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  1. #11
    Coed suicide sparks soul-searching at UP

    University vows reform of socialized tuition scheme

    By Erika Sauler, Dona Z. Pazzibugan Julie M. Aurelio

    Philippine Daily Inquirer

    12:12 am | Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

    “The UP deprived my daughter of her only hope to help us,” said the father of Kristel Tejada, a freshman at the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila who took her life on March 15 at their home in Tayuman by drinking silver cleaner.

    The suicide of Kristel, 16, the eldest of five children of a taxi driver and a housewife, came after she filed a leave of absence in the middle of the second semester for failure to pay tuition of less than P10,000.

    “How painful was it to remove that sole hope to help your parents and yourself?” said Christopher Tejada after hearing Mass with wife, Blesilda, at the Philippine General Hospital chapel.

    Kristel’s death triggered protests on the campuses of the UP System and prompted the UP administration to consider reforms in its socialized tuition scheme.

    UP president Alfredo Pascual said the Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP) needed to be restructured to make the economic indicators that determine a student’s capacity to pay more realistic, the application process less tedious and the monthly allowance increased.

    Pascual said he would propose to the governing UP Board of Regents at its meeting next month to lift the controversial “no-late-payment” tuition policy effective immediately.

    “My position as UP president (is) no student shall be denied access to UP education due to financial constraints. I’m all for its lifting. I will immediately propose to the Board (of Regents) next meeting on April 12 to lift the ‘no-late-payment policy’ effective on all college units,” Pascual said in a statement issued at a press conference at the administration building on the UP Diliman campus.

    Resign

    The elder Tejada welcomed the call of the faculty and staff of the Department of Behavioral Sciences in UP Manila for the resignation of the school’s chancellor and vice chancellor.

    Christopher told reporters that others may be more deserving to replace Chancellor Manuel Agulto and Vice Chancellor Josephine de Luna.

    “Vice chancellor, you know how we asked for your help and humbled ourselves before you,” the father said.

    Christopher accepted the return of his daughter’s UP identification card, which she had to surrender when she filed a leave of absence.

    “It’s as if she lived for me. When she turned over her ID, it was like snuffing out her life. Perhaps she is happy now because her ID was returned [to us]. She’s still part of UP,” he said.

    Human face

    Kristel’s death “gave us a human face to the longstanding struggle against state apathy and neglect of the education of our youth” in the midst of limited opportunities and elitist policies, said the statement issued by the faculty and staff of the Department of Behavioral Sciences in UP Manila.

    Sociology professor Jocelyn del Mundo read the statement at the Philippine General Hospital chapel after a Mass sponsored by the UP Manila Student Council for Tejada.

    Del Mundo urged a review of the STFAP to make the system simpler, more student-friendly and efficient. She said other strategies like study-now-pay-later and installment payment schemes should be considered.

    Despite the criticisms and protests against the memorandum on the no-late-payment policy, Agulto and De Luna “turned a deaf ear and persisted with their autocratic and callous style of leadership,” Del Mundo said.

    Not cold-hearted

    Agulto decried the media’s portrayal of him and De Luna as “cold-hearted and ruthless.”

    At the press conference, the official broke down and recalled how he was once in a situation similar to Tejada’s. “I was once a medical school student struggling to pay my tuition,” Agulto said, his voice cracking.

    “We do not wish to give anyone a difficult time. We dream for them as they aspire for their future. We do not wish to pose obstacles in realizing their dreams,” he said.

    Installment plan

    Pascual said his administration would institute an installment payment plan so cash-strapped parents could pay the tuition according to their salary schedule.

    The no-late-payment policy was applied to Tejada whose application in December for a loan to cover her second semester tuition was denied because the semester was underway for nine weeks.

    Father laid off

    Tejada, who was assessed in May to fall under STFAP Bracket D, which requires her to pay P300 a unit plus miscellaneous fees, appealed last September or midway into the first semester to be reassessed into Bracket E2, which would have exempted her from paying tuition and entitled her to a stipend.

    In her appeal, Tejada said her father was laid off from work and her parents were constantly fighting over lack of money. She was turned down reportedly for failing to submit supporting documents.

