Tag Archives: murder

TokHang Santa – first draft

TokHang Santa

PNP Chief Dela Rosa plays Santa to kids of those killed, caught in Tokhang
A total of 120 children of drug suspects received gifts from Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa (Bato), who dressed as Santa Claus at an event on Thursday.
Dela Rosa said giving gifts is the PNP’s way of bringing cheer to the lives of children whose parents have either no income, are in jail, or were killed during anti-illegal drug operations.
-Amita Legaspi, GMA NEWS ONLINE 01 Dec 2016

He believed his intentions were pure
and shiny like his lightbulb head when,
sometime after All Souls’ Day, he wondered
what it must be like to be a child

who had lost a parent. Perhaps once
when he was still small he had pretended
being an orphan, as most children do,
and that helped him arrive at the grand idea

of dressing up as Santa to bring some cheer.
How difficult could it be? Having no hair
meant that white wig would fit nicely,
not at all uncomfortable. The red suit

with fluffy white trimmings must be breathable
cotton, like the elf hat. Not at all like
being wrapped in a garbage bag and tagged.
Since he’s big and solid as a chunk of rock,

a kid on his lap will feel like a stuffed toy,
or an inflatable beach ball. Still, he has to be
gentle. These kids may not remember
that lost parent for a day, or forever

if they’re lucky to be too young to retain
memories. But surely they’ll never forget
the day TokHang Santa came for them, the chosen
120 from the ever-growing thousands.

-o-
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/…
“TokHang” is a contraction of the Visayan words “toktok” (knock) and “hangyo” (request).

Since this is a first draft, I welcome all feedback, critiques, comments – as always. Thank you in advance.

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To Remember

anti-war protest rally in London image from wikipedia

To remember is an attempt to piece together what can never be one again. The time, the place, the scent of flesh once beating. Today marks the invasion of Iraq. It seems the rest of the world has forgotten.

The following poems appear in my book Alien to Any Skin (UST Publishing House, 2011). Should I thank GW Bush for writing them?

Just This One

Art. 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she
has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures
of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
The Fourth Geneva Convention

When someone says “Think about the bigger picture,”
I hide. My life has the legs of an ant. I find the resilience
of pebbles more inviting. They smooth themselves on riverbeds,
current rushing over their backs, pushing them to cling
with other pebbles or grains of sand pounded to near nothingness.

There are so many of them, too many to count. Each one
has something the others do not possess. Perhaps the thinnest streak
of brown, the sligthest indentation, the faintest crack.
Even when they are broken they are never the same. Caress
the jagged edge of this one with your index finger. Just this one.

July 2008
-o-

The Day the Dead Tree Fell

years of fear
have come to this

roots unearthed
longer than the arms of men
pointing skyward

the drone
of foreign planes

a hollow in the ground
deep enough
for a coffin

the silence
of loaded guns

all those fine veins
where something
used to flow

November 2008 – August 2010
-o-

Questions
for the leader of invading forces

When you put your shoes on this morning,
do you remember which foot came first?

Does someone tell you when your collar gets stuck inside your shirt?
Do you let that person touch you?

What colours make your eyes stop searching?
Are those the ones you like or the ones you hate?

How many people have you met that had an extra finger
and wasn’t shy about it?

Have you ever held a firefly in your palms?
Was it warm? Were you alone?

When you close your eyes,
whose face lingers?

What was the first word you learned to write?
Did you use a pencil or a crayon or a borrowed pen?

If you had a dog, would you name it
after the person who blew up your house?

Is there something on my forehead
that only you can read?

Can you tell if someone is lying
or just scared?

Will my name be on a piece of paper?
Spelled correctly?

August 2008
-o-

Going Retro: The Victorious Army of Gobbledygooks Penetrates the City

“Why do they hate us? We’re setting them free!”
A foot soldier

They were expecting
sweaty hugs and kisses
from dark veiled women
and their adoring children.

Ears cocked, they anticipated the struggle
of the local band in playing
their beloved anthem,
as if it were not foreign.

But only hollow,
sporadic shouting of men
who gathered from nowhere
welcomed the forces.

The army was laden
with a quick,
calculated victory,
craving for popular jubilation.

Instead, this caricature of a show
put on by these nowhere men.
Stick figures in the desert sun,
sure of only one thing:

Tear down the giant statue
designed originally
by a previous generation
of gobbledygooks.

This show had been triangulated
for the world to see
moment by breathless moment
on their most trusted TV.

And then what? An awkward silence
as the statue grates to a stop,
refusing to crash down. A monologue broken
by coughing in the background, off camera.

Days later when the local population
finally came out with their voices raised,
the victorious gobbledygooks felt
strangely welcome, unable to decipher

Joy and ecstasy from utter hatred.
It is only now with proper translation
years later that we have
a clear understanding of gang rape.

December 2008
-o-


No! No! Noynoy

President Aquino, Foreign Secretary del Rosario and AFP Chief... on Twitpic

Philippine President Benigno (Noynoy) Aquino III made a mockery of the nation’s constitution by not just allowing a nuclear-powered ship into our territorial waters. He even boarded it and had smiling photos taken!

The ship is no ordinary nuclear weapons carrier. The USS Carl Vinson is apparently the one that took Osama Bin Laden’s body (or what was declared by Washington, following the murder in utter violation of international law, among other atrocities that are being ignored by the media) and dropped it somewhere in the North Arabian Sea.

Here is a link to the full article.

