDARY!!!

The country’s most influential band ever will be reunited for ONE NIGHT ONLY.

This once in a lifetime experience will be staged at the CCP opengrounds. Tickets are free and you can download it early August. Website to be announced. ONE BRAND. ONE BAND. ONE NIGHT ONLY…”

Shrewd, manipulative marketing

Pero kung sadyang napakarami ang naglundagan sa tuwa sa balitang muling pagsasama ng iniidolong Eraserheads, may ilan din naman ang di naiwasang punahin ang maitim na adyenda sa likod ng reunion concert.

“Assuming that all that has been written about this supposed concert is true … I think the Eraserheads are doing a great disservice not just to the generation of Filipinos who were weaned on their music but also to the younger ones who are bound, I am certain, to love their songs,” pakiwari ni Caloy Conde, isang journalist at blogger.

Sa kaniyang blog na naka-post sa pinoypress.com (Why the Eraserheads’ Reunion Concert Sucks); tinukoy niya na isang “shrewd” at “manipulative” na marketing gimik lamang ito ng Marlboro at ginagamit lamang daw ng kumpaniya ng sigarilyo ang kasikatan ng Eraserheads para bumenta ang kanilang produkto.

Kasi naman, ani Conde, ipinagbabawal na ngayon ng batas ang anumang advertisements ng ‘nakamamatay’ na sigarilyo, kaya sa ganitong paraan naisip ng kumpaniya na ilako ang produkto.

“What Marlboro did was to create the buzz, which later turned into an event that found its way to the mainstream press. In the process, Marlboro got the attention that it craves to sustain interest in its deadly product. Intelligent as they are, the Eraseheads must realize by now that they are being used by Marlboro to peddle a product that has been proven to be so fatal as to force the government to ban their advertisement and promotion in the popular press. I hope that, as the Eheads enjoy the millions that they will earn after this so-called reunion concert, they can sleep better at night,” dagdag pa ni Conde.

May punto naman itong si G. Conde, isang tuwirang pambabaluktot sa batas ang ginagawa ngayon ng kumpaniyang Philip Morris (gumagawa ng Marlboro) para lamang makabenta. Ganunpaman, kahit ako aminado na mahusay at pumatok ang kanilang gimik – pinag-usapan, pinag-piyestahan at inaabangan na ngayon ng buong bayan ang konsyerto. Ayon nga sa maraming mga usisero diyan sa tabi-tabi, kahit pa biglang iurong o hindi na ituloy ang Eraserheads reunion concert, wala lang ito sa Marlboro. Ang dami na kasi nilang inaning marketing points sa dami ba naman ng excited na mga Pinoy sa internet.

Pero ako, panonoorin ko pa rin ang reunion concert sa simpleng dahilan na gusto ko ulit marinig at makitang magkasamang muli ang banda na kinagiliwan ko noong hayskul. Hiling ko lang, sana wala nang lumilipad na takip ng drum sa konsyertong ito. Kitakits!

SCRAP REMITTANCE CHARGES PETITION

Attention all OFWs:

Please read and sign the petition to scrap all unjust charges and government taxes on OFW remittances. Kindly circulate widely. Thanks.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

SCRAP REMITTANCE CHARGES!
SCRAP GOVERNMENT TAXES ON REMITTANCES!
SCRAP VAT ON OIL AND POWER!

The Filipino people are facing a crisis never before seen after the time of the Marcos dictatorship. In the latest SWS survey, a total of 16.3 percent of families nationwide, equivalent to 2.9 million households or around 14.5 million people, experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the previous quarter. Prices of basic needs and services continue to rise. And yet, the Arroyo administration continues to deny immediate relief to the people by removing the VAT on oil and power.

Overseas Filipino workers are also adversely affected by this crisis. Remittances amounting to billions of dollars are not an indicator that OFWs have more money to provide for their families. In fact, they have to tighten their belts abroad so they do not need to lessen the $200 they send to their families at home. But due to skyrocketing prices in the Philippines, this amount is simply not enough.

Meanwhile, government and big business continue to earn billions of dollars from OFW remittances. The government directly benefits from the remittances of OFWs through taxes, such as the .15% documentary stamp tax collected in every transaction. For every billion dollars remitted monthly, the government earns $1.5M or P62M. This is aside from other fees charged to the OFWs before leaving the country.

Banks and private business also rake in gargantuan profits. For every $200 remittance sent monthly, $15-$22 is charged as service fee. For 10 million OFWs sending remittances, banks earn a staggering $1B every month.

On the other hand, OFWs are left with almost nothing. Thousands of OFWs experience oppressive working conditions and human rights abuses abroad, thousands are stranded in different countries and many are in death row. While proclaiming as “bagong bayanis,” the Arroyo government continues to neglect the plight of OFWs.