    Her father was able to pay her first-semester tuition loan of P6,337 only on Dec. 19 and immediately asked that she be allowed to enroll for the second semester under a tuition loan.

    Appeal denied

    The father’s appeal was denied as the UP Manila Office of Student Affairs cited a policy that bars the late payment of tuition when classes for the semester have begun.

    Tejada’s mother’s personal appeal to Agulto was also denied. Agulto said he had to uphold the decision made by his officials.

    “If only I knew the extent of her difficulties, I personally would have attended to her family’s needs,” Agulto said.

    Income brackets

    Under the STFAP, students are categorized according to their families’ annual income and other factors.

    For the UP Diliman, Los Baños and Manila campuses, students in Bracket A with annual family income of above P1 million pay P1,500/unit; Bracket B (P500,001-P1 million) P1,000/unit; Bracket C (P250,000-P500,000) P600; Bracket D (P135,000 to P250,000) P300; Bracket E1 (P80,001 to P135,000) free tuition; and Bracket E2 (P80,000 or less) free tuition plus P12,000 per semester stipend.

    For UP Baguio, Mindanao, San Fernando and Visayas campuses, Bracket A students pay P1,000/unit; Bracket B P600; Bracket C P400; Bracket D P200 and Bracket E free tuition. Those who do not apply for STFAP automatically fall under Bracket A.

    Mismatch

    Pascual acknowledged a “mismatch” between the economic indicators and the actual financial need of students under the STFAP, while the long application and verification process delayed decisions on appeals to be reassessed, as what happened in Tejada’s case.

    Under the proposed changes, Pascual said a student’s capacity to pay would be based not only on the family income but also on a socioeconomic classification based on aggregate expenditures.

    He also said that the current stipend of P12,000 a semester for students under Bracket E2 was inadequate and that he would propose to increase this to P20,000 a semester.

    Shift scholarships

    Pascual said his administration would try to shift scholarships more toward a student’s financial need rather than academic excellence and seek to increase the slots for student assistants with higher allowances.

    He said the 14-page application form would be cut down to two pages and the application processing time reduced from six months to two months.

    Pascual added he hoped the Board of Regents would immediately approve the changes so these could be implemented by the start of the next school year in June.

    Interrupted

    The press conference was interrupted by some students’ attempts to protest the STFAP as they called for its immediate scrapping and for Agulto’s resignation.

    Agulto said he was willing to resign if anyone could prove he did nothing to help Tejada. “You cannot say that we did nothing. But had I known her personal circumstances, I would have done even more,” he said.

    Outside Quezon Hall on the UP Diliman campus, student protesters draped a black cloth on the statue of the Oblation.

    Protesters also announced a students’ strike on all UP campuses to mourn Tejada’s death, called for the “rollback” in tuition and demanded accountability from UP officials in the wake of Tejada’s suicide.

    Solidarity protest

    Students of Polytechnic University of the Philippines held solidarity protests over the death of Tejada and the reported tuition increase in their school.

    “We fear that if tuition and other fees increase in PUP, we will face the same fate as the UP Iskolar ng Bayan. We must protest the fee hikes,” said PUP student regent Helen Alfonso.

    PUP Communication Management Office director Ruby Gapasin said the students burned broken chairs on the school grounds.

    PUP president Emanuel de Guzman held a dialogue with the students and assured them that the tuition for undergraduate courses would remain at P12 per unit.

    However, the fees will increase for graduate school and open university because these receive minimal government subsidy.

  2. #12
    ^^^ You are an irreponsible father. Your daughter died because of you. It is your failure to be a good provider that dooms your family. Looking for someone to blame? Look in the mirror.

  3. #13
    Ignorance and greed

    Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:11 AM April 16, 2018
    In any investment, legitimate or otherwise, a person loses money usually because of two things: 1) lack of knowledge about the product and 2) greed.

    The latter is always at play in nearly all investment scams that have victimized many Filipinos in the past. And we never seem to learn.

