BBC’s Harry and Paul racist sketch against Pinays

Whew! when will it ever stop? After the Desperate Housewives insult on Philippine medical schools and Filipino doctors, here comes another racist and insulting episode from the British Broadcasting Company’s Harry and Paul show.

The less than 1 minute sketch  packed racist and sexist insults on Filipina domestic helpers abroad.

Yeah, yeah, yeah… one may say that we are just too onion-skinned to be hurt and insulted by comedians who get their breaks by dishing out “jokes’ like this. I wouldn’t find it funny even if it were a British maid who was portrayed in the sketch… nor any other woman of any nationality. It is simply disgusting and of bad taste. What makes more painful for Filipina domestics in particular is that the sketch has turned the violence and sexual abuse the Filipinas suffer abroad into something that is comic.

Yes, we Filipinos are fond of making fun out of ourselves, our situation, our problems, our culture and we, too, are fond of making jokes about other people. We, too, have a thousand and one racist and sexist jokes. BUT that does not make this offense against Filipinas less grievous. To portray a Filipina maid as a sexual object and make her plight something to be laughed at is entirely a different thing.

I support Rep. Risa Hontiveros’ call for an apology from the BBC for this grave insult.

BBC apology demanded for ‘racist’ show

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 16:39:00 10/06/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) should apologize for airing a segment of a comedy show last month that was a “racist, humiliating, and disgusting” portrayal of a Filipina domestic helper, a lawmaker at the House of Representatives demanded Monday.

Akbayan partylist Representative Risa Hontiveros also asked the Department of Foreign Affairs to file a complaint against the British government so that the latter would “look into the issue and correct the sickening joke.”

Hontiveros was referring to a skit shown on “Harry and Paul” aired on BBC on September 26 that was also posted on
youtube at

In the skit, a postman approached comedian Harry Enfield, who was agitated and was shouting at someone, and asked him what was going on.

It turned out that the co-host Paul Whitehouse was seated on a chair on his lawn and beside him was a gyrating young girl in a grey uniform and an apron.

Harry then told the postman that he was shouting at his Filipino maid to do her job and get his friend Paul to mate with her.

He kept ordering the girl to gyrate and dance in front of Paul and even instructed her to “hump him.” When an indifferent Paul stood up to go inside the house, Harry scolded the Filipina telling her to get out.

The scene ended with the postman sidling up to the Filipina and whispering to her as they walked off together.

“It was revolting. It was a disgusting and insensitive and racist attempt to satirize a scene of exploitation,” Hontiveros said.

She added that the show “trivializes an act of abuse commonly experienced by Filipina workers abroad.”

“This has to be corrected, otherwise, it would become easy for other media outfits to use Filipina workers abroad as an object of sexual ridicule. …The media should be a partner against human trafficking and not an unwitting promoter of abuse because of insensitive and racist portrayals of women in trafficking,” she said.

(youtube video courtesy of thetrueasiatictribe)


The end of an exodus

No Filipino farmer deserves to be slave in his own country. No Filipino farmer should be landless. No Filipino farmer should be robbed of the land he/she rightfully and justly deserves to own, cultivate and make a decent living from. The fertile and rich lands of our country is the heritage of the Filipino farmers. No farmer should be deprived of land in our own country. This is what the Sumilao farmers’ Exodus is all about, the quest for justice and claiming what is rightfully theirs.
The story of injustices endured by the farmers and their struggle for justice and their land have spanned more than 12 years.

The Exodus of the Sumilao farmers is about to come to an end. I have not written anything thepast few days because I have wanted to write about this, I have patiently waited to write about this. Naghahanap lang ako ng timing anf besides di ko pwede ma-out dahil sa media embargo.



Easter settlement

MANILA, Philippines – The news that began filtering out late last week—the first text messages circulated on Holy Thursday—immediately gave rise to hopes of the Easter Sunday variety. The Sumilao farmers, it was reported, were close to a settlement with San Miguel Foods, the company that had bought the 144-hectare property in Bukidnon in the center of the long-running and high-profile land dispute. Perhaps the farmers could reclaim their old life, and finally begin a new one, right during the Easter season?We hope so. The details of the settlement are still sketchy. Indeed, the settlement itself has not yet hardened into fact. Many things can still go wrong in today’s negotiations. But we are heartened by the seeming success of the process—of the consultation and creative problem-solving that marked it and the spirit of compromise that animated it.

