Monday, January 29, 2007

Dr. Pura Santillan-Castrence
-Author, columnist, critic, linguist, scholar, professor and pioneer diplomat.

WHAT WE FILIPINOS SHOULD KNOW: (Note: Bold and/or underlined words are HTML links. Click on them to see the linked posting/article. Forwarding the postings to relatives and friends, especially in the homeland, is greatly appreciated)


Renato Perdon, a Filipino author based in Australia emailed to say that Pura Santillan-Castrence passed away last Monday evening, January 17, 2006. She was 101 years, 9 months and 15 days old. Ms. Castrence death is a great loss to us native Filipinos.

It seems true, unfortunately, that many Filipinos, at home and abroad, are not even aware of her as I was a year ago. That was only in February 2006, when Renato surprisingly asked me to review two books, one written by Mrs. Castrence and another by him. It was encouraging given that I am neither a trained journalist nor writer. Anyway, I did so enthusiastically as I enjoyed reading the two very informative and insightful books: Mr. Perdon's "Brown Americans of Asia" and Ms. Castrence's "As I See It: Filipinos and the Philippines".

To introduce these books, please check out the reviews found in my blogsite posted as: Brown Americans of Asia I encourage everyone to obtain these two books as there is so much to learn about our history, ourselves as a people, at times entertainingly, from their pages.

Some quotations from her book:

"Many Filipinos are what I call Sunday-religious, that is they go to church every Sunday, take in confession and communion, but the rest of the week they bribe and do corrupt deeds..."

"Certain marks of colonization are still manifested by the people. I have arbitrarily identified these marks as dependence, subservience and compromise."

"Only the strong, unrelenting efforts of Filipino people can erase the blemishes to our culture and remove the negative label attached to it. Fortunately, there are concerned Filipinos who, with all their might, attack 'these cultural damages' with the pen and with the tongue. They are unrelenting."

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Dr. Pura Santillan-Castrence

Pura Santillan-Castrence passed away, she was 101 years old ‘Nanay Pura’ as she is known among friends and admirers in Australia died in sleep peacefully on Monday evening in the presence of her loving daughters, grandchildren and close friends.

Santillan-Castrence, who is scheduled to receive a Dangal ng Haraya Lifetime Achievement Award for Cultural Promotions, one of the highest recognitions from the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, at the 3rd Gawad Alab ng Haraya awarding ceremony on 23 February 2007 at the NCCA Building inIntramuros, left us a legacy that spanned almost 90 years of promoting Philippine cultural heritage.

She is survived by her four daughters Lina, Leti, Olivia, Sylvia, and sonsJose, Roberto and Ricardo, and countless grandchildren and great-grandchildren.The forthcoming Dangal ng Haraya award is a tribute to her lasting contributions to Philippine arts and culture. The NCCA has judged Dr.Santillan-Castrence’s commitment and contributions to the field of culture as exemplary.

From her present residence in Melbourne, Australia, two weeks before she died, Dr. Castrence said, “I am very happy and honored to accept the 2006 Dangal ang Haraya (Lifetime Achievement) Award for Cultural Promotions from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts of the Philippines. I wish to thank the Bayanihan News of Sydney, Australia, which nominated me for such a prestigious award recognizing my contribution to our country. I am very grateful too, to the Board of Judges for considering me a worthy recipient of this award.”

Santillan-Castrence was a prolific essayist, journalist, columnist, critic, linguist and translator; she was also a Barbour Scholar, a pioneer Filipino diplomat, and a university professor. She would have been 102nd years old on March 24, 2007, shortly after receiving the prestigious Dangal ng Harayacitation. Despite her age and blindness, she continued to write regularly for numerous publications such as the Bayanihan News in Australia and The Manila Mail, aweekly Filipino American paper, in Washington, D.C.

Her writing career was highlighted with the recent book released entitled “As I See It: Filipinos and the Philippines” - a compilation of the essays on subjects ranging from history to nostalgia. Earlier publications include “Women’s Sense” and “The Women Characters in Rizal’s Novels,” a study on the women who inhabited “Noli me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo.” Along with other pioneers, Castrence is credited with helping to develop the Filipino essay in English as a potent medium for social change from the1920s to the present.

Prof. Randy David notes Pura Santillan-Castrence’s “powerful memory and unerring insight. She writes about the Philippines with the nostalgia of a native who has known a gentler time, and with the wisdom of a seer who has glimpsed the future… (She) has spent a lifetime promoting the Filipino national tradition. We are a richer people because of her. I am very happy to know that the NCCA is giving her the Dangal ng Haraya Award for CulturalPromotion. No recognition can be more appropriate and timely.”

Dr. Nicanor Tiongson, dean of the College of Mass Communication at theUniversity of the Philippines says of “As I See It”: “….there can be nobetter tribute to Pura Santillan-Castrence, pioneering feminist andrespected writer, than the publication of her most recent columns, many of which are valuable eyewitness accounts of events and personalities decisive in Philippine history." Dr. Tiongson agreed that the NCCA award is a recognition of the important legacy of the deceased.

Dr. Mina Roces, historian and scholar at the University of New South Wales in Sydney considers this book “rare and valuable for historians and Filipinos interested in narratives of the past. She deserves this latest recognition awarded by the NCCA.”

For further information about the book, call the Philippine National Historical Institute (5230905) and The Manila Prints, Sydney, Australia(+612-9313 8179.

PS. Acquantances and friends found it difficult to get them in the USA and even in our own homeland (I do not know why). Go through your friends and relatives, etc. in Australia or via online.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Women in Jose Rizal's Novels (with Addendum: 12/12/2012)

" Fear history, for it respects no secrets" - Gregoria de Jesus (widow of Andres Bonifacio)

"I think that one of the most serious injuries inflicted upon us by our colonial masters has been on our very psyches, in the way we look at the world and the way we look at ourselves." - Delia Aguilar

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PLEASE DONATE CORE/FUNDAMENTAL SUBJECT BOOKS TO OUR HOMELAND (i.e. your hometown public schools, Alma Mater, etc.). Those books that you and/or your children do not need or want; or buy books from your local library during its cheap Book Sales. Also, cargo/door-to-door shipment is best.  It is a small sacrifice.  [clean up your closets or garage - donate books.THANKS!]
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The following previous posts and the RECTO READER are essential about us native, Malay Filipinos and are therefore always presented in each new post. Click each to open/read.
  1. WHAT WE FILIPINOS SHOULD KNOW:
  2. WHAT IS NATIONALISM [Filipino Nationalism]?
  3. Our Colonial Mentality and Its Roots 
  4. The Miseducation of the Filipino (Formation of our Americanized Mind)
  5. Jose Rizal - Reformist or Revolutionary?
  6. The Purpose of Our Past, Why Study (Our) History?
  7. Studying and Rethinking Our Philippine History
  8. Globalization (Neoliberalism) – The Road to Perdition in Our Homeland
  9. Resisting Globalization (WTO Agreements)
  10. Virtues of De-Globalization
  11. Our Filipino Kind of Religion
  12. Our Filipino Christianity and Our God-concept
  13. When Our Religion Becomes Evil
THE RECTO READER is presented in several postings. Click each to open/read:

NOTE: Recto's cited cases, examples or issues were of his time, of course; but realities in our homeland in the present and the foreseeable future are/expectedly much, much worse. Though I am tempted to update them with current issues, it's best to leave them as they are since Recto's paradigms about our much deepened national predicament still ring relevant, valid and true. In short, Recto saw the forest and never got lost in the trees.- Bert



  1. THE FILIPINO MIND blog contains 532 published postings you can view, as of December 12, 2012. 
  2. The postings are oftentimes long and a few readers have claimed being "burnt out."  My apologies. The selected topics are not for entertainment but to stimulate deep, serious thoughts per my MISSION Statement and hopefully to rock our boat of  ignorance, apathy, complacency and hopefully lead to active citizenship.
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Hi All,


Some of us may have seen in print media or on the internet stories and myths about the women in Rizal's life, which are for the most part dealing with trivia. 