    Last week, the police apprehended a couple for allegedly scamming some 50 people into investing in bitcoins. The couple allegedly amassed some P900 million from unsuspecting and most probably unknowledgeable investors by promising them a 30-percent return on investment with payouts every 15 days. Certainly an enticing proposition.

    The latest illegal investment scheme had all the trappings of a pyramiding scam in which there was the so-called upline, or the person who lures people to invest, and a downline, the person who invests in denominations of P90,000 and P160,000 a slot.

    The more friends and relatives one is able to recruit, the more commissions one gets.

    For example, the initial 10 investors get five recruits each, then these 50 new investors lure another five people each. This goes on until the base of the pyramid becomes filled with many so-called investors that paying them 30 percent for their investments becomes impossible.

    The individual stakes in the recent scam are high. One victim told the police that she and her family members invested a total of P33 million in the couple’s scheme.

    The others presumably invested their savings in the hope of doubling or tripling these in the shortest possible time. Others may even have borrowed the money they invested from family members and friends.

    The police have filed syndicated estafa charges against the perpetrators, yet the victims will probably have to charge everything to experience and never recover their investments.

    Also last week, the corporate regulator Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued another timely warning to the public to be careful about investing in products that are being peddled using the cryptocurrency hype.

    Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are a digital form of money that have been around for the past 10 years. One of their main features is that they work within a system that is not regulated by a central bank or a single administrator.

    The SEC has identified these red flags in potentially destructive investment scams:

    They require the payment of an initial fee or investment so the investors can avail themselves of whatever cryptocurrency-related products are being offered.

    They promise to pay the investor daily or weekly proceeds, usually equivalent to a percentage of the initial fee or investment, and they offer commissions for every recruit (a main feature of pyramiding scams).

    The SEC has warned that while monetary authorities cannot regulate cryptocurrencies as it does hard currencies or fiat money, investment contracts linked to such cryptocurrencies are considered securities that fall within its jurisdiction.

    Since it involves the sale of securities to the public, the SEC said the Securities Regulation Code would require the appropriate license or permit before any party could sell securities to the public.

    The SEC stressed that those who act as salespersons, brokers, dealers, or agents in selling or convincing people to buy into the investment scheme being offered by cryptocurrency companies — including solicitations and recruitment through the internet — without the necessary license or authority from the SEC could be prosecuted, held criminally liable, and penalized with a maximum penalty of 21 years of imprisonment.

    As for ordinary citizens with extra money to invest or savings that they want to grow, it is wise to heed this general observation: The person who will fool you into giving up your money is usually someone you thought you could trust, like a relative or a close friend, or a friend of those relatives and close friends.

    The next time someone you know offers to double your money within days or weeks in some investment of which you are ignorant, the wise thing to do is say no.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  4. #14
    ^ Hindi na bale sanang naging tanga ka, huwag ka na lang sana naging tuso.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  5. #15
    Gov't buys P2 billion jet for Duterte, senior gov't officials

    ABS-CBN News

    Posted at Oct 08 2019 02:46 PM | Updated as of Oct 08 2019 04:47 PM

    MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte will soon travel using a United States-built jet estimated at P2 billion despite previously vowing not to procure equipment from Washington.

    The Gulfstream G280, set for delivery next year, will be used "in the event of a crisis situation," according to Arsenio Andolong, director of the Department of National Defense's Public Affairs Service.

    Aside from the President, other senior leaders such as the Defense Secretary and the Armed Forces chief will use the plane, Andolong said.

    "Although you want to use the term lightly or loosely, it is similar to an airborne command post. It would serve that purpose," he said.

    "It has a capability better than the ordinary. It requires a short runway," Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters Tuesday.

    Panelo also rejected the claim of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes Jr., who said government "spends millions of dollars for the comfort of officials, while ordinary Filipinos endure the daily horrors of the transport crisis."

    "'Di naman comfort 'yun. Kung may times of crisis eh 'di kailangan mo 'yun. Kung necessity ba't magwawaldas ka," he said.

    (That's not comfort, if there are times of crisis then we need that. If it's a necessity, it's not spending much.)