The first reports indicate that the Sumilao farmers will reclaim ownership of 50 hectares of the original property plus 94 hectares from an adjacent property, in an arrangement that San Miguel Foods will help make possible. If these early signs prove accurate, then the Sumilao farmers will regain a 144-hectare property in the same area (just not the same 144 hectares), while San Miguel Foods gets to protect its billion-peso investment. And both parties do so without loosening their commitment to absolute albeit different principles. A true Easter settlement, then, if the parties come to terms.

The president of San Miguel Corp., the parent company of San Miguel Foods, has given credit to the Archbishop of Manila, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, for his role in the breakthrough-in-the-making; by all accounts, Rosales, the former bishop of Malaybalay, Bukidnon, has been a moving force in both the farmers’ extraordinary protest action (involving, most dramatically, a 1,700-kilometer march “from Mindanao to Malacañang”) and in the negotiations. (To be sure, much of the work of protest was borne by the farmers themselves, and by civil society organizations assisting them.)

In the public mind, especially in the turbulent months since the Hello, Garci tapes first surfaced, Rosales pales in comparison with his fire-and-brimstone predecessor, the late Jaime Cardinal Sin. But in the Sumilao case it must be acknowledged that the soft-spoken Rosales has used Sin’s weapons of choice—private diplomacy and public pressure, applied at the same time—to good effect.

The farmers too must be recognized for adopting an attitude open to compromise. Last December, after President Macapagal-Arroyo issued an order reclassifying the disputed property as agricultural, we praised the breakthrough but worried about the “politically untenable position” the farmers seemed about to adopt: “Despite the President’s order, they refuse to go back to Bukidnon until they are ‘finally installed’ in their land. But the order has to work its way through the legal and bureaucratic processes …”

The looming settlement with San Miguel Foods effectively makes those processes irrelevant—but there would be no settlement if the farmers were not ready to accept a “50 + 94” proposal, or variations thereof.

But we must also point out that, unlike the Quisumbing company that gamed the legal system and eventually hoodwinked the Supreme Court with an elaborate fantasy of development for the disputed property (a fantasy it did nothing to translate to gritty reality once it had won the case in the Supreme Court), San Miguel Foods has by and large conducted itself honorably. Last January, in siding with the farmers’ rejection of a complete swap (another property altogether, for the 144 hectares in Sumilao), we noted “San Miguel’s impressive track record and traditional commitment to the communities in which it operates.”

Indeed, it bears pointing out that in social justice issues like the Sumilao saga of frustrated land reform, the advantage always lies with the moneyed, in this case San Miguel Foods. The meek may ultimately inherit the earth, but in the meantime the rich get richer. An immensely rich company that could have opted to play the legal and bureaucratic game for as long as necessary but instead chose not to—thus allowing the Sumilao farmers to continue living the life they chose for themselves—surely deserves a nation’s gratitude too.


The walk of the Sumilao farmers will finally bring them back to the land they rightly and justly own. Their Exodus is about to end. Freed from the clutches of landlessness, they will be going home as TILLERS OF THE LAND THEY OWN. They are coming home to reap the fruits of their sacrifices in the last 12 years. They are coming home to plant the seeds of a better future for their children.

This is indeed a happy Easter. Hallelujah!


Remember EDSA 1?

Today I went to the EDSA shrine, to commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the ouster of Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. Today, we are faced by another tyrant, scoundrel, thief, human rights violator, liar and a fake president. Today, 22 years after we have joined hands to oust a dictator, we are once again faced by the challenge to show our unity, the strength of our resolve for radical reforms. Today, we gave her and her coercive police and military men a preview of things to come. One day we will have enough strength. One day we will have enough numbers. One day we will make her pay.

I am but a voice among the multitude. I am but a single face in the ocean of faces. I am but one will. I am just one of the many. One day our voices will sound like thunder. One day our will will be as one.

edsa1_3 edsa1_1edsa1_2




Kasama rin ang mga Obispo (at Santo Papa?)!


People Power is Alive!

(sino kaya tong nagbubugaw ng pick-up ng SWAT na balak pumosisyon sa harap ng martsa? :D)

When the State tries to control protest actions on the anniversary of People Power, what does that tell us?

photo credits: koya TAROOGS! (ang photographer na madulas, di napipigilan ng bobocops)

Life’s Passion

Honestly, I find it very difficult to get back to my blogging. Maybe it is because I had written so much since last month and my mind ran dry. Parang pigang-piga na ang utak kong may kaliitan. Maybe its because hirap na rin akong humabol sa mga backlogs sa work kasabay ng pagsusulat ng mga press releases para sa pagpapatuloy na kampanya ng Sumilao. Pag Decemberf and January kasi, nag ooverheat ang aking ulo sa kakasulat ng mga annual reports sa mga projects at pagsusulat ng mga project proposals para sa mga panibagong proyekto. MAYBE, it is because my mind is full of ideas about something I am really PASSIONATE about at present.