After stumbling into this article by Ms. Linda Acupanda McGloin, who wrote with great insight about the women in Rizal's two famous novels: Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, I feel the need to reread them (last time 30+ years ago) and further appreciate the genius of Jose Rizal, one of our greater national heroes.

The below article on McGloin's interpretations are profoundly relevant for us native Filipinos in understanding ourselves:  our class-conscious culture and society, our customs and values, way of thinking and behaving, our so-called damaged culture, all of which are in large part products of our colonial history, of cultural imperialism that dominates us native Filipinos and the homeland, then and now.

- Bert
"Upang maitindig natin ang bantayog ng ating lipunan, kailangang radikal nating baguhin hindi lamang ang ating mga institusyon kundi maging ang ating pag-iisip at pamumuhay. Kailangan ang rebolusyon, hindi lamang sa panlabas, kundi lalo na sa panloob!" --Apolinario Mabini, La Revolucion Filipina (1898)


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Colonization: It's Impact on Self-Image
Philippine Women in Rizal's Novels and Today

By Linda Acupanda McGloin, FFP Bulletin (Spring/Summer 1992).

The problem of colonization may be compared to a cancer of the body and the soul--a foreign body forces its way into a healthy, living mass, digs its heels into its structural systems, flows through its nerve centers, and creates a colonial mindset. José Rizal spoke of such a cancer in his novel Noli Me Tangere, one of the earliest literary attempts to reveal the colonial mindset phenomenon. Colonization not only shaped the political and economic landscape of the Philippines, it also influenced cultural expressions and mental processes.

Whatever serious historical and collaborative researchers would declare as a more reliable account of a people, the question of history bears directly on the problem of identity, which brings us to the difficulty of definition.


What is a Filipina? Is she Asian or Western? Is she the reluctant leader Corazon Aquino, or is she the self-proclaimed "symbol of beauty for her people" Imelda Marcos? Is she the modern-day Gabriela Silang who envisions and works towards cross-sectoral changes, or is she one of the millions of faceless and nameless struggling multitude who does anything just to put rice on the table, the ordinary Juana de la Cruz?

The notion of identity for Philippine women reflects the problem of national identity for men and women alike. Unlike those of many of its Asian neighbors, the Philippine national psyche has been pounded by the fists of several masters. Each of these experiences has left their scars as each foreign power brought with it the trappings of sexual oppression and subjugation of their own systems. This is not to say that the pre-colonial Philippines was free of sexual exploitation, but when those values were grafted onto the colonial social, economic, and political institutions forged over centuries of foreign rule, the task of defining one's identity as a Filipina became even more complicated.

Given the importance of literature in expressing social and historical events, the following question is posed within the context of national identity: Can literature contribute to the formation of identity, or the perpetuation of conflicting self-images? Literature has played an important role in the history of people. 


The Philippines presents interesting glimpses of early culture expressed by way of legends, myths, maxims, and proverbs. In spite of the censorship of social ballads and poetry during the Spanish and American colonial periods, other forms, such as song, dance and drama, flourished along with other literary expressions.

The Philippine mythical version of creation (the tale of a bamboo split open by the constant pecking of a bird disclosing the first man and woman who rose together from the hollow of the split bamboo) reveals two seemingly concurrent concepts which might have contributed to the notion of the "Filipina mystique."

First, in contrast to the Eve-from-Adam's rib version, the pre-colonial narration of simultaneous births lends support to the implication of intended balance or equity. [This is not to say that the question of identity and equality are the same. Indeed, women remain unequal to men in wages, social mobility, etc., but may have no identity crisis in their lives.] 


Second, the succeeding colonial period carried the colonial thinking which attempted to replace this mythical notion of equality with the reality of a feudal hierarchy. Despite the attempt to eclipse the pre-colonial notion of gender equality, Philippine history is replete with examples of women who adhere to the notion of equality but, at the same time, accept the reality of hierarchy.

The implication of an early paradigm of gender character and equality may have, to some extent, begun the process of identity formation. On the surface, the Philippine myth does not seem to introduce the notion of conflict. What is projected is compatibility and harmony. Just when and how, then, did the problems of identity conflict for the Philippine woman come about? The language of the colonizer is found to not only serve as a vehicle for literary expression, but also for setting forth the idealized image of a Filipina from a male perspective.

A brief glance at literature shows an evolution of sorts of the Filipina from the pre-colonial Maganda of indigenous folklore, to the early 1800s Laura who epitomizes beauty and faithful acceptance of her role as prescribed by culture, religion, and society; and to the fictional characterization of womanhood drawn from two works of historical fiction by José Rizal, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. Although Rizal's central protagonists in both novels are men, the significance of the women characters lies in their symbolic portrayals of a people of many images, of a country torn apart by race, culture, and class. In Rizal's attempt to define a nation's identity by addressing the need for national reforms and by exposing the evils of colonialism, he may have also encouraged the need to demystify the Filipina.

The colonial Spanish period's desired image of a Filipina is embodied in the character of María Clara--beautiful, demure, modest, patient, devoutly religious, cultured, submissive, and virginal. The blood that runs through her veins is more European than native. Her ancestry is noted since it has a bearing on the idealized model of a Filipina, the Roman Catholic's Virgin Mary, European and foreign. María Clara belongs to the elite; her kindness is not to be equated, however, with social awareness. She is a repressed woman and her weakness and despair over a lost love overwhelm her, enabling powerful and sinister forces to slowly drive her to death.

Perhaps, to a certain degree, this "ideal" is still upheld today, contributing to the confusion of identity formation, for the original application of the character "Filipino" was only for Spaniards and their descendants who lived on the islands; the indigenous natives were simply called "indios." The 19th century saw a character reversal process: the latter ("indios") who have capitulated, are now called "Filipinos" while the former, mostly direct descendants of colonizers, now prefer to call themselves "Spanish."