The $200 monthly remittances their families receive have radically shrunk and continue to shrink with the spiraling prices of almost all basic needs and services. And the Arroyo government refuses to scrap remittance charges and fees.

This predatory practice of charging remittances is practically feeding off our blood, sweat and tears. Enough is enough! Scrap remittance charges! Scrap VAT on oil and power! Repeal Oil Deregulation Law!

-MIGRANTE INTERNATIONAL-

http://www.petitiononline.com/Ibasura/petition.html

Arroyo pulling Moro peoples’ legs

When President Arroyo announced that she was in favor of postponing the scheduled automated elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) next month, she was trying to trick the Moro people.

Why? Because postponing the polls at this point in time, i think, is next to impossible. First and foremost, the elections in ARMM is mandated by law, so only through legislative intervention can we call off the scheduled polls and not just through a mere say-so of the President. Given that Congress resumes session in July 28 and the elections is in August 11, can our legislators (note that both houses of congress must agree) hammer out a law in just fourteen days? I don’t think so.

Even if Arroyo controls the majority of the lower house and that though we have seen before that what she wants, congress delivers; the chances of a law calling for the deferment of the ARMM polls passing the opposition dominated Senate is pretty much dim.

This is why I think the President is trying to deceive the people of Mindanao most especially the Moro Islamic Liberation Front who had earlier called for the deferment of the ARMM elections saying that pushing through with it would have a bearing with their current peace talks.

Arroyo is resorting to hoodwinking the people these days just to earn brownie points in time for her SONA on July 28. Let’s just hope that our MILF brothers wouldn’t feel insulted enough to abandon their peace talks with the government when the ARMM polls proceeded as scheduled.

Kung saan P7 lang ang pamasahe

Si Mang Daniel Soriano

Si Mang Daniel Soriano

Alas-kuwatro pa lang ng umaga, gising na si Mang Daniel Soriano, 41, para umpisahan ang maghapong kayod sa manibela. “Pag hindi ako magsisipag, walang kakainin ang pamilya ko,” aniya, kaya naman “hataw” kung bumiyahe itong si Mang Daniel.

Pero habang maraming mga tsuper ang natuwa sa pagtaas ng minimum na bayad sa pamasahe patungong P8.50 kamakailan dahil na rin sa di maawat na pagtaas ng presyo ng langis at mga produktong petrolyo, wala naman raw itong epekto kay Mang Daniel. Kasi naman, sa lugar kung saan siya bumabiyahe, pitong piso lang ang pamasahe – di hamak na mas mababa sa itinakdang singil ng gubyerno.

EDSA-Bagong Barrio sa Caloocan ang ruta ni Mang Daniel. May halos isang daan ding dyip ang bumabagtas sa rutang ito. “Wala naman kaming magawa. Hindi kami puwedeng magtaas ng pasahe kasi wala nang sasakay sa‘men,” paliwanag ni Mang Daniel habang naghahantay sa pila at sukbit-sukbit pa sa katawan ang sisidlan ng kinita sa maghapon.

May mga bumabiyahe din kasing mga tricycle sa ruta nila na pitong piso din ang sinisingil sa mga pasahero. Kaya naman hindi maaaring sumabay ang mga tsuper ng dyip sa Bagong Barrio sa minimum fare increase na itinakda ng Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board o LTFRB.

Kalbaryo ng mga tsuper sa Bagong Barrio

Kung tutuusin, noong Hulyo 7 lamang naging pitong piso ang minimum na pamasahe sa dyip sa Bagong Barrio. Bago nito, limang piso lamang ang kailangang bayaran ng mga pasahero.

Ito ang matinding kalbaryo ni Mang Daniel, sampu ng kaniyang mga kapwa tsuper sa Bagong Barrio. Sabi nila, hirap na hirap na sila sa halos lingguhang pagtaas ng presyo ng krudo. “Hindi na ba matatapos ang mga pagtaas na ito?,” tanong ni Mang Daniel. “Hirap na hirap na kaming mga drayber dito.”

P300 ang karaniwang boundary ng mga tsuper sa Bagong Barrio at P250 naman kung walang pasok. Sabi ni Mang Daniel, suwerte na raw ang mga drayber doon kung makapag-uwi sila ng kita na P200. “Ang kumikita lang talaga dito ng malaki ay ang mga kumpaniya ng langis. Sabi nila nalulugi sila kaya kailangang magtaas ng presyo, kalokohan ‘yon. Imposibleng malugi sila” bulalas pa niya.

P500 hanggang P700 daw ang ginagastos ng mga tsuper sa Bagong Barrio sa krudo pa lamang. Kaya naman, kung minsan si Mang Daniel, alas-dose na ng hating-gabi natatapos sa pamamasada may maiuwi lang kahit kaunting pera sa pamilya.

“Minsan nga pangkain na lang, kulang pa. Wala na nga kaming panahon mag-happy happy,” sabi ni Mang Daniel, sabay tawa. Nang makapanayam ng Pinoy International mag-aalas-singko, Linggo ng hapon; wala pang boundary si Mang Daniel. Idinagdag pa nga niya, baon na baon na siya sa utang. Humiram lang daw siya ng isang libo sa nagpapa-five six noong Sabado para lang may ipantawid sa gutom. May mga kailangan din daw kasing bilhin sa eskwela ang dalawa niyang anak sa hayskul. Daing pa ni Mang Daniel: “Sa sitwasyon nga naming mga drayber ngayon, hindi ko na nga alam kung papaano ko papaaralin ang mga anak ko sa kolehiyo. Bahala na.”

Regulasyon, pagbasura sa VAT ang kailangan – CBCP, BAYAN, Ibon

Sabi ng Ibon Foundation, ang ugat ng tila walang katapusang pagtaas ng presyo ng langis sa bansa ay ang Oil Deregulation Law. Ayon sa grupo, simula nang isabatas ito noong 1996, sumirit na ngayon sa tumataginting na %492 ang itinaas ng presyo ng gasolina at %607 naman ang sa diesel.

Ngayong taon nga lamang, halos dalawampung ulit nang tumaas ang presyo ng langis. At mula Enero, umabot na ang pagtaas ng presyo ng diesel at gasolina sa di bababa sa P16 kada litro. Sa kabila nito, umaatungal pa ang mga kumpaniya ng langis. Kesyo lugi pa daw sila at kailangan pang magtaas ng P8 hanggang P10 sa presyo nito kada litro. Kaya naman, tinataya na ng mga eksperto na hindi malayong umabot na sa P70, mula sa kasalukuyang P54, ang presyo ng isang litrong diesel pagdating ng Agosto.

“Oil deregulation was supposed to ensure affordable and accessible petroleum products by breaking up the local oil cartel, allowing “market forces” to determine the real price of oil. Instead, it only gave Shell, Petron and Chevron (formerly Caltex), more room for speculation and to dictate prices and price hikes,” ayon sa Ibon sa isang pahayag kamakailan.

Nanindigan ang grupo na malalagot lamang ang monopolyo at kontrol ng mga higanteng kumpanya ng langis sa lokal na industriya at matitiyak na mas magiging abot kaya ang presyo ng mga produktong petrolyo kung ibabasura ang Oil Deregulation Law.

Sang-ayon din dito maging ang maimpluwensiyang Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Sa isang pulong balitaan noong unang linggo ng Hulyo, nanawagan si CBCP President at Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo sa pamahalaang Arroyo na agad na repasuhin ang Oil Deragulation Law pati na rin ang batas na nagpapataw ng Value Added Tax (VAT) sa mga produktong petrolyo.

Anang Obispo, hirap na hirap na ang taumbayan sa nagtataasang presyo ng pagkain at langis kaya naman kagyat na kailangang tugunan ng pamahalaan ang kanilang panawagan. “Out of sympathy for them (publiko), kailangan ma-review ang batas sa pagtaas ng bilihin, lalo na gasoline.”

Matinding pahirap din sa tsuper at mamamayan ang sinisingil na VAT sa mga produktong petrolyo. Ayon sa Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), kumukubra pa ang gubyerno ng P6.71 singil sa VAT sa kada litro ng diesel at ito raw ay tumaas pa ng %45 mula sa P4.61 noong Enero.

Sa pagtantya pa nga ng BAYAN, kinakailangang gumastos na ngayon ang mga drayber na gaya ni Mang Daniel ng P201.30 sa isang araw mabayaran lang ang singil sa VAT. Ibig sabihin, sa buwis na babayaran pa lamang, katumbas na ito kaagad ng isang maghapong kita ni Mang Daniel!

“The Arroyo administration could no longer justify the VAT on oil with the unabated fuel price hikes. Its desperate attempts to counter the snowballing call to cancel this oppressive tax through the gasoline price rollback and subsidies will not appease the restless public,” ayon sa tagapagsalita ng BAYAN na si Arnold Padilla.

Pero tigas pa rin sa pagtatanggol sa Oil Deragulation Law at VAT si Gloria Arroyo. “The world crises did not catch us unprepared or without reserves. We took hard decisions several years ago, hard on our people, unpopular with big business, but good for the country, as events have shown beyond any doubt,” sambit ni Gng. Arroyo sa harap ng mga delegado ng 4th Annual Ambassadors, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour noong Hulyo 15.

“These hard decisions were intended to raise new revenues, large amounts of new revenues from bold fiscal reforms – more money for more bridges, roads, ports and other infrastructure to create more opportunities for new wealth and new jobs, all towards a self-sufficient, self-reliant, strong republic,” dagdag pa ng Pangulo.

“Ramdam ang Kaunlaran?”

Pero tila palaisipan pa rin kay Mang Daniel at sa mga tsuper ng Bagong Barrio ang binabanggit ni Gng. Arroyo na mga mabuting idinulot ng Oil Deragulation Law at VAT sa mga mamamayan. Nang tanungin nga kung may katotohanan ba ang slogan ng Pangulo na “Ramdam ang Kaunlaran,” kakarampot lang ngunit malaman ang naging tugon ni Mang Daniel: “Ha? Siguro sila, ramdam nila. Pero kami dito, ramdam namin ang kahirapan.”

Noong Hulyo 3, 2008 nagpulong ang sektor ng transportasyon sa Bagong Barrio, kabilang na ang Bagong Barrio Drivers Association Inc (BBDAI).; Bagong Barrio Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (BBTODA) at ang MAJESA Transport Association. Sa nasabing pulong, na pinangunahan ni Brgy. 138 Chairman Eduardo S. Bade, napagkasunduan nilang itaas sa Pitong Piso ang pasahe sa dyip at tricycle dahil hirap na hirap na umano sila sa lingguhang pagtaas ng presyo ng gasolina at diesel.

“Kahit papaano, madadagdagan na rin ang kita naming mga drayber dito, dahil nagtaas na nga. Pero ang dapat talagang gawin ay itigil ang pagtaas ng presyo ng langis,” hiling ni Mang Daniel. ###

* Mga kuha ni Yboy Macatiag

Outraged over Oil Price Hikes

I couldn’t help but feel outraged over the statements made by one oil company who made the public choose among the two: deal with a single blow of oil price hike or endure weekly increases.

“Mahirap yung ginagawa namin, sinu-suspense pa namin. Alam naman po natin kung magkano dapat ang itataas ng presyo ng fuel. Ngayon inuutal-utal natin, nagkakaroon lamang ng tension. So kailangang harapin ang katotohanan para malaman kung ano at para makapagprepara,” Flying V Chair Ramon Villavicencio told ABS-CBN News online.

But what infuriated me more was Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Angelo Reyes’ reaction. He said, a single price hike could serve as a “wake up” call for people to start saving fuel, thus betraying the government’s pro-oil cartel stance.

“Kung one blow, immediately one impact, oops, everybody will wake up,” Reyes said.

The one-shot price hike, analysts say, could make oil prices jump up to as much as P10 per liter, making the price of diesel increase to P64 per liter.

The long and short of it, oil companies and the DOE are practically asking us if we prefer a slow and agonizing death over a quick one.

I choose none.

Oil price hikes should be halted, period. Moreover, the Oil Deragulation Law must be scrapped immediately so that the public may be liberated from the unjust price increases in oil.

A case of justice denied

I couldn’t agree more with Chief Justice Reynato Puno when he said poverty hampers poor peoples’ access to justice.

Speaking at a forum recently, the Chief Justice said poverty threatens to overwhelm poor Filipinos rights, and this, according to him, could be the reason why efforts to protect them from the “arrogance of the strong who are few are oftentimes met with a brick wall of skepticism.”

A friend of mine, Loyd Castañeda, was rudely awakened by armed men one night more than three years ago inside his family’s rundown shanty in Manila’s North Cemetery. The men told him he was being arrested allegedly for his role in stealing iron bars from a mausoleum inside the cemetery.

Despite Loyd’s protestations that he’s got nothing to do with the crime being leveled against him, the armed men persisted on picking him up. He was slapped with fabricated charges of theft and has been incarcerated up until now inside Manila City Jail.

More than three years since, Loyd maintains he has nothing to do with the felony, and I firmly believe him. I have known him for more than seven years and prior to his unjust arrest and detention, Loyd and I worked for the same non-governmental organization (NGO).

Though poor and living inside a cemetery, Loyd and his family managed to eke out an honest living by cleaning and attending to the tombs of the departed. His only crime, I suppose, is that he was poor.

Loyd’s case is a testament to how slow the wheels of justice are in the country. For more than three long years of incarceration, he still has yet to relish his day in court because his scheduled hearings have been repeatedly postponed for reasons, Loyd says, he couldn’t comprehend.

I believe the Chief Justice’s explanation hit the nail right in the head – Loyd was poor that he couldn’t even afford to raise money for his meager bail unlike the filthy rich criminals who can buy their way out of accountability and imprisonment.

I long for the day when Loyd is finally freed from his unjust detention. I hope the Chief Justice does well in his promise to make justice more accessible to the poor.