Medoy matagal na rin akong hindi nagkarron ng isang bagay na binuhusan ko ng aking passion. Hindi rin lang isa ang nagsabi sa akin na parang di na ako passionate sa mga ginagawa ko at napapansin nila yun. Yes, maaring maging very strong ako sa mga positions ko about different issues at maaring naging masipag ako sa pagtrabaho para sa mga bagay-bagay, pero totoong matagal nang wala akong ginawa na I am really passionate about.

That was true until I got myself involved in the Sumilao campaign – Walk for Land, Walk for Justice. Hindi na ito first time nakasama ko sila. Naging involved din ako sa kanila nung unang nakilala sila noong 1997 nang nag-hunger strike sila para rin sa lupang ito. Noon din ay nagising nila ang natutulog na passionate kong puso.

Noong January 4-5, nagsama-sama kaming mga nasa core group ng mga sumuporta sa Sumilao farmers at nagsharing ng aming mga karanasan at nagplano ng mga susunod na hakbang. Noon ko naranasang tumigil at mag-isip, magreflect sa mga nangyari nitong nakaraang Disyembre at namnamin ang mga damdaming dala ng mga pangyayari. Noon kasing kasagsagan ng kampanya ang hirap huminto para mag emote kasi bawat pangyayari kailangang makaisip ng mabilisan kung ano ang dapat gawin.

I told my companions in this struggle that for me, the experience felt like coming home. I felt that I have been away for a long time and my experiences in shring with the struggle of the Sumilao farmers gave me a feeling of being “home.” I mean home in many ways. I feel at home because I once again worked with the campaign team that I worked with a decade ago – sina Atty. Kaka na idol kong abugada at personal close friend, si JunG na kamukha kong rapist pero sobrang galing sa pag-oorganisa at pagkampanya at ang mga kaibigan kong mga magsasaka ng Sumilao. Nandun pa din ang mga matatanda at tumanda na rin ang mga dating mga bata (narealize kong pati ako tumanda na rin).

At home din ako in the sense na andito na naman ako kumikilos sa issue na naging daan para ako mamulat. Namulat kasi ako nung estudyante pa ako sa problema pang-aagaw ng lupa ng mga mayayamang korporasyon sa mga magsasaka ng Bukidnon. That was the very reason why I chose to work and live the life that I have right now. Walking with and working for the Sumilao farmers revived the sleeping passion inside me.

Wala akong sariling camera kaya di ko nacapture ang mga moments ko with them Eto ang iilang mga larawan ng kampanyang ito na nagpapa-alala sa akin sa mga damdamin na nagpuno sa aking puso sa mga panahong kasama ko sila nung Disyembre.

dec 18
December 18. Yakapan blues sa College of the Holy Spirit sa labas ng Malakanyang bandang alas 3 ng madaling araw. Kakabalik lang ng mga pumunta sa 2nd dialog with GMA at binalitang irerevoke na ang conversion order. Panalo! pero alam na alam kong mahaba pa ang laban na ‘to at ito ay unang hakbang pa lamang. Pero ang panalo ay panalo pa rin at kailangang magcelebrate kasama ang mga naghirap para sa panalong ito. (Please wag na pansinin ang laki ng tiyan ko okey? Di na yan mahalaga, okey?)

km 0

December 21. Tanghali noong umabot kami sa Kilometer 0 sa Luneta. Bawat kilometrong nilakad ng mga magsasaka ay nalalaman nila dahil sa mga markers ng kilometrahe. Dalawang buwan din nilang tinitignan ang mga markers na yan hanggang umabot sila sa pinaka-unang marker – ang Kilometer 0. Lahat ng mga sukat ng kilometrahe sa buong Pilipinas sa marker na ito nagmumula. Naghabulan silang maunang humawak sa marker na yan. The same day we declared the 1,700-km walk over.