The character Doña Victorina is a reflection of the triumph of colonialism--the alteration of behavior and thinking patterned after the character's perception of a superior race. One hundred years ago, there was a Doña Victorina. Today, the trappings of a colonial mindset persist, and is expressed in the attraction to look Western and to consume Western goods. Doña Victorina is a characterization of lost identity. Her frivolity, and that of Paulita Gómez, who is greatly enamored by the trappings of the elite, who loves the man who could maintain the needs of her class, and who is a vain and flighty version of María Clara, may be seen today in the persona of Imelda Marcos.

The likes of Imelda Marcos also mirrors, ironically, another Rizal character, Doña Consolación, who can be described as an interesting specimen of colonial deformation. She may serve as an example of "the dehumanization of the indio," a case of total alienation from her original self, or from her potential self.

The character Sisa also represents the opposite image of Paulita, a contradiction of the so-called high status and the liberated label describing the Filipino women today. She is the woman Mary Hollensteiner speaks of in her article, "The Wife": quietly suffering from subjugation, sacrificing to put food on the table, living only for her sons. Sisa represents the silent victims of an oppression which drove her to madness and death. There are millions of Sisas in the Philippines today: the unfortunate women who are scavenging for food in the mountains of trash, the degraded women whose bodies are used as commodities, and the abused wives who are repeatedly beaten by their husbands.

The other woman, Julí, emerges as the one character who chooses death over a life in shame. She suffers abuse and humiliation working as a servant to pay her family's debt. She brings to mind the women of today who work for starvation wages. Julí refuses to be coerced, her death liberates her from oppression. Among these characters, perhaps Julí best characterizes a sense of purpose and identity.

In Rizal's characters, the women who seem to be able to obtain their desired needs no matter the consequences
are Doña Victorina, Paulita Gómez, and Doña Consolación. On the other hand, misfortune seems to be the fate of the women whose consciousness could be raised to levels higher than that of self-sacrifice. The all-giving attitude of María Clara, Sisa, and Julí leads them to their deaths.

Within their social strata, each character is confronted with varying degrees of oppression which in turn defines the parameters of liberation. In their ambition to hold on to the symbols of the ruling class, the former group has made themselves seemingly strong and highly visible handmaidens of a system which feeds on varying levels of coercion and subjugation. 


The latter group's retreat into death or madness carries two concurrent views: 1) the strength to exercise a final liberation as a form of defiance to oppression, and 2) the weakness and inability to confront any form of injustice. Who is more oppressed? Who has really liberated herself? Perhaps, what we are seeing is the notion that oppression has slowed down the process towards a national identity in general and towards a Filipina identity in particular. The reality is that the Philippines is a country still going through the throes of colonization.

Why is the resolution of identity important? Delia Aguilar gives a sobering view in her article, "On the Women's Movement Today": "I think that one of the most serious injuries inflicted upon us by our colonial masters has been on our very psyches, in the way we look at the world and the way we look at ourselves."

Indeed, there are those who have catapulted to the highest ranks, such as Corazon Aquino and Imelda Marcos, who embody differences in substance, style, and character. However, there are contradictions. Corazon Aquino's high visibility, status, and power contradicts the image of a meek and subservient wife loyal to the memory of her husband; while Imelda Marcos, the "Iron Butterfly" of unparalleled extravagance, is a drastic contrast to the image of a once dutiful and subservient wife. Despite the fact that both overcame the traditional roles assigned to women of their social class by reaching positions of political power, they remain subservient to the memories of their husbands, but exemplify the interests of the class they represent.

Class interest is perhaps the overriding difference between highly visible women, such as Corazon Aquino and Imelda Marcos, and the fervent activist women carrying the legacy of an intellectualized Gabriela Silang. While women in power and women working for empowerment both assert a heritage and demand a platform, the contradiction probably lies in the former's subservience and the latter's ability to address issues that cut across class lines.

But class again diametrically separates political women from those who suffer in silence, such as the patient and self-sacrificing women who toil to feed their families, work in sweat shops, as vendors, scavengers, and prostitutes. There are also those who come faceless and nameless for they may flit and slide and go seemingly where the wind blows. All these, indeed, a kaleidoscope of conflicting Filipina identities.

Not only do Rizal's novels provide a matrix for identity and conflict, they also allow a rare view of a people's past which formed their culture today, and of a social cancer of which, up to the present, "the best cure" is still to be found. In the process of identity formation or perpetuation of identity conflict, the women in Rizal's novels best serve as bridges in the development process, allowing the flow from the early 1800s mythical formation to the current emerging identity. The social, cultural and political context of both past and present are mirrored in the novels.

The myth of the "high status" of the Filipina has caused Philippine women, wittingly or unwittingly, to become at times participants in their own oppression. This "containment by elevation" has allowed the essence of womanhood to be subjected to and dictated by rules and regulations formulated by and for the satisfaction of a colonial society. Philippine women find themselves attempting to wade out of a quagmire of confusion over their identity. With each attempt at clarification comes the difficulty of discernment, giving rise to the question: Will the real Filipina please come forward?

Rosalinda A. McGloin is originally from Dumaguette, Negros Oriental, Philippines, where she received her undergraduate degree from St. Paul's College. She received her Master's degree in liberal studies from Duke University in 1990 with a concentration in Third World Literature. She is currently working as the statewide coordinator for Multi-Cultural Organizations for the North Carolina Arts Council of the Department of Cultural Resources. She lives in Durham, NC with her husband and two sons.


Source: http://www.boondocksnet.com/centennial/sctexts/lamrizal.html


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RIZAL

The infirm and salivating members of the Knights of Rizal may not know it and will certainly deny it but the Americans who chose Rizal as the national hero of the Philippines did well for them. For today, a great majority of the members of the Fraternity are there to preserve the cult of the martyr of bagumbayan against the determined efforts of the part of young and sensitive Filipinos to promote the ascendancy of Bonifacio and Mabini to a more prominent place in our echelon of leaders and heroes.

In a way, the Knights of Rizal and others of their curious thinking and social predilection are compelled to stand by their idol for fear that the popularity of Bonifacio and Mabini and, consequently, of their teaching, might bring about a transvaluation of values which may well be the first move that will lead to the displacement of those who compose the privileged class.

It is possible to argue, of course, that in their blind worship of Rizal, many of the members of the Knights of Rizal are oblivious of the tremendous implications of their strange behavior.  But the fact that most of them move in affluent circles has imparted the elements of class to the simple process of choosing the proper national hero for the Filipinos.

But what, the question can justifiably be asked, should the criteria for choosing, say, Bonifacio rather than Rizal or Mabini rather than Marcelo H. Del Pilar?

Is the courage displayed by Rizal at bagumbayan on December 30, 1896 the supreme quality that should entitle him to be the national hero? Should his uncanny ability to master languages be counted in his favor? Or should his numerous love affairs, as recorded in the pages of a nonnook by one who had prifited from the Rizal centenary, constitute a point to be posted in the credit column of his ledger?