    "Si Presidente napaka-frugal (The President is very frugal), he doesn’t spend unless necessary."

    Panelo added that the aircraft was not requested by the President and the deal with the US was negotiated by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

    The Philippine Air Force bought the aircraft through a contract with the United States government, the Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. said in a statement last week.

    The President, who said he prefers to take economy flights when he travels, earlier vowed that his administration would no longer buy military equipment from the US after it threatened to impose sanctions on countries buying military equipment from Russia.

    Duterte later said he would reconsider since he "likes" US President Donald Trump.

    The aircraft procurement "might" pave the way for the Philippines to again purchase arms and other equipment from the US, Panelo said.

    -- With reports from Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  6. #16
    DND defends purchase of new aircraft

    Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News

    Posted at Oct 07 2019 07:50 PM

    MANILA - The Department of National Defense (DND) defended on Monday the purchase of new aircraft for Philippine government officials.

    Director Arsenio Andolong of the DND Public Affairs Service said the 2 new aircraft are a Gulfstream G280 and an Airbus C295.

    "The G280 will primarily serve as platform to carry our senior leaders and commanders in the event of, example, a crisis situation. It can be used by the Chief of Staff, SND [Secretary of National Defense], our major service commanders and the President. Although you want to use the term lightly or loosely, it is similar to an airborne command post. It would serve that purpose," he told reporters.

    "Admittedly, it's a little...well...more appointed than your average aircraft but it will carry senior leaders so, of course, it's designed to be a little more comfortable."

    In a press release dated October 2, 2019, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. announced that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) has a contract through the United States government for a Gulfstream G280, including parts, tooling and contractor logistics support. The aircraft will be configured for command and control missions and is slated for delivery in 2020.

    The G280 has a maximum range of 3,600 nautical miles/6,667 kilometers at its long-range cruise speed of Mach 0.80 and a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.84. The aircraft can fly eight hours non-stop and can connect Dubai to Hong Kong; Singapore to Melbourne, Australia; or Singapore to Dubai.

    Andolong said the aircraft has speed and capability to land on short runways, which cannot be done by other aircraft of the PAF. He said the existing C295 of the Air Force is not able to land on small runways.

    The C295 has longer range, is suitable for maritime patrol missions, as well as for transporting supplies and troops, Andolong said.

    "As far as I know, the status of the procurement of the C295 command and control aircraft and G280 are already in the contract implementation phase. In fact, the C295 is set to be delivered within the year and the G280 will be delivered sometime next year, in about August, and both aircraft will perform the functions of command control," he said.

    The DND official declined to discuss pricing and procurement details, saying he is not privy to the transaction.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  7. #17
    From Esquire Philippines ...

    The Philippines Is Dead Last in the Ranking of Smartest Countries in ASEAN

    Developing countries have outpaced the Philippines.

    By Mario Alvaro Limos | 13 hours ago

    Intelligence quotient or IQ, is often used as the standard of measuring smartness. It is the ability of a person to learn. A high IQ indicates that a person is intelligent and has an ability to learn things faster, while a low IQ indicates low intelligence or a lower ability to learn faster. Last week, Manila ranked among the lowest in the world's smartest cities. This time around, we look at the national IQ average.

    It is important to remember that IQ is not the only measure of a country’s intelligence, nor should it reflect a nation’s thinking ability. Numerous studies also linked poverty incidence with low IQ scores, which could be because of poor access to education, or poor educational systems.

    Below is the list of the smartest countries in ASEAN based on data aggregated by World Population Review 2019 - - -

    https://www.esquiremag.ph/politics/n...C8QjDuZ0biDpvk

    No data was provided for Timor-Leste. Other notable countries that ranked higher than the Philippines are Iraq (87) and Sierra Leone (91).

    The top five countries in the world with highest IQs are Asian countries. Leading the world is Singapore and Hong Kong (10, followed by South Korea (106), Japan and China (105), and Taiwan (104).
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  8. #18
    From Esquire Philippines ...

    Carlos Celdran: The Philippines Is in the Heart

    He moved even those turned off by the history refracted through his lens enough to inspire protest or to trigger deeper reading and analysis.

