… Oceana Gold … despite years of protests, countless studies and reports, and now a suspension order, continues to operate in Nueva Vizcaya (Bulatlat.com, 3 March) like it hasn’t done anything wrong at all.
The usual political literature says the nation is deeply polarized and two factions are the major players: the pro-Duterte group and the so-called “Yellows.” Ever a doubter of easy generalizations, I tried to look for empirical evidence that the so-called “Yellows” – which means the die-hard followers of Ninoy and Cory Aquino who then transferred their loyalty to the son – really exist.
(1943 – 2011)
People power in 1986 restored to Philippine society the “democratic space” which had been previously occupied by the running dogs of martial law.
But as in previous turnovers of power in our society, that space has been hogged by the elite and its own running dogs, to the exclusion of particular groups: the teacher-student, the art-media and the scientific communities.Read on…
Late October, I was bracing myself for a final stretch of sustained work, taking in Bosworth and the latest from Enrile (even if only for the endnotes), when Elmer Ordoñez emailed and gave me something else to think about. An invitation to speak as panelist in Philippine PEN’s conference come December, endorsed by PEN Chair Bien Lumbera; I could speak on Enrile’s memoir if I wanted, in a panel on social commentary. The overall theme: The Writer as Public Intellectual. I had no such illusion. But the writer as social commentator, yes, and the opportunity to speak out on history and memoirs and truth-telling proved irresistible. It was a different kind of writing, of course, an essay for reading out loud. It was a first for me, as it was a first foray into literati territory. Butterflies aside, I had a blast, thank you!
On my reading of the four days’ events – that it was the presence of the people in EDSA in huge numbers waving Cory’s colors and ready to die defying the dictator that forced Cory (widow of Ninoy) and Enrile (jailer of Ninoy) to reconcile their differences and join forces which, in turn, brought about the ouster of Marcos – well, no one has disputed it to this day. Late in 2000 my brother Butch uploaded a digital version of Himagsikan on his website stuartxchange.com. Not too long after, historian and scholar Reynaldo Ileto emailed, congratulating me on my EDSA essays, he thought I was on track. I had met Rey in ’86 at the height of the snap election campaign, when he visited my mother for permission to photocopy the first volume of my Lola Concha’s “Fragmentos de Mi Juventud”  covering friar times, the 1896 Revolution, and the Fil-Am War. I was thrilled to meet him then, and to find each other on the Web 14 years after.
Meanwhile, thinking to spread the word to the tabloid-reading masses via a newsprint edition, I had started translating the chronology into Tagalog early in 1997. When it was announced that the National Centennial Commission was sponsoring a literary contest to commemorate the 1898 Revolution, I shifted to essay mode, time to give credit where credit was due. I ignored warnings that my kind of Tagalog (I had written columns for the short-lived Diyaryo Filipino, 1989-1990, and experimented with Taglish in Isyu, 1995-’96), lightly peppered with English words as well as street slang that have become part of the vernacular, might not meet with the judges’ approval. The urge, nay, the challenge, was to write in a prose that was easy to read and understand.