All these granted, there remains the embarrassing inquiry, into his inability --refusal would be a better word --to read what o'clock it was, to know that when he was organizing La Liga Filipina, any plea for the continuation of relationships with Spain even under the most favorable circumstances was literally an act of treason to the Philippines, and to realize that when he did not give his sanction to the formation of any society for action, he was, as a matter of truth, simply dissembling his desire to preserve the status quo.

It has often been argued that Rizal's capacity for action had been corroded by his powers of thought. Unhappily, even a meticulous search among the hundreds of papers he had written will not reveal a single original idea which could have pragmatic sanction in the field of action. This painful truth that must be admitted is that Rizal was not a man of action, like Bonifacio was, not because he was a man of thought, but because he was afraid, deadly afraid, of the logical consequences of action.

In a word, he had the wisdom to realize that any action, particularly revolutionary action, participated in and led by the dispossessed like Bonifacio would be a leveling process that may bring up the propertyless to the level of the propertied but will surely bring down the men of property to the level of the poor.

Thus, to the elite which still rules our society, Rizal remains the ideal hero. He is safe, and what is more important, is that even his foibles are the very foibles of his worshipers.

How long Jose Rizal will remain in high official regard is something that cannot be determined by rule of thumb. After all, the hero of the people, like their government, is what they deserve.

But one indication that Rizal might not retain his premier position in the national pantheon for long is that the young Filipinos who are fast coming to the fore are beginning to be disturbed by the thought that the consuming ambition of the man whopse birth and death they are celebrating annually was to remain a subject of Spain. (12-28-1968).

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Limitations of Rizal

Today,three days before the anniversary of the execution of Jose Rizal, the votaries of the increasingly large cult of the national hero will smoother him with praise as if he were a Rotarian or an overgrown Jaycee, and the doddering members of that strange and curious organization known as "Knights of Rizal" will try, yet once more, to transform his fraities into canonical virtues.

Every town square which boasts of a Rizal monument --and what public square in this country does not? -- will be whitewashed and preparations made for the annual parade, beauty contest and program.

The speeches will be delivered by the political leaders of the community, and will invariably dwell, as if it were a feat of automation, on the heroism, the sacrifices, and the teachings of the good doctor. The clincher will be the usual, "Emulate the example of our great hero," a sentence which on the lips of our politicians, sounds as cheap and transparent as a procurer's propositioning.

What has happened to Rizal is that, perhaps through no fault of his own, he has become a carnival hero, and like all carnival heroes, he is worshiped and honored in a degree that is completely out of proportion to his intrinsic merits --his merits, that is, viewed under the aspect of eternity.

For while it is proper to say that some of the most vivid scenes in the novels have in them a measure of relevance to the conditions of the time, it would be a wild exaggeration to insist that Rizal can still be regarded as a guide and inspiration in the task of transforming our basically static society into a dynamic one.

Moreover, it is just possible that Rizal would be an anachronism among a people the vast majority of whom are youths who have been detached by their will to survival from the old scale of values which dominated the lives of their forebears.

How, to ask the first question that comes to mind, can those youths, with the dynamic example of their counterparts in the more advanced regions of the world staring down in the face, accept the meliorist and ultimately self-defeating advocacies of Rizal?

Once, the great Goethe was asked what he thought of a certain poet who was enjoying a great popularity. "He can serve us no more," Goethe answered. A frankly utilitarian approach, one might say. But with poets as with the heroes, the approach must be utilitarian.

For the over-riding fact about Rizal is that after 1892, he could serve us no more. One is under a severe compulsion to admit that from the days of the Propaganda Movement to the fateful year of 1892, Rizal was necessary and the work he performed was the rough equivalent of the work performed by Voltaire and other french intellectuals to prepare the ground for the Revolution.

But the completely middle-class background of Rizal and the passion he had for security and stability made him useless, made him a hindrance, as a matter of fact, to the fulfillment of the task of shifting from mere prpaganda to political action.

This is why the pertinent question to ask is whether Rizal, with his devotion to the job of preserving the status quo, with slight modifications to give the status of his class some dignity, can be of service and inspirationto the armies of young men and young women who have learned to express their protests in terms of rallies and demonstrations.

The worn-out aphorisms with which Tasio regaled Crisostomo and the exhortations of Elias are dependable standbys in the staging of Rizal pageants. But in the grim task of changing the structure of society in a manner that will save the present-day versions of Crispin and Tarsilo from the fate which befell their predecessors in the novel, what is needed is what Rizal feared most and which Bonifacio and Mabini embraced willingly --political action.

Rizal would make a perfect hero for a society which has been isolated from stress and want. But in the Philippines today is not that society. The young Filipinos who will soon hold the floor have become venturesome, and, what is of utmost importance, they havev made themselves receptive to the example of their fellows elsewhere. To them, therefore, Rizal has nothing to say. (12-27-1968).

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The Rizal cultists

The current flood of pamphlets and books on the national hero should be an occasion for rejoicing in those quarters which, for a long time now, have been working to the end that the essence of the man's teachings will sink into the minds of as many Filipinos as possible.

Under normal circumstances, this should be so. But it is unfortunate that the works which have been published, with the exception of a tiny handful, are the result of the labors of a rising group composed of so-called Rizalists. What this horrid term really means, we do not know, but we are sure that it can never have the same meaning as Jeffersonian scholar or Thomist. The reason for this is obvious.  For Rizal, whatever his stature as a national hero, in the light of accepted standards, had certain limitations as a thinker.

But the Rizalists refuse to accept this limitations. One of them, a fellow with more enthusiasm than sense, has made a habit of insisting that Rizal was as great as Victor Hugo and Leonardo. Thus arrant nonsense has only served to make the national hero appear ridiculous in the eyes of objective readers.

This movement of making Rizal more than he was will continue. For the Rizalists are a determined lot. And since the vast majority of them are equipped neither with the patience nor the insight of true scholars, what they will ultimately accomplish is frightening even to contemplate.

Already they have made an esoteric cult of the hero. There are published works on his love affairs. There are pamphlets on his travels and evn brochures on the hotels he stayed in. There are long essays puporting to interpret his adolescent poems in terms he never imagined. Above all, there is a constant strwam of articles on his most trivial thoughts.

This is all very regrettable, for granting his limitations, Rizal left some very sound ideas whcih can serve us today. These ideas, which form the core of his essays and novels, have a validity all their own. And strange as it may seem to the Rizalists, these ideas can stand by themselves,  without being propped up by the hardly relevant fact that Rizal was a compulsive lover or by the fact that he spoke, according to an oppressively ignorant Rizalist, eighteen languages.

Why this concentration on the incidental acts of the hero rather than on his ideas? The simple answer is that any analysis of the latter requires an intellectual precision and an imagination that the average Rizalist lacks. It is even possible that he is in mortal fear of Rizal's ideas. Or that, in obedience to the compulsions of his betters, he has made it his duty to deflect popular attention from those ideas to the less serious accomplishments of Rizal.

This is the danger that the so-called Rizalists pose. For if they succeed completely in their organized effort to surround Rizal with their cultist cloud, the image of the national hero will degenerate to the level of quaint personality.