December 21. Ako at ang SLIPPAROL. Ang parol na ito ay gawa ng mga napudpod na tsinelas ng mga magsasaka sa kanulang mahabang lakad. Bawat isa sa kanila ay nakapudpod ng 4 na tsinelas. Ang lettering sa parol ay di ink o pintura, ito ay dinikit na mga buhok ng mga magsasaka nung sila ay nagpakalbo sa harap ng main office ng San Miguel Corp. sa Ortigas. Kasama kong humahawak ng parol si Gary ang pinakabatang Sumilao Marcher. Binigay nila ang parol sa Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan, ang pinaka-unang institusyon ng simbahan na sumuporta sa kanila at naging daan para masuportahan sila ni Cardinal Rosales.




Last night’s bombing of the House of Representatives really made me feel numb and desperate. As I watched the news coverage of ANC, I drifted from a state of shock, anger, desperation and frustration. Actually ang hirap ilarawan ang aking naramdaman. I know the South wing very well, I walked its halls everyday a couple of years back. Dun ako laging dumadaan sa entrance na binomba. Hindi ko halos makilala ang entrance ng south wing sa footages kagabi.


Siyempre ang una kong reaction nung mabalitaan ko ang insidente ay ang magtanong kung kumusta ang aming mga kasama na nasa congress – our representative Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, mga kaibigan kong mga staff nya, ang aming presidente na nandun at kitang-kita sa TV na palakad-lakad sa pinagsabugan (natamaan ang kanyang kotse at lasog na lasog). i was relieved a bit upon learning na wala namang nasaktan sa aming mga kasama dun pero talagang para akong dinagukan knowing maraming mga tinamaan at nasugatan, at may mga namatay. These were innocent people who were on their way home after a long day in congress.


Kagaya ng reaction ko sa Glorietta explosion (which up to now di ko pa talaga pinapaniwalaang aksidente), ang napakalaking tanong ko ay BAKIT? Why would someone plant a bomb with the intention to kill and maim, not just a particular target but also those who were unfortunate to be within the range of the bomb?


Sabi ng mga pulis a couple of hours after the explosion, it was an assassination and the most likely was Rep. Akbar. Well, it is a possibility, many are aware of his reputation and his life as a warlord in Basilan. His being a target of an assassination is not hard to believe.


Yet, the assassination theory leaves more questions than it has answers. For instance, if it is an assassination of a particular target, why would the perpetrator(s) use a bomb which was strong enough to blast the ceiling into smithereens and several cars into pieces of junk? Mukhang eksperto sa bomba ang gumawa nito, alam nya/nila ang kanyang/kanilang ginagawa at alam nya na sa klase ng bomba at sa lugar kung saan nya ito itinanim ay marami ang madadamay at malaki ang collateral damage. Kung si Akbar ang target bakit kinakailangan ng bomba at bakit kinakailangang idamay ang mga inosente?


Isa pa, bakit sa Batasan nya/nila ito papasabugin kung si Akbar lang ang target? Di ba nya alam na kung tutugisin talaga sya ng buong kapangyarihan ng estado at di ito titigil hangga’t di nahuhuli? Di ba nya alam na ang pagpapasabog ng bomba sa loob ng Batasan ay ituturing na threat sa national security? Kung si Akbar lang ang target, di ba mas madaling tirahin syang mag-isa para pag inimbestiga ay ay sasabibihin laman ng pulis na malamang ito ay gawain ng kanyang mga kalaban sa pulitika at malamang ang imbestigasyon ay di na itutulak pa?


Medyo nakakaintriga din ang statement ni JDV, tinatakot daw ang kongreso, at di daw sila natatakot katunayan ay business as usual daw sila kinabukasan pagkatapos ng isang security sweep sa buong Batasan? Huh? Kung si Akbar lamang ang target, bakit parang naramdaman ni JDV na tinatakot ang buong institusyon ng House of Representatives? Sino kaya ang pinaparinggan nyang di sila natatakot?


Speculations may not be very helpful at this time but asking questions about the theories of the police is another thing. They were very quick to theorize that most likely it is an assassination of Akbar and that that there are no political motivation against the institution of the House of


Mahaba pa ang tatakbuhin nito, pero ang lakas ng kutob ko na despite all the investigations the police will conduct, the truth will not surface in the end. Maybe they are looking in the wrong places and the wrong angles , maybe they are looking at the wrong suspects… maybe they are not looking at all.