    By Carina Evangelista | A day ago

    Like the word ‘love,’ ‘exile’ is both a noun and a verb. To Carlos Celdran who loved his country with intensity, to be exiled and to be an exile could only be a sentence that shatters the spirit.

    I had known Carlos for years but never really felt compelled to forge a friendship beyond nodding hello to each other when our paths crossed because I didn’t really think we ran in the same circles even if we had mutual friends. And because I prefer to give folks with some measure of celebrity the measure of privacy I think they’re due. Even when I participated in the Manila Biennale, an art festival that promoted Manila culture which he organized last year, I did not go out of my way to engage him beyond voicing logistical concerns where warranted. I was privy to, even on the receiving end of, the headaches the biennale’s chaos created. But when he was trounced for it by critics and detractors after the fact, I jumped to his defense. It was not the paragon of perfection [not even the most heavily bank-rolled biennales are]; but for all its shortfalls, I was impressed at how idea was willfully given form within a matter of months. And for all its many hiccups, it was an enterprise I was both proud and grateful to have been part of.

    It is in this alchemy of giving ideas mass and substance that Carlos was singular and thus deemed dangerous. He did not just love Intramuros, mine its history in order to understand it, or host salons in his Syquia apartment for those he could fit in it at any given time. He infected others with that love, that thirst for understanding, that realization of the romance and the tragedy of it all. He moved even those turned off by the history refracted through his lens enough to inspire protest or to trigger deeper reading and analysis.

    It was the same with his advocacy for reproductive health. A theatrical act invoking the colonial friars’ abuse of power in affairs that conditioned the oppression of many sparked the fire of national debate over the legislative bill that had languished in oblivion for more than a decade. His contribution to efforts made toward evolving the nation’s laws was repaid with the weaponizing of an archaic law from colonial times against him for “offending religious feelings.” Never mind that the case was filed against him not by the church but by a private citizen. Never mind that of all the religious leaders interviewed (the Catholic clergy and Protestant bishops who happened to have convened for a meeting at Manila Cathedral the day of his Damaso demonstration), only one actually claimed to have been offended by his act. Never mind that Cardinal Luis Tagle himself had said the church had forgiven him. But mind that his performance helped push a long suppressed but much warranted bill into law. And for his provocation he was tried and convicted.

    Carlos fought and appealed the conviction multiple times over the years not just out of self-preservation but out of fear his conviction could set a dangerous precedent in curtailing freedom of speech. But when it became crystal clear there was no fight left to be waged, much less won, against the system, his only recourse was flight. It was then that I felt compelled to reach out to him more as a friend. In ancient times folk etymology derived the second element of the Latin ‘exilium’ or ‘exsilium’ from the Latin solum, meaning "soil." I felt so strongly that this man, if extracted from the terroir of his soul, could very well wither in exile. Maluluoy kapag tinagpas ang ugat mula sa kaniyang tinubuang lupa. And so over the ensuing months we bonded over our chats about art, politics, and his life in exile.

    Carlos Bulosan wrote in America Is in the Heart, “The days of hunger and loneliness came. Aching hunger and stifling loneliness. Every dawn was the opening of a cavern of starvation and exile: from the touch of friendly hands, of friendly voices. And every hour was a blow against the senses, dulling all impulses toward decency.”

    But Carlos Celdran did his damned best to keep from falling into that cavern. In a matter of months, a short documentary film was made about him. He organized walking tours in Madrid, his chosen city of exile. He gave talks in Germany. Another tour of his Livin’ La Vida Imelda was in the works. [Even as I am among those who felt the show was a walloping condemnation of the Marcoses that somehow snuck in an unsettling sense of an apology for the Marcoses, it was his act to tour where it was welcome.] He opened his home to those who would visit him—to break bread with and to “cry in Madrid” with, as Nash Tysmans recalls of her visit to him not long ago. He cried for Manila but fought the self-pity. Nash reports his having remarked, “Look at us crying in Madrid, worrying about how to make money and eat when so many people at home are just trying to stay alive and not get shot.” He cried in exile but never forgot his place of privilege. Nash also recalls, in her tribute addressing Carlos directly, “You turned somber and asked me what it would be like if we had come here on a boat, instead of freely, like we did.” He indulged his anguish but he also relished discovering that to save on his food shopping he could grow scallions in an egg carton. He refused to wither. He did his best to continue to live in exile. But he died. Perhaps literally of heartbreak. In exile.