Thus the Rizalist will acomplish with their adoration for the hero what Rizal's enemies have failed to accomplish with their fear and hatred of his thoughts and ideas. (6-19-1962).


Source: SOLIONGCO TODAY, A Contemporary from the Past..Edited by Prof. Renato Constantino, 1981, pages 243-254

NOTE: As alluded to in the Preface:  Mr. Indalecio (Yeyeng) P. Soliongco was editorial writer/columnist of the Manila Chronicle from the late 1940s to 1971. He wrote over 8000 columns in his "Seriously Speaking" column. He discussed various subjects but concentrating on day-to-day sociopolitical developments; exposing the hypocrisy, lack of intellectual and moral integrity of many public figure.



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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sharing A Patriot's Pain

WHAT WE FILIPINOS SHOULD KNOW: (Note: Bold and/or underlined words are HTML links. Click on them to see the linked posting/article. Forwarding the postings to relatives and friends, especially in the homeland, is greatly appreciated.)

To those who wonder "why dig the past": We engage in revisiting and revising our past, i.e. historical "revisionism", to develop new emphases and raise new questions on assumptions and explanations on key historical issues and policies --given by our former colonial master America, government officials and authors of history books, then and now.

We Filipinos, here and abroad, past and present, relied and continue to use these official explanations that lead only to our ignorance of hidden truths and knowledge of untruths, thus perpetuating the (neo)colonial conditions of the past that brought only worsening impoverishment to the masses; foreign control of the national economy and the plunder of our national patrimony.

Given the preceding thoughts in our minds, it is worthwhile to post the below article which demonstrates a few facts that we -most of us- were made to miss at school. Article was forwarded by Ms. Gemma Cruz-Araneta.

“Nations, whose NATIONALISM is destroyed, are subject to ruin.” - Colonel Muhammar Qaddafi, 1942-, Libyan Political and Military Leader

"Upang maitindig natin ang bantayog ng ating lipunan, kailangang radikal nating baguhin hindi lamang ang ating mga institusyon kundi maging ang ating pag-iisip at pamumuhay. Kailangan ang rebolusyon, hindi lamang sa panlabas, kundi lalo na sa panloob!" --Apolinario Mabini, La Revolucion Filipina (1898)

"If it is
commercialism to want the possession of a strategic point [Philippines] giving the American people an opportunity to maintain a foothold in the markets of that great Eastern country [China], for God's sake let us have commercialism." – U.S. Senator Mark Hanna,(1837-1904)

“There is no literate population in the world that is poor; there is no illiterate population that is anything but poor.” – John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006)


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A Patriot’s pain
Manila Bulletin, Tuesday, 19 December 2006
Landscape, Gemma Cruz Araneta

December should be declared our patriotic month as so many things happened to us during this month—the execution of Dr. Jose Rizal in 1896,the Battle of Pasong Tirad in 1898, followed by the ratification by the US Senate of that deed of sale known as the “Treaty of Paris”. We should not forget the bombing of Pearl Harbor, of more recent memory.

There are probably other events, many glorious and some ignoble, yet to be discovered. Filipinos have been kept in the dark about our own history.I gave myself an early Christmas gift. I bought a book with brittle pages,unraveling at the spine, but which cost me an arm and a leg. I felt I had to buy it as I was almost moved to tears by the author’s foreword.

Felipe G. Calderon, patriot, lawyer and author of the Malolos Constitution wrote: Mis memorias sobre la Revolucion Filipina:segunda etapa 1898 a 1901.In his foreword,”Por que publico estas memorias” (literally- why I publish these memoirs),Calderon said he felt deep anguish when he learned that the majority of private school students who took the entrance exams to the Escuela de Medicina del Gobierno, did not even get a passing grade because they failed “Historia de Filipinas”.

Apparently, one of the questions was about the Pacto de Biak-na-Bato which most students from non-government institutions had not even heard of. Calderon sadly observed that private schools had neglected the teaching of “la Historia Patria” and felt that was “verdaderamente desconsolador”(truly disconsolate). On the other hand, in public schools, Philippine history was taught but from the point of view of the American colonial masters.

In 1905, three hundred students signed the audacious “Memorial de los Estudiantes Filipinos” a document prepared for US Senator William J. Bryan who came to the Philippines for a visit. Although the First Republic had been crushed, its embers glowed as the students (future doctors, pharmacists and lawyers) denounced the atrocities of the American invasion, in no polite terms, and demanded complete and absolute Independence. Things must have changed so drastically in two years that Felipe Calderon felt constrained to write his memoirs.

This brings to mind another book, A Brief History of the Philippines, by Leandro H. Fernandez,Ph.D. who was once head of the History Department of the University of the Philippines. His opus was published by no less than Ginn and Company in 1919, he year when the Flag Law was finally abrogated.

As you know, in 1907, when elections were held for the first Philippine Assembly, the Filipino flag was a rallying point of the candidates who clamored for immediate Independence. Immediately, the Flag Law was imposed, prohibiting the public display of our nation colors and emblem.

Subsequently, revised editions of Fernandez’s work were published in 1932 (before the Commonwealth), and in 1951. Published five years after our Independence was finally restored, Fernandez’s history book still carried the “disclaimer” which probably appeared in 1919: “Controversial views have purposely been omitted, on the ground that such discussions, though they may be of advantage to maturer students, serve only to confuse young pupils.”

Felipe Calderon must have turned in his grave when that came out and has not stopped doing so because generations of Filipinos continue learning abridged and fragmented versions of their history. Many of the “controversial views” so studiously omitted by Fernandez had been meticulously compiled by Calderon in his Memorias.

Before it falls apart, I am reading his book and sharing the patriot’s pain.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Arroyo Government Taunts Judicial System as It Connives with the U.S. in Shameless Mockery of Sovereignty
BY THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PEOPLE'S LAWYERS-PHILIPPINES (IAPL)
Posted by Bulatlat

WHAT WE FILIPINOS SHOULD KNOW: (Note: Bold and/or underlined words are HTML links. Click on them to see the linked posting/article. Forwarding the postings to relatives and friends, especially in the homeland, is greatly appreciated.)

“Nations, whose NATIONALISM is destroyed, are subject to ruin.” - Colonel Muhammar Qaddafi, 1942-, Libyan Political and Military Leader

"Upang maitindig natin ang bantayog ng ating lipunan, kailangang radikal nating baguhin hindi lamang ang ating mga institusyon kundi maging ang ating pag-iisip at pamumuhay. Kailangan ang rebolusyon, hindi lamang sa panlabas, kundi lalo na sa panloob!" --Apolinario Mabini, La Revolucion Filipina (1898)

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Arroyo Government Taunts Judicial System as It Connives with the U.S. in Shameless Mockery of Sovereignty
BY THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PEOPLE'S LAWYERS-PHILIPPINES (IAPL)Posted by Bulatlat

The Philippine Chapter of the International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) vehemently denounces the recent escape of convicted rapist Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith to the US Embassy staged by conniving Philippine and US officials.