Caught in the Claws of the Rich

****Today I am posting an article I co-wrote for the Carnegie Council Ethics in International Affairs 7 years ago about the plight of the Mapalad Farmers . I wrote this article after the Supreme Court decided with finality to uphold the conversion of the 144-hectare land that was awarded to the Mapalad farmers of Sumilao, Bukidnon under the Conrehensive Agrarian Reform Program. The conversion of the land classification from agricultural to industrial effectively exempted the land from agrarian reform and therefore taken away from the Mapalad farmers. Eight years have passed, the land remained undeveloped and in fact was sold by the Quisumbing’s to San Miguel Foods, Inc. I am posting this article because the Mapalad farmers are presently walking all the way from Sumilao to Manila, some 1,700 kms., to reiterate their claim over the land that was unjustly taken from them. They have endured 28-day hunger strike in 1999 and they will endure this long trek for justice, for land and for life. Mabuhay po kayo!”

Caught in the Claws of the Rich: The Struggle of the Mapalad Farmers

Josel Gonzales, Kaka Bag-ao and Azon Gaite-Llanderal
April 6, 2000


Most of the members of the Mapalad farming cooperative in San Vicente, Bukidnon, belong to the indigenous Higaonon tribe of the Philippines. They are poor, seasonal laborers who make brooms during the summer months to augment their income. They dream of their own piece of land to ensure food on their tables, education for their children, a roof over their heads, and clothing to wear.


Their dream was nearly realized when the government named the 137 Mapalad farmers beneficiaries to the 144-hectare Quisumbing family farm. This was determined by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988, which distributes to the landless poor vast amounts of the country’s agricultural land that has historically been concentrated in the hands of a few influential landlord families. The Mapalad members participate in the paralegal assistance program we started in order to help the poor to access their rights under this law.


When the Quisumbings were due to relinquish their farm to the Mapalad cooperative in 1994, they instead sought to hold onto their land by gaining permission to convert it to industrial and commercial use, which would render it ineligible for redistribution. To the surprise of the prolandlord municipal and provincial governments, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) rejected the Quisumbing’s application.


In response, Governor Carlos Fortich of Bukidnon, a landlord himself, went straight to the top and wrote a letter to the Office of the President. Upon receiving this letter in March 1996, Executive-Secretary Ruben Torres promptly reversed the DAR decision in the name of the president. Just when the Quisumbings thought they had won, to their surprise they discovered that they no longer owned the farm. DAR had transferred the ownership of the land to the Mapalad farmers back in October 1995. The Quisumbings filed a case in the Regional Trial Court of Bukidnon in April 1997, claiming ownership on the basis of the executive-secretary’s pronouncement. It was upon receiving the court petition that the cooperative members learned that the land had been legally theirs. The Mapalad paralegals we had trained discussed the case with their leaders and others in their cooperative. Together with us, their lawyers, they decided to mount a legal defense against the Quisumbings.


So began the battle in the courts. However, as part of their legal education, we trained the Mapalad farmers not to rely on litigation alone in their struggle. They decided to enter their property and start cultivation, and in July 1997, with the support of the local church and neighboring farmers, they occupied the land. Three days later, armed goons descended upon them, firing shots in the air, letting farm animals loose, burning tents, and confiscating farm implements. Escorted by thugs, Norberto Quisumbing Jr. accosted Peter Tuminhay, the Mapalad leader, and threatened to kill the farmers if they did not vacate the premises. Although they would have gladly shed blood for their land, the farmers decided to leave and try other strategies.


The farmers’ next step was to make known the injustice through a peaceful yet powerful act: they decided to go on a hunger strike. Nineteen of the farmers picketed the DAR office in Manila, refusing to eat or drink anything but water until the president reversed the executive-secretary’s decision. Their plight made headlines in the national and local media, capturing the imagination of the Filipino public, which is unaccustomed to such measures. The groundswell of public support forced then-president Ramos to take action on their case after 28 days of hunger. He announced a compromise: 100 hectares for the Mapalad farmers and 44 hectares for the Quisumbings.


But the Quisumbings would not accept this. Drawing from their inexhaustible sources of influence, they brought a case to the Supreme Court. When the attention of the Filipino public was focused on elections in May 1998, the court quietly voted 5-0 in favor of the Quisumbings, voiding the Ramos compromise and converting the land to industrial and commercial use. The justices, large landowners themselves, did not address the fact that the land was designated for redistribution as per agrarian reform laws, and that it is illegal for the government to reclassify it. Moreover, according to a 1992 Presidential Administrative Order, prime agricultural land with irrigation facilities, such as the property in question, may not be converted to commercial and industrial use.


Together with the Mapalad paralegals, we filed a motion for reconsideration, timing this with demonstrations in front of the Supreme Court as well as signature and letter-writing campaigns. Sadly, not only did the court maintain its position, it also issued a ban on gatherings in its vicinity and took an even harder line against the farmers. In violation of the Agrarian Reform Law, the court added that the farmers do not have the right to own the land because they are merely seasonal workers.