    Carlos was angry. St. Augustine wrote, “Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” His being vocal earned him admiration and hatred. He’d get entangled in vituperative word wars that sometimes fed and bred more hatred. But the courage of his conviction also fed and bred hope. Some of our chats teetered toward cynicism. I wanted to rally him on. To suggest that the cruelty of history comes in waves. And ebb will always chase its flow. That there’s always that next chapter yet to be written and he could still be among its authors, be he chastened or goaded in exile or upon return some day. He refused to wither. But he died. Come to think of it: What his anger, curiosity, creativity, contradictions, thirst, and love wrought is in fact already writ.

    Calls have been made for a street to be named after him in Intramuros. I myself, being a professional in the arts, thought that there ought to be a biennial next year to honor him. But where it would matter most is to repeal the blasphemy law, which is a vestige of Spanish colonial rule, ensuring the ascendancy of church over state then and allowing now for its misuse toward infringement of freedom of speech or toward severe containment of critical and independent thought.

    Months after I had defended his biennale, we eventually got to talking about it. He told me he spent many a night during the biennial sitting next to one of my pieces, a video projection of a candle flickering to the translation of text by Amado Hernandez in Morse code. He said the Morse code sounded like birdsong and gave him a sense of refuge. There’s something bittersweet in this, given Hernandez’s text was about his incarceration as a subversive after being a guerrilla in the resistance during the Japanese occupation. I mentioned that I noticed one of the kutseros plying through Intramuros pronounce biennale ‘bayanale’ to my delight. He said that kutsero actually made enough money during the biennale to buy another horse that he named ‘Bayanale.’ Minsan sa mundong ibabaw, may dumaraang bulalakaw. Caloy, ang ningas mo’y alab ng pusong sa dibdib ng bayan mananatiling buhay.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  9. #19
    From Esquire Philippines ...

    Eulogy for a Gadfly

    This country needed someone like Carlos Celdran.

    By Kristine Fonacier | 2 days ago

    “I need time away. I need to clear my head” are the last words Carlos Celdran said to me in private conversation. He was deeply sad, he had said, to be leaving his beloved home—“bawling”, he said. This was in January, and I had dropped him a note to offer my sympathies—I was about to leave the country, too, and understood in some small measure what he was going through. He repeated again and again that he loved the Philippines, that he was heartbroken to be away.

    New York University Professor Michael Purugganan finally said it: “Let there be no mistake. Carlos Celdran died in exile."

    I’d like to think Carlos might have relished the implications of being exiled to Spain, where some of history’s other heroes were also thrown. But the fact that he died like this—in exile, and away from the country that he loved—is a tragedy for all of us. He was famously the only Filipino ever convicted of “offending religious feelings”, for standing up in church holding a protest sign during the height of the debates on reproductive rights, but using this measure, he was guilty of many other sins in the service of the nation.

    “I didn’t always agree with him…” begins so many of the online tributes that have followed the news of his untimely passing. I don’t think this is true: I think we all agreed with him—because how can one disagree with patriotism, with stubborn love of country, with courage, with the need to speak truth to power?

    What we disagreed with, perhaps, were his methods. Or maybe we didn’t even disagree with his methods, as much as we were frightened by them. Here was a Filipino who was unafraid to poke the hornet’s nest in however way he could. The Damaso stunt, the one-man show on Imelda, the irrepressible comments on social media—they weren’t the most prudent things one could do, perhaps, in this climate.

    But in the handful of times I met and spoke with him at length, I always came away with the impression that he couldn’t help himself: as an artist, he could only process reality by baring himself, with neither filter nor protection. He was willing to do the dirty work of attracting hatred, if it meant also drawing attention to society’s ills. He made himself annoying in his incessance, fulfilling the role of the Socratic gadfly that would goad the dimwitted horse that was sometimes the government.