As a national chapter of an international organization of human rights lawyers especially from countries where oppression is most severe, the violations of human rights are most widespread and the people's struggle is most intense, the IAPL-Philippines stands firm to contribute its part to uphold the sovereignty and freedom of nations.

The latest brazen episode that spirited away US serviceman Smith highlights the lopsided relations that the US has with servile governments like the Philippines as institutionalized in unequal agreements, treaties and arrangements like the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). It not only underscores the arrogance of US military forces all over the world for vicious crimes like rape but ultimately their impunity for international crimes against humanity, war crimes, aggression and genocide.

The US does this not only by refusing to be bound or by ignoring international humanitarian law and useful mechanisms like the International Criminal Court (ICC) but also foisting self-serving bilateral agreements or twisting them to suit its purposes of worldwide political, economic and military supremacy.

Even more despicable is the connivance of high Philippine government officials taking their cue from Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo who fall all over themselves in courting favor with the US in exchange for military exercises and plunderous investments that do not benefit the people.

By practically lawyering for the US criminal serviceman and barefacedly toeing the US line, Mrs. Arroyo and her cabal of spin doctors in her administration taunt the judicial system as it connives with the US in shameless mockery of our national sovereignty. It is the height of injustice to the Filipina victim and to the Filipino people who have been given, albeit short-lived, some glimmer of hope that in spite of the maneuverings and mendicancy of the government, some form of justice can still be achieved if they are vigilant.

The IAPL-Philippines strongly supports legal moves to cite in contempt the high government officials and their US masters even as it views as very disappointing the latest Court of Appeals ruling that the outstanding issue of custody as moot, thereby objectively falling into the grand design of conspiracy between servile high Philippine officials and their US masters or, worse, unwittingly justifying their actions.

Mrs. Arroyo will have to face sooner or later not only the judgment of the people that she has time and again betrayed in exchange for subservient ties with the US and in her inebriated obsession of staying in power but also the judgment of international law and of history.

3 January 2007

REFERENCES:
Edre U. Olalia, Esq., IAPL President
Rachel F. Pastores, Esq., IAPL Philippine Delegation Head



© 2006 Bulatlat ■ Alipato Media Center

Permission is granted to reprint or redistribute this article, provided its author/s and Bulatlat are properly credited and notified.


Source: http://www.bulatlat.com/news/6-48/6-48-iapl.htm



Technorati tags: , ,

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Subic Rape Case - American Imperialism and Servile Filipino Rulers (UPDATED)



"What the US and the Philippine government have connived to teach you is imperialism's most insidious lesson: that whatever you do is an exercise in futility, because you are a citizen of a client state, because your country is a claptrap Third World country without power, because your government is a failed government, because your country is not independent, because you are part of a "colored" race, and because there are among you people who prefer survival to dignity and honor." - Ninotchka Rosca



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PLEASE DONATE CORE SUBJECT BOOKS TO OUR HOMELAND (i.e. your hometown public schools, alma mater, etc.). Those books that you and/or your children do not need or want; or buy books from your local library during its cheap Book Sales. Also, cargo/door-to-door shipment is best.  It is a small sacrifice.  [clean up your closets or garage - donate books.THANKS!]
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The following previous posts and the RECTO READER are essential about us native, Malay Filipinos and are therefore always presented in each new post. Click each to open/read.
  1. WHAT WE FILIPINOS SHOULD KNOW:
  2. WHAT IS NATIONALISM [Filipino Nationalism]?
  3. Our Colonial Mentality and Its Roots 
  4. The Miseducation of the Filipino (Formation of our Americanized Mind)
  5. Our Filipino Kind of Religion
THE RECTO READER is presented in several postings. Click below for previous posts:

NOTE: Recto's cited cases, examples or issues were of his time, of course; but realities in our homeland in the present and the foreseeable future are/expectedly much, much worse. Though I am tempted to update them with current issues, it's best to leave them as they are since Recto's paradigms about our much deepened national predicament still ring relevant, valid and true. In short, Recto saw the forest and never got lost in the trees.- Bert

THE FILIPINO MIND blog contains 531 published postings you can view, as of October 25, 2012. Go to the sidebar to search Past & Related Postings, click LABEL [number in parenthesis = total of related postings]; or use the GOOGLE SEARCH at the sidebar using key words [labels, or tags] for topics of interest to you. OR click a bottom label or tag to open related topics.

The postings are oftentimes long and a few readers have claimed being "burnt out."  My apologies. As the selected topics are not for entertainment but to stimulate deep thought (see MISSION Statement) and hopefully to rock the boat of complacency (re MISSION).

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”Bayan Ko” by a Korean choir <--click play="play" song.="song." span="span" to="to">

”Sa Kuko ng Agila” by Freddie Aguilar <-- click="click" play="play" song.="song." span="span" to="to"> 

”Huwad na Kalayaan” by Freddie Aguilar <-- click="click" play="play" song.="song." span="span" to="to">

(8) Forwarding the postings to relatives and friends, ESPECIALLY in the homeland, is greatly appreciated. Use emails, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc. below. THANKS!!

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"The point of public relations slogans like "Support our troops" is that they don't mean anything... That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy? That's the one you're not allowed to talk about." - Noam Chomsky

"...the role of U.S. overseas bases in the world -bases in the Philippines among them-- is to "act as magnets for enemy attacks, thus dispersing and weakening his threat to our cities and fixed installations." --Hanson W. Baldwin (1903-1991), U.S. Naval Academy Class 1924, N.Y. Times Military Editor, stated in the NY Times Weekly 2/17/57 & 8/18/57 - as quoted by Claro M. Recto

"The Phillipines makes a decent representative example of the US' first official exercise in colonial imperialism and formal empire [*], also referred to as "civilizational imperialism" - a project we're presently repeating....Lest this seem to be the bellicose pipe-dream of some dyspeptic desk soldier, let us remember that the military deal of our country has never been defensive warfare. Since the Revolution, only the United Kingdom has beaten our record for square miles of territory acquired by military conquest. Our exploits against the American Indians, against the Filipinos, the Mexicans, and against Spain are on a par with the campaigns of Genghis Khan, the Japanese in Manchuria and the African attack of Mussolini. No country has ever declared war on us before we first obliged them with that gesture. Our whole history shows we have never fought a defensive war. And at the rate our armed forces are being implemented at present, the odds are against our fighting one in the near future." - --Major General Smedley D. Butler, America's Armed Forces: 'In Time of Peace', 1935. 1898-1914: The Phillipines

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Hi All,

The issue here is rape and not the knee-jerk reaction of questioning the character of the woman.

All the six(6) US marines and the Filipino driver should be prosecuted; if only one actually did the act, the rest should be considered conspirators to the crime. And I guess that should be a death penalty if found guilty (am no lawyer but that's what I interpret from the law of the land.).

Whether the six(6) US marines will be successfully prosecuted, convicted and placed in Philippine custody is doubtful given our history in treating offenses and crimes by members of the US military.

Furthermore, the Philippines is a signatory to the US Bilateral Immunity Agreement (BIA) aka Article 98 Agreement imposed by the United States as a (another) condition to receiving American foreign aid, etc.