Today, the Mapalad farmers are tired, angry, and disappointed with the legal system, but their spirit is not defeated. They remain convinced that the land is legally theirs and resolve to make the government accountable to deliver social justice.


Armed with knowledge of the law and given the opportunity to use their paralegal skills, the farmers developed a powerful voice in their own campaign. Because they clearly understand their rights and are able to articulate them, they are emboldened to face various government agencies and demand what is due them. The farmers also learned that legal action can open avenues for the state to respond to extralegal modes of struggle: Having their case in the Office of the President set the stage for Ramos to act, but it was their hunger strike and the public outcry it produced that forced him to rule in their favor.


But the Mapalad case shows that it is not enough to have laws on your side, even with the possession of legal knowledge and support combined with successful mobilization and public-relations strategies. The law is a double-edged sword: It protects and advances the interests of the poor and implements reforms, but it also preserves the status quo and perpetuates the interests of the elite. How can the interests of the poor be advanced if the legal system is caught in the claws of the rich?


The Mapalad farmers’ struggle reveals the corruption and bias of the entire Philippines justice system. The Supreme Court bent over backwards to accommodate the interests of rich landowners such as the Bukidnon governor and the Quisumbings but, in an obvious cover-up, became a stickler for rules and technicalities when deciding against the farmers. In the Philippines, it is more expedient to sacrifice the rights of the poor than to trample on the claims of the powerful. Traditional and elite politics permeate every corner of the government and legal system, threatening social justice measures like agrarian reform. The struggles of the Mapalad farmers and other marginalized groups cannot be separated from the larger effort to reform the legal system to better safeguard the delivery of justice in the Phillipines.


* PAKISAMA-Northern Mindnao is a national peasent federation to which the Malapad cooperative belongs. Attorneys Kaka Bag-ao and Azon Gaite-Llanderal are both counsels of the Malapad farmers.

The rope that hanged Mariannet

What pushes an 11-year old girl to commit suicide? What squeezed the last drop of hope from a Grade 6 pupil that she despaired so much and hanged herself? Mariannet Amper said poverty did.

mariannet amper

At the very center of today’s Inquirer front page is the story of Mariannet Amper, an 11 year old girl from Maa, Davao City. The story is screaming. It is heartbreaking.

While all of us were busy remembering our dead loved ones last November 2, Mariannet took a length of rope, tied it around her neck and hanged herself. Her father father, Isabelo said that Mariannet asked him for P100 that she needed for a school project that needed to be submitted last November 5. He asked her to ask her mother as he did not have money. He later went to borrow P1,000 but when he came home Mariannet was already dead.

Under her pillow they found her diary and an unsent letter to Vicky Morales of Wish Ko Lang. Mariannet did not ask for much, all she asked were a bike, a school bag and work for her parents. she wrote:

Gusto ko na makatapos ako sa pag-aaral at gustong-gusto ko na makabili ng bagong bike

In her diary Mariannet wrote that she stopped counting her absences in school. Her father said that Mariannet and her younger brother Reynald skipped school for 3 days because they do not have money for “baon” and he did not want them to walk to school. Three days for Mariannet seemed a long time as she wrote in her diary –

Parang isang buwan na kaming absent. Hindi na kasi namin binibilang ang absent ko. Hindi ko namalayan na malapit na pala ang Pasko..

Another entry in her diary says:

Hindi kami nakapagsimba dahil wala kaming pamasahe at nilalagnat pa ang aking tatay kaya naglaba na lang kami ng aking nanay

Isabelo Amper is jobless most of the time. Her mother works as a laundry woman and a repacker in a noodles factory. They live in a house that do not have electricity nor running water.

What do you call a society that drives an 11 year old to commit suicide out of desperation and hopelessness? The Gloria’s henchmen say its an isolated case. In a separate article on the same newspaper, Gloria was boasting of a decrease in the number of families that say they are poor and ordered the additional allocation of P1B for poverty reduction programs. Where were you Ate Glo when Mariannet needed P100 that could have possibly given her a glimmer of hope? Where were your billions of pesos when she needed only P100?

The International Policy Research Institute of the United Nation says that 11 Million Filipinos live on less that $1 a day. How many Mariannet’s are still around us waiting for the last glimmer of hope to fade?

How many Mariannets does this government need to accept that abject poverty is real and it kills. How many times does Mariannet need to hang herself out of desperation before government will stop calling her death an isolated case?