Bangkang papel, sa paglaho…

Parang bangkang papel
na pinatianod sa batis,
ang iyong nakaraan

Binitawan man,
bakit pilit mo pa ring hinahatid ng tanaw –
mapatid man ang leeg –
ang bangkang papel
ng paliit,

Matagal na nang matutunan mo siyang bitawan,
ngunit ngayon mo lamang ba nalalaman
na nakalampas na sa iyo
ang iyong nakaraan?

Tulad ng bangkang papel
na pinatianod sa batis,
ng paliit,
na ng
palayo –
dudulo din ito
sa paglaho


Blogger lang ako

Photo grabbed from the twitterverse

From ABS-CBNNews:
Bloggers react to Sotto: Bloggers LANG kami!



Blame the victims

I just received instructions from the President that if push comes to shove, we will have to blast these houses – Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson

For stubbornly insisting
on calling the rivers
and waterways their homes,
blame them for their misfortunes!

For being subjected
to flood waters as high as houses,
and being stripped off their
worldly belongings,
scores lost their lives,
as incessant rains poured
from the heavens for weeks on end,
blame them for their misfortunes!

For refusing
to be ‘rescued’ from their inundated houses
only to be hauled to pigsties they call
‘evacuation centers’ ,
blame them for their misfortunes!

For having to line up for hours,
clothes wet and ankle deep in muck and mud,
for food and water rations courtesy
of shameless and vote hungry politicians,
blame them for their misfortunes!

For refusing
to leave their houses,
the roof above their heads,
however deplorable and dangerous;
for insisting to hang on to their homes
because society failed to provide them
with this very basic human necessity,
blast their houses if necessary,
then blame them for their misfortunes!

Photo grabbed from Facebook

Hindi lamang pusa ang kayang patayin ni ‘Curiosity’

Rumaragasa ang debate
sa usapin ng RH-Bill,
habang palapit nang palapit
ang isang toneladang
na si ‘Curiosity’ sa Planetang Mars…

Sa panahong talak nang talak
ang mga kapita-pitagang Obispo
na labag sa salita ng ‘Diyos’
ang karapatan sa pagpili ng mga kababaihan,
kung paano pamumunuan
ang sariling matris, ang sariling katawan;
palapit na nang palapit
ang nilikha ng tao na maaaring magpatunay
na hindi ang itinatalak na ‘Diyos’ ng mga Obispo
ang lumikha sa Tao, sa Buhay, sa Mundo,
sa loob lamang ng isang Linggo

Sa huli, hindi lamang pusa
ang kayang patayin ni ‘Curiosity’

The heroes of the General Registration in Lanao del Sur

During the July 9 – 18, 2012 General Registration of Voters in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), I was deployed to the Province of Lanao del Sur to lead a team of COMELEC personnel directed to conduct a massive voter education and information drive and to monitor the overall conduct of the registration process in the Province.

It was my second time in the Province of Lanao del Sur. My first stint there was during the June 2010 Special Elections in the Province, so I sort of knew what to expect.

On July 8, 2012, the eve of opening of the General Registration, our team was already deluged with complaints from augmentation election officers and assistants moaning about the harassment they are getting from irate Village chiefs. Apparently, quite a number of Barangay Captains aren’t happy with the clustering of Registration Centers (RC) done by the COMELEC.

The COMELEC had to cluster the RCs to prevent untoward incidents from  happening in the Province known for the occurence of Rido or blood feuds among families.

“Sir ano po ang gagawin ko?,” I was asked by a small-framed Election Assistant (EA) from the CARAGA Region assigned to an RC in a Marawi City Barangay. She told me that a Barangay Captain kept calling her on her mobile phone insisting that the RC assigned to his Village be relocated. Of course, that hapless EA has no authority to relocate RCs, so all I could tell her was to proceed to her assigned station as directed and to take a lot of ‘Ingat.’

I was so worried with that poor EA because the RC she was assigned to is located inside a village notorious for the prevalence of illegal activities and violence. Later on, I was informed by the Army Commander that the village is known as the ‘Tondo of Marawi’ (Marawi has a ‘Tondo’, who would have known?!). And so, I was relieved when I heard from her the next day that she and her team were okay.

The spate of complaints of harassment we received from augmentation COMELEC personnel made me make a mental note that day to coordinate with the 103rd Brigade and the Mayor of Marawi City to ensure their safety and security.

During the first day of the General Registration, we were swamped with reports of prevalence of obviously underage registrants. We noted that the augmentation election officers (AEOs) were left with no choice but to accept the applications for registration of these minors, if only to avoid commotion at the RCs. These enterprising AEOs, however, devised a clever way to mark the applications to indicate that these came from minors. The marks are meant to help the Resident Election Officers (REOs) delete these applications come the Election Registration Board (ERB) Hearing.