With our historical weakness, our Americanized minds and awe of America, the result will predictably be a whitewash.

However, I hope I will be wrong.


NOTE: In 1995, anti-base protests broke out in Okinawa in response to the rape of a twelve-year-old girl by three U.S. servicemen, who had rented a car for the purpose, so that they could take her to a remote location and rape her; and in response to the callous view of Admiral Richard C. Macke, commander of all U.S. forces in the Pacific, who told the press: “I think that [the rape] was absolutely stupid. For the price they paid to rent the car, they could have had a girl.”

The widespread protests, led by an organization called Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, were not, however, just in response to this single rape, brutal though it was. 

Between 1972 and 1995, U.S servicemen were implicated in 4,716 crimes, nearly one per day, according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, a conservative Japanese newspaper.

The Japan-U.S. agreement that governs the Okinawa base allows U.S. authorities to refuse Japanese requests for military suspects, and few indeed have suffered any inconvenience for their crimes.

- Bert

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"The point of public relations slogans like "Support our troops" is that they don't mean anything... That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy? That's the one you're not allowed to talk about." - Noam Chomsky


Letter to Nicole: Surrender is Not an Option
By Ninotchka Rosca
Posted by Bulatlat


Just a short note, by way of reminding all that at the center of all the legal, diplomatic and political verbiage on the Subic rape case, is a young woman, not only sexually assaulted and humiliated, but betrayed so thoroughly by those with the power and the responsibility to protect her and lend her justice.

I read about all the issues swirling around you, Nicole, in the various newspapers and Internet news services, and wish we could know you in all your fortitude. I wish we could say "we feel your pain" but we can't really, only imagine it.

I am tempted to say you have already made history; that at least, you got one convicted, at least you got a trial, at least you precipitated a crisis, at least… But that is a cop-out.

Filipinos have been trained to live on the "at-least" level. I hear it all the time, from exported Filipinas: at least, you have a job; at least, you're in the US; at least, you can send money home; at least, your amo (master) is kind; at least…

It's become our prime and only virtue: survival by whatever means, under whatever conditions. I hear it often from women who work 18/7 to enable parents, siblings and various relations to continue to exist in an archipelago so wealthy it's globalization's paradise.

There are no words of comfort to make up for this travesty, to you and to millions of Filipinas living lives of quiet desperation. The Philippines ranks fifth in the world in the number of women working. The first four are all Western developed nations, like Sweden, Denmark, etc. It is a painful irony that a country dependent on women's labor does not have the political will to defend, protect and assert one woman's right to redress of grievance.

What the US and the Philippine government have connived to teach you is imperialism's most insidious lesson: that whatever you do is an exercise in futility, because you are a citizen of a client state, because your country is a claptrap Third World country without power, because your government is a failed government, because your country is not independent, because you are part of a "colored" race, and because there are among you people who prefer survival to dignity and honor.

This is the first lesson of slavery, of course: that sense of futility and helplessness, of powerlessness; of being always in the wrong and the master always in the right. Hence, the contemptible spectacle of some Filipinas lighting candles for a convicted rapist and the equally contemptible spectacle of a priest who had lived parasitically almost his entire life on the Church contributions of the poor of the Philippines denying the veracity of a court trial to defend a member of the master race.

What makes this race a master is the equally contemptible willingness of the country's so-called rulers to be enslaved, thereby dragging the whole nation into enslavement.

Do not accept this. Do not abide by this lesson in powerlessness. Do not internalize powerlessness. That is the first step to slavery.The only thing we can offer, those of us who also work 18/7 scampering to correct each sliver of injustice, each instance of exploitation, each whiplash of racism in this country, are the words we live by: to the degree that you struggle against suppression, to that degree are you already free; to the degree that you resist imperialism, to that degree are you already liberated.

And if it's any comfort, know that you were done in, not by the US marines whom you bested, by a cabal of four-letter men and one five-letter woman masquerading as Filipinos.So, go for it, girl, ignore the "at-leasts" and keep on truckin' to victory, if not by way of the courts, then some other way.

Surrender is not an option.

January 3, 2007


Source: http://www.bulatlat.com/news/6-48/6-48-letter.htm


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"In time of peace, foreign bases serve as protection for foreign investments within the country where the bases are established." - Claro M. Recto



Caving in to U.S. Bullying
By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo 

Posted by Bulatlat

On top of everything else – the lying, stealing, cheating and murdering spree against those her regime has demonized as “enemies of the state” – Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today takes the cake as super toady to the Superpower bully, the United States of America.


 In the process she has managed to stir up latent nationalist sentiments that have been all but smothered by ubiquitous propaganda about “globalization” and the hype about a border-less “war against terrorism” fought with the mighty US war machine.

By authorizing the hasty, clandestine and deceitful transfer of convicted rapist Lance Corporal Daniel Smith to the custody of the US government by means of his illegal, non-court authorized release (prosecution lawyers have categorically labeled it as an assisted escape of a convicted felon) from detention in the Makati City Jail and delivery to the U.S. Embassy, Mrs. Arroyo has proven that she is indeed the U.S. puppet repeatedly condemned in countless protest rallies and demonstrations.

Why does Mrs. Arroyo’s belated admission that it was her decision to get the convicted American soldier out of a Philippine jail and her plea for “understanding” sound pretty much like her "I'm sorry" spiel after being caught red-handed engaging in wholesale electoral fraud? Why are we reminded all over again of her emotional "I will not run (for president)" speech, a promise she promptly abandoned after manufacturing a spurious groundswell of support as well as allegedly receiving divine inspiration to run anyway?

There are three reasons: first, is the familiar ring of insincerity; two, the blatant lying about the grounds for her highly questionable and legally untenable actions; and third, the thinly-veiled attempt to assuage an enraged populace whose reaction to this latest atrocity, Malacanang has obviously underestimated.

This time Mrs. Arroyo’s offense -- or rather, offenses -- is much, much worse. She used her high office to undermine the rule of law, undercut the judicial process as well as surrender national sovereignty to a foreign power. It was bad enough that her government did little to help, or more accurately, helped to sabotage the fight of the Subic rape victim, Nicole, to attain justice by way of the damaging pronouncements and decisions of the Justice Secretary and his deliberately bungling set of public prosecutors.Furthermore, the executive department automatically and consistently concurred with the US interpretation of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) provisions on criminal jurisdiction that clearly favored the accused US marine over the Filipina rape victim. 

The Arroyo regime, in fact, lawyer-ed for the US government (and, effectively, the accused US soldiers) on the issue of custody from day 1 of the commission of the crime. With the unmistakable show of US displeasure as expressed in US President George Bush’s pronouncement and the abrupt and unilateral cancellation of the annual RP-US joint war exercises known as Balikatan as well as humanitarian assistance to typhoon-ravaged areas, the Arroyo regime literally caved in.


It did the unthinkable – gross, ill-disguised flouting of the independence of the judiciary and grave abuse of authority – in springing Smith from his Makati prison and delivering him to the US embassy in true-blue lackey fashion.