    He was the irritating gadfly that we needed. And as Socrates warned through the centuries, the death of a gadfly is a deep wound to a democratic society.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  10. #20
    From Esquire Philippines ...

    We Need to Talk About Racism in the Philippines

    Let’s be real. We’re pretty damn racist.

    By Anri Ichimura | A day ago

    A story taught in preschool may mark the beginning of racism in the Philippines.

    Once upon a time, God shaped man from dough. He baked it in an oven, but when he accidentally burnt it, the dough came out black. This would later become the people from Africa. God tried again, shaped man from dough, and this time, he undercooked it. The dough came out too light, and this would become the white people. God tried one last time to perfect his creation. Out from the oven came God’s man-shaped dough that was brown and good. From that perfectly colored man-shaped dough would descend the Filipinos.

    As a kid, that story might seem imaginative and entertaining, but as an adult, you realize: “Well, shit. That’s pretty damn racist.” And you’re spot on. Racism in the Philippines has never been as controversial or polarizing as the racism you hear about in places like the U.S., but discrimination exists everywhere—even at home.

    Butt of the joke

    Unlike racism in the U.S., which triggered events like abolitionism and the civil rights movement, the Philippines’ unique brand of racism is far less volatile. A subject of comedy and criticism, racism in the Philippines sits on the border between ignorance and innocence.

    Like many social ills in the Philippines, much of the racism in the Philippines can be traced back to our colonizers, namely Spain and the U.S. Back then, and even to this day, the fair skin of the Europeans and Americans were praised and glorified. It birthed the colorism we experience now that’s the cause for all the skin whitening billboards along EDSA. But another side effect of that mentality is our view that anything that isn’t white is bad.

    Because of this, we fall victim to subscribing to racial stereotypes that are often used as the punch line of a joke. If anything, our brand of racism is pretty harmless in retrospect, and at times, hilarious to recount. Stand-up comic Jo Koy once described it this way: “No one is as indirectly racist as Filipino moms.” He’s not wrong. When you listen to him tell the story, it’s sure to incite a couple of laughs. But when you write or type it, you can see how wrong it actually is: He joked about when his mom asked him to hide her purse because his African-American brother-in-law came to visit.

    Harmless ignorance?

    This Reddit thread explores the topic in detail and one Redditor explained, “I feel like our racism is leaning more towards harmless ignorance than the harmful intent to separate though.” In truth, the racist comments we make are often in jest rather than in offense. “Intsik,” “negra,” and “kano” are just some phrases used in everyday conversations that signify internalized racism.

    But things get murkier when you add phrases like “bombay” with a matching head bob or “kung hei fat choi” while pulling back the corners of your eyes. Or when you cross the street when someone in a turban walks toward you. Or when you mimic and mock the accents of foreigners you’re talking to. Or when you think blackface is acceptable. Or when you say the n-word when you don’t belong to that community. Or when you look down at your own race for not conforming to the Western ideal.

    It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt or, in this case, when you indirectly undermine an entire culture by subscribing to racial stereotypes.

    Racism in the Philippines is ignorant at best and insulting at worst. We might not have a history of institutional racism, but that doesn’t mean our brand of (innocent?) racism is any less concerning or offensive, no matter how blind we might be to it. Our lack of racial diversity in the population has made us tone-deaf to the unconscious racism of Filipinos and unable to recognize our lack of cultural sensitivity until someone points it out.

    To say that Filipinos are lowkey racist is hardly an unpopular opinion, especially when it’s expressed in our everyday conversations and cultural mindset, but it wouldn’t hurt to remind us of that fact—and actually try to remedy it. It’s easy to say that millennial snowflakes are making a big deal of what is considered normal to older generations, but that’s a cop-out, because the last time we checked, (direct and indirect) racism isn’t welcomed no matter where you go.

    And no matter how subtle, normalized racism in the Philippines is not an excuse to contribute to a culture of ingrained prejudice—and by the way, no, you can’t say the n-word.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI


 
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