Mr. President, please review your actions. It took the eruption of a volcano to finally get rid of US Military presence in our country, and here you are all smiles. I wonder if you hugged one of the nuclear weapons like it was a teddy bear. Cute.


ET Found Home

I wasn’t born here. Everything was alien to me when I first arrived. Check that. I was the alien.

I gawked at the strangeness of the world I had come upon. From high up in the air curious circles dotted much of the landscape. Gold brown fields appeared like carefully braided locks of hair. Then the mountains came into view, majestic and ancient, bounded by deep blue waters.

When I had the chance to meet the inhabitants of this new world I was even more dumbfounded. Some walked with unimaginable weights on their heads, like TV sets and sofas. Some sang at the drop of a hat even in crowded trains. Others greeted me like a neighbour from a common village. Wonder and unexpected connections nearly every day.

And then there were those who sensed the alien blood in me. They must have felt the intrusion of the shadow around my feet, saw my unusual gait, shape of eyes, my hair. These folks made me aware of the blast of winter air, made me shiver. I knew I was unwelcome among them.

I had arrived the very same year this country survived its first democratic elections.  The whole world was in awe. Mandela, de Klerk, and Tutu quickly became household names. Boundaries were broken, new bridges spanned old differences.

That was then. These days different names are hitting the headlines. Malema, Terre’Blance. Cracks that were perhaps smoothed over are showing again. Seeping smell of blood.

They say this is a land of possibilities. It was possible in 1994, why not now? What has changed? What has remained the same?

Sometimes it takes an outsider to see the difference, or what hasn’t changed at all.

Within a few years of my staying here I was, at least on paper, declared a citizen, and very much to my surprise.

Yet deep inside I know I’m still an alien. Some people I happen to bump on the street still remind me of that every now and again. The shadows are there.

The odd thing is that I’ve come to love this strange land like my own distant home. I can’t imagine leaving it, good or bad.


Down the Barrel: Death and Fear, not Power

This event angers and saddens me.  Where does this path lead?

-o-

 

By HOWIE SEVERINO and JAM SISANTE, GMANews.TV

11/24/2009 | 12:49 PM

On Monday morning, over 30 journalists from various parts of South Cotabato province accompanied members of the Mangudadatu clan and their lawyers in a convoy as they traveled from Buluan town towards the Maguindanao capital of Shariff Aguak to file the certificate of candidacy of Datu Ismail “Toto” Mangudadatu, who was not in the convoy.
…

In Ampatuan, the town right before Shariff Aguak, the Mangudadatu women and their companions were reportedly abducted by about 100 armed men allied with the Ampatuan clan. Of the 45 or so individuals in the group, only four reportedly survived, according to Toto Mangudadatu.

The four survivors reportedly pointed to senior members of the Ampatuan clan as the brains behind the killings, having overheard Andal Ampatuan Jr., allegedly the leader of the armed men, say that he was acting on the orders of his father, Andal Ampatuan Sr., and his older brother, Zaldy Ampatuan, governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)..

-o-

READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE


Care for Some Blood in Your Coffee?

nestle has blood

“Nestlé workers in the Philippines under the United Filipino Employees-Drug Food and Allied Industries -Kilusang Mayo Uno (UFE-DFA-KMU) have been on strike since January 14, 2002 for their right to retirement benefits. To this day, Nestlé refuses to include the workers’ retirement benefits in the collective bargaining negotiation despite a Supreme Court ruling ordering them to negotiate. The strike has both directly and indirectly resulted in the deaths of 23 union members, including union president Diosdado Fortuna, who was assassinated on his way home from the picket line on September 22, 2005, his predecessor Meliton Roxas was also murdered and the current leadership continue to live in fear of their lives.”

Slideshow: Solidarity Protests Vs Nestle in Vienna, New Zealand

Posted using ShareThis

-o-

Over three years ago we got a free ceramic coffee mug for every jar of Nescafe Classic we bought from the shops.  It was a nice promotional idea, very novel and rather fancy, we thought at first.  We didn’t know how much instant coffee we were consuming at the time, but the mugs started to pile up in our cupboard.  We ended up with far too many while the promo was running that eventually we started giving them away, sometimes to thankful shop employees who probably buy the cheaper range of coffee or coffee-tasting mixture (using chicory I think).

I thought that was the end of it.  Then we flew with our kids for the first time to my family in the Philippines.  They had had the same promotion running there.  Or so we thought.  There was a big difference.  The mugs were made of plastic.

I bet no one else knew about this double standard except their ad campaign managers.   It turns out they don’t just scrimp on their promotional materials when it comes to the “third world” (how I hate that term!).


War on Terror: Demand the Truth

Terror becomes a pair of Bushy hands

Terror becomes a pair of Bushy hands. U.S. President George W. Bush hands back a crying baby that was handed to him from the crowd as he arrived for an outdoor dinner with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Trinwillershagen, Germany, July 13, 2006. REUTERS/Jim Bourg (GERMANY)

Avaaz is calling for signatures for this campaign.

-o-

This week the US government is debating whether to set up a Commission of Inquiry to look into Bush’s ‘War on Terror’ tactics. This could have major ramifications all the way up the chain of command.

Key US Senators, leading this call for justice, need a massive global endorsement to ensure that the Commission is set up and has real teeth. But there are powerful interests that want to cover up the truth about torture, secret detention and other unlawful abuse.

-o-

Your voice counts!