The Arroyo administration could not wait for the legal fig leaf of a court order when it failed to get a favorable ruling from RTC Judge Pozon, who had earlier found Mr. Smith guilty, sentenced him to 40 years imprisonment and ordered his temporary incarceration in the Makati city jail until the court decides otherwise, pending diplomatic negotiations between the Philippines and the U.S. as to what detention facility, on Philippine territory, would be used to jail the convict. Failure as well to get a Temporary Restraining Order from the Court of Appeals on Judge Pozon’s order to retain custody over Mr. Smith by incarcerating him in a Philippine jail apparently caused alarm on the part of both Malacanang and the U.S. authorities.1]

Thus the legal cover used by Mrs. Arroyo’s hatchet men amounted to nothing more than the U.S. position that the VFA grants it custody of its erring soldiers no matter that the crime committed is a heinous one under Philippine laws, it had nothing to do with Mr. Smith’s duties as a member of the U.S. military, and he was, in fact, off duty when he committed the rape. In the guise of fidelity to its obligations under the VFA, the Arroyo regime attempts now to cover-up its latest impeachable crimes.This incident is once more threatening to blow up in Mrs. Arroyo’s face revealing just how shaky her regime is and how fearful it is of losing the backing of the U.S.

That is the real meaning of “strategic RP-U.S. relations” for this client regime as it has been for those that preceded it. (The last time this same line was invoked was during the Senate debates on the renewal of the RP-U.S. Bases Agreement when then President Corazon Aquino even led a street march to the Senate to dramatize her support for the bases’ continued stay and thus endeared her to U.S. policymakers.)

On the part of the U.S., it exposes the narrow and aggressive mindset of the current neoconservative leadership of the lone Superpower, used to getting its way unchecked by international law and international public opinion. It also reveals just how much respect the U.S. political leadership has for the dignity and independence of its former colony, now reduced to nothing more, it appears, than disdain for a current neo-colony  a vassal state of the Big White Father.

The Balikatan war exercises are certainly a critical part of US military strategy – having to do with the continuous deployment of US forces and materiel in key regions so as to ensure military readiness and maneuverability in exercising its hegemony. Is the decision to cancel it a measure of its concern for its troops? We think not. The US makes clear that it doesn't want another bad precedent of a client state (aka “ally”) reneging or failing to implement lop-sided military agreements that protect US interests and not get punished for it. The US clearly twisted the arm of the Arroyo regime and got what it wanted.

Of course US spokespersons maintained the propaganda line that this was about implementing the VFA; that this was about protecting its troops. In truth it is about the US having its way in complete disregard of a sovereign country’s justice system and sovereignty and delivering that message loud and clear to the entire world.

US imperialist objectives are of course so much easier to achieve when it deals with a subservient government desperate to cling to power like that of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Published in Business Wolrd5-6 January 2007

Pag-aralan ang lipunan, paglingkuran ang sambayanan!Isulong ang pakikibaka para sa tunay na kalayaan at demokrasya! Isang Inisyatiba ng BAYAN, ang [propagandista] ay kasangkapangpabatiran ng mga propagandista ng iba\'t-ibang samahangprogresibo sa Pilipinas.Para sa impormasyon, sumulat sapropagandista@yahoogroups.com",1]


Source: http://www.bulatlat.com/news/6-48/6-48-bully.htm 


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Women and Armed Conflict -- Foreign Military Bases as a Source of Violence against Women

Presented by Yayori Matsui (Item 5 (b) Rights-Based Approach) 


Madam Chairperson, Extinguished delegates,

It is my honor to be given an opportunity to speak to you on behalf of women and children who are victimized by all forms of violence committed by military personnel in foreign military bases. 

I would like to draw your attention to a major gap in the Beijing Platform for Action concering this issue which was identified at the Asia-Pacific Regional NGO Symposium last month. 

The NGOs at the Symposium reviewed the Platform for Action and pointed out the Gap that, while "foreign military occupation" is included in Section E. Women and Armed Conflict, there is no mention to "the effects of the long-term presence of foreign military bases".

It was recommended that the scope of armed conflict should be broadened to include the long-term presence of foreign military bases. The grave violation of human rights of women and children under such situation is an urgent issue that needs to be clearly acknowledged as a part of the Section E. of the Platform for Action.

The women and children living in areas where foreign military bases are present have been and still are exposed to severe cases of rape and other forms of violence by military personnel stationed in Okinawa, Japan and in Korea. The long term presence of military forces in the Philippines has also resulted in the same situation.

Let me explain the situation of Okinawa where 75% of the US military bases in Japan are concentrated , occupying 20% of its land where 27,000 active duty military personnel are stationed under the Japan-US Security Treaty.

A 12 year old school girl was gang raped by three military men in September 1995 during the fourth World Conference on Women. More than 70 Okinawa women who participated in the conference returned home to learn of the incident. The shocked women quickly acted to expose the brutal crime to the world, because the victimized girl courageously raised her voice that such an outrage should never occur again. The women in Okinawa mobilized a nation-wide campaign and also undertook a research to uncover the chronology of the post-war military sexual violence against women. 

The research resulted in a long growing list of rape and murder of women and children. This included young rape victims who were 9 years old, 6 years old, and even 9 month old baby. There were extreme gang rape cases; where one victim was raped by as many as 30 soldiers. Some were killed.

The report also revealed that the incidents of sexual crime had surged especially during the Viet-Nam War for which Okinawa was used as the key base. This substantiated the fact that the presence of military bases is in itself a source of threat to women and children living in surrounding areas even if the host country is not directly under war situation. 

Okinawa became the island of military bases since the end of the World War II under US military rule. The same situation persisted after its return to Japan in 1972, and even after the end of the Cold War. The untold history of rape and murder in Okinawa is linked to this post-war history.

Now we are posed with a new threat to perpetuate this violence against women associated with war. The new US-Japan Defence Guideline recently agreed will function to perpetuate the US military presence in Okinawa under Japan-US Security Treaty and require Japan to mobilize the whole society for cooperation with US military operation.


The paradox here is that the existence of the bases are meant to provide security for the country. However, women in Okinawa question the concept of security. -- "Security for whom? when women and children in Okinawa are deprived of their security in their daily lives?". -- They demand demilitarized women's security instead of militarized state's security.

NGO Symposium urged women's NGOs and international civil society to lobby against the existence of military bases and defence cooperation agreements that propel super-power military dominance.

In the context of review of the Platform for Action, we are convinced that it is necessary to include the longtime foreign military presence in the scope of Women and Armed Conflict(stated in Section E).

By including, we'll be able address more effectively the issue of protecting human rights of women and children in the next five years, while we play a more important role in contributing to creating a world of peace without violence against women for the 21st century. 

Yayori MATSUI, Director
Asia-Japan Women's Resource Center
presented on 28th October 1999 ESCAP High Level Intergovernmental Meeting to Review Regional Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action 


Source: http://www.aworc.org/bpfa/gov/escap/vaww.html