This one I wrote very soon after the four day revolt, but it was rejected by the Manila Chronicle, I figured because the editor was still in euphoria-heights, but could be also because I ended with Halley’s Comet ;-)
Early March 1986. I’m still reeling from the revolution. A mind-boggling soul-stirring manifestation of the higher powers of a praying people.
Radio Veritas was the medium of the revolution. And right now we could all do with more of the kind of broadcasting – people-oriented, bilingual with a highly Tagalog bias, intelligent, consistent, Christian, and caring – that RV gave us those 17 days from the 7th to the 23rd of February.
It was a relief when, on the 24th, TV Channel 4’s first free broadcast was launched by, among others, RV’s Orly Punzalan and Fr. Efren Dato. It felt right. I thought Veritas was back and, hallelujah, on TV, too. What a break. What magical days!
But unpredictable, full of twists and turns. As it turns out, the liberated TV station does not have the facilities and field equipment required for on-the-spot news reporting. Only a lot of telephones through which flood in, naturally, calls from the people with all sorts of questions, suggestions, reactions, messages, appeals, donations, updates and the like, a la Radio Veritas. Alas, Orly et al have long been taken over by other volunteer anchorpeople, mostly amateurs, mostly TV and movie and recording pop stars, na magagaling lang kumita pero wala namang alam, mostly waxing euphoric about people power, apparently impelled by a great need to display, assert, their participation and triumph (yes, Behn, opportunists all), when not trying (very hard) to answer / respond to gut questions from the public – e.g., how does one handle / sublimate ill feelings toward sipsips and balimbings? if this is the people’s television, why are the people having such a hard time getting in, getting heard, getting answers to their questions? – and failing miserably.
Where’s the Church? Whereare the nuns and priests and lay apostles? Why have they stopped talking to / communicating with the people? Have they been stopped? By whom? Can it be that so soon the Church has resumed a non-partisan stance? Back to the traditional separation of Church and State?
But what about the revolution that’s still going on in the minds and hearts of Christian Filipinos, affecting his interpersonal relationships, affirming some values but overturning others? It’s a second phase that’s begging for guidance, for guidelines, temporal and spiritual. Perhaps the Church can be persuaded to resume its revolutionary posture, demand a chunk of TV time, for the good of the Whole? Or have we learned nothing (!) from the Radio Veritas experience.
Whose idea was it anyway to call in commercial performers to man the mics? Why not the masscom specialists and their professors, why not the political scientists, the community elders, the people experts, particularly the Tagalog-speaking ones? Anong katutturan ng salita kung iilan ang nakakaunawa? Paano naman ang karamihan? Sadyang sawing-palad na lamang?
For the new TV 4, this rebirth should not be just a matter of straightening out the station’s ownership and getting on with production and programming. The people’s television can become more than just another propaganda machine, can set new / higher standards for Pinoy television arts, long rendered mediocre by a profit-oriented anti-people system. A microcosm of the macrocosm. (The part is also a Whole, and reflects the patterns of larger Wholes.)
Of course it is no coincidence that the upheaval is occurring just when Halley’s Comet is a-visiting. Yes, HC is still around, just dropped out of sight in January when its orbit took it behind the sun (from earth’s point of view). It’ll be back within sight of telescopes soon, within the next two weeks, and will remain in sight as it gets closest to earth sometime in April. Which augurs many more twists and turns, ready or not.
As it hurtles through our solar system in pursuit of a 76-year orbit, Halley’s Comet is wreaking cosmic havoc, disturbing celestial patterns, invading and altering force fields, including that of planet earth’s (surely we are experiencing a peak in the frequency of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, unexplained collisions and explosions such as the Challenger, and extreme highs and lows in temperatures) and her creatures’ physiology, chemistry, life energies, and (in the case of humans) psyches.
Individually and collectively, we are being compelled to make changes, to break out of patterns, to strike out on new roads toward a more humane social order. Let’s not waste these precious moments. Let’s make the most of this heaven-sent point / parentheses in time and space that has so far proven pregnant with potential. Let’s get our act together as a people. Differences are reconcile-able on a collective level of thought, where the good of the Whole has primacy over the good of the few.
Verily, the Age of Aquarius is here. Seeds sown now will bear revolutionary fruit. Said Carl Jung, “Whatever is born or done this moment of time, has the qualities of this moment of time.”