The pandemonium at the RCs, we later realized, were peanuts compared to a swathe of registration related violent incidents we monitored during our travels to different RCs in almost all of Lanao del Sur’s 41 Municipalities during the ten day registration period.

We came across the following incidents:

• 10 JULY: Interception and apprehension of alleged flying registrants loaded in one (1) Isuzu Elf Truck, and one (1) FX Tamaraw in Barangay Matling, Malabang.
• 10 JULY: Panic at a Registration Center in Butig Public Market when an unidentified person indiscriminately fired a Caliber .45 pistol;
• 10 JULY: Shooting incident that wounded a Barangay Chairman in the Municipal Hall of Bayang;
• 11 JULY: Interception and apprehension of alleged flying registrants loaded in three (3) Passenger Jeeps, one (1) Multi-     Cab and one (1) Elf Cargo Truck in Barangay Pawak, Saguiaran;
• 12 JULY: Apprehension of a civillian in Marawi City for illegal possession of Caliber .45 pistol;
• 12 JULY: Strafing of a Registration Center and harassment of Augmentation Election Officers (AEOs) in Mapantao Elementary School in Barangay Mapantao, Lumba-Bayabao. Firefight between armed gunmen and security forces lasted for twenty minutes;
• 12 JULY: Shooting incident that killed a 17 year old civillian, near the Oriental Beta Elementary School in Lumbaca-Unayan;
• 12 JULY: Registration in the whole of Butig suspended at 2:00 PM due to violence. Shooting incident at a Registration Center in Barangay Samer and harassment of AEOs in Barangay Poctan. Traumatized AEOs left their stations for fear of their lives. Registration resumed 14 July.
• 12 JULY: Students residing in Mindanao State University (MSU) dorms were reportedly being forced to register under fictitious Maranao names, according to the 103rd Brigade;
• 18 JULY: A former Barangay Chairman killed in a shooting incident near the Municipal Hall in Saguiaran.

These incidents made me a big fan of the augmentation COMELEC personnel who were uprooted from their original stations and deployed to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to help in the cleansing of the list of voters in the Region. Their dedication and courage at the face of intimidation, harassment and violence contributed a lot to help stamp out the label earned by the ARMM as the election fraud capital of the Philippines. After all, a clean and credible elections starts with a clean list of voters.

Augmentation Election Officers from the CARAGA Region

I was humbled with the sincerity I saw from these AEOs and AEAs. ‘Wow they really wanted to help’, I told myself after coming across an Election Officer from Cebu assigned to Gannassi in Lanao del Sur who for ten days had to take care of nagging registrants in her station while regularly checking-up on her child who was battling Dengue at a hospital back home. There was also an AEO from Cebu assigned to Tubaran, LDS who suffered a stroke, paralyzing half of his body. The poor EO, who may have succumbed due to extreme pressure, had to be airlifted from Iligan City to Cebu.

So to all those who served in the ARMM General Registration, Kudos for a job well done!


There’s merriment
at the camp;
the devious laughter
of the troopers
drunk with wine and power
ring across the hall

But then
their squalid tales
of the massacre,
of their part in the kill –
keeps the troopers’
knees from trembling
and their teeth from
gnashing in fear…

For outside
the crying has stopped,
silence has gripped the night;
the angry masses have already gathered
to shush the merriment
at the camp

*In memory of slain comrade, Arman Albarillo, former Secretary General of the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance) Southern Tagalog. Albarillo, along with ten others, were felled by fascist bullets last June 30, 2012. 

COMELEC union calls for justice for slain poll worker in Aurora

July 2, 2012
Reference:      Mac Ramirez, COMELEC-EU Coordinator

COMELEC union calls for justice for slain poll worker in Aurora

The COMELEC Employees Union (COMELEC-EU) today condemned the senseless killing of a COMELEC employee in Maria Aurora Town in Aurora Province Saturday night.

Murdered by motorcycle riding gunmen was Romualdo Palispis, 51, Election Assistant at the Office of the Election Officer (OEO) at Maria Auroria. He was gunned down on Saturday night while playing his guitar inside his house in Barangay Tres.

“The COMELEC-EU condemns the senseless murder of our co-worker in Aurora. We call on the authorities to make every possible effort to bring the perpetrators to justice,” stated Mac Ramirez, National Coordinator of the COMELEC-EU.

According to Ramirez, Palispis is a known human rights advocate in the Province.

“The example of EA Palispis will serve as an inspiration to the thousands of COMELEC employees nationwide as we carry forward with our fight for decent wages, equal benefits and union rights. He may no longer be with us in this world, but his words ‘it is a sacred thing to uphold what is right and oppose what is wrong’ will forever remain with us,” Ramirez said